GDB 25.0: A TOUGHER TEST...

Jason Gregor
November 25 2013 12:27PM

Fresh off a three-day break, the Oilers will try to extend their three-game winning streak vs. the defending Stanley Cup champions. Since the start of the 2010/2011 season the Oilers are 6-5-1 against the Hawks. The Oilers are 2-3-0 at home at 4-2-1 on the road.

The games in Edmonton have been blowouts. The Oilers have won by scores of 9-2 and 8-4, while the Hawks won 4-1, 5-0 and 4-1. The Oilers have outscored their opponents 15-3 during this short winning streak, but beating Chicago should be more difficult than beating Calgary, Columbus and Florida.

The Oilers' are playing their best hockey of the season, but so are the Hawks. Chicago is 10-2-1 in their last 13 games and they've scored 4+ goals in nine of those games. Patrick Kane is on a ten-game scoring streak and has 16 points in 13 games, while Jonathan Toews has 15 points in that same span, and they are on different lines.   

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jonesuu-Acton-Gazdic

Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-Petry
N. Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

No reason to change anything when you are winning, although at some point you'd like to see more from Jesse Joensuu. He hasn't done much, and once they lose I could see Ryan Jones and Marc Arcobello re-inserted into the lineup.

Marian Hossa is in Chicago taking care of a personal matter, so look for Brandon Saad to play with Toews and Patrick Sharp. Kane has Brandon Pirri as his centreman, and recently acquired Kris Versteeg will play the other wing.

QUICK HITS

  •  This is the healthiest we've seen the Oilers in years, and if they can stay healthy we will get a much more accurate assessment of who they are as a team. The Blackhawks have 12 skaters who have played every game. Their top-five D-men; Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya and Leddy, and forwards Toews, Sharp, Kane, Shaw, Saad, Kruger and Bollig. Hossa had missed four games and Bickell has missed two. Being healthy, especially when it is yoru best players, gives you a much better chance to win.
     
  • Look for the Oilers to attack Kane when he has the puck and not give him time to set up. If Kane has time to set up in the offensive zone he will embarrass you. Eakins said he'd rather see the puck on Kane's linemates' sticks.
     
  • Ken Hitchcock moving close to Hall of Fame, a goalie the Oilers have to look at in free agency, and a major blunder by the CFL. Read here.
     
  • Marc Arcobello has been a good surprise, but anyone who felt he was the team's MVP in the first quarter of the season wasn't watching close enough. It is great to want him in the lineup, but don't overestimate his contributions.
     
  • After reading Willis' solid piece on Perron's spike in shots on net, I asked the winger about his increased totals. "I've always liked to shoot, and right now I'm getting a lot of chances to shoot. I'm not sure if the system allows me more chances, or if I'm just getting more right now. It is early, but it seems every game I'm in a good spot to shoot. I really like playing with Gordo (Boyd Gordon) and Smitty (Ryan Smyth). We work well together and they get me the puck in good areas. I don't think I'm doing anything really different than I have in the past, but I noticed I have almost as many shots this year than I had all of last season, so hopefully I can keep it up," Perron said.

    He said he wanted to shoot more the past few years, but this year he said he has tried to shoot the puck quicker, and felt that he had more shots blocked last year. Interesting.
     
  • The Oilers PP is now 9th in the league at 21.5%. After going 6 for 49 (12.2%) in their first 15 games, they are a sizzling 11 for 30 (36.7%) in their last nine games. The Oilers are 18th in PP chances, but if you went by games played, they'd be closer to 23rd.
     
  • The Oilers PK has moved up to 15th overall at 83%. In their first 15 games they allowed 13 goals in 55 attempts (76.4%), but in their last nine games they've only allowed 2 goals in 33 kills (93.9%).
     
  • The Oilers still take too many penalties. They've been shorthanded 88 times thus far, tied for 7th most in the NHL. Eakins has no problem with aggressive penalties, but he feels his team still takes too many stick infractions. They've been one of the most penalized teams for the past four seasons, and eventually that needs to change if they want to start winning.
     
  • A big thank you to everyone who came out to DJ Suitcase party on Friday. It was a great night and we raised over $15,000 for the Inner City Children's Program. Nice work.

LOOKING AHEAD....  

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fans will be entertained with nine goals, but this won't be a blowout...The Hawks pick up their second 5-4 victory over the Oilers this season.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall picks up two more points. Hall has 7-10-17 in 11 career games vs. the Hawks.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner scores the first goal of the game, and a few people suggest he's on his way to another 8-point night. That won't happen, but Gagner picks up an assist to finish with two points. Gagner gets rocked by Andrew Shaw early in the 2nd period, and can't drop the mitts because his jaw isn't 100%, so Andrew Ference rushes in and he and Shaw have a spirited tilt.  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#151 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#152 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:13PM
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#153 Daren Walker
November 25 2013, 11:37PM
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Hey Jason. Well thought out article. However, not many people are thinking about the CFL expansion draft on December 16th. 9 days away from Christmas, 3 weeks away from the Grey Cup, NHL ongoing, world jr.'s approaching, NFL ongoing, kids about to start their winter break. Seriously man, December one of the few months of the year almost nobody cares whats going on in the CFL. (this comming from a die-hard CFL fan btw.) So quit trying to stir up a story within the media.

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#154 VK63
November 26 2013, 09:39AM
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It was a brutal game to attend. (again)

Zero resistance to the inevitable loss and the usual passive acceptance that coincides with another mail it in performance.

However… the fan behaviour during the goalie exchange and subsequent love in…… well…. wow. Also… pathetic.

"knowledgeable"

Stay classy Edmonton.

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#155 A-Mc
November 25 2013, 02:22PM
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@Stompinstoms

Ah yes, those are good indicators of some pretty significant character flaws.

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#156 They're $hittie
November 25 2013, 02:38PM
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would anyone take Backlund from the flames. Cheap solid two way center, big upgrade on acton. Mind you we have Arco but in the fourth line spot I see Backlund being better than either of them, with the ability to move to third line or second.

Depth people Depth.

Flames like meddling picks so why not Lallegia, Musil and Kellen Jones.

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#157 Ducey
November 25 2013, 05:54PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

CBC mentioned Ottawa as a possible target for Hemsky this past Sat. But that trade (and numerous others for Hemsky) have been talked about forever. The return wasn't mentioned. (IIRC)

Another report had this to say:

"The Oilers need help everywhere, however, teams are asking for young players in return. “They want to do something but they overrate their players which means the prices are high,” said a league executive. He should be able to get a top pick for UFA RW Ales Hemsky"

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/23/phillys-captain-claude-giroux-set-for-sochi-olympics

Not sure what a "top pick" could mean other than a 1st rounder. But that would be full value for the player.

They have likely been holding out for the Penner return of a prospect, a first rounder and a mid round pick. 3 assets!

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#158 Johnnydapunk
November 25 2013, 07:51PM
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Bit of a shocker of a start, hope the SH goal doesn't completely throw them back into panic nervous hockey mode that they seem to default into fairly easily when the game is close or they allow a bit of a bad goal. Not saying the goal was Dubnyk's fault by any means, but you shouldn't have giveaways like that.

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#159 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 08:04PM
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I have a very unhealthy reaction whenever I see Duncan Keith's face. He seems like a world class jerk face. Someone in a blue jersey do something terrible.

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#160 YFC Prez
November 25 2013, 08:06PM
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Now they're into it! Let's go boys

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#161 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 25 2013, 08:46PM
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Good shift there from the kid line.

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#162 Alsker
November 25 2013, 09:15PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

He should get a giant bear on the top of the mask. Batman style. 'Is time enemy share my fear, comrades.'

Sweet, grrrr....I like it!!!

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#163 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#164 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#165 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#166 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#167 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#168 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#169 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#170 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#171 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#172 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#173 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#174 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#175 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#176 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#177 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#178 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#179 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#180 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#181 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#182 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#183 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#184 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#185 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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#186 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#187 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#188 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#189 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#190 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#191 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#192 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#193 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#194 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#195 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#196 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#197 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#198 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#199 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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#200 Mike Krushelnyski
November 25 2013, 11:12PM
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I have high hopes for the Bryzgalov-era Oilers. They've looked pretty good ever since he's been in net for them!!

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