GDB 35.0: TRYING TO BRYZ BY THE DUCKS

Jason Gregor
December 15 2013 09:51AM

Ilya Bryzgalov has been cleared to play and should return to the lineup tonight against his first NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers are hoping he injects some life, enthusiasm and even some humour into a downtrodden dressing room.

The Oilers were dominated in Vancouver, and despite a solid 40 minutes against the Bruins on Thursday, the Oilers are 0-2 in their six-game stretch against elite teams. They will need to put forth a much better effort tonight, if they want to avoid being blown out by the red-hot Ducks.

The Ducks have won four straight, and are 7-1-2 in their last ten games and they've only allowed 22 goals in their past ten games. The Ducks finished 2nd in the west last season, and some suggested that their underlying statistics suggested that was a lucky 48-game stretch.

If you combine last year's 48 games with their first 34 this year you see an outstanding 82-game stretch.

The Ducks are 52-19-11 good for 115 points and they've outscored the opposition 248-205. The Ducks are a very good team and despite not having a true dominant #1 D-man, their blueline has been very steady even with Francois Beauchemin missing the last ten games. 

  GP  G  A  P  +/-  PIM  TOI/G
Cam Fowler 34 3 16 19 6 8 24:03:00
Francois Beauchemin 24 0 6 6 15 19 21:54
Ben Lovejoy 32 1 4 5 9 10 20:03
Hampus Lindholm 32 2 8 10 14 12 19:17
Bryan Allen 31 0 6 6 12 34 18:51
Luca Sbisa 9 0 1 1 -5 25 18:00
Sami Vatanen 26 3 4 7 0 12 17:54
Mark Fistric 13 1 1 2 -1 14 15:47
Nolan Yonkman 2 0 1 1 -1 0 14:53
Alex Grant 2 2 0 2 3 2 12:10

Fowler is playing in every situation. He plays 3:15/game on the PP and 2:47/game on the PK. Since Beauchemin went down, he's started playing even more and he's only 22 years old.

Hampus Lindholm played 44 games in the AHL last year as an 18-year old, and at 19 he has stepped into the NHL and performed very well. Ben Lovejoy was acquired for a 5th round pick last February, and he's turned out to be a steal for the Ducks.

They play a very solid game in their D-zone, and when they get the puck Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry take over. Getzlaf is 4th in NHL scoring with 16-22-38, while Perry is 6th with 21-15-36. Both of them are locks to make the Olympic team again, and their line, with Dustin Penner, is carrying the Ducks offensively.

Whoever matches up against that trio tonight is in for a tough game.

The Oilers are 1-5-1 over the past two seasons vs. the Ducks, and they've been outscored 21-8 in those seven games. They've struggled handling the Ducks' size, especially Getzlaf and Perry, and the Oilers will be hard pressed to avoid their 7th loss in 8 games vs. Anaheim.

LINEUP...UPDATE

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Arcobello-Yakupov
Gazdic-Gagner-Jones

Ales Hemsky is out with a rib injury, from the Ryan Kesler hit in Vancouver.

Ryan Smyth will draw in and Eakins will have to change his lines. Gagner will need to earn his way back into the top-nine I suspect, and I won't be surprised to see Smyth back with Gordon and Perron. The Oilers need Hall, RNH and Eberle to match the intensity and determination of Perron. If they do that, this team will have a much better chance of winning more games.

***Update***

Looks like I was wrong...Gagner gets promoted to 2nd line...

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Jones
Joensuu-Arcobello-Gazdic

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

Eakins could switch his pairs and maybe try to match Petry and Ference vs. Getzlaf's line, otherwise Larsen or J.Schultz could be in for some long shifts in the D zone.

Bryzgalov

I'm assuming he starts. The Ducks are one of his former teams, and the Oilers will need a strong performance in goal to stay in this game.

QUICK HITS....

  • Jason LaBarbera must feel like he won the lottery. He struggled in Edmonton, was demoted to the AHL, got recalled due to an injury and then he was dealt to the first place Chicago Blackhawks. When Corey Crawford returns from his injury, I suspect the Hawks will send Raanta back to the AHL and LaBarbera will stay as the back up. The Hawks don't need to rush young players, and they will want Raanta to play more games in the AHL I suspect.
     
  • It was a smart trade by MacTavish. They free up a roster spot, plus it allows them to keep Laurent Brossoit in OKC and share time between the pipes with Richard Bachman. LaBarbera was the wrong choice in the summer, and the Oilers will need to do a better job next year when they go searching for a back up. They can't sign the wrong guy again.
     
  • The Ducks special teams aren't very good. Their PP is 19th and the PK is 21st, but the Ducks dominate teams at ES. They've outscored their opponents 78-55 at 5-on-5. They are 2nd in ES goals in the league.
     
  • The Oilers are almost the exact opposite to the Ducks at ES. The Oilers have given up the most goals 5-on-5, 78, and they've only scored 53. If the Oilers are going to win tonight, they likely will need at least two goals from their powerplay. 

WHAT DO WE SEE....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers struggles against the top teams continue with a 3-1 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dustin Penner scores and the Penner supporters say, "I told you the Oilers should have re-signed him."...The fact he is playing with two Olympians won't be mentioned. Penner is a very smart player defensively, and the Oilers could desperately use someone with his size, skill and smarts, but there is no way he'd have the same success in Edmonton as he is having in Anaheim. Plus, I doubt he would want to return to Edmonton.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nick Schultz scores his first goal of the season. Schultz loves playing the Ducks. He has six goals in 43 career games vs. Anaheim, but he only has 21 goals in 800 games against the rest of the league. Schultz scores on a seeing shot from the point.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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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 Reg Dunlop
December 15 2013, 08:33PM
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@Serious Gord

We had him on our team. His name was Mark Fistric. And yes, you're right, he would look good on our D.

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#152 YFC Prez
December 15 2013, 08:35PM
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Poop. Stupid penner.

Oh well if Eakins gets them playing like that every night this season is going to be a whole lot more respectable going forward.

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#153 Serious Gord
December 15 2013, 08:35PM
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Another loss. Meanwhile the flames pick up a loser point. Up six now with two at hand...

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#154 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 08:35PM
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aaaaaand another loss. may have to look at demoting Arco and swarming some stuff and be accountable and things and stuff and junk....

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#155 Hall the time
December 15 2013, 08:39PM
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The oilers don't support each other.

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#156 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 15 2013, 08:40PM
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At least they were in it for the whole game. But that kind of thinking is also what got us to this point. This team confuses me...

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#157 LoweBlow
December 15 2013, 08:42PM
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I love how failure is acceptable in this organization.

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#158 Jay
December 15 2013, 08:43PM
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So when they suck next year will Lowe and the assistant coaches finally leave?

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#159 RexHolez
December 15 2013, 08:45PM
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Can you guys imagine watching the oilers play .500 hockey again? We'd think they're a dynasty

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#160 Serious Gord
December 15 2013, 08:52PM
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Jay wrote:

So when they suck next year will Lowe and the assistant coaches finally leave?

From your fingertips to gods eyes...

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#161 Batfink
December 15 2013, 08:53PM
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oliveoiler@telus.net wrote:

sorry! I've been an Oliveoiler for about 10 years, since my grandson gave me the name. It's my email addy and also on the back of my Oilers' jersey. I guess we must be sisters!!! Merry Christmas, GO OILERS!!!

Missed game due to kid's xmas party. That's what the Oilers have reduced me to. Rather spend time round screaming spoilt brats than watch the game...Wait, that's still the oilers, isn't it? 10-4 on the name good buddy, merry xmas to you too!

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#162 Quicksilver ballet
December 15 2013, 08:56PM
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I Remember the Orange Jerseys wrote:

You asked about the orange jerseys in a previous thread. This was their original road jersey during the WHA years.

I'm aware of that. I was just wondering why we're seeing them at United Cycle now. CCM made them, wasn't sure if the Oil were introing a new third in the near future.

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#163 Comrade GT
December 15 2013, 09:00PM
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If we could put in great efforts like than consistently we could scratch and claw our way to .500. Its not the playoffs but at least it will be a good building block going into next year. As appose to these new mini rebuilds that happen every time a new coach is hired.

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#164 **
December 15 2013, 09:01PM
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So the Ducks coasted to victory. They barely even tried while the Oilers looked like they were playing game 7 of the SCF. Eakins genius moves didn't quite work. But Gagner scored and had a good night on the FO, so now let' shere how he's back and he's such a great player *yawns*. PS: What a difference a solid goalie makes. Bryz didn't look shaky at all tonight. Even the Ducks respected him, i didn't see any shot from mid ice.

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#165 **
December 15 2013, 09:07PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

It's the commitment to the troll that I applaud. Love it man. Good on ya

Bob Stauffer is a joke. Oilers apologist and only defends his own views, even when people throw stats at him to prove him wrong. Ha ha you think mentioning Bob Stauffer here will add credibility to your argument. Thanks for the laugh. This post is in response to Serious Gord ( I don't know why the quote didn't show): "Ask bob stauffer if I'm joking. He and I have had this discussion (along with my claim that the worst draft mistake ever was Mtl picking lafleur (stauffers hero) over Dionne) on several occasions over the years."

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#166 Gerald
December 15 2013, 09:13PM
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Good teams pace themselves during the season , Anaheim did enough to win.

Fans will think Oilers competed but Anaheim brought their B game.

Oilers have 21 losses already in 35 games. 8 years wasted

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#167 Dog Train
December 15 2013, 09:13PM
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We played hard but I can't help but feel like the Ducks weren't on their game tonight. We made plenty of mistakes that they didn't make us pay for. Another night, another loss. At least Bryz gives me some confidence that we might win the odd game.

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#168 Simon
December 15 2013, 09:14PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

I love how failure is acceptable in this organization.

Not only is it acceptable it is their philosophy. Losing

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#169 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
December 15 2013, 09:17PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

I'm aware of that. I was just wondering why we're seeing them at United Cycle now. CCM made them, wasn't sure if the Oil were introing a new third in the near future.

Can’t say I’ve heard anything about a new third jersey. Wouldn’t surprise me though. I suspect jersey sales are way down this year. Gotta get the fan base motivated to spend their hard earned dollars one way or another.

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#170 Nck
December 15 2013, 09:18PM
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Dog Train wrote:

We played hard but I can't help but feel like the Ducks weren't on their game tonight. We made plenty of mistakes that they didn't make us pay for. Another night, another loss. At least Bryz gives me some confidence that we might win the odd game.

Hard to get up for a flag football team.

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#171 Ricky
December 15 2013, 09:23PM
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What a joke , fans think they might have players that may make the Olympic team this year. They have never played under pressure, the only pressure on them is not to embarrass themselves. And they fold under that pressure most nights

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#172 Serious Gord
December 15 2013, 09:35PM
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The bruins hit hard. The Canucks were surprisingly physical. Anaheim made the most of their size - tenderizing the oil for the real heavyweights - LA. How many guys - even after just three of these six games - are icing and taping damage already sustained?

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#173 PutzStew
December 15 2013, 09:39PM
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I just wanted to point out the Edmonton is now 6 points behind the "Favorite to last in the West", Calgary Flames right now, and the Flames have 2 games in hand.

So two things.

1) How are the (Supposed) media going to spin this weekend in to a positive. I'm sure it will be humorous and will continue to make people such as Gregor and Stauffer looking even more foolish then they do already, as the try to maintain paying employment and not face the wrath of the Oilers. In other words they are going to avoid the elephant in the room and won't lay the blame on the feet of management, development or anyone in the oilers organization. I'm sure they will find a way to blame Dubnyk for tonights loose some how or pump the tires of Hall for the Olympics.

2) Maybe this is Edmonton's plan to win the battle of Alberta by getting higher draft picks then Calgary, thus slowing their rebuild.

Naw….Edmonton just sucks.

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#174 HardBoiledOil
December 15 2013, 11:11PM
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all in all, Bryz kept us in this game, making saves that Dubnyk would have let in and we'd have been out of it in the 2nd period. please keep playing him!!

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#175 john
December 16 2013, 02:28AM
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Why are there so many people want us to trade for Ryan Miller or Shea Weber? Miller can't win games for Buffalo so coming to Oilers will not improve anything. Weber's Preds are out of playoff spot so he can't help them to make playoffs, coming to Oilers will not improve our chances either. WE need a veteran coach to get the players get to the next level. I m sick of seeing other young players in other team playing so well. When we have all these 1st picks over all and underachieving. We all hear how good these young guns are but we are not producing on the ice.

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#176 Zamboni Driver
December 16 2013, 09:01AM
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john wrote:

Why are there so many people want us to trade for Ryan Miller or Shea Weber? Miller can't win games for Buffalo so coming to Oilers will not improve anything. Weber's Preds are out of playoff spot so he can't help them to make playoffs, coming to Oilers will not improve our chances either. WE need a veteran coach to get the players get to the next level. I m sick of seeing other young players in other team playing so well. When we have all these 1st picks over all and underachieving. We all hear how good these young guns are but we are not producing on the ice.

Okay so just for the sake of argument.

The coach has been changed every year for the last 23 (or something like that).

The 'good young guns' have been here for lots of those years.

Didja maybe consider the 'good young guns' maybe...just maybe...aren't that good?

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#177 MessyEH!
December 16 2013, 12:37PM
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PutzStew wrote:

So you would make the offer sheet and if by some chance Subban did sign it, Oilers would have to give up the next 4 1st for him.

So what would you offer Montreal in trade after signing him to this offer sheet???? I'm sure montreal would be happy to take the Oilers Next 4 1sts. You might be able to offer up an Eberle or Yak to recoup one of them but If I would was them I would want the 1sts.

Toronto overpaid the offer sheet value for Kessle to get him. ANyone wanting Subban would have to do the same.

Norris trophy winners are not like Vezina winners. There have been a lot of flash in the pan goalies. Not so for Norris winners. 4 1st Rd picks do not come with a guarantees. Suban most certainly does.

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