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 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 06:48PM
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Spydyr wrote:

What those stats fail to show is he was the most fearless forward going to the net I have ever seen.In the time when nets were held in the ice with pipes.

He took absolutely no crap from anyone.More then a few times oppositions players got hit by a "errant" high stick trying to run him.

Finally..."weebles wobble but they don't fall down ."He was the hardest guy in the NHL to knock down.

Oh the memories.

Edit : talk about serendipity post 89 a player who is almost a mirror opposite when it comes to playing hard and being hard to play against.

makes me weep thinking about the good ole days and having to watch this version.

edit/ so far so good tonight however.....dare i hope. Someone hold me.

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#152 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 06:52PM
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Sportsnet panel thinks continuity is important... Eakins will show em.

Sorry negativity slipped out

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#153 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 06:56PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

I gotta throw it out there even though it's not really all that fair with the season he's had so far. With the benefit of hindsight would you keep Gags and send Cogs packing like they did or would you still like to see cogliano with the oil and Gags elsewhere.

Props for Gags. Trash for Cogs.

Lol. I always wanted to do one of these.

I believe cogs needed a new team. gain a different perspective perhaps (or actually be in a good organization that can develop players)

Gregor has made mention on his show several times that some of the youngins will be traded and I believe this is true.

Hypothetical: What if Dubnyk ends up in Phoenix next season under Sean Burke as goalie coach. Could he be fixed?

And if so would there be ramifications here in the coaching staff?

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#154 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 07:08PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I'm 51. Saw lots of him. That was then this is now. And now he is not what he was then.

What?

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#155 Rocket
December 15 2013, 07:13PM
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Wow this game got chippy fast. Glad to see a little push back from The Oilers.

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#156 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 07:16PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

The same clubby group that keeps lindros out? Give me a break - the HOF committee has no credibility.

Anderson never played a second of first line minutes his entire career.

He had the great good fortune of being on the greatest team in history in the highest scoring era - that pads his playoff numbers. Take the playoffs out of the equation and he is comparable to and found inferior to theoren fleury and others. On a more mortal team he would have been an also ran - which is what he was when he played on those kind of teams.

c'mon this has to be a troll. Anderson was one of the cornerstones of that offense. Wasn't good fortune it was hard work and drive to succeed.

hate to say this but the HOF committee also put Sundin in on his first ballot only cause he was a leaf. But that doesnt take away from how great anderson was.

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#157 Reg Dunlop
December 15 2013, 07:17PM
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@Serious Gord

So, if Messier played 2nd line centre behind 99 HE doesn't belong in the HOF?

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#158 vetinari
December 15 2013, 07:27PM
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I hate to say it but overall, I like Bryzer's game a lot and think that a veteran goalie settles the team down better than "Up and Down-nyk".

Bryzer's positioning is way better, he plays the shot and then follows it to the ice in case he drops it (which is rarely), he knows how to look around players in his crease, he knows where the play is going and responds by repositioning himself, and he actually directs his defencemen... overall, when he has started, the team looks less jittery and disorganized in front of him.

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#159 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 07:32PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

He was a good - not great - player and every team he played on treated him as such.

The HOF is a joke and Anderson being in it is proof - much as Clark gillies is in because of his role in the NYI dynasty.

Everyone was right your not a troll. Sorry to engage here

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#160 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
December 15 2013, 07:34PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

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

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#161 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 15 2013, 07:36PM
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Damn another slump busted.

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#162 Reg Dunlop
December 15 2013, 07:37PM
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Would someone please throw some blue and orange paint on Bryz' mask! It's like a guy not intending to stay long so he never bothers to unpack.

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#163 Reg Dunlop
December 15 2013, 07:42PM
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Everytime I see Eakins I think of MacT dressed in a white lab coat saying one point twenty one gigawatts.

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#164 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 15 2013, 07:43PM
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Thread the needle, boys. Seeing lots of passes going off skates tonight.

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#165 Serious Gord
December 15 2013, 08:19PM
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Ben love joy was an undrafted pickup by the ducks. Why don't the oil ever find such players?

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#166 offthebandwagon
December 15 2013, 08:20PM
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Ganger! I mean Gagne! I mean Gagner!!

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#167 wiseguy
December 15 2013, 08:21PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

He was a good - not great - player and every team he played on treated him as such.

The HOF is a joke and Anderson being in it is proof - much as Clark gillies is in because of his role in the NYI dynasty.

If the HOF is such a joke, why do you care so much about it being affirmation of a player's greatness?

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#168 Reg Dunlop
December 15 2013, 08:21PM
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@Serious Gord

Is that the same Lovejoy who Gagner went 'hoop around a barrel' on that goal?

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#169 G-Unit
December 15 2013, 08:32PM
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Putrid finally scores!!!!!

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#170 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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#171 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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#172 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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#173 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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#174 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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#175 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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#176 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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#177 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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