GDB 15.0: OILERS STARTING TO SCORE?

Jason Gregor
February 19 2013 01:11PM

Up until Saturday night the Edmonton Oiler franchise record for shots in a game was 55, against Minnesota on March 21st, 1986, but the young Oilers eclipsed that after firing 56 v. Colorado. The Oilers peppered Semyon Varlamov for 60 minutes, and despite falling behind 3-0 they kept attacking in waves as nine different players had at least four shots.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ended a 12-game goal scoring slump, Jordan Eberle ended an 8-game slump and both looked very relieved afterwards. Was it a one-game outburst or are the Oilers starting to find their way out of their offensive slumber?

It is too early to say, but confidence is a finicky thing and Nugent-Hopkins admitted that his goal had him in a different frame of mind today. The Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle/Taylor Hall trio had been generating loads of chances with little results, but a game like Saturday could easily ignite them. They are averaging 9.5 shots/game as a line, and it was only a matter of time before they scored.

The Oilers need to get on a winning streak before heading out on their 9-game road trip, and the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are a team the Oilers need to beat.

For the 2nd straight season the Kings are struggling to score five-on-five. Last year the Kings were 29th in ES goals with only 118 in 82 games. They made the playoffs because they were 2nd in ES goals against, giving up only 121. Their offense caught fire in the playoffs and they cruised to their first Stanley Cup.

However, their offensive woes are back and once again they are 29th in ES goals for. The Oilers are 30th, but right now the Oilers have a better GAA than the Kings at 2.64 to 2.69.

The Oilers top players are producing. Hall and Gagner have 15 points in 14 games while Eberle has 11 and Ales Hemsky is tied for 13th in the NHL in goals with 7.

Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar lead the Kings with only nine points. It is very perplexing that a forward group consisting of Richards, Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Drew Doughty on the backend can't produce more goals, but they are and the Oilers need to take advantage of that tonight.

ALL LINES GOING

Against Colorado all four lines were buzzing and creating chances. The Oilers attacked the entire game and they were able to spend way more time in the offensive zone.

LA's s size will make it more difficult to cycle the puck consistently, but the Oilers need to use their speed wisely against the bigger Kings.

Hall/RNH/Eberle
Hartikainen/Gagner/Hemsky
Yakupov/Belanger/Smyth
Paajarvi/Vande Velde/Eager

Smid/Petry
N.Schultz/J.Schultz
Fistric/Whitney

Khabibulin

Khabibulin has played very well in his two appearances, start in Detroit, off the bench v. Colorado, and he's earned another start. "He's given us a lot of energy with his play, but this is nothing to do with Devan's play," said Krueger. Dubnyk has had three bad luck goals the past two games, and he'll get the night off.

Lennart Petrell is still dizzy from taking a puck in the temple during warmup on Saturday and he'll sit out.

QUICK HITS

  • Colorado, Edmonton and Florida have only one D-man who has scored a goal. Tyson Barrie has one goal for the Avs while Brian Campbell and J.Schultz have four each. The Oilers aren't blessed with an abundance of goal scorers on their blueline, but they need some production from Petry, Whitney and Potter. Edm, Col and Flo also have zero ES goals from their blueliners.
     
  • Colorado has one goal, while the Oilers are tied 2nd fewest goals from the blueline with Florida, Boston, Minnesota, San Jose, New Jersey and the Islanders with four each.
     
  • The defencemen haven't scored one ES goal this year. "We have had too many shots blocked. We have worked on making a few little changes so they can get more shots through," said Krueger.
     
  • At the other end of the spectrum the Rangers and Capitals' blueline have zero goals on the PP. Mike Green has no PP goals for the Capitals, yet their PP is still 6th best at 25%.
     
  • The Oilers' PK isn't getting much attention, but it has been very good, allowing only nine goals on 68 chances, 4th best in the NHL at 86.6%. They are also tied for second with two shorthanded goals.
     
  • If the Oilers start scoring at ES, this team could become very competitive.
     
  • At 3 p.m. today on we will have a trivia contest for a pair of Oiler tickets to tonight's game. here. First correct answer wins. Also LIKE the page.
     
  • Will the Oilers go the way of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, or will they be like Florida, Columbus, Atlanta and the Islanders? They are entering a crucial stage of their development. Read here.

THE FUTURE

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Khabibulin has seven career shutouts v. the Kings, and he comes close to blanking them again as the Oilers win 4-1.
 
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nugent-Hopkin's line continues their dominant play in the offensive zone and they score twice. RNH scores his 2nd goal of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the first period, the Kopitar line creates four consecutive scoring chances yet Khabibulin stones them. The crowd cheers louder with each save and when the sequence ends they chant, "Habby, Habby, Habby." While sitting on the bench Devan Dubnyk wonders why they don't do the same for him, rather than the Duuuuuubbb that has become a trend. It's a question that no one, but you the fans, can answer. Please do.

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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#51 oilfan in yyc
February 19 2013, 08:19PM
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Ryan14 wrote:

Kevin Weekes will be letting Oiler fans know how disappointed he is in Yakupov this Sunday.

Yeah, and no doubt talk about how good Taylor was in net for the Flames as a 27yr old rookie to only allow 4 goals against the offensive powerhouse Coyotes

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#52 Mikey
February 19 2013, 06:26PM
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Hayek wrote:

Maybe look at the market first. I'll work under the assumption that teams looking for insurance will be contending teams, so lets just look at the top 4 teams in each conference now.

PIT-Vokoun MTL-Budaj CAR-Ellis NJ-Hedberg

CHI-Emery ANA-Fasth VAN-Luongo STL-Elliot

So who among these backups will Khabibulin be an improvement over. Then think what GM wants to upset one of the goalies, and have them lose their spot on the team.

Personally, I don't see any teams in the current top 8 taking someone such as Khabibulin as a backup over their current backup. The most unstable ground is probably under Hedberg and Ellis, but that's debatable.

Hometown fans seem to overvalue the perception of their players' values that other teams place (that's why why see these ridiculous rade rumours come out, and are always laughed at by the other side).

The thing is just a lack of a market. If Khabibulin was a starting goalie, putting up good numbers on a non-playoff team, then yeah, there might be some demand for him at the trade deadline. This is not him today, hence no market, as other teams have options available, and younger options which bring more than just a rental for a backup.

Just curious though, maybe enlighten me onto which teams will be interested in Khabi this trade deadline. And let me know which backup they will be replacing. I'm not doing this to mock you guys, just give me an informed opinion, and back it up.

Dude I never said it was a possible trade. I was just responding to your reduculous reply. And if you were to trade him your going to only get a 3rd 4th pick. Maybe.

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#53 Mikey
February 19 2013, 06:28PM
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bwar wrote:

He's playing with two guys who can't keep up with him and then on top of that can't get him the puck. Yak was mostly invisible last game until he got a few shifts with Gagner and Hemsky. So far Yak doesn't seem like a player that elevates those around him but instead feeds off of those around him. Having him on the third line might make him hungry for his next opportunity with the big boys but you won't be getting any production out of him until that next opportunity.

If the goal is to have three productive 5v5 lines then Krueger needs to consider either putting one of the play makers with Hartikainen and Paajarvi or dropping a player off the top line to play with Yak on the third.

Hall Belanger Eberle '

Yakupov Gagner Hemsky

Hartikainen RNH Paajarvi

or

Hall Belanger Eberle

Hartikainen Gagner Hemsky

Yakupov RNH Smyth

(Belanger can be substituted with anyone who can take a faceoff)

No point in marooning a talented player like Yak with the wrap around king and some dude who is ok at faceoffs and penalty killing.

Was yak invisible because of his line mates or because of him? I say him.

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#54 Hayek
February 19 2013, 06:31PM
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Mikey wrote:

Dude I never said it was a possible trade. I was just responding to your reduculous reply. And if you were to trade him your going to only get a 3rd 4th pick. Maybe.

Well I backed up ridiculous reply, and expressed a somewhat coherent response explaining my position. I'm not trying to attack you here.

But instead of homerism and people not actually providing a response with any intelligent thought, I'm just looking for a response of who would want Khabibulin and why. I think that's an easy enough question which allows people to articulate their position. Which to me, seems more engaging then arguing over nothing.

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#55 bwar
February 19 2013, 06:52PM
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Mikey wrote:

Was yak invisible because of his line mates or because of him? I say him.

Because of his linemates, when he got the opportunity to play with Gagner and Hemsky late in the game he looked very good. He also looked good on the PP. Yak seems like the type of guy who needs someone to play with. And I think the Colorado game would greatly support my opinion.

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#56 The Soup Fascist
February 19 2013, 06:52PM
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@Hayek

Not my fight and I am just playing Devil's Advocate a bit. However fast forward to the trade deadline. Ironically, a team who may be interested is the number one team in the league. Chicago has won with a tandem of Crawford / Emery. If (when) one of these guys go south, why would Chicago not look at it? He would be available at a discounted price, has history in the town and is good in the room. Won't get much obviously but impossible it's not.

BTW. I hate drinking and driving but I personally would not say I despise an individual based solely on that. There are very few people in the world who have never made mistakes and I am not one of them. The act is despicable but sometimes good people do bad things. Let he who is without sin ....

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#57 Wax Man Riley
February 19 2013, 07:05PM
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Hayek wrote:

Well I backed up ridiculous reply, and expressed a somewhat coherent response explaining my position. I'm not trying to attack you here.

But instead of homerism and people not actually providing a response with any intelligent thought, I'm just looking for a response of who would want Khabibulin and why. I think that's an easy enough question which allows people to articulate their position. Which to me, seems more engaging then arguing over nothing.

I LOVE YOUR FIERY LATIN TEMPER, SALMA HAYEK!

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#58 GNikkles
February 19 2013, 07:11PM
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Hayek wrote:

Well I backed up ridiculous reply, and expressed a somewhat coherent response explaining my position. I'm not trying to attack you here.

But instead of homerism and people not actually providing a response with any intelligent thought, I'm just looking for a response of who would want Khabibulin and why. I think that's an easy enough question which allows people to articulate their position. Which to me, seems more engaging then arguing over nothing.

SASS

Seriously wedges or pumps for my wife's birthday Salma?

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#59 oilfan in yyc
February 19 2013, 07:17PM
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Yakupov is 19yrs old and 14 games into his NHL career, so he isn't driving the play yet, give him a break

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#60 Jimmy
February 19 2013, 07:17PM
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Which team wins the Stanley cup 2013 ?

Chicago Vancouver LA STL

Bost NYR Pitt

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#61 Ryan14
February 19 2013, 07:22PM
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oilfan in yyc wrote:

Yakupov is 19yrs old and 14 games into his NHL career, so he isn't driving the play yet, give him a break

Kevin Weekes will be letting Oiler fans know how disappointed he is in Yakupov this Sunday.

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#62 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
February 19 2013, 07:27PM
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@Hayek

WOW

YOU ARE ON QUITE A ROLL THERE MAM!

YOU DO NOT KNOW THE INTELLIGENCE LEVEL OR HOW MUCH OF A HOMER MIKEY ACTUALLY IS, SO TO COMMENT ON IT IS ...HOW'D YOU PUT IT...

UNPROFESSIONAL

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#63 Mikey
February 19 2013, 08:43PM
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That ref looks strangley familer.

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#64 Mikey
February 19 2013, 08:50PM
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Hayek wrote:

Well I backed up ridiculous reply, and expressed a somewhat coherent response explaining my position. I'm not trying to attack you here.

But instead of homerism and people not actually providing a response with any intelligent thought, I'm just looking for a response of who would want Khabibulin and why. I think that's an easy enough question which allows people to articulate their position. Which to me, seems more engaging then arguing over nothing.

I assumed your a troll, that's the response I give to trolls. Unintelligent with a dash of homerism.

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#65 Piney
February 19 2013, 09:34PM
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Wow, according to the oilers twitter,Gagner led the team in blocked shots in the first period. Never would have guessed that one if you listen to some on here.

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#66 RSD
February 19 2013, 09:42PM
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Is it just me or does ex-oilers always come back to haunt us. If we play a team and there is a ex-oiler on that team they are the ones to score. Not saying, just saying

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#67 Piney
February 19 2013, 09:44PM
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@RSD

It's not just you. It's some sort of hockey curse we have. Guy hasn't scored in 17 games and breaks it against us. Typical.

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#68 StHenriOilBomb
February 19 2013, 10:01PM
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Did the arena announcer just credit the second assist to Jeff Schultz?

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#69 Dennis
February 19 2013, 10:04PM
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GAGNER! Finally someone put it in the damn net.

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#70 Lofty
February 19 2013, 10:06PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Did the arena announcer just credit the second assist to Jeff Schultz?

Yup,

Just hope the oil sign justin Schultz to a reasonable contract. I don't care about Jeff Schultz.

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#71 Ole
February 19 2013, 10:23PM
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Is that the extensive coverage Duthy was talking about?

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#72 Lofty
February 19 2013, 10:59PM
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Good game.

Nice break for the Kings to have the lineman boot Halls chip in the opposite direction. Nobody's fault really.

I would like to see less reefs on the ice. It hurts the cycle in the corners and zone entry.

offsides could easily be done by a line judge on the other side of the glass.

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#73 a lg dubl dubl
February 19 2013, 11:20PM
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@Lofty

Ive hated the 2 ref system since it came in.

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#74 Dog Train
February 19 2013, 11:36PM
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Tough break on the game winner. We just didn't generate enough offense to expect to win. Outside of Hall and a few rushes by Hemmer, nobody really seemed to generate much of anything.

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#75 Slats
February 19 2013, 11:58PM
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Here's an interesting thought for some offence - how about a slap shot from the point through traffic. Watching all the highlights tonight (besides Datsyuk sic 1 on 4 move!!) wow there is a lot of goals which start from a hard shot from the point.

Please make these 1 goal games stop - we beg you!!!

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#76 Cowbell_Feva
February 20 2013, 12:31AM
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Khabby looks like he still has some gas left in the tank. Played a great game again, and made some crazy saves. No fault to him on any of the goals. Too much pretty and not enough grit from Edmonton top 2 lines. The scouting report is out on the Oilers, and everyone but Colorado has shut them down for the most part this year.

Hall is fast enough to generate his chances, but is not finishing like he has in the past. Hopefully he can turn that around quickly. Tambellini is going to have to make something happen if he plans on having any chance at making the playoffs this year.

My guess is he stands pat with lack of size up front, gets rid of Whitney and Khabby for more prospects, and leaves the team without a bona fida top2 d-man for the rest of this year, hoping that Klefbom is able to come in and contribute at the level that J. Schultz has been able to.

This scares me.

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#77 RyanCoke
February 20 2013, 01:56AM
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They should really come up with a rule that when a ref interferes with the puck or play that the play is whistled dead and have a face off. No one expected the ref to interfere as there was a clear lane and 4 oilers deep in the offensive zone, 1 oiler barely recovered but it was a gimme goal that resulted because of the interference. Plays that badly interfered with should be whistled dead.

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#78 unknown666
February 20 2013, 02:01AM
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Cowbell_Feva wrote:

Khabby looks like he still has some gas left in the tank. Played a great game again, and made some crazy saves. No fault to him on any of the goals. Too much pretty and not enough grit from Edmonton top 2 lines. The scouting report is out on the Oilers, and everyone but Colorado has shut them down for the most part this year.

Hall is fast enough to generate his chances, but is not finishing like he has in the past. Hopefully he can turn that around quickly. Tambellini is going to have to make something happen if he plans on having any chance at making the playoffs this year.

My guess is he stands pat with lack of size up front, gets rid of Whitney and Khabby for more prospects, and leaves the team without a bona fida top2 d-man for the rest of this year, hoping that Klefbom is able to come in and contribute at the level that J. Schultz has been able to.

This scares me.

your own assumptions scare you?

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#79 Cowbell_Feva
February 20 2013, 01:35PM
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unknown666 wrote:

your own assumptions scare you?

Obviously

I guess the point I was making is that our GM hasn't done anything to persuade me to think that he can get a deal done that will improve this team in the short term. Anybody can pick first overall. Even then I'm not sure they have taken the right people for this organization. Regardless, I hope he proves me wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.

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