GDB 55.0: BACK-TO-BACK ON EVEN GROUND

Jason Gregor
January 27 2014 01:54PM

For the second time this season the Oilers will face a team where both of them of are playing on consecutive nights. The Oilers lost 5-4 to the Blackhawks earlier this season. Last night while the Oilers were dominating the Predators 5-1, the Canucks defeated the Coyotes 5-4 in OT, and tonight the Oilers will look to improve their ugly record in back-to-back games.

The Oilers are 1-5-2 in the second game of back-to-backs while the Canucks are 5-4-2. Dallas Eakins will play the odds and give Ben Scrivens the night off, despite a solid performance last night, and start Ilya Bryzgalov. I understand why he is going with Bryzgalov, most goalies Sv% is lower the second night, but I thought he might roll the dice and go with Scrivens.

Scrivens played back-to-back once this year with LA, winning both games and posting a shutout on the second night. Last season Scrivens played consecutive games once, shutting out Florida the first night, but then he allowed 4 goals on 13 shots in 46 minutes vs. Tampa the following night.

Those are the only two times in his career he's started back-to-back, and while the odds say it is better to give your goalie a rest on the 2nd night, I would have went with Scrivens, mainly due to Bryzgalov's brutal play so far in 2014.

In six starts in 2014 he is 1-4-1 and his numbers in those starts aren't very good:

January 03rd vs. Ana... 5-2 L with a .865Sv%
January 05th vs. TB..... 5-3 W with a .889Sv%
January 07th vs STL.... 5-2 L with a .862Sv%
January 14th vs. DALL.5-2 L with a .862Sv%
January 18th vs WGP.. 3-2 L with a .923Sv%
January 24th vs. PHO. 4-3 L with a .862Sv%

He has an ugly .877 Sv% in his last six games, and he needs to find some consistency in his game. I haven't seen anything from Bryzgalov that would suggest the Oilers will be interested in re-signing him, and if he has aspirations of signing with another team in the summer he needs to improve.

He will need to be much better tonight if the Oilers want to win two straight for the first time in a month.

While Eakins is playing the odds, the Canucks will start Roberto Luongo for the second straight game.

Luongo has started both games of a back-to-back twice this season, and he's 1-1 and played great in both. He had a solid .931 SV% in a 2-1 loss to Chicago and a sparkling .951SV% in a 6-2 drubbing of the Bruins. 

It is interesting to note that Luongo and his back up, Eddie Lack, have almost identical number, yet the Canucks will go with the veteran. 

In 37 starts Luongo has a .922Sv% and a 2.23 GAA.
In 20 appearances Lack has a .922Sv% and a 2.18 GAA.

With Chicago coming to town on Wednesday, I wonder if the Canucks feel tonight is a game they must win, thus going with their starter? Prior to this season the last time Luongo started on consecutive nights was November 20th and 21st of 2010. He got pulled the first game vs. Chicago, and then lost the next night vs. Phoenix and both games his sv% was below .890.

Under Tortorella he has played very well in the 2nd game, albeit a very small sample size of two games, so it will be interesting to see which coach looks better after the game. Eakins for playing the odds or the Canucks for going with their starter.

LINEUP...

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

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

Bryzgalov

Smyth's line had a very strong game last night. They were very good on the cycle and gave the Oilers an early boost on the J.Schultz goal. We'll see how often Eakins uses them tonight, but if they get off to a good start he'd be wise to give them 8-10 min of ES time.

Martin Marincin continues to play very well. He is poised, smart and usually he has very good positioning. It was only a few months ago that people were ripping Stu MacGregor for his draft picks outside of the top-ten. I've mentioned it many times, but it is worth repeating, you usually wait five years after a draft class to accurately evaluate picks outside of the first round. If Marincin keeps playing like this, and Pitlick keeps developing, the 2010 class could turn out to be outstanding. We'll see.

QUICK HITS...

  • I asked Smyth his thoughts if MacTavish approached him about a trade. "It is out of my control, because I don't have a no-trade clause, but if he approached me I'd listen. It would be tough, because I love playing in Edmonton, but..," said Smyth.

    In the past few weeks I've exchanged texts with a few GMs and scouts and asked their thoughts on Smyth.  "He could add some depth in your bottom six. He can kill penalties and he is still good in front of the net on the PP. I think he's better when you monitor his icetime," said one scout.
     
  • Smyth should benefit nicely from the Olympic break. He'll have a chance to rest, and I believe a few teams will inquire about him. Last year many scoffed when the Blackhawks picked up Michal Handzus at the deadline, but he ended up playing top-six minutes for them in the playoffs and was a valuable asset during the Cup run.

    I don't see Smyth playing top-six minutes, but teams love experience and guys who know how to compete every night. Smyth does that, and I could see him being moved before the deadline likely for a mid-round pick. 
     
  • A player people need to go watch and potential free agents....Read here.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers struggles in back-to-back games continue with a 4-2 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eberle continues his recent hot streak and scores on the PP.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the second period Bieksa fires a shot from the point and it deflects off a stick into Zack Kassian's grill. He is bloodied and as he skates back to the Canucks bench, Sam Gagner stands up on the Oilers bench, stares at Kassian but says nothing and sits down. David Perron leans over to talk with him, and you can see Gagner say, "Karma."

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 oilersd
January 28 2014, 12:19AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

SUCK IT CANUCKS!

What he said. :)

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#152 Romanus
January 28 2014, 12:28AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Just curious.....who would take Sean Monahan over Darnell Nurse if you had a choice right now?

Trash this if you'd take Monahan Prop it if you'd take Nurse.

Yes. But it wasn't an option. Calgary chose before us.

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#153 bazmagoo
January 28 2014, 12:35AM
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@Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

I think the team is also starting to play for Eakins, thankfully! We need to win, there is no getting around it!

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#154 bazmagoo
January 28 2014, 12:42AM
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@Quinn the Eskimo

Ya no doubt eh? Haha, awesome comment

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#155 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 28 2014, 12:46AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

I completely agree with you, as I've stated many times before. Sam is a legit NHL player, he just doesn't fit with the Oilers. Put Sam with two big, defensively sound wingers with the ability to score and Sam is a helluva 2nd line centre and the best player on the line. But personally I think the Oilers should flip Sam to Toronto for Gardiner, plus or minus a player or draft pick or two on either side.

For some reason I really haven't seen Gardiner play much. Is he physical enough to meet the Oilers needs?

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#156 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 28 2014, 12:54AM
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@Let's Party!!

Strangely enough, if you had all of these players you'd have the makings of one hell of a team!

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#157 SlapSchtick
January 28 2014, 01:03AM
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@kale

There is nothing worse than SN Pacific's play-by-play is there?? They are bigger homer's than Dimitri on Canucks Army... it's almost difficult to listen to these two dunces talk about their socks for 10 seconds while a game in being played. ugh!

I miss Alberta :(

lol

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#158 The Soup Fascist
January 28 2014, 05:29AM
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Let's Party!! wrote:

Following is a list of notable players who have either been suspended or have had an encounter with the NHL's policy in its various forms.

1978 Don Murdoch: New York Rangers winger suspended for the 1978-79 season after his arrest for possession of cocaine. He was reinstated after 40 regular-season games.

1983 Ric Nattress: Montreal Canadiens defenseman suspended for the 1983-84 season for possession of marijuana and hashish. Nattress was reinstated after 40 regular-season games.

Sept. 4, 1986 Borje Salming: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman suspended for the 1986-87 season for admitting previous use of cocaine in a newspaper article. Salming was reinstated after eight games.

March 4, 1989 Bob Probert: Detroit Red Wings winger suspended for life for smuggling cocaine into the U.S. After serving a 90-day jail sentence, Probert was reinstated on March 9, 1990 and played four games.

Sept. 27, 1990 Grant Fuhr: Edmonton Oilers goaltender suspended for one year for admitting prior substance use. Fuhr was reinstated on Feb. 4, 1991.

Sept. 2, 1994 Bob Probert: Chicago Blackhawks winger suspended indefinitely without pay and immediately ordered into a league-supervised treatment center in California. It is believed to be the first time the league has assisted in a player's rehabilitation. Probert was reinstated in April 28, 1995.

Nov. 1, 1997 Ken Daneyko: New Jersey Devils defenseman became the first player to publicly announce his voluntary participation in the NHL's new substance abuse program, which was adopted in Sept. 1996. After missing 45 games, Daneyko returned to the NHL on Feb. 7, 1998.

1997-98 Brantt Myhres: Phildelphia Flyers winger voluntarily enrolled in NHL's program at the start of the season because of alcohol dependency. Myhres re-entered treatment in Sept. 1998 when he was a member of the San Jose Sharks.

Jan. 23, 2000 Kevin Stevens: New York Rangers winger arrested in a suburban St. Louis motel for felony drug possession of crack cocaine and is admitted to the NHL's treatment program. It is the second time he has been a participant. "I was involved before this happened," Stevens told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I had been sober for 18 months." Stevens missed the remainder of the season and signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 7.

March 8, 2000 Ed Belfour: Dallas Stars goaltender arrested for assault and resisting arrest after a fight at a Dallas hotel. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest and was enrolled in the NHL's program. After missing the Stars next five games, he returned to the lineup on March 18.

Feb. 28, 2001 Theo Fleury: New York Rangers winger voluntarily enrolled in the NHL program. According to a Sports Illustrated report, Fleury sought help from the same program after the 1999-2000 season.

August 16, 2002 Jere Karalahti: Nashville Predators defenseman suspended six months without pay by the NHL for a third violation. Left the NHL to play in Finland.

No mention of Theo Peckham's addiction to Big Macs and poutine?

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#159 Bloodsweatandoil
January 28 2014, 06:12AM
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The look on Kassian's face after Perron stole the puck from him for the open netter was priceless!

On the flip side, looking at St.Louis stats, Magnus Paajarvi, 31 games played, 6 points total.

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#160 michael clarke
January 28 2014, 06:46AM
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Great to wake up to an Oilers win. Perron with 3 goals. Whhhat? Perron makes that 2cd round pick insignificant with his play and his ability to score. Feel for MP.

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#161 Ed in Edmonton
January 28 2014, 08:19AM
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Based on the last two games there is no reason to believe the Oil won't continue on and win the last 27 as well. This will give them 94 points, which should be just enough to squeak into the playoffs.

Katz was correct, the plan is working.

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#162 CaptainLander
January 28 2014, 08:22AM
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Harry wrote:

Very impressed with the third line. Where did Jones all of a sudden get this mean streak from. Love what im seeing from him Hendricks and Gordon.

Alson liked thr hustle from Yak. He was back when he had to be and didnt ry to do to much when the puck was on his stick.

Negatives for me were Smyths turnovers and I wish Eberle would shoot more.

All in all a great game and a big win for the Oil

Didn't Jones recently have a baby?

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#163 pkam
January 28 2014, 08:22AM
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The most encouraging thing in this game is the players didn't quit and didn't go panic even the Canucks tied the game twice with fluke goals. Looks like the players are more confident than before.

Even a few weeks ago, I believe the players would shake their heads in disbelief and throw in the towel after the 2nd fluke goal.

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#164 CaptainLander
January 28 2014, 08:23AM
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michael clarke wrote:

Great to wake up to an Oilers win. Perron with 3 goals. Whhhat? Perron makes that 2cd round pick insignificant with his play and his ability to score. Feel for MP.

MP has a chance to be on a cup contending team.

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#165 Harry
January 28 2014, 12:51PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

Wins are not a very accurate stat to rank the quality of a goalie. How good was Detroit with Osgood in net all those years, he was an above average goalie but not elite. The team that scored the most goals in the game wins, so a team that scores alot of goals, their golie automatically has an advantage over a goalie whose team struggles to score goals. Therefore, the more shots a goalie saves the better becasue he doesn't know how many goals his team is going to score on a given night.

I will let you decide what stat is more important by using last season's stats so there is a full season used. Out of theses 8 goalies who you would say the top 4 are?

Rask Nabokov Lundquist Backstrom Howard Holtby Niemi Emery

Pretty easy to pick the top 4 as Lundquist, Rask, Niemi and Howard

How about we look at wins per games played - winning % listed best to worst of the group. Your idea of wins being most important stat, the goalie with the most wins in the least amount of games is the best goalie

Emery 17/21 - 80.1% Holtby 23/36 - 63.8% Backstrom 24/42 - 57.1% Nabokov 23/41 - 56.1% Lundquist 24/43 - 55.8% Niemi 24/43 - 55.8% Howard 21/42 - 50% Rask 19/36 - 52.7%

Based on wins per start, are the goalies you chose to be the best still the best or are they actually the worst?

So who are you going to take? Nabokov over Howard Holtby over Rask?, Backstrom over Lundqvist?, Emery over Niemi?

Wins is a not a very accurate stat. Nabokov had a lot of wins becasue his team scored a bunch of goals so he doesn't need to save as many, Rangers can't score goals to save their life. So are the wins indicitive of the goalie himself or does the team in front of him play a big part on that?

Teams can score alot of goals, teams can have a tough time scoring. Some teams give up a lot of shots, some hardly give up any.

You can't win if you dont score and typically whoever saves the most shots will win. So whoever saves the highest % of shots has a better likelyhood of winning, even if they are out shot from time to time.

The goalie is in sole contol of how many stops he makes from the shots he sees. The more shots he stops, the better chance the team has to win. The goalie cannot control how many goals his team scores, Edmonton does not score an abundance of goals so it makes sense to get a goalie that can save the highest % of the shots he faces.

Here is the list again rated by save%

Rask .929 Lundquist.926 Niemi .924 Howard .923 Emery .922 Holtby .920 Nabokov .910 Backstrom .909

Think I would rather use save % to pick my goalies than the wins they get.

Your on crack if you.think Howard is top 4 out of that group

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#166 shaddup
January 28 2014, 12:56PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

MAN GIVES BIRTH!

Jones had a BABY??!! Wow, that must have been painful! And he didn't even miss a game!

I think you meant to say HIS WIFE had a baby.

Clearly, you don't have children. How are you enjoying eighth grade?

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#167 Not Gonna
January 28 2014, 03:03PM
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Gored 1970 wrote:

I hope Gadzic doesn't fight Kassian because if he looses the Oilers will be the laughing stock of the league and will have nothing for the rest of the year. At least now the Oiler nation can thump their chests and make threats but if Gadzic looses there's nowhere to hide.

Won't even be close, so no need to worry about that. Bully the bully ....

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