Oilers vs. Ducks: The World's Most Unsurprising Loss

Jonathan Willis
January 03 2014 11:45PM

Edmonton lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. It wasn't a surprising loss, both given the teams involved and that it was the Oilers' second game in two nights (against a rested home team, too). But some interesting stuff happened on the ice.

Scoring Chances

Thoughts on the Game

  • Nail Yakupov had a fantastic night, and his work on Edmonton's second goal was a great example of the kind of thing he's capable of. He looked good defensively too, backchecking hard and contributing physically at times. He was pretty decent against San Jose too, despite the miscue on the second goal. I wonder a little whether Dallas Eakins' strategy is bearing fruit at even-strength because Yakupov looks a lot better than he has.
  • With that said, the power play desperately needs a shooter. The 6-on-3 that generated no shots and no chances was embarrassing. I tend to lay the power play problems on coaching, too - Eakins has never really had a good power play and his personnel choices are hard to understand.
  • Eakins' decision not to use Yakupov on the power play is particularly interesting given his post-game comments.  "I thought Yak made some great strides tonight," he told reporters after the game. "He had a good game and he really tried to play the way that we're promoting here."
  • The top line was a disaster for the third game in a row; on average the trio of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron are sitting at plus-eight/minus-27 in terms of scoring chances over that span. These are the three best forwards on the team this season and they're a mess together. It feels like it's time for a change. 
  • The Ryan Smyth/Boyd Gordon duo anchoring line three has been one of the nice surprises for Edmonton this season. they've worked well and that line has seen some tough minutes. 
  • Two-thirds of the fourth line actually had a pretty decent game. Luke Gazdic got the puck four times in the defensive zone and turned the puck over three times (he made a clear successfully on his fourth attempt). Both scoring chances against that unit came off lousy Gazdic turnovers. 
  • It was nice to see Brad Hunt get his first NHL game. He's a super-enthusiastic guy both on and off the ice and it's hard not to like someone with that attitude. After a rough start I thought he played pretty well in the game's final 50 minutes. 
  • Both Ben Lovejoy goals, including the backbreaker at the end of the first period, were awfully ugly. Ilya Bryzgalov has generally been pretty decent for Edmonton and this game would have been lost with or without him but it's hard to see those. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Bishai in the Benches
January 03 2014, 11:59PM
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PLAY LIKE FART FOR SAM REINHART!!!

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#2 Arius Mumin
January 04 2014, 12:02AM
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Bishai in the Benches wrote:

PLAY LIKE FART FOR SAM REINHART!!!

Skate Like a Fart for Sam Reinhart.

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#3 Arius Mumin
January 03 2014, 11:52PM
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Are you #@$%ing kidding? Is Eakins what bearing fruit? Are you trying to say Eakins has a strategy or a game plan? All Eakins has is a scapegoat, and that is Yakupov!

Don't try to credit Eakins with anything, especially with anything when it comes to Yakupov. The guy is a definition of a egotistical goof: write about it.

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#4 Arius Mumin
January 03 2014, 11:48PM
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#@$% Eakins!

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#5 tileguy
January 04 2014, 09:33AM
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The only reason we lost that game was because the refs were out to screw us and gave the Ducks 7 powerplays in a row. Surely someone on radio would of pointed that out.

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#6 Bryzarro World
January 04 2014, 12:43AM
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I'd take a Teddy Peckman right now....

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#7 hallsyoilerforever5
January 03 2014, 11:57PM
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What a joke. Other team medias have taken shots at the oilers and guys like Cogs even rub the win against the team. WAKE UP KATZ. How the hell do you wake up knowing fans are extremely fed up, while your best buddy 6 rings is still employed. How the hell can you stand being the owner of a pathetic losing team? What is it gonna take for Lowe to be fired, honestly? Oiler fans outside Katz house protesting for Lowe to be fired? Fire Lowe chants in Rexall? Time to get out of your house and face some questions, Katz. Pathetic owner letting his stupid buddy Lowe and the rest of the old boys club turn this once proud franchise into the most pathetic team I've seen for awhile. PATHETIC.

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#8 Kr55
January 04 2014, 12:27AM
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Lowe and his gang cannot be allowed to deflect blame again by firing another coach. Without a doubt Eakins is probably getting the least out of an Oilers team than we've ever seen, but it's pointless to fire him now.

The only hope for this franchise is for tier 1 fans to run Lowe out of the Oilers organization. Then the old boys club can finally be dismantled and we can start filling management positions in this organization with actual qualified people that know how to build a hockey team. People that think being lucky enough to play with Gretzky and Messier means they are good at management need not apply.

It's all up to tier 1 fans. Fire Lowe chants, a #4 Lowe jersey tossed on the ice after the next embarrassing home loss. Lowe and Katz need to know you want a REAL change in this organization for once.

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#9 bemond
January 04 2014, 12:16AM
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Well its that time of the year again to talk about what the Oil should do with their #1 or #2 overall pick. Im all Ekblad on this one. NO MORE SMALL SKILLED FORWARDS DAMMIT!

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#10 K_Mart
January 04 2014, 02:30AM
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2017-18 will be the season we make the playoffs again. We will not win a cup, but we will have a couple good runs before shipping off our veterans and rebuilding all over again. woo..... .... ... hoo.

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#11 Garett
January 04 2014, 12:00AM
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Mentioning that it's the second game of a back to back has no relevance. The Oilers would lose to the Ducks, Sharks, Kings 10 out of 10 games against all of them. I've never seen a team that literally has zero chance to win against a large amount of teams in its same league. I would bet this team losing all 30 games above winning one against any of those three teams. That's a sad hockey organization.

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#12 billythebullet
January 04 2014, 12:11AM
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Will Sam Reinhart or Aaron Ekblad fix this mess?? Is trading ebs, the 3rd highest points scorer on our team going to help? Fire the entire coaching staff? Fire Klowe? And when did something interesting actually happen? I need another drink...

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#13 MessyEH!
January 04 2014, 02:49AM
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No matter how terrible a team is iced. Someone would be the 3rd leading scorer. Eberle, like all players, is an asset. He has the greatest value of the pieces we can part with. He should be the 1st to go.

Be realistic people. No one wants our spare parts. Let's not "Hemsky" Mr Eberle. Send him away NOW for pieces that make this team better.

Packaged for a Defenseman (someone like Subban).

Hell if MPS and and a second got us Perron. What would we get for Ebs and 2015s 1st rounder?

Do it before he has negative value.

Fire lowe. Surely a man who knows as much about winning as him would be able to find work elsewhere. (What an effing loser!)

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#14 Romanus
January 04 2014, 12:06PM
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Sorensenator wrote:

People keep going to the games, maybe if you all decided to throw your tickets in the trash and not support a losing team year after year Katz would take notice and make some chances (K. Lowe) For now the dollars keep flowing in....

Easy for a guy that didn't spend $12k to say.

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#15 Sorensenator
January 04 2014, 04:49AM
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People keep going to the games, maybe if you all decided to throw your tickets in the trash and not support a losing team year after year Katz would take notice and make some chances (K. Lowe) For now the dollars keep flowing in....

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#16 hall the time
January 04 2014, 09:01AM
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Sorensenator wrote:

People keep going to the games, maybe if you all decided to throw your tickets in the trash and not support a losing team year after year Katz would take notice and make some chances (K. Lowe) For now the dollars keep flowing in....

Or we a can go to the NHL entry draft and yell out you suck and make a seen then get kicked out of that arena and still be able to go back to Rexall.

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#17 2004Z06
January 04 2014, 11:37AM
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I have news for everyone....Even if Lowe is fired, it is safe to assume that Messier will be his replacement. Sorry, but the old boys club isn't going anywhere anytime soon!

Find something else to whine about!

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#18 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 04 2014, 01:30PM
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Sorensenator wrote:

People keep going to the games, maybe if you all decided to throw your tickets in the trash and not support a losing team year after year Katz would take notice and make some chances (K. Lowe) For now the dollars keep flowing in....

Deal with reality....there's over a thousand people on the waiting list.

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#19 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 04 2014, 01:34PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Throw your tickets in the trash? That means Katz has your $$$ already. Just what he wants. Stop buying them or don't renew season seats. Stop buying crappy Oiler jerseys. That's how you make a statement.

Very few people are going to do this....move on....next.

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#20 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 04 2014, 04:12PM
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@Kr55

Even better, after he calls me a Tier 2 or 3 fan and suggest I try beer league...he trips on himself, passes out and farts on the radio....okay well in a perfect world maybe.

KLowe has done enough Katz. Hear the Nation speak!

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#21 Kr55
January 04 2014, 12:44AM
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Can't believe this team is on pace for 58 points. The worst Oiler season ever was 60 points. After 3 #1 picks we might actually end up with the worst Oilers season of all time.

This team really needs more stories written about it.

Lowe has overseen this franchise become one of the worst all time.

Florida's 10 season playoff drought record will be obliterated by the Oilers.

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#22 sintaxi
January 04 2014, 01:02AM
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is 6 on 3 really an advantage over 5 on 3? I would expect a team to have a rehearsed game plan with 5 on 3. /shrug`

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#23 Tuningout
January 04 2014, 01:17AM
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sintaxi wrote:

is 6 on 3 really an advantage over 5 on 3? I would expect a team to have a rehearsed game plan with 5 on 3. /shrug`

It's a huge advantage for sure. Two guys covering each Anaheim player should definitely ensure no short handed goals.

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#24 Loweblows
January 04 2014, 07:23AM
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After a loss there are typically 200 plus posts. From the amount of posts today it is obvious that the fan base is waning. I guess you can only stare at a pile of shi$!for so long.

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#25 jake
January 04 2014, 07:37AM
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I can hear Bettman chuckling.

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#26 gcw_rocks
January 04 2014, 08:22AM
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JW - an Avalanche fan over at c'n'b made the observation that Eakins is trying to implement the same defensive system that Joe Sacco implemented with disastrous results in Colorado.

Perhaps something to look into?

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#27 hall the time
January 04 2014, 08:50AM
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Oilers are going to be having night terrors of black jerseys for the rest of their lives.

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#28 outdoorzguy
January 04 2014, 09:03AM
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hallsyoilerforever5 wrote:

What a joke. Other team medias have taken shots at the oilers and guys like Cogs even rub the win against the team. WAKE UP KATZ. How the hell do you wake up knowing fans are extremely fed up, while your best buddy 6 rings is still employed. How the hell can you stand being the owner of a pathetic losing team? What is it gonna take for Lowe to be fired, honestly? Oiler fans outside Katz house protesting for Lowe to be fired? Fire Lowe chants in Rexall? Time to get out of your house and face some questions, Katz. Pathetic owner letting his stupid buddy Lowe and the rest of the old boys club turn this once proud franchise into the most pathetic team I've seen for awhile. PATHETIC.

Katz lives in exile in Vancouver. Nobody's going to his house to protest. Nobody is going to start a chant at a game. Fans are just going to keep filling the building like lemmings and buy up all the Oiler souvenirs, filling the owners pockets so he can buy more flu shot serum.

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#29 outdoorzguy
January 04 2014, 09:06AM
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hall the time wrote:

Or we a can go to the NHL entry draft and yell out you suck and make a seen then get kicked out of that arena and still be able to go back to Rexall.

Throw your tickets in the trash? That means Katz has your $$$ already. Just what he wants. Stop buying them or don't renew season seats. Stop buying crappy Oiler jerseys. That's how you make a statement.

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#30 outdoorzguy
January 04 2014, 09:11AM
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Question. I don't go to the games. Does Loser Lowe even go to the games?

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#31 Guy Lafleur
January 04 2014, 01:18PM
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I cant even watch anymore , i watched an hour of Coronation Street the other night . I was the biggest Oiler kool aid drinker out there , now i just see nothing , trade em all i dont care , heck i dont even listen to Hall N Ebs on the Bear anymore :-(

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#32 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 04 2014, 01:36PM
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Loweblows wrote:

After a loss there are typically 200 plus posts. From the amount of posts today it is obvious that the fan base is waning. I guess you can only stare at a pile of shi$!for so long.

Two wins and everyone's back on the bandwagon....next.

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#33 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 04 2014, 01:38PM
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tileguy wrote:

The only reason we lost that game was because the refs were out to screw us and gave the Ducks 7 powerplays in a row. Surely someone on radio would of pointed that out.

Yeah that's it.......next!

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#34 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 04 2014, 02:21PM
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@Kr55

It would be so much fun after feeding KLowe some tequila slammers and Jack Daniels whiskey to hear what he really has to say about the team.....it would be something like this as he's drunk on the radio..."Well the Oilers you know are playing like horses*** right now..."

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#35 Kr55
January 04 2014, 03:15PM
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Robert (AKA Hockey Fan) wrote:

It would be so much fun after feeding KLowe some tequila slammers and Jack Daniels whiskey to hear what he really has to say about the team.....it would be something like this as he's drunk on the radio..."Well the Oilers you know are playing like horses*** right now..."

hehe, yeah, he would blame pretty much everyone but himself I'm sure. Probably would have quite a fight on your hands if you suggested it was at all his fault too.

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#36 Jims
January 04 2014, 07:54AM
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I can't understand why there are people still defending Kevin Lowe. He should be removed immediately. Followed by Bucky and Smith. Waiting for the summer only delays the process of repairing this team . Mac T suck it up and admit that your bold moves comment was a mistake and stop making highly educated excuses. Just be a GM and get the job done. Nuff said

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#37 S cottV
January 04 2014, 09:53AM
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@sintaxi

Yeah you don't see it too often, in fact I can't remember ever seeing a 6 on 3.

You probably run the same 5 on 3 as normal, with a guy planted at the top of the blue paint.

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#38 Kr55
January 04 2014, 10:46AM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Question. I don't go to the games. Does Loser Lowe even go to the games?

Once in a while they show him. He usually looks like he's zoning out, and sometimes he looks like he's playing words with friends with Katz's son and getting absolutely destroyed.

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#39 Zarny
January 04 2014, 12:57PM
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Bishai in the Benches wrote:

PLAY LIKE FART FOR SAM REINHART!!!

Reinhart is 6'1" 186 lbs and no better than Nuge.

Sorry but an 18 y/o version of Nuge is not anywhere close to what Edm needs.

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#40 ?
January 04 2014, 02:46PM
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sintaxi wrote:

is 6 on 3 really an advantage over 5 on 3? I would expect a team to have a rehearsed game plan with 5 on 3. /shrug`

Could just stick the extra 6th guy in front of the net for some added traffic

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#41 Oliveoiler
January 04 2014, 10:20PM
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Sorensenator wrote:

People keep going to the games, maybe if you all decided to throw your tickets in the trash and not support a losing team year after year Katz would take notice and make some chances (K. Lowe) For now the dollars keep flowing in....

As for not going to games, well, I have 4 tickets for the upcoming Preds game and the March game vs Kings. The tix are on sale at a greatly reduced price on NHL ticket exchange. I would rather lose out by almost giving them away than suffering another 60 minutes of this agony at Rexall, AND have to pay for the privilege of doing so. Until SOMETHING positive has been done and the team prove something to us fans, I will watch in gloom, from the comfort of my couch and drink a beer that costs me about $1.50, rather than $9.25. I wont have to worry about parking, traffic, and most of all crying in public. I have never seen or heard so much anger since the "rebuild" started. Surely SOMEONE needs to listen to the fans. MR. LOWE, PLEASE DO THE DECENT THING AND RESIGN. THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL, THE FANS HAVE SPOKEN.

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#42 Sorensenator
January 05 2014, 06:01AM
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OK OK, don't buy them in the first place... GEEZ

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