GDB 16.0: Still searching for first win in West

The Oilers don’t want to talk about it, but the harsh reality is that the Oilers are still winless vs. the western conference. The Oilers are 0-6-1 vs. the western conference, 0-1-0 vs. the Central division and 0-5-1 vs. the Pacific, and until they can win in the west they won’t be taken seriously.

The Oilers were in the exact same spot two weeks ago. They had won four straight vs. eastern opponents and were facing the Nashville Predators looking for their first western win. The Predators dominated the first period, out scored the Oilers 2-0 in the second and cruised to a 4-1 victory.

Edmonton is coming off their most complete game of the season, a 3-1 win in New York, and they will need a similar effort tonight if they hope to compete against the 9-3-2 Predators.

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The Oilers play 63.4% of their games against the west, so beating those teams regularly is the only way the playoffs become a possibility.

In their seven games against western opponents the Oilers have been outscored 31-14. They’ve only been outshot 220-210 in those games, but the final scores have not been flattering.

The Oilers simply need to defeat a western team before anyone will look at them as anything other than a rebuilding team.

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This road trip has shown that Draisaitl needs to be protected in order to play. In eight home games he has averaged 14:16, but in seven road games he is playing 11:26. Protecting him makes sense, but on this road trip he hasn’t be very noticeable. It might simply be the struggles of a rookie, but the Oilers need to closely watch how much of a factor he is for the remainder of this month.

If it comes to a point where he isn’t contributing, and forcing Eakins to really protect him, then it limits the Oilers chances of success. The NHL should be about winning, not developing individuals at the expense of icing a competitive team.


The blueline was solid vs. the Rangers, although Mark Fayne played a season-low 13:05, which is surprising considering the Oilers were leading. I realize that Keith Aulie is a stop-gap for now, but he is doing exactly what you want from a #7 D-man. Play simple, play smart and don’t make any major mistakes.

I don’t see any reason why the Oilers will carry eight D-men when they return home, so I would send one of Martin Marincin or Oscar Klefbom down to OKC rather than fly back to Edmonton. 

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Stick with the hot hand.


You can see their lineup here at Dailyfaceoff.

Rookie Filip Forsberg leads them in scoring with 15 points in 14 games, and he leads the NHL in +/- at +15. He along with Mike Ribeiro and James Neal have given the Predators a legitimate #1 line. They have scored 50% of the Predators goals. They have combined for 17, while the rest of the team has 17.

The Predators have been winning with excellent goaltending and stingy defence.

They are 3rd in the NHL with a 1.93 GAA, and they have allowed the fewest 5-on-5 goals (14) in the entire NHL.

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  • The Predators have allowed only 14 EV goals, but they’ve surrendered 11 powerplay goals. The Oilers PP must wake up, start shooting the puck, and generate some goals.
  • The Oilers have three PP goals in their last 13 games. They are 3 for 42 in that stretch. Eberle, Schultz, RNH, Perron, Yakupov, Purcell, Pouliot, Arcobello, Draisaitl and Nikitin must be better. They need to work harder. They need to enter the zone better. They need to match the work ethic and desperation of the penalty killers.
  • The Predators average 29.1 shots for/game and 28.7 shots against/game.
    The Oilers average 29.9 shots for/game and 29.7 shots against/game.
  • The Predators have allowed 27 goals, while the Oilers have allowed 50. One shot more per game shouldn’t equal 23 more goals against. The Oilers defensive zone coverage and goaltending has to become more consistent.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hands up how many thought the Oilers could salvage this road trip after losses in Philly and Boston? Me neither. The Oilers have to beat a western team eventually, and they play well in Nashville, so I’ll pick the upset, 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Matt Cullen scores and is dangerous all night. He loves playing the Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get six PP shots and actually score two PP goals. Instead of playing on the perimeter they actually direct some pucks on goals and have guys funneling down towards the net. I know it is a crazy notion, but it does work.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    


  • 5 Cups

    Seriously, I don’t think this team cares whether they win or lose. The effort never changes. The only time they win is if the other team has a bad night.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Why waste time building a long cycle in the o-zone when you dont even convert the possesion into a shot,time IS running out,get the dam pucks off of the boards, get OUT of the cycle sooner and take it right to the net,fight for this game,compete for christs sakes.

    The last gaol was not created by an established cycle,it was created because a player pushed off the boards and took it TO THE NET.

    Come on.

    You worked to hard to not take it to the net now.

  • Serious Gord

    Nashville sure got away from what worked for them in the first. Is it it because that type of play is too tiring? Or did the oil make some kind of adjustment)

    • The Soup Fascist

      Nashville was PUSHED AWAY from what was working for them,BULLIED AWAY BY A TOUGHER TEAM.The Oil were the tougher Team tonight.

      They made some kind of adjustments all right,they were made between periods and were accurate,impactfull and shut the Preds down completely.

      Had the Oilers had these adjustments formatted into their Pre-Game planning this game would have been 2- Oilers.

      All they had to do was add offense to the System adjustments they made that neutralised the Preds.

      Adding offense is touchy,you need to be carefull not to rock your own boat to much.

      There were plenty of details that needed adjusting in the 1st but after that it should have been a cake-walk.

      Once the Oilers made their initial adjustments they were so effective the Preds were paralysed,but the Oilers have shut down the Preds before,it just seems like everyone “forgets” where they left off,this Game IMHO was lost to a lack of Pre-Game planning,those 1st period intermission adjustments were FIRST RATE NHL DECISIONS and had they been in place pre-game this was 2 points in the Bank.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    These type of losses sting, this game was turned around and was held down but they just couldnt get one more goal to tie it up.

    This is a loss a guy can sleep on, They worked hard.

    • D-Unit

      Well, after all of your novel length posts about systems and what the Oilers should be doing, this post proves you don’t know much about hockey, and especially Oilers hockey over the “rebuild” years.

      The Oilers lost because they were down 3 goals after a period. This is a loss they shouldn’t sleep on, or be happy with hard work. Going down 3 goals should never be accepted, even if they did win, still an unacceptable start.

      Losses are never something to sleep on, there are no moral victories. These are things that losers believe in.

      To face facts, the Oilers are losers, and are losers again tonight. You, and Dallas Eakins believing in moral victories or good losses just shows what you are.

      A team that has lost as many games as the Oilers have, dating back to the final game of the 2006 Cup final cannot accept losses if they ever want to do more than draft in the first 10 spots yearly.

      • Bullets Hockey

        You must be younger fan,just guessing,ha ha ha,I was here for the 1st rebuild that created the Oilers.

        I like your moxy but its a wee bit edgy.

        You MUST lern to find reasons to get good sleep no matter what job you do,and good nights work is a good nights work,this game was exctly that.

        The reality of the loss is lost on no one,but in sports you must move on emotionally and then learn cerebrally from the experience,this isnt easy to do,you cant really “forget” what you did the day before but you CANNOT allow the emotional quotient of that experience to carry forward beyond the moment it was created in.

        Now you know.

        That is the first time anyone has ever referred to Dallas and I in a sentence,what the hell?Is this some kind of evil reverse psycology or what?

        There are no such things as morale victories,there is only winning and losing ,but both winners and losers need to go to sleep at night,ha ha ha.

        The Oilers lost becuse at the right times the Preds were the better team,it is what it is,but this does NOT mean the Preds were the better team for more of the game,the Oilers owned 2 of 3 periods of hockey,had they come in with a Pre-game plan that was as effective and impactfull techniclly as their 2nd period djustments were they would have dominated all 3 periods.

        An observtion is not a morale victory, the Oilers were the tougher team for 2 periods and overall they shut down and dominated the Preds System-wise after the 1st period.

        The Preds were lucky to get two points tonight and even if you dont get that “they” do and they will remember the feeling next time they play the Oilers. Its all about the process of estblishing an NHL identity,the Oilers are doing that.They PUSHED the Preds out of the game they were the tougher team and if it werent for their 1st period blitz the Preds were done like dinner tonight.

  • Bullets Hockey

    Some effort from some but still the same situation.

    Douche for a coach, defense is not strong enough. Goalies are inconsistent and we need more depth at center.

    Repeat 2006-2014

  • Kevwan

    The Oilers beat Buffalo and the Rangers in the last 5 games. Not many will be very excited. 2/5 is .400

    Actually .400 may mean some fan injuries from falling off the wagon.

    The next 5 games may determine their final standings. Give Buffalo #30.The Oilers will battle for 26-29th.
    The math is brutal!
    So is wagon falling!

  • Greasy Goal

    It was nice to see actual effort and resilience in that loss. I know that doesn’t matter in the standings but it’s starting to look like things are headed in a better direction.

  • Rdubb

    I read somewhere on ON either yesterday or the day before that Eakins and the Oilers practice there pp @ the end of every single practice…well, as far as i am concerned, this is a huge pile of dog dung!!! Why do i say that? If you watch any of the Oiler games either live or on TV you know why, & if they are practicing after every practice, why in the world are they not doing what Gregor says in the article above, and that is stop playing on the perimeter and get the puck to the net and in close & see what happens when they do that as this perimeter pp just isn’t working…