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The Oilers got a much needed victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday, but it was far from a dominant performance over a tired team. A win is a win, however, and they gladly took the two points.
They will need to avoid settling for outside shots tonight when they face the St.Louis Blues. The Blues are a good team, but the Oilers are very competitive with them, or better, in many categories.
The biggest surprise is how the Oilers have allowed fewer goals/game than the Blues.
Last year the Blues allowed 2.40 goals/game, fourth best in the NHL, while the Oilers were 27th at 2.95. This season the Oilers sit 13th at 2.67 goals/game, while the Blues are 21st at 2.88. Edmonton has lowered their GA/G by 0.28, while St.Louis is allowing almost half a goal more per game, 0.48.
According to Naturalstattick.com the Oilers are still allowing more high-danger scoring chances than the Blues, 670-608, so Cam Talbot is a big reason why the Oilers GAA is better than the Blues.
He has faced 874 shots in 29 starts, allowed 73 goals and has a .916sv%.
Jake Allen has faced 681 shots in 26 starts, allowed 65 goals and a has a .905sv%.
Allen and Carter Hutton have not given the Blues adequate goaltending. Allen has allowed 12 goals in his last three starts. Chicago scored five on Saturday, while Nashville pumped five past him last Tuesday.
Hutton will get his first start since December 3rd tonight. In six starts and nine appearances Hutton has a 2.92 GAA and an ugly .889sv%. He has allowed 14 goals on his last 96 shots (.854sv%).
The Oilers must test him early and often, and not from the perimeter. They need to get to the tough areas, the dangerous scoring areas and crash the net.
Pouliot draws back in. Pitlick gets promoted to play with Draisaitl. With every passing day it seems more obvious Jesse Puljujarvi will be heading to Bakersfield after Christmas. I wonder how much of him being a healthy scratch now is due to total games played. If he is on the roster for fewer than 40 games, like Nylander did last season in Toronto, then his free agency eligibility carries over one year. I assume they are keeping him here so he can enjoy Christmas with the family he has been living with, and then send him down.
Eric Gryba draws back in as well. He’ll play his first game since November 17th. Matt Benning gets a rest, but I expect he’ll be back in soon. He has played well.
- We will see the top-two scorers in the NHL tonight. Connor McDavid leads the league with 39 points and Vladimir Tarasenko has 37. Tarasenko has 14 points in his last nine games, while McDavid only has points in four of his past nine games. He has eight points in the four games he’s scored, but for McDavid going pointless in five of nine is a bit of a slump. He’s due for a breakout game soon.
- I’m curious what the analytics guys have to say about CF% this year. In past years, most of the top teams were near the top in this category. Some staunch CF% believers said it was the best indicator of good teams. When Colorado and Calgary made the playoffs they were considered lucky or outliers due to their low CF%, and it was proved correct the next season.
However, this season CF% is not reflective of the standings. Should we expect teams like LA (2nd), Nashville (3rd), Florida (4th) and Carolina (8th) to make strong pushes, and teams like NYR (27th), Ottawa (24th) and Anaheim (20th) to fall?
Currently, five of the top 12 CF% teams are out of the playoffs. Is it an anomaly or has another team stat surpassed CF% as a more accurate portrayal of how a team is playing?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
The Edmonton Oilers have been so bad for so long that seeing them in a playoff spot takes a little getting used to. Right now they’re 16-2-5 and are 4-3-3 in their last ten. A big chunk of credit for their record goes to Connor McDavid. It’s amazing what a guy can do when he’s not injured, isn’t it? He’s netted 12 goals and 27 assists this season; Leon Draisaitl is also contributing in a big way, with 14 goals and 14 assists.
The Blues probably want to forget whatever that was Saturday night against the aBlackhawks. Defense optional games aren’t fun when you’re the team that the defense was most optional for your team. Hopefully tonight will be a different story.
The Blues lost 3-1 in Edmonton earlier this season; will their (mostly) stellar home record help St. Louis even it up against the Oilers? Here’s hoping.
MONTH OF GIVING
Thank you to Shane for his excellent bid on Friday of $6,000 for the catered dinner by Chop Steakhouse. Awesome.
Package #1: Meet and Greet with Taylor Hall
- You will have a meet and greet with Taylor Hall after the Devils morning skate on Thursday, January 12th at Rogers Place. You will be Hall’s guest, watch their skate then meet him after.
- You will have a pair of club seats to the Oilers/Devils game that night.
- A signed Hall Devils jersey.
- A signed Hall Oilers jersey.
Package #2: Yearly TLC for your vehicle
- One year detailing package for your vehicle. Once every season (spring, summer, fall, winter) you bring your vehicle in for a complete interior/exterior makeover courtesy of Auto Details.
-Hand wash -Vacuum (trunk included)
-Door jams -Complete hot wipe interior clean
-Undercarriage -All windows polished
-All windows polished
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out Santa’s Anonymous and M.E Lazerte Breakfast program.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers had a very strong game against St.Louis earlier this year. They play well again, but lose 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Tarasenko scores. He has six goals and 11 points in his last nine games versus the Oilers. He has four goals and seven points in his last four home games versus Edmonton.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kassian picks up his first career point versus the Blues in his 12th career game.
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