GDB 43.0: Improve at Home

Jason Gregor
January 10 2017 01:30PM

Cam

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

The Oilers have nine home victories, the fewest of any Western Conference playoff team. The good news is their 12 road victories are the most in the Western Conference. But as they begin a six-game home stand tonight against the San Jose Sharks, the Oilers are focused on improving their record in the Ice District.

The Oilers have had home success against Western Conference opponents, going 6-2-2, and as they enter the second half of the season divisional games become even more important. The Oilers are 3-1-1 at home versus the Pacfic, with victories over Calgary, Los Angeles and Anaheim, an OT loss to Vancouver and a regulation loss to Arizona.

They host the Sharks for the first time this season tonight, and first place is on the line. That is not a misprint. A game in Edmonton, in January, for first place in the division. My, how times have changed, Oilersnation.

The Sharks and Anaheim Ducks have 50 points while the Oilers are one back with 49. These teams battled on December 23rd in San Jose with the Sharks winning 3-2 in OT. Much of the chatter from the Oilers dressing room this morning focused on them becoming a better home team. They need better starts, and they need to attack the Sharks more than they did 18 days ago.

The Oilers had a season high six PP chances in San Jose, but their PP only generated five shots in 12 minutes of PP time.

The Oilers are 14-2-3 when they score a PP goal, and they are 9-12-4 when they don't. The Sharks are 14-5-0 when they score a PP goal and 10-9-2 when their PP shoots blanks.

Scoring on the PP has lead to much more success for both teams, where as both have been able to overcome allowing a PP marker. Edmonton is 8-7-2 when they surrender a powerplay goal, while San Jose is also 8-7-2. 

Unlike past seasons, these teams are evenly matched.

The Oilers are 10th in GF/G at 2.81, the Sharks are 19th at 2.58.
San Jose is 4th in GA/G at 2.25 and Edmonton sits 13th at 2.62.
Edmonton's PP is 10th at 21.2% and San Jose is 21st at 16.4%.
The Sharks PK is 11th at 83% while the Oilers are 19th at 80.6%.
The Oilers are +5 in 5x5 GF/GA ratio, while the Sharks are +7.

The one obvious difference is shots against. Cam Talbot, 37, and Martin Jones, 35, have started the most games in the NHL, but Talbot has faced 209 more shots. The Sharks surrender the second fewest shots per game, 26.8, and the Oilers will need to protect the puck better tonight than they did in San Jose, maintain possession and generate more shots and chances against Jones.

LINEUP

Oilers

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Jordan Eberle was back with RNH and Lucic today, while Kassian slid down with Caggiula and Pouliot. Slepyshev was the extra forward.

Brandon Davidson still isn't ready so it'll be the same D pairs as last game, and Talbot starts.

Sharks

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The Sharks get a big boost with the return of Olympian Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He's missed a few games with fractures in his face.

QUICK HITS

  • Unlike most West teams the Sharks have dominated the Eastern conference, 15-6-0, but they are only 9-8-2 versus the West. They are 2-2 versus the Ducks, 1-1-1 versus the Coyotes, 2-1-1 versus the Kings, 1-1 versus the Flames and 1-0 versus Edmonton. The Sharks are a team the Oilers can beat if they play well.

  • Joe Thornton needs 12 assists to reach 1000 in his career and he'll become only the 13th player in NHL history to accomplish that amazing feat. Wayne Gretzky (1963), Ron Francis (1249), Mark Messier (1193), Ray Bourque (1169), Jaromir Jagr (1137), Paul Coffey (1135), Adam Oates (1079), Steve Yzerman (1063), Gordie Howe (1049), Marcel Dionne (1040), Mario Lemieux (1033) and Joe Sakic (1016) are the others.

    Thornton is a guaranteed Hall of Fame player, and if he plays another three seasons (he's looking for a three-year deal from the Sharks), he should reach 1100 assists.

  • Brent Burns has 15 goals and 39 points. The rest of the Sharks defence has 11 goals and 48 points. He is a such a dynamic player and the Oilers must be aware of him in all three zones.

  • Not surprisingly Jonas Gustavsson cleared waivers. He'll be the backup tonight, while Laurent Brossoit starts in the AHL. McLellan said a decision will be made after the game. I think we can assume that means Brossoit comes up and Gustavsson goes down.

  • Martin Jones got the nod in goal over Cam Talbot for the All-Star team. You could make a strong argument Talbot deserves it more, facing 209 more shots and having a better SV%, .920 to .917. It sucks for Talbot, but it likely is good for the Oilers with Talbot getting more rest over All-Star weekend. Mike Smith was the other goalie. Arizona needed someone to represent them and it was Smith.

  • I think the NHL should strongly consider going with the best eleven players from each division, and not worry about a representative from each team. The All-Star game result means little, the game is just for fun, but the best players should be in it, not one from each team. I've never liked the rule and with Vegas entering the league next year it will make having a Vegas player on the team even more ridiculous.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...

From Fear the Fin

It’s hard to figure out exactly what the best lines are for Edmonton because Todd McLellan likes to blend lines in Alberta just as much as he did in San Jose. Maroon has spend time with Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl — sometimes with two of the aforementioned three. And Edmonton can’t resist sending Milan Lucic out on the top line with McDavid, despite his skillset being better suited to a third-line role.

That gives San Jose an advantage, of course. McDavid took the Sharks’ lunch money in their last meeting by embarrassing Joe Thornton and company with his speed, but keeping a hit-first player like Lucic out there helps mitigate the damage. That might change with Timo Meier on the ice, but McDavid is going to be the best player in the NHL before his career is over, so expect the Sharks to take the L while he’s on the ice.

TONIGHT

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers win their 10th home game of the season and hand the Sharks their 10th regulation road loss. Oilers win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Thornton picks up an assist. In 55 regular season games versus the Oilers he has 11-50-61. He's had five three-point games, 16 two-point games and 14 one-point games. He loves playing the Oilers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Mark Letestu has zero goals in eight Tuesday games this year. However, he has 10 career points in 14 games versus the Sharks. He breaks his Tuesday drought with a goal tonight.

Recently by Jason Gregor:       

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  • GDB 40.0: Bounce back in Boston
  • GDB 39.0: Striving to break the streak
  • Chiarelli deserves credit: Oilers are more than McDavid 
  • GDB 37.0: King Nothing
  • Sekera, Puljujarvi, Caggiula and a Big Thank You
  • Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
    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
    Avatar
    #101 Not a First Tier Fan
    January 10 2017, 08:26PM
    Trash it!
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    Well, Remenda will be happy going home tonight - even if no one else is... *sigh*

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    #102 Anton CP
    January 10 2017, 08:30PM
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    Anyone knows if we can directly call to sportsnet to complain about Remenda? That baldy troll is annoy, someone from Sharks called him as "Trump without hair".

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    #103 Dolby
    January 10 2017, 08:31PM
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    we've all seen this game before, brutal effort, could be worse though, could be at the game

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    #104 oilersfan30
    January 10 2017, 08:40PM
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    Dolby wrote:

    we've all seen this game before, brutal effort, could be worse though, could be at the game

    Idk about you, but im seeing a different game. Good effort by the Oilers, but unfortunately Martin Jones showed up to play tonight

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    #105 @Hallsy4
    January 10 2017, 08:50PM
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    Cmon EBS need ya brother

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    #106 Mitch92
    January 10 2017, 08:58PM
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    Nice third line goal! That will keep a few viewers in their seats.

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    #107 Dolby
    January 10 2017, 08:58PM
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    @@Hallsy4

    yes we do, we have needed him for a while

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    #108 3 Little Birds
    January 10 2017, 09:04PM
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    Me likey!!!

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    #109 Mitch92
    January 10 2017, 09:04PM
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    KlefBOMB!

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    #110 3 Little Birds
    January 10 2017, 09:05PM
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    Come on boys, we all want to believe.

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    #111 Anton CP
    January 10 2017, 09:06PM
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    Funny about even after trail by 3 goals that I don't feel that all hopes are lost. It is a different team after all. Good effort to make a push for comeback.

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    #112 Derian Hatcher
    January 10 2017, 09:12PM
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    Oh my goodness Remenda give it a rest. Your man crush on the sharks is pathetic. Isn't that the organization that let you go? "It could have been a penalty shot" Go pound sand.

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    #113 Momay_Phudian
    January 10 2017, 09:17PM
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    Jones ... now there's a #1 goalie.

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    #114 OldOilerFan
    January 10 2017, 09:19PM
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    Anton CP wrote:

    Funny about even after trail by 3 goals that I don't feel that all hopes are lost. It is a different team after all. Good effort to make a push for comeback.

    That bulltweet 5th looks like a back breaker with only 10 left but you are right they came back!

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    #115 Reg Dunlop
    January 10 2017, 09:20PM
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    Oilers are going to lose this game but they have shown that they are finally in the same league as elite teams like the Sharks. This is one morale victory I can live with. They just got out-goalied.

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    #116 Dolby
    January 10 2017, 09:23PM
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    Reg Dunlop wrote:

    Oilers are going to lose this game but they have shown that they are finally in the same league as elite teams like the Sharks. This is one morale victory I can live with. They just got out-goalied.

    enough with the moral victories, time to start winning some games at home.

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    #117 Momay_Phudian
    January 10 2017, 09:26PM
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    Has dumbfk TM heard of shortening the bench and going all out in offence mode to try to tie the game?

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    #118 Spydyr
    January 10 2017, 09:28PM
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    I think Nuge needs to grow a Burns beard.

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    #119 GK1980
    January 10 2017, 09:28PM
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    Reg Dunlop wrote:

    Oilers are going to lose this game but they have shown that they are finally in the same league as elite teams like the Sharks. This is one morale victory I can live with. They just got out-goalied.

    Ottawa was a moral loss, Edmonton's EX back up lost that one for them. Edmonton playing well against SJ. Consistently the Oilers have been playing way better then the past decade.

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    #120 Momay_Phudian
    January 10 2017, 09:34PM
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    I think it's time to throw a jersey on the ice.

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    #121 Muddy
    January 10 2017, 09:36PM
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    Momay_Phudian wrote:

    I think it's time to throw a jersey on the ice.

    Don't be an idiot

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    #122 Momay_Phudian
    January 10 2017, 09:37PM
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    Muddy wrote:

    Don't be an idiot

    Mark my words, oilers are going to miss the playoffs because of games like this.

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    #123 Anton CP
    January 10 2017, 09:38PM
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    It is a tough loss to a good team.

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    #124 Spydyr
    January 10 2017, 09:40PM
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    The Sharks came to play tonight. Talbot outplayed by the other teams goalie....again.

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    #125 OldOilerFan
    January 10 2017, 09:46PM
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    Spydyr wrote:

    The Sharks came to play tonight. Talbot outplayed by the other teams goalie....again.

    Sad but true. Talbot should have had a couple of those.

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    #126 Muddy
    January 10 2017, 09:46PM
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    Momay_Phudian wrote:

    Mark my words, oilers are going to miss the playoffs because of games like this.

    Fair enough but if your mentality is to throw a jersey on the ice when we are in 3rd place in the west then maybe you should change your name to "Oilerskinda4everbutnotreally"

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    #127 gretsky days...
    January 10 2017, 10:00PM
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    Its a sad day sad when the only way to enjoy a game is to turn off audio to eliminate Remenda...

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    #128 Oilersrule99
    January 10 2017, 10:10PM
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    It seems overly quiet in Rogers place these days , the fans gotta get the team going sometimes.

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    #129 Slipknot 8
    January 10 2017, 11:09PM
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    Spydyr wrote:

    The Sharks came to play tonight. Talbot outplayed by the other teams goalie....again.

    Ya, I know the fancy stat people love to tell you never play goalies back to back but it seemed like Talbot was a little cold in there.

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    #130 Slipknot 8
    January 10 2017, 11:14PM
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    Oilersrule99 wrote:

    It seems overly quiet in Rogers place these days , the fans gotta get the team going sometimes.

    It's no different than Rexal, you have the fun bunch up in the upper deck and the lower uppity-ups in the lower bowl.

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    #131 Seriously Bored
    January 11 2017, 12:11AM
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    Momay_Phudian wrote:

    Has dumbfk TM heard of shortening the bench and going all out in offence mode to try to tie the game?

    McDavid played 24 minutes tonight. I dont know what you were watching but they had several minutes of all out attack in the 2nd and 3rd.

    Do you even watch the games or just come here and complain?

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    #132 nrXic
    January 11 2017, 10:13AM
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    Momay_Phudian wrote:

    I think it's time to throw a jersey on the ice.

    *Oilers fail to climb to #1 in their division*

    Oilers4Ever: "SOMEONE THROW A JERRRZZEEE"

    Comments are closed for this article.