GDB 40.0: Bounce back in Boston

Jason Gregor
January 05 2017 02:19PM

PowerByLiquorDepot

Game Day

(photoshop: @isuckatpicking)

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One of the biggest improvements the Oilers have made this season is their ability to be competitive after a poor outing. There hasn't been many games this season where the Oilers were completely outclassed, but Tuesday in Columbus the Oilers were overwhelmed.

They will look to rebound tonight in Boston, against a good, but not great, Bruins team.

"It was a playoff-type environment and we had some people out there who were invisible," said Todd McLellan after Tuesday's loss in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are a better team right now. They have won 16 in a row and are in first place in the NHL. A loss was expected, but they got outworked and I'm certain that is what annoyed McLellan the most.

That can't happen again tonight.

The Bruins and Oilers are evenly matched.

The Oilers produce more offence, 2.80 goals/game to Boston's 2.32, while the Bruins allow fewer goals, 2.40 to the Oilers 2.59.

Edmonton has a better PP, 21.1%, to Boston's 14%, while the Bruins' PK 87.6%, is higher than the Oilers 81.5%.

The Oilers have 45 points in 39 games and the Bruins have 44 in 40 games. Both are currently in a playoff spot.

LINEUP

Oilers

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Todd McLellan switched his lines looking to jump start the offence. The Oilers have only scored 22 goals in their past ten games, while allowing 22, but they've managed a 5-2-3 record.

Connor McDavid only has five points in ten games, which is good production for the majority of the league, but you know he wants to produce more. He has to find his groove again. The Oilers' PP has seven goals in the past ten games, and he's only had points on two of them. That is a great sign for the team, but if the PP keeps producing it is highly doubtful he won't be involved in more goals.

The Oilers EV scoring has slowed down a lot, and McLellan is hoping the new combinations can ignite some more production.

The Oilers averaged 2.24 EV goals per game in their first 29 games, but have dipped down to 1.5 EVG/game during the past ten games.

Their forwards have only scored 12 EV goals in the past ten games, and Tyler Pitlick scored two of them. He's out for the season with a torn ACL.

Pitlick is tied with Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for most EV goals during this 10-game stretch.

McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks and Drake Caggiula have singles.

Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot and Zack Kassian have none. Jesse Puljujarvi hasn't played enough to be asking for more.

McDavid, Draisaitl, Eberle, Lucic and Pouliot need to produce more at EV, but especially the latter three.

Eberle can't finish right now, although he's still producing some points. Him and Pouliot on the same line will either be an offensive blackhole, or they will jumpstart each other. Maybe McLellan is thinking mathematics. Multiplying two negatives and it becomes a positive. Ohhhh....

Bruins

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Oilers fans are upset about Eberle, who has 26 points, but Bruins fans are even more perplexed by Patrice Bergeron's lack of production. He only has seven goals and 12 points. He had 68 points last year. Bergeron simply can't finish. He leads the Bruins in shots with 130, but he can't score, and he hasn't been able to set up many plays. His lack of offence has him a minus player, -1, for the first time in his career since 2006/2007. He is still very good defensively, but when you aren't producing at EV strength (he has eight EV points), it is hard to be a plus player.

QUICK HITS

  • The strange part about Bergeron's struggles is he's played the majority of his time with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Marchand leads the Bruins with 31 points, while Pastrnak leads them in goals with 19. Bergeron has played 476 EV minutes, and only 33 of them have been without Marchand.

  • Bergeron is another example of how playing with the team's leading scorer doesn't guarantee offensive success. His offensive struggles are similar to Eberle's, but he's produced much less. It is very odd for Bergeron considering his linemates and the amount of shots he's generated.

  • I like a little animosity among players. Evander Kane recently called out Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller on twitter.

        My only issue is the Sabres don't play the Bruins again this season. Will we see some fireworks 
        between them next year?

  • Anton Lander returns to the lineup after a stint in the AHL. Lander lit up the AHL scoring 10-11-21 in 13 games in Bakersfield. His footspeed seems to be the only thing holding him back from being an everyday NHLer. His AHL success illustrates how much of a jump it is between the AHL and the NHL.

  • On the season Jesse Puljujarvi is averaging over 11:30/game. Tyler Seguin averaged 12:12/game as a rookie when he scored 22 points. It did not stunt his development. However, he also didn't have a five-week stretch like Puljujarvi is in right now. Puljujarvi has only played a total of 72:30 since November 29th. He's dressed in eight games and is averaging 9:04 a game. 

    If he was playing every game and was close to 12 minutes a game, I wouldn't have much of an issue about him being in Edmonton, even if he wasn't producing. But the limited amount of icetime he's had since November 29th makes it very hard to develop and maintain confidence. A few weeks ago both Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan said he is here for now and we'll see. I got the sense from both men that Puljujarvi would get a stint in the AHL after Christmas. Tyler Pitlick then got injured, and it seems that has kept #98 here. 

    It is too dramatic to say with certainty this will severely stunt Puljujarvi's long-term production. I doubt it will, but I don't see it helping him much, nor do I see it helping the Oilers. He needs to play more regularly, or he needs a stint in the AHL. Playing 72 minutes over five weeks is not good for the player or the team.

  • Take a moment and help out a good young Edmonton race car driver Stefan Rzadzinski. He has a chance of a lifetime to compete in the Race of Champions vs. Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Kanaan, Sebastien Vettel and many others. All you have to do is vote for him. I've watched Rzadzinski chase his dream for the past six seasons, racing in many different events. This would be a huge opportunity for him. Do him a solid and vote here. Good luck Stefan.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...

From Stanley Cup of Chowder

Chiarelli, Lucic, Ference (injured), and Benning (2012 6th rd pick, 175 overall, not signed) were all tied to Boston in recent membery. Chiarelli snagged one of his draftees off free agency. They'll probably all be in the building, but since Ference isn't playing and you're in the Garden, recycle your cups. Captain America won't tolerate that.

TONIGHT..

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Boston is 9-9-0 at home and 5-6-0 versus the West. The Oilers rebound with a solid performance and win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid picks up a point. He has 21 career points on Thursdays, the most of any day of the week. **Obscure stat of the day.**

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sticking with obscure trend, Patrick Maroon has no goals and only one assist in his last 16 games versus Atlantic Division teams. He ends his goal drought and scores his 12th goal of the season matching his career high. 

Recently by Jason Gregor:      

  • 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
  • Fishin' For First Place
  • GDB 35.0: The Oilers Kryptonite
  • 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 Arminius
    January 05 2017, 07:29PM
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    oilersfan30 wrote:

    Maroon and nuge says eat sh!t

    Is this your first win of the year? Cute no wonder you're so excited! Do you have as many as Calgary now?

    Avatar
    #102 Dwayne Roloson 35
    January 05 2017, 07:29PM
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    Hattrick Maroon!

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    #103 TruthHurts98
    January 05 2017, 07:30PM
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    Maroon with Connor. 100x better than with Looch. Been saying this ALL season long.

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    #104 oilersfan30
    January 05 2017, 07:31PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    Is this your first win of the year? Cute no wonder you're so excited! Do you have as many as Calgary now?

    Good one, and who has more points in the standings?

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    #105 TruthHurts98
    January 05 2017, 07:32PM
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    We have to protect Maroon in the expansion draft. He's my favorite Oiler after Connor!

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    #106 tileguy
    January 05 2017, 07:32PM
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    tileguy wrote:

    3 goals for that beast of a first line, bank on it!

    And that Maroon is the biggest beast. 😉

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    #107 Arminius
    January 05 2017, 07:37PM
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    oilersfan30 wrote:

    Good one, and who has more points in the standings?

    The team with the most loser points?

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    #108 toprightcorner
    January 05 2017, 07:39PM
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    Keep voting for Stefan Rzadzinski, he has a very slim lead over some American chump. Make sure we have a Canadian representing!

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    #109 Momay&Phudian
    January 05 2017, 07:40PM
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    TruthHurts98 wrote:

    Maroon with Connor. 100x better than with Looch. Been saying this ALL season long.

    We knew what we had in Maroon last year. So why the fcuk did Chiarelli sign Lucic?

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    #110 oilersfan30
    January 05 2017, 07:42PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    The team with the most loser points?

    I'm sure you wouldnt be saying the same thing if the Shames and the Oilers switched records

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    #111 Cain
    January 05 2017, 07:43PM
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    Momay&Phudian wrote:

    We knew what we had in Maroon last year. So why the fcuk did Chiarelli sign Lucic?

    Sometimes it's better to have 2 good players rather than just one.

    Perhaps Chiarelli felt that would be the case in this instance.

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    #112 Anton CP
    January 05 2017, 07:43PM
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    Please stop feeding the troll already...

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    #113 PhiDelt
    January 05 2017, 07:43PM
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    Guy gets knocked over from a hit and we get a tripping call. Reffing is horrible this year.

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    #114 West
    January 05 2017, 07:44PM
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    Gryba gets 2 minutes for checking. Women's hockey rules?

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    #115 Anton CP
    January 05 2017, 07:44PM
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    Pouliot is doing everything he can to make sure the Bruins to win.

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    #116 Momay&Phudian
    January 05 2017, 07:46PM
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    Is it me or does Krejchi look like a woman?

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    #117 Momay&Phudian
    January 05 2017, 07:46PM
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    Dumba$$ better bench Poo.

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    #118 Super Sweet
    January 05 2017, 07:50PM
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    Momay&Phudian wrote:

    We knew what we had in Maroon last year. So why the fcuk did Chiarelli sign Lucic?

    Because it's sometimes good to have many goal scoring giant power forwards. That's like saying why do The Penguins need Kessel when they already have Malkin and Crosby

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    #119 Momay&Phudian
    January 05 2017, 07:50PM
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    Cain wrote:

    Sometimes it's better to have 2 good players rather than just one.

    Perhaps Chiarelli felt that would be the case in this instance.

    He traded Hall to make salary space for Lucic. So yeah a very bad decision given that you already had a big tough player that can actually play hockey.

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    #120 the dope $teez
    January 05 2017, 07:50PM
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    Cain wrote:

    Sometimes it's better to have 2 good players rather than just one.

    Perhaps Chiarelli felt that would be the case in this instance.

    I like your reasoning except for one important thing: lucic is not a good player... pretty plain to see by now.

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    #121 Petrolero
    January 05 2017, 07:51PM
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    Well polio did what I thought he would. Frak polio Frak him

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    #122 the dope $teez
    January 05 2017, 07:53PM
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    Anton CP wrote:

    Pouliot is doing everything he can to make sure the Bruins to win.

    F$&@ing hate pouliot. He better be gone by the trade deadline or stapled to the press box. Just a stupid player.

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    #123 Cain
    January 05 2017, 07:55PM
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    the dope $teez wrote:

    I like your reasoning except for one important thing: lucic is not a good player... pretty plain to see by now.

    As I stated before, Lucic is third in team scoring. That is plain to see.

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    #124 Momay&Phudian
    January 05 2017, 07:55PM
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    Maroon just put cement hands Lucic to shame tonight. They should expose Lucic in the expansion draft.

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    #125 Anton CP
    January 05 2017, 07:56PM
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    Turn to WJ.

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    #126 Cain
    January 05 2017, 07:56PM
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    Momay&Phudian wrote:

    He traded Hall to make salary space for Lucic. So yeah a very bad decision given that you already had a big tough player that can actually play hockey.

    Chiarelli traded Hall because we needed a defenseman.

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    #127 Oilerchild77
    January 05 2017, 07:57PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    Is this your first win of the year? Cute no wonder you're so excited! Do you have as many as Calgary now?

    You're dumb.

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    #128 Cain
    January 05 2017, 07:58PM
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    Momay&Phudian wrote:

    Maroon just put cement hands Lucic to shame tonight. They should expose Lucic in the expansion draft.

    Lucic did not have a great game tonight.

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    #129 Super Sweet
    January 05 2017, 07:59PM
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    Cain wrote:

    Chiarelli traded Hall because we needed a defenseman.

    Unfortunately you can't sign free agents only to trade them after like in the NHL Video Games. Larsson replaced Hall not Lucic.

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    #130 Seriously Bored
    January 05 2017, 08:06PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    Is this your first win of the year? Cute no wonder you're so excited! Do you have as many as Calgary now?

    Its so cute that you come here to flirt with us oiler fans all the time. We love you too.

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    #131 Shameless Plugger
    January 05 2017, 08:12PM
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    What's with all the hate for Lucic? Ok so he doesn't fit with Mcdavid big deal. He's still producing. Why do we have to hate on our own players so much? I never understood that. We friggin won the hockey game. Be happy.

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    #132 HockeyRulz
    January 05 2017, 08:45PM
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    @Arminius

    There you go buddy, keep going, let it all out. You know I personally enjoy all your weak comments. They are so cute! like the "Loser" point comments, very cute. You totally remind me of my son when he is trying to be all cool and says things that makes no sense yet he thinks he is being all that. But again he only just turned 8.

    Remember I'm on your side, hell WE are on your side! Mentally right now you must be a mess. WE are here to help you through your time of need. Now Chin up push through it, k Kid. Stay Proud! Don't get embarrassed from your comments, no pressure... we don't expect anything better, for real!

    so..... Maybe after the game tonight you are thinking of a Big Rig Jersey Now?

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    #133 Harry2
    January 05 2017, 09:32PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    Is this your first win of the year? Cute no wonder you're so excited! Do you have as many as Calgary now?

    2-0 vs CGY and ahead in the standings. You have nothing left to say Janitor.

    Mop rince repeat

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    #134 Boom or Bust
    January 05 2017, 11:07PM
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    Arminius wrote:

    The team with the most loser points?

    Sick it loser soccer troll. We won again!!

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    #135 passenger
    January 06 2017, 01:59PM
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    Jesus boys, you know dude is having the time of his life getting under your skin like this. Just scroll on by.

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