GDB 67.0: Look, It’s A Meaningful Game!

It’s not a game with meaning in a good way, but it is a meaningful game all the same. The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens will face off tonight in a battle of the second-worst: a regulation win for the Oilers would move them out of 29th and into a tie for 28th, and with a game in hand on the Canadiens too.

Naturally, it is the duty of all Oilers fans to oppose such a victory. The Canadiens are really the Oilers most significant threat for draft position – everyone else is either too far back (Minnesota, Toronto) to catch the Oilers or have played too well of late (Carolina, Long Island) to be a realistic threat to climb the lottery rankings.

Out-and-out tanking might be a little much, but there’s no reason Tom Renney can’t reunite the Barker/Potter pairing tonight, is there?

DUBNYK SITS

Devan Dubnyk’s last game against the San Jose Sharks didn’t start so well but he came through late and ended up stopping 28 of 30 shots, along with another three in the shootout, en route to a first star selection. Given the fact that he’s playing for a long-term spot on the team and he hasn’t put to rest consistency and soft goal concerns, that might suggest to most people that he should be the starter against Montreal.

Tom Renney isn’t one of those who feels that way. Instead, Nikolai Khabibulin will try for his second win since Christmas tonight. Montreal is countering with Peter Budaj, who will start just his 10th game of the season and whose last win came nearly two months ago.

In other lineup notes, Ben Eager will be scratched with the flu, meaning that Darcy Hordichuk makes his triumphant return to the lineup.

PREDICTIONS

Game Day Prediction: What could be an ugly affair turns out to be a surprisingly entertaining contest; both goalies play well and the teams swap scoring chances.  In the end, the Oilers come away with a 3-2 victory in overtime.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Darcy Hordichuk won’t play in the third period but will still close in on the six-minute mark in total ice-time, his highest total in six games.

Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Eric Belanger will pick up his fourth goal of the season and fourth goal against the Canadiens post-lockout, prompting Pierre Gauthier to walk over to Tambellini’s press box and ask what it would take to get Belanger at the NHL Draft.  Tambellini will craft his most brilliant trade yet as Oilers GM, but sadly it will never come to fruition as Gauthier’s gone by draft day.

  • Shaun Doe

    It really looks like Potter Is over thinking his passes. He just seems to hold onto them that extra second too long and either coughs up the puck or dishes it awkwardly. But currently he is the least of defensive worries tonight. Just something I noticed

    • Wanyes bastard child

      I’ve noticed that too, ever since he’s been paired with Whitney its been like “Here you make the pass, I don’t know what to do with it…”

      • Shaun Doe

        Yeah I was thinking why not put Schultz with Whitney? I suppose the idea is to get as much offence on the ice as possible or maybe Renny thinks that Whitney can cover for potter? Just seems like too many risks can be taken by that pair and Whitney has looked shaken at times so why not put him with someone stable like Schultz

  • O.C.

    Wow… Game wasn’t that ugly.

    Peckham isn’t a good option against a high flying team, the fourth goal was a fluke, and I counted a mitfull of missed ops. REAL missed ops.

    Besides, Oil only beat playoff teams.

    • Shaun Doe

      Overall I would say he played fairly well. Not great but not bad either. He had some moments where he seemed a little listless in his skating and checking attempts but where he really excelled (as per usual) was in his puck protection. He is so good at holding onto the puck when working down low, it really is his greatest asset to the team at the moment. In my opinion, Hemsky had one of his off nights so it threw the chemistry of the line off. Could be a product of Renny double shifting him perhaps.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I am done being a fan until things change. Renney does nothing to try and win, and tambellini is not filling roster holes. KLowe just keeps smiling and nodding, while katz is signing contracts to sell hockey cards at the cash registers in the local pharmacy. No motivation for me to be a fan. How long willl it be before hall, eberle and nuge want out. The vets have already checked out so what is the point of winning? Not a great environment for our future vets.

  • Shaun Doe

    I’m thinking unless the Oilers really turn it around and start winning – not likely – then it’s the end of the line for Renney.
    Tambo publicly gave him an excuse for earlier in the year with all our injuries, but he also said once the team was healthy he wanted to see improvement. We haven’t seen that, so I gotta think Renney will be canned come April. Whiteny said post-game that they weren’t prepared once again to start the game, at home, vs the 28th place team. Something’s gotta give.

    • BigE91

      Sorry, not buying this “we weren’t ready to start the game” bull. Despite not being ready to start they were tied 2-2 through 40 minutes of play so not being ready to start isn’t an excuse.

      Again, blaming Renney isn’t the answer, these players need to look in the mirror and show up ready to play 60 minutes. How can you blame a coach who over 2 seasons has had a healthy line-up for thirty games tops?

      Last nights loss falls directly on the shoulders of Theodore Peckham and the penalty kill. Awful. How, at this point in the season when powerplays are hard to come by does one guy get three minor penalties in a game? Too slow, no skill, sit the next one out Theo.

      Everyone keeps asking for improvement and saying they haven’t seen any but barring a total collapse over the next 15 games the Oilers should surpass last seasons point total, Eberle, Hall, and Hopkins appear to developing ahead of the pace and Gagner is finally rounding into the player everyone hoped he’d be. Improvement can be measured a lot of different ways and this team still has a ton of improving to do but IMO they have come a long way this year while once again facing their fair share of adversity.

  • vetinari

    Wow, losing never gets boring or goes out of style, does it?

    Let’s break it down for a second:

    I watched the Oilers outright lose 47 games in regulation time in 2009-10; they lost another 45 games in 2010-11; and they are now on track to lose another 42-45 games this season.

    Those stats don’t count the overtime losses or shootout losses, because if I added them into the total losses for those seasons, the Oilers 2009-10 record would be 55 total losses; their 2010-11 record would be 57 total losses; and they would be on track this year to break the 50 loss barrier.

    We are the losingest (?) team for the ’09-’10 and ’10-’11 seasons; on track to be the second losingest team for this season; and when you factor in the cumulative totals of about the last five seasons, the losingest team in the whole NHL.

    We are the proud owners of an approximately .659 losing percentage as and from 2009; this means that I am twice as likely to watch the Oilers lose a game in some fashion than win a game.

    Most strikingly, aside from MacT being punted for the Quinn/Renney tandem and then Quinn being “reassigned”, our ownership, management and coaching teams have been consistent through this entire period. Also, aside from JDD leaving us, our goaltending tandem has been fairly constant as well, although our forwards and defencemen have had some significant turnover since Tambi has come in.

    So, what’s the problem? Injuries are no longer an excuse as most players are back. Unfamiliarity between players and the coaching staff can’t be the excuse after 6 or 7 months together (i.e. training camp). Inexperienced coaching can’t be the excuse with hundreds of games logged by Renney & co. at the helm.

    So… what… is… it?