GDB 33.0: STAYING IN THE RACE

According to sportsclubstats.com the Oilers have an 8% chance of making the playoffs. Before the St. Louis game it was 4%, so the good news for Oilers fans is that your chances of watching a playoff game at Rexall Place has improved in the last 48 hours. However, the site gives the Blue Jackets a 10% chance, even though the Jackets suck on the road (3-9-2) and play 10 of their remaining 15 games on the road. So use the % at your own discretion.

Either way, both teams are longshots to make the playoffs, but if the Oilers want to keep their faint hopes alive they must beat the Blue Jackets; one of the four teams between them and 8th place.

If there was ever a night you’d expect the Oilers to win it would be tonight. The Oilers are 17-4-1 at home vs. Columbus. and they’ve won the last four by a combined 19-8. The Blue Jackets didn’t have Sergei Bobrovsky in the pipes the past two seasons, and right now he’s the hottest goalie in the league.

Bobrovsky os 8-1-3 in his last 12 games. During this stretch he has 4 shutouts and he’s only allowed 14 goals on 350 shots for a stellar .960 SV%. He blanked the Canucks on Tuesday, but lost in the SO.

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The Jackets don’t have a lot of skill, but they work incredibly hard and they allow lots of shots from the outside. The Oilers aren’t great at going to the net for rebounds, so they have to avoid getting sucked into Columbus’ game plan of allowing shots from the outside. The Oilers need to attack the defenders and take pucks to the net.

LINEUP

Hall/Nugent-Hopkins/Eberle
Jones/Horcoff/Yakupov
Paajarvi/Gagner/Hemsky
Brown/Smyth/Petrell

Smid/Petry
N.Schultz/J.Schultz
Whitney/Potter

Khabibulin

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No changes after the 3-0 shutout in St. Louis, which isn’t a surprise. Ralph Krueger said the Oilers will evaluate after tonight’s game if they will recall anyone, likely Anton Lander, from OKC. Smyth is more effective as a winger in my view.  

QUICK HITS

  • With Jarome Iginla landing in Pittsburgh, not Boston like it was reported last night, you wonder if the Oilers/Bruins trade talks will continue. Two sources told me that nothing was imminent, but that some minor "tire-kicking" had gone on between the Oilers and Bruins. Ryan Whitney’s name was involved, and then Boston reporter Joe Haggerty tweeted that he heard a forward was also involved. He mentioned Ales Hemsky in one tweet and then Magnus Paajarvi in another. A source from Edmonton suggested there has been no talk regarding a forward.
     
  • If Hemsky or Paajarvi is involved the Oilers would have to get a roster player in return. I don’t see any scenario that has either of those two moving without the Oilers getting someone with NHL experience in return. The Oilers are aware they need to change the dynamics in their top-six, but they won’t rush into any deal.
     
  • Here is what the Flames received from Pittsburgh for Jarome Iginla. The Penguins 1st rounder in 2013 & two college kids, Ben Hanowski (3rd round, 2009) and Ken Agostino (5th round, 2010). Agostino has 96 points in 97 games over three years at Yale University. Hanowski has played 4 years at St. Cloud State, and in his final two years he tallied 39 goals and 72 points in 73 games.
     
  • The one thing that surprises me the most in this deal is that there were no conditional picks involved. If Iginla re-signs in Pittsburgh, maybe another pick or if the Pens win the Cup, similar to what the Oilers got in the Pronger deal.
     
  • I see many suggesting Iginla will re-sign in Calgary. I don’t see that happening. He’ll get a taste of playoff hockey and success, and I seriously doubt he’d want to return to Calgary as part of their rebuild.
     
  • Solid work by Ray Shero for being able to acquire Iginla and Brendan Morrow without giving up Scott Harrington or Olli Maatta. The Penguins didn’t give up any of their top-five prospects in those two deals.
     
  • As you get set for a long weekend, ask yourself if you know someone like this… Hilarious. When the girl asks the guy to go outside, his reaction is the best. 

  • "This is an unbelievable four-point game. If we want to remain in the playoff hunt, we need a win," Ralph Krueger said this morning. Even when a scenario like tonight is obvious to everyone coaches rarely say it publicly. Krueger also stated the Blue Jackets have been the hardest working team in the west conference the last month and the Oilers need to match that work ethic if they hope to win. We’ll see if the player’s understanding of the situation is as clear as their coach.
     
  • The Penguins have $53.6 million committed to16 players for next season. Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Doug Murray will all be UFAs at the end of the season, along with Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Pacal Dupuis. If they re-sign Iginla for $5 million they would only have $5 million to sign 6 players. Which isn’t great, but not impossible. Then they’d have to hope the Cap goes up for 2013/2014 when Malkin will get a slight raise on his $8.7 cap hit and Kris Letang will need a bump on his $3.5 cap number.
     
  • This morning in the dressing room Jim Matheson and I were discussing the cap situation of the Penguins, when two Oilers players mentioned that Iginla should sign here if Pittsburgh can’t afford him. "Get it started," they said with a slight laugh, but both were serious. I doubt it would happen, but wow that would sure ignite some fire into the Battle of Alberta.
     
  • Do you want some of the stylish Nation gear? The Nation on-line store has opened and you can get one of the limited editions hoodies here. Wanye isn’t very organized so he only orders a few at a time. If you want one before they sell out click here. As always portion of proceeds go to charity.

LEAP FROG…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers continue their home dominance over the Blue Jackets with a 3-1 victory and leap frog the Blue Jackets into 11th place.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ales Hemsky ends his 12-game goal scoring drought in the first period. Hemsky has 13 goals vs. the Blue Jackets (most against an opposing team) and he pots his 14th on a nice pass cross-ice feed from Sam Gagner.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Late in the 2nd period Ryan Whitney leaves the bench and heads to the dressing room. No replay can show him suffering any sort of injury, so during the intermission twitter erupts in speculation that he has been traded. Even the panel on Sportsnet suggests this is very likely. Two minutes into the 3rd period Whitney is back on the ice, and the speculation appears to be false. After the game Whitney explains that the strap on his jock broke. "I’m single it’s too risky to play with no can. I have to protect my boys," he says. As I’m walking away he adds, "Make sure everyone knows I didn’t veto any trades," he says with a laugh. 

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RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR


  • justDOit

    As for predictions, I’m going to predict a Papal amount (think Alexander VI…) of red wine being ingested while I hope to hope itself that the Oil put up a good effort for the hometown crowd tonight.

  • bigguy13

    You want to know something funny, my gut tells me that Hemsky and Whitney will both be injured tonight thus, sealing our fate as to not be able to move these players at deadline.

  • The Best part about DSF is he’s a perma troll, and everyone still get’s sucked in! However, he’s missing an important caveat: In years past, the teams in front would be very hard to beat because of interconference play. However, this year it’s all intra conference, so every game is essentially 4 points. Considering there’s still 16 game to be played, that’s one helluva crapshoot to end the season IMO. 8% is still 8%, let’s get that higher after tonight!!

  • bigguy13

    The price for Whitney has gone up. Gregor put up the FA list.Where is Boston going get another dman who can help them on the PP? I put Hemsky onthe Rangers radar.They need offensive help in a big way.Kreider and a fisrt.

  • DSF

    Prediction: 5-1 CBJ

    EDM deserved to lose in STL, and if it weren’t for Allen and Khabi, they would’ve.

    Last game comes back to haunt EDM and they get whooped.

  • DSF

    Ralph we’ve no time for this dyslexic behaviour with the lines, snap out of it man.

    Hall-Nuge-Ebbs
    Mps-Gagner-Yakupov
    Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky

    The next lines are up for grabs but the top nine need to fall this way. In this order. We need a zone entry specialist on each line, to catalyse offense off of. We arent system sound enough to not rely n these three men this year so lets just git er done already.

    We need to stay balanced dynamiclly and not overthink things, the keep it simple story only works if things are dynamiclly sound to start with you know.

    We need to be looking for opportunitys to double shift some of our weapons if we can see the moments developing, this is a tactic we ignore but one that is critical. Like you know reading and reacting to mis-matches we can see happening or can create on our own.

    Chara would smash Nuge, but I would have no problems letting Omark school him all night long and Omark would do just that because of the tremendous mismatch. Against Nuge the mis-match is in their favor but against Omark it ha ha ha is in our favor. Seriously.

    I remember posting the last time we played these guys. Hopefully we are ready for them tonight.

    Hint-The last regulation time goal we scored on them should be the same way we try to score the first one tonight, we dont necessarily have to fight their system we can use it against them if we choose to.

    I predict a 5-2 win for the Oilers.

    See ya in the 2nd period, lets see what the boys have cookin tonight in the 1st before we add to the soup.

  • justDOit

    Yeah, really Ralph. Management has added two rookies and two role players to the lineup that finished 29th last year – what’s the problem, man?

    Really.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Heh heh heh, jesus, looks like I will be jumping in sooner than I thought.

    RALPH–they are doing exactly what the Kings do to us when we play them, come on, look at the neutral zone reverse where they are sucking us in and then using an upspeed man to traverse the n-zone, they are pinning the puck on the boards in the n-zone and reversing the flow of the play back to an upspeed man coming through, they are trying to stutterstep our d-men.

  • Poolanov

    Jesus.

    Listen, they are useing the boards as an extra man , we need to start standing them up on the boards and taking that play away, they are posting a man up a foot in front of our blueline and making a crossice pass to that key man who decides how to enter the zone, they draw us to one side with speed and then they go crossice and try to either catch an upspeed support man or if our d-men fall backl far enough the man posted there will ust rush in at the net or step in and jin lateral support coming in with nu,mbers.

    All we need to do is stop that key play, they are executong like the KINGS do, exactly the same.

    That posted man can do three things he can rush in to the net, or come in controlled with support laterally or he can if hes smart wait to draw our pressure over and then pass it BACK AGAINST THE GRAIN in the n-zone to an upspeed man blasting through, this is LAs bread and butter. And their as well.

  • Poolanov

    Hell ya
    Hey DSF, it appears to me the oilers are getting shafted on not playing an opponent on their second game on consecutive nights. The only time we’ve had that advantage we played the previous night as well.

  • Poolanov

    D-men be ready on the initial puck rush side to step up and stand the rusher up and on the other side lets be ready for that man posted a foot behind our blueline so on that side we need to be a bit higher and prepared and remember that they will be looking to draw that side out of position either forcing them to collapse or drawing them high so they can do a short dump by, we need a support man behind the d-man on the side they post up on.

    If we use two men stacked to attack the man posted when they are attacking we can pick the posted man with our first guy by sending him flying in–they expect the d-man to be stutterstepped by this post up play– being aggresive and then we use the second man as an upspeed rebound or loose puck support man, this is a good way to gwet breakaways on them when they try that post up play because once we bust past their postup play it is open sailing down the middle.

    Be careful because their pressure outlet play after their primary post up play is pressured is to dump it in short on the halfboards and have an upspeed man blow past after they have engaged our d-man. so if we arent paying attention they might be in the middle of useing the upspeed play themselves and if they are even if we make good contact with the posted man we NEED to have a man back behind him to deal with a possible upspeed man already coming at us with speed, we need to hae a presence deep on the side they try to post up on, so on the post up side we send out two players stacked the first one at high speed to pressure the posted up man and the second right behind him looking for the pressure relief dumpin or the loose puck,and as we do this we will have another man deep behind this playaction just in case they are in the midst of an upspeed man play when we attack them.

    Remember that if we pick up that pressure relief dumpin we will have a man going the right direction for a breakout pass the other way. We can counter immediatly. As long as we pinch that posted up man accurately we can generate odd man rushes.

  • DSF

    Remember that the first of the two stacked men , the one who goes at the posted up man full speed—remember to let them make the corssice pass like they like to so we can set em up— theat man has to be going full tilt aggressively right at that man and after he makes contact and forces their pressure relief play he needs to take a quick look back to see if we get the puck because if we do then we have that man in the position for the breakout pass in behind them, its all keyed by the aggressive stacked attack on the posted up man one guy in superfast and one timed behind to pick up the puck with a defender deep behind them both to defend their upspeed man coming through after our stacked men make contact, so remember to let the suckers do the play by pressuring the side they bring the puck out on, this makes them do what we want,ha ha ha, and key offense off of what they think is their catalyst play.

    Now go get them men.

  • Poolanov

    Remember the playaction we used when J Schultz used his hard accurate wrister as a pass to the side to Smyth who deflected it to Harti for the goal we scored, well we need to remember that if they keep giving us the perimeter shots we need to start mixing it up, first we need J Schultz to start shooting from the middle uo high like usual and then we need to throw it over to the side for the onnet scoop shot/deflection either into the open cage or to the front of the net for cleanup. Le them adjust to letting us shoot from the middle and every 3rd possesion go for the deflection/onetime.scoopshot.

    And remeber the wraparound is a deadly weapon on a little twerp of a goalie.

  • DSF

    This goalie is full of holes man, he goes down into his butterfly wayyy out from his net and then he is constantly slideing backwards to recover, just flip it in beind him into his legs and let him knock it in for you, he is weak for the same reason he is open to the wraparound, he is small so he has to either be super mobile or cheat a lot, he cheats a lot and slides everywhere in that butterfly position and because he goes down so far out , cheating again, he becomes vulnerable.

    Deflections from the side that force him to move laterally up high in the top half of the net.

  • Clyde Frog

    Send a d-man right at the net when you get them spread out on the PP laterally like you are, as soon as you spread their defense out sned a d-man blasting right to the net. We need to bring some of those pucks from the perimeter in on the PP they are trying to use the same defense on the PK as they do 5 on 5, they are allowing us to have the perimeter game by collapseing early, so we need to move it around just enough to spread them out and then STRIKE, by driving right to the net, this is tailormade for J. Schultz, just make sure communication is good and he is supported.