GDB 38.0: They’re all big games

The out-of-town scoreboard wasn’t particularly kind to the Oilers yesterday. St. Louis, Detroit, and San Jose all won. Dallas won too (though they’re far enough back that it’s a secondary concern), while Columbus lost in regulation – though given that they lost to the Blues, that’s not really great news.

The Oilers aren’t particularly likely to catch Los Angeles, but they need the win today to keep pace with Detroit and St. Louis, the two most catchable teams.

Playoff chances

Via sportsclubstats.com, here are the playoff odds for teams still in the hunt in the West entering action today:

  • 3. Los Angeles: 98.2%
  • 4. Vancouver: 97.1%
  • 5. San Jose: 95.4%
  • 6. Minnesota: 90.8%
  • 7. St. Louis: 88.6%
  • 8. Detroit: 71.3%
  • 9. Edmonton: 24.6%
  • 10. Phoenix: 14.3%
  • 11. Columbus: 8.4%
  • 12. Dallas: 5.7%
  • 13. Nashville: 5.5%

None of the other games going on today are particularly critical for the Oilers. Nashville hosts Chicago, Phoenix hosts Colorado, and Calgary is in Vancouver – all the teams involved are around the periphery of that list above. A Phoenix win, coupled with an Oilers loss, would move them past Edmonton on the chart above, so that’s probably the most important of the games being played today outside of the one the Oilers are playing.

Lineups

No information is available as of yet regarding tonight’s Oilers’ lineup, though it’s a decent bet there will be some changes due to the acquisition of Smithson and the loss to Vancouver. My guess – Mark Fistric draws in on the third pairing, Smithson draws in on the fourth line, and Ryan Smyth moves into the top-nine, replacing Ryan Jones. It also seems likely that Devan Dubnyk will start in net.

This will be updated as soon as the lines become available.

Update: Jerred Smithson will draw in, though exact forward lines remain unknown. The defence will stay the same as against the Canucks, meaning Petry-Smid, Schultz-Schultz, and Whitney-Potter.

Update II: Via the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, we have the forward lines:

  • Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
  • Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky
  • Paajarvi – Gagner – Yakupov
  • Petrell – Smithson – Brown

Predictions

Game day prediction: Both games between the Oilers and the Kings have been nail-biters this season, with the Oilers winning one in overtime and the Kings scoring the winner with less than a minute in regulation last time. This one will be, too, but the Kings will win 3-2 in overtime.

Obvious game day prediction: With the Oilers down by a goal with two minutes left in the third, Ralph Krueger will pull his goaltender – and Nail Yakupov will tie the game to force the extra frame.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Jerred Smithson hasn’t had a fight in more than three years, but eager to make an impression with his new team he’ll square off against Colin Fraser. The fight itself will be a non-descript affair, but Smithson will be applauded by his new teammates, with nobody happier to see it than Mike Brown.

Recently around the Nation Network

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Stretch passes made from a foot inside the n-zone will hurt them immediatly, not made from ddep, but skated up and made from a foot into the n-zone maybe a few feet. We have done this before with the Kings defense. It catches them cheating with the defense up high.

    So we can take the puck into the n-zone deep just before their blueline and then pass it back to our blueline but still inside the n-zone crossice to a man pinched on the boards, then the high man who made the first n-zone pass just steps into the o-zone for the breakin passback. The Kings specialised in this last year.

  • oilman3

    well that was frustrating. once again we see the importance of size and what a good defensive system can do. edmonton was not allowed any time and space out there and had a very hard time getting to the front of the net. the kings played exactly the way they need to as they gear up for another playoff race.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    “THEY’RE ALL BIG GAMES”

    …not any more.

    Too bad. Hopefully the boys can keep it close for the sake of learning to compete. Well hope, I’ll see you next season. It finally feels like next year could be for real (and not in Feaster’s sense of the phrase).

  • oilman3

    Looks like our playoff hopes are slipping away. Regardless of what happens, this summer is huge. We are clearly not able to handle playoff teams like the Kings. We don’t manage the puck well at all. We spend 30 seconds to a minute at a time in our own zone and it kills all the flow in our game. Next season we will be in a division with Vancouver, LA, Anaheim and San Jose. We have lots of work to do and it shows time and time again when we play physical, defensive teams.

  • sofarsogood

    STL is not catchable. Detroit is the only team Edmonton could catch.

    Problem for Edmonton teams are taking then seriously now, they bring their A game. With the standings so close every team is bringing it.

    Oilers cannot compete with teams that take away space and ice. They have no power players in their top 6.

  • oilman3

    Does this mean the bipolar, bandwagon-jumping fanboys are finished with their love in and want everyone traded/fired again? Because a few short days ago they were praising Oiler management for not taking advantage of a seller’s market and trading away useless spare parts in exchange for valuable assets.

  • sofarsogood

    Have not read the GDB, or any of the posts. MEN against boys. We need size and strength and grit. WoW. Tambi last chance with me is this summer. One should not feel this frustrated on a saturday afternoon.

        • Rocket

          Wow that sucks. I don’t always agree with your posts but you should still be able to share your opinion freely.

          @Sammy: I think fans are pretty frustrated watching The Oilers get dominated in games again & are taking it out on each other. Stay classy Oiler fans.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Free DSF?

            While I disagree with many of DSF’s views, get annoyed by his fact twisting and circular arguments and think his intent is more often to aggravate than debate – he should have every opportunity to do it.

            He isn’t overtly abusive to anyone and can be entertaining. He is like the “heel” in wrestling. You love to hate him but in the end he makes the “show” better. The old adage, ” I hate what he says, but I defend his right to say it” comes to mind.

            I suppose the blog managers can do what they want as they pay the bills but think it was a step backwards to ban a guy, even for a day – just because he annoys people.

  • PlayDirty

    Have they ever won a Saturday afternoon game in CA?

    We know the standings fluctuate every day and frankly, things don’t look real good. But … they’re getting a better picture of what they’re really gonna need to bring to the table EVERY game if they wanna compete with the big kids. Even if they don’t sneak in, there’s some learnin’ to be learned. It’s up to them to get after it. Still good arrows.

  • Looks like we are all a little grouchy after having our hopes dashed. I agree with the poster who said this summer will be key. Management must see what we are missing and have to make the right moves. That is why they make the big bucks. To sit back and do nothing is worse than making the wrong move.