GDB 45.0: OILERS/DUCKS ROUND TWO

I’d love to see the NHL implement back-to-back games involving the same teams in the same city on a regular basis. You can’t do it all the time, but three or four times a year would be a welcome change. The Oilers and Ducks will faceoff again tonight after Anaheim won 3-1 last night.

If the Oilers were in a playoff race, not a draft positioning race, these two games would have been great, but I still think we will see a bit more animosity and emotion tonight, than if the Oilers were playing another team.

It is tough to get motivated for meaningless games. While the Oilers will say all the right things; "playing for pride," "we owe it to the fans," "or we want to impress the coaches and management," the reality is that it is hard to bring your "A" game when you know that in six days your season will end prematurely.

At least the Oilers should have some anger pent up from last night, and they will have a chance for revenge tonight. They will need something different to motivate them. I thought Taylor Hall’s early goal last evening would give them the boost they needed, but they were unable to build on it.

LINEUP

Hall-Gagner-Eberle
Hartikainen-Lander-Yakupov
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Smithson-Belanger-Brown

Eric Belanger will play because Magnus Paajarvi has a foot injury. The Oilers had an optional skate, so they didn’t run lines, so those are just my best guess as to what they will look like. Belanger is a bit concerned about re-aggravating his groin injury, but he will dress.

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

Khabibulin

Whitney draws in for Fistric, while Khabibulin draws in for Dubnyk.

QUICK HITS

  • With four games to go the Oilers are in 25th place. I don’t think many expected that, and to make things worse the Calgary Flames moved ahead of them yesterday. Fans can say it is better to tank it now and get a higher draft pick, which makes sense, but Oiler fans must be getting sick of being worse than the Flames.
     
  • The Oilers haven’t finished ahead of the Flames since 2003.
     
  • Jordan Eberle finished tied for 15th in league scoring last season, and Taylor Hall is currently tied for 14th with John Tavares with four games to go.
     
  • Doug Weight was the last Oiler to crack the top-ten in scoring when he finished 8th in scoring in 2001 with 90 points. He also finished 11th in 1996 when he totalled 104.
     
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkin’s agent Rick Valette explains their thought process regarding RNH’s surgery. Read here.
     
  • I received a few sweet audition tapes for our King/Queen of Karaoke contest. If you want to submit an entry or know someone who should, read here.
     
  • The Oilers traded prospect Tobias Reider to Phoenix for Kale Kessy on March 29th, and then signed him to a three-year entry level deal on April 6th. Kessy isn’t a big point producer, but he’s having an excellent playoffs with Kamloops in the WHL. Kessy has 11 goals in 12 playoff games. He’d be a 3rd line NHL player at best most likely, but the Oilers must be pleased watching a prospect excel in the postseason.  
     
  • Frankie from the Oilersnation.com hockey team raised over $3,000 last week for Alzheimers, and in the process he won a pair of seats in the Christensen Development suite for tonight’s game. He wants to auction them off with all the proceeds going to Alzheimers. Good guy. So you can bid on two seats in the suite, all your food and booze included. You can bid in comment section or better send an email to gregor@theteam1260.com with your bid. Auction closes at 3 p.m. Thanks for donating.

TONIGHT….

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will bend over backwards to try to avoid the sweep, but the Ducks will win a feisty affair 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After hitting the the goal post twice while shooting at the empty net last night, Andrew Cogliano scores early in the first period.  Former-Oiler curse continues.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: In the midst of his longest goal-scoring drought of his career, 28 games, Ryan Smyth gets a surprising boost when he plays a shift with the Belanger Triangle. Smyth and Belanger combine for a 2nd period goal and then the hashtag NSOGDP will be trending on twitter. Stranger things have happened Nation readers.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR