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 [email protected] 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



    • i hope not, I never want to see the Oilers lose (so I just wont watch! Ha!) but a win tonight would ruin my hopes for Barkov.

      If we end up in 26th and are drafting 5th I can pray that will be enough to get barkov or to trade up one spot to get him. Then I can go to just hoping and team in 30th-27th wins the lottery.

      If we are higher than that then I have to pray to tambellini that we can win the lotto.

      • If we win the lotto though, wouldn’t that mean taking Seth Jones? And if so do we need him more or a big second line centre more?

        Klefbomb, Jones, J.Schultz sounds like a pretty sweet D core moving forward. But finally having some size in our top six would also be nice. But if we win the lottery, they will draft BPA, and that is Seth Jones.

      • The Hurricanes, Predators and the Lightning win just two games and the Oilers lose there remaining games, that puts the Oilers in third place in the lottery position and all but guarantee’s Barkov with an outside shot at Mackinnon.

        ELPH with Yakupov getting points in the last few games.

        Yak city for Calder.

  • Ugh, what is there left to cheer for? Yakupov running up some more points and making a case for Calder? Hall cracking the top ten? The Oilers tanking to pick up Barkov? Not that a bigger rookie centre is going to make this team better anyway.

  • Blood Orange

    I will be planning my visit to the Stollery to visit Nuge asap!

    Just have to find what room he is in.

    GDP: 3-2 OT win for the Ducks.

    Looking forward to seeing Mac T back at TSN studios for the lotto.

  • Bucknuck

    I think I am turning on my Hockey blinders a little early this year. I always find the playoffs hard when the Oil aren’t in it, and this year is even worse, since I had a crazy little thing called hope. I was very silly to hope.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      It’s not so bad, watching the playoffs with no emotion involved. The playoffs can be just as enjoyable when the weight of expectation of your team isn’t at stake.

      I’ve always found, the hockey that matters is still enjoyable while the spring turns into summer. We then live and die with the Eskimos for a few weeks till it all starts over again in the fall.

      5-zip Duckeroos please…

      • Rocket

        I don’t normally do fantasy hockey during the regular season but usually take part in a playoff pool. It’s a weird feeling watching the playoffs with an almost detached enjoyment; not really caring who wins & just wanting entertaining games.

        And if I do well in my pool picks, all the better.

        Still, I wish The Oilers made the playoffs every 5 years or so.

  • Blood Orange

    I think the NHL should implement the back to back games against the same opponent next year so the new teams can get to know and quickly hate their new divisional rivals.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i dunno, if we keep sinking, who knows who we might end up with at the draft? right now, at 6th overall, we’d be likely looking at C Elias Lindholm or D Rasmas Ristolainen or Darnell Nurse. guess tanking at the end of the season ain’t all that bad?

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Embarrassing game last night. I attended. Everyone can blame whichever player they want, but the coaching is a major problem. It’s ugly out there. JMO

    A few things:

    Defence trying to break out of their own end. One play has them by their goalie and looking to make a breakout pass. The forwards are at the opps. blue line. WTF! They do try to make a 90ft pass and, yes, it doesn’t work.

    The fourth line gets matched up against Anaheim’s first. There are no young players on the fourth, so who’s gonna learn what?

    It’s ugly what’s going on.

    Ducks are a big team. Fistric’s minutes get cut back. Why? Because he’s a heavy hitter. He was on for shifts where they had the Ducks pinned in their own zone.

    Brown takes a ugly slashing penalty and his minutes are cut back. This just looks like petty coaching. People make mistakes. Highlight them, but when you need some muscle use what you have.

    Coaching needs to be addressed. No more excuses.

  • Rocket

    If it’s hard for fans to watch these last few games, it must be even harder for the players to show some passion against these tough teams.

    Hopefully The Oilers give us something good to watch.

  • Keg on Legs

    The Flames are winning with their kids down the stretch, why?
    Because they aren’t playing old veterans to slow them down. Is there any reason to have Smyth etc playing? Only plus is our farm team is still in the playoffs

  • Awesome!The Mactavish regime shows its committment to continuity by playing Belanger in a must lose situation. Tambo used to have Cam Barker in his arsenal to accomplish that but Belanger is a suitable replacement. The Mark Off for Barkov continues.

  • Ducey

    I will still watch the Cup finals, and cheer against the Habs, Nucks and, if they make it, Wild. LOL

    That being said, the Nucks and Wild look ripe for first round eliminations this year.

    • Ducey

      Holy Cow, I didn’t even notice Whitney was dressed! They are really pulling out all the stops for this one, to make sure that the Class A Oiler fans get their money’s worth. After the Fall for Hall, Not Tryin’ for Ryan, the Fail for Nail, and now the Mark Off for Barkov, its good to see, that even with regime change(?), the Oiler Commitment to (something less than) Excellence is a tradition we are preserving.

      What NHL GM would trade his roster for this one, Mr. Lowe? Heck, right now I’d trade this one for Calgary’s. At least they understand the meaning of the word “Integrity”.

      • Ducey

        Integrity?

        They just called up 7 guys from the farm. They are outshot every game. The GM is doing his best to lose; lady luck is doing otherwise.

        I wouldn’t trade the whole Calgary roster for Taylor Hall. That team is destined for another decade of balancing on the playoff bubble.

        • PlayDirty

          Taylor Hall? Really? He disappeared so quickly when it mattered it really wasn’t funny. If Calgary is destined for another decade of futility, where does that leave the Oilers? I wouldn’t trade Sven for the whole Oiler roster.

  • Rob...

    God I love that last picture, thanks Jason. It helps distract from the absolute lack of interest I have in anything that happens on the ice at Oilers games right now.

  • Rob...

    Hey Gregor,I’m still trying to digest that comment that Belanger is worried about reaggravating his groin injury. Trying to picture in my mind what a tentative Eric Belanger will look like. How will we be able to tell??

  • Ducey

    What are the chances of Lazar falling to the second round. If we got Monahan and Lazar we could have some decent depth.

    I need to start cheering for a new sport. Any chance of slam ball coming back? Sigh….

    • Rob...

      If Calgary keeps its picks I don’t see Lazar slipping past them. Luckily the Flames are ‘going to make the playoffs’ next year, so they’ll trade those picks for whatever they can get in pursuit of that goal.

  • Rob...

    Revamping bottom six : Parros.938, Orr 1.0 , Boll 1.050 ,Fiddler 1.8 ,Nystrom 1.4 ,Sobotka 1.3 ,Talbot 1.75 ,Sutter 2.0 ,Dupuis 1.5 ,Henrique .854 . Defence : Franson 1.2 , Alzner 1.25 , Del Zotto 2.55 , Stralman 1.7 , McDonagh 1.3 , Sbisa 2.18 , Morris 2.75 ,Pysyk .87 , Bogosian 2.5 .

    Some reasonable upgrades to round out bottom 6 , and maybe even defence . Contract amounts are respectfully small . Any you can see that are both an upgrade and fill the need to be grittier ?