GDB 47.0: Spoiler?

The Oilers are in something of an interesting position tonight. If they win, they can put a serious crimp in the Minnesota Wild’s playoff ambitions, playing the role of late-season spoiler. However, they can only do so by damaging their draft position.

The Stakes

The three-team playoff race in the West is most likely to end with the Blue Jackets falling just short. With a win tonight, the Wild could guarantee themselves a playoff berth. However, should the Oilers win in regulation, the Wild’s playoff chances drop from 90.4 percent down to 71.3 percent, while the Blue Jackets’ chances jump from 30.8 percent to 44.3 percent.

Yesterday, we considered the Oilers’ draft position needs; four of the teams the Oilers are in competition with for the second overall spot were in action. Unfortunately for the Oilers, all four lost; only Carolina (overtime loss to the New York Rangers) picked up a point. The relevant standings are as follow:

A win would slide the Oilers from fifth down to seventh in the pre-lottery draft rankings, which would undo part of the one and only benefit from all of their recent losing.

Memory Lane

It isn’t exactly the same situation, but the dilemma reminds me a little of the one the Oilers faced in 2006-07. The team had spectacularly collapsed following the trade deadline move of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders; in the 20 games leading up to the final contest of the year they failed to managed even one regulation win – they had two shootout victories and 18 regulation losses over that span.

But they managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit at the midway point of the game, scoring the next three goals and winning the contest on Patrick Thoresen’s third period tip-in. The win gave the Oilers 71 points, tying them with Chicago. The Oilers had the tie-breaker, though, so entering the draft lottery they held the sixth overall pick while Chicago had the fifth selection and the final one with a chance at first overall.

Chicago won the draft lottery, and ended up picking Patrick Kane first overall. The Oilers still ended up with a pretty good player – Sam Gagner – in the sixth overall spot, but it was a pivotal moment in the history of both franchises.

The Lineup

Via the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, here are the lines for tonight’s game:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Nail Yakupov
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
  • Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander
  • Ryan Smyth – Jerred Smithson – Mike Brown
  • Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
  • Mark Fistric – Justin Schultz
  • Nikolai Khabibulin

Quick Hits

  • Jason Gregor was supposed to write this piece. Apparently, he’s “too busy” with “raising money to fight Alzheimers” to fulfill his blog-writing responsibilities. I’ll let the readers decide where that rates on the jerk scale.

  • Jason was nice enough to pass along this encouraging statistic: “Backstrom is a perfect 17-0 at home vs. Oilers with a 1.34 GAA, a .948 save pct., and four shutouts. Wow.” He didn’t finish that comment with ‘have fun explaining why anybody should expect anything other than another humiliating Oilers loss’ but I think that was implied.
  • Taylor Hall would seem to have some chance at an extra $2 million in bonus money if he has a strong finish to the season.
  • The Justin Schultz/Nick Schultz pairing has gone minus-6 against the Wild this season; no other player on the team is worse than minus-3. Maybe it’s a good thing Krueger is splitting them up.
  • This might be the last game Nikolai Khabibulin ever plays for the Oilers, with Devan Dubnyk set to start tomorrow and Khabibulin’s contract expiring this summer.

Predictions

Game day prediction: The Oilers will lose a dull and one-sided game, falling by a 3-1 score.

Obvious game day prediction: The Oilers goal will be scored by Nail Yakupov, and after the game he’ll disappointedly say, “I don’t care about the goal, I just want to win.”

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: The Oilers’ second pairing will have a surprisingly good night, as Corey Potter plays well and Nick Schultz is much-improved when separated from Justin Schultz. Potter will pick up an assist on the Yakupov goal.

Recently around the Nation Network

        • DSF

          Blew what?

          Did they have a bad game, sure.

          Will Backstrom have a .400 SV% going forward?

          No.

          Will the Oilers win games when they are outshot by a 2-1 margin?

          No.

          Enjoy the Dead Cat Bounce while you can.

          It doesn’t mean a thing.

          • DSF

            If you’ve admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious.

            The Oilers are a very bad hockey team and one win based on ridiculous percentages doesn’t change that at all.

            Shots on goal are currently 37-16.

            A team that gets outshot by that margin will lose 99 games out of 100.

            This just happens to be the 1 percent.

          • 2004Z06

            Haha… I will take this further. DSF, you remind me of the prototypical pompous ass who repeatedly puts others down to stroke their own ego and make himself feel better about their own blatant inadequacies as a human being. Oilers fans are generally known for their knowledge base and open discussions, but you have nothing meaningful to contribute. Minny went all out this year and are becoming the new NYR. My parents taught me at a young age that humility is a virtue, and clearly that is something that you value but know nothing of. Why you have not been asked to leave this site is beyond me, but it would make literally everyone else who reads this site ecstatic if you receded into oblivion.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            You should get your parents to read your post and the posts you are responding to. They might disagree with your understanding of “humility is a virtue” bit.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            You should get your parents to read your post and the posts you are responding to. They might disagree with your understanding of “humility is a virtue” bit.

          • Eddie Shore

            Are you vying for the stupidest comment on this post? If you are accusing me of not being humble, then I think you are extremely confused as to what humble is. Am I aggressively chastising DSF for being a hypocrite? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely. Am I stating what many others on this site believe? The props seem to indicate so. Again, if you can explain to me how my comment demonstrates a lack of humility, then perhaps you can defend yourself. But, in actuality, you have no basis for your argument that I have no understanding of “humility is a virtue,” you don’t know anything about me, and all I know about you is that you post moronic comments.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            Well I’m glad I caught this post before this article left the first page.

            Ok, let me see if I can break this down for you using your own words….

            “Haha… I will take this further. DSF, you remind me of the prototypical pompous ass who repeatedly puts others down to stroke their own ego and make himself feel better about their own blatant inadequacies as a human being.”

            So you really show a lot of humility here by laughing at him and calling him names and commenting about his inadequacies as a human being with no possible way of ever proving it. It’s great that you can have a laugh at the expense of others but that shows arrogance and immaturity not humility.

            “Am I aggressively chastising DSF for being a hypocrite? Yes. Is it warranted? Absolutely”

            You admit that your are “aggressively chastising” DSF and yet you think you’re humble? Look I disagree with about 99% of what DSF says but that’s not the issue here. DSF is an easy target and yes he makes himself one. As human beings we seem to like to chastise other humans when we get a chance. And we like it even more when we chastise people as a group (piling on). There is nothing humble about this behaviour and this is exactly what you are doing. Whether it’s warranted or not is irrelevant.

            “Why you have not been asked to leave this site is beyond me, but it would make literally everyone else who reads this site ecstatic if you receded into oblivion”

            Again, show me what part of this sentence shows your humility. That’s a pretty bold statement to be making on behalf of everyone who reads this site for such a humble person. Wow, you must know everyone here personally and have asked their opinion on DSF. Funny I never got a phone call and I obviously read this site.

            You go on here and go on about how your parents taught you that “humility is a virtue” yet you jump on an easy target after a bunch of people have already done so. You’re the guy in a fight that comes in and gets his kicks in after two of your friends have already beaten down the other guy. There is nothing humble about your posts, in fact they display ignorance, arrogance and absolute cowardliness.

            I can go on here but if you don’t get it by now then it’s obvious you brought a butter knife to a gun fight and there is no point going on with this convo.

            And please don’t try and twist this around by accusing me of not being humble. I’ve never claimed to be. You did. All I’m doing is calling out your sh!t.

  • DSF

    Dead Cat Bounce

    Happens all the time.

    The Cleveland Browns win the odd football game.

    Here’s an excerpt from their beat writer.

    Does it sound familiar?

    “Browns fans have endured 14 years of disappointing football. But each year our hopes are raised by even the smallest positive sign because we want it. We need it. We love Browns football. If we haven’t turned our backs yet, we aren’t going to.

    Last year the Browns won only five games but five of the games we lost were by a touchdown or less. I know it’s a stretch, but if we’d taken those games, we’d have been division champs.

    With the 2013 draft right here in front of us, all Cleveland fans need to get high on hope is for a few key positions to be filled. Give us a solid pass rusher and a shut-down cornerback and we’ll be happy.”

    And the beat goes on.

  • Eddie Shore

    I know we dont need to rub it in completely but could the coach wake the hell up, Boogard destroyed us for years and this team is our enemy,keep setting Nail up like we were,what happened?Are we supposed to feel sorry for them Ralph? Keep throwing a decent game at them .

    This is why we had such a non-competative year, we dont know when to keep the pedal down.

    Seriously we are in a position to carry the momentum and end this game fast before they get bitter and realise what we did to them and someoen gets hurt.Open it back up Ralph,get this one over with.

    Lets not act like snowflakes,lets at least pretend we like to goddam win,ok?

  • Klima's Mullet

    Parise needs to be disciplined,he was kicking with his skates.

    How many games is that supposed to be,tell me that isnt intent to injure?Isnt that the most dangerous play in hockey?

    If he had opened someone up for 100 stitches we wouldnt be so easygoing about that.

  • Ducey

    Well played Ralph, you come out and call the dogs off,you ruin your goalies shutout, you destroy the killer instinct you had going, you derail the teams momentum, you put the game into a slower lower gear and give the Wild time to stew about being turfed from the playoffs,and set us up for a war.

    Well played Ralph,well played.

    Jones earned his bones tonight by grabbing that beast. Someone should have chopped him down with their stick immediatly, we need to hurt those big men immediatly,hurt them not deter them.

  • Alsker

    Get Gagner off the ice, yak going for the hat-trick and he handles the puck like it’s a grenade.

    Can’t wait till he’s gone –f’n plays like a little boy

    • The Worrier

      Would have been terrific to get the kid the puck but other than Hall I didn’t see anyone else trying. Gagner only interested about Gagner and I’m sick of see him.

      This Oiler team hasn’t played for each other for so long why would I expect it tonight.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Yea you could really sense the urgency on that 5 on 3.

      Shots or no the shots we did get were Grade A chances. Are we a better team then Minny right now? No, but we were better tonight, and when Minny had to dig deep they lost 6-1. Put that on the coach, or the captain, or the guys in the room.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      It’s not like all 9 players on the ice knew that they were trying to get Yak his hat trick or anything. Honestly, I was more surprised that we ran a real unit out there at that point. I expected Belanger and Brown.

  • The Worrier

    The way the Oilers played tonight shows they could make some serious noise if they make the playoffs.

    They finally have found the veteran goalie that they have needed. They have offensive Defense men in Schultz and Potter. They have depth on D in the press box in Whitney and they have some grit in Eager and Hordichuk in the minors.

    You move Yakupov up from the 4th line to the first and he knows how to light the lamp.

    This team is solid. Lookout Chicago.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      You sure picked the right target,we are taliormade to dismantle the Hawks and they are tailormade to dismantle everyone else.

      You may have predicted one of the best rivalries in the next ten years.Our core will need to bust up their core to become champions and Chicago is way to young to roll over yet,we will need to kick them over.

  • The Worrier

    I don’t get you guys. Who cares about Minny, most of you are acting like this was a good thing tonight. Tonight didn’t matter other then moving us down in the draft.

    Keep celebrating boyz!

    • 2004Z06

      Yes Keilan we draft one spot lower…It’s a deep draft. They will likely trade the pick this year anyway. I would rather have the players fight til the end and lose one draft spot than intentionally tank and continue to foster this losing culture!

      Not every fan in Edmonton celebrates failure and thinks you should be rewarded for it!

      Are you one of the guys at the bar on draft day celebrating the number one pick? Thats not something to be celebrating!

      The DSF thing is just a bonus!

  • Klima's Mullet

    I have never cheered for the Colorado Avalanche…but tomorrow I want them to channel their inner Sakic and pump the Wild. Maybe that would keep you know who quiet til October when he’ll be peddling some pile of steaming BS that Minny will win their division.

    • Rocket

      I can’t even remember when The Oilers actually outscored an opponent this season. That miracle win against the Kings?

      Seriously I don’t know. Maybe it really has been that long.

      • Rocket

        Yeah I know what you mean. On the one hand, it really was nice to steal Minny’s lunch money in their own barn. And although Yak got himself in the Calder conversation, The Oilers did not have to win this one.

        Too little too late. MacT already has a plan (I assume) for the offseason so trying to impress him doesn’t work this late in the season.

        Tough to tell players to not play to win but this was not an advantages win. Oh well….

  • The Oilers scored 6 times as many goals as the Wild. If we take half of double of that then that is SIX TIMES as many goals. If you counted them in order it would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6!

    Suck it DSF. Suck. It. Suck it Minnesota.

    Now I have to go to a muffin appreciation website and tell the people there how muffins suck. Every. Single. Day.

  • Klima's Mullet

    The Oilers finally played a 1/2 decent game and won thanks to some great shots that ended up in the net and excellent goaltending,again except for Khaby it was all the kids and a 28 year old with 2 pro seasons. Can’t some of you find a positve in this? PLEASE QUIT RESPONDING TO DIZZY STUNNED FU##.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Well, there goes any hope for MacKinnon or Barkov. Into crapshoot land we go outside of the top 5. Oilers will be fortunate if the kid they select makes this roster a few yrs from now.

    Same crap different season next year.

  • Chuck Norris

    So i was at this game with my 10 year old. We are from winnipeg and are both die hard oiler fans. The first two periods were decent but the third was typical oiler give up hockey. Despite draft ramifications, i was happy they won since i don’t get to see them live very often.

    I have to say though, the fans in minny were really behind their team. I do think that it was a mistake of the announcer to declare to the crowd “win and we’re in. It did seem that the wild players were gripping their sticks too tight for the first and by the end of the period it was all but over.

    The most impressive thing for me was my son’s trash talking ability. He is only 10 but was booing the wild and putting some of the wild fans in their place. One guy in particular was sitting behind us and asked us how it felt to be fans of a team that sucked. My son turned to him and asked him “why there were not stanley cup banners in the rafters like at rexall? Nevermind, i think i know”. After potter scored his second goal, my boy turned to the guy and said ” he got two goals. You guys really suck.” When it was 6-0, he turned to the guy and said ” you are being pretty quiet. Do you want to borrow my dad’s jersey so you have something to cheer about?”. This kid is awesome. I was laughing most of the game. 🙂

  • The Soup Fascist

    I may be way off base here, but I am getting the sense that there are some folks on Oilers Nation that aren’t totally on board with the opinions offered by the posters known as “DSF” and “Jasmine”.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Shea Webers contract is so bad I doubt Nashville could give him away for free over next 3 years . Signing bonuses to boot .Doubt Oilers will even bother getting a contract like that -check capgeek . Several others contracts I doubt the Oilers would not touch with a ten foot poll are Campbell , Suter and Parise type contracts . None of those players are doing much to help their clubs get into upper eschilon .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Will the Flames use two of their first round picks to try and move up in draft ? Will Oilers try to move up in draft or dangle our first round choice ?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I think i’ll be more interested in who we trade for , rather than the draft this year . Question : How soon can MacT. start officially trading ? After our season is over , during playoffs with other non playoff teams ? In other words before the Stanley cup is over ? How might it effect trading if draft is before Stanley Cup ending ?

  • paul wodehouse

    …monohan…draft him…horton…offer sheet him…ryan miller for dubnyk jones tuebert and a second …sign our [other] goalie one year minimum salary…sell the farm for weber