GDB 10.0: DUBNYK NEEDS TO DOMINATE

Devan Dubnyk is going to have to roll up his sleeves, put on his gloves and pads, get an extra hard hat and hope he did a lot of squats in the off-season, because he might have to carry the Oilers for awhile.

Taylor Hall’s MRI came back and the good news is that he’s only out four weeks, not six months, but the bad news is that he could be out up to four weeks. Ryan Smyth injured his groin and is out at least a week. Sam Gagner is still recovering from a broken jaw and Jordan Eberle will play, but he aggravated a hip injury in Ottawa and isn’t 100%.

Dubnyk faced 76 shots the past two games, and he only allowed four goals. He’ll need to continue his strong play to give the Oilers any chance of getting back to .500.

While Dubnyk will try and hold down the fort defensively, Nail Yakupov has a great opportunity to step up offensively. Jordan Eberle has been the Oilers best forward recently, and Yakupov will skate with Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight and likely for the next month.

This will be Yakupov’s third consecutive game playing with Nugent-Hopkins, and it is time for him to produce. Yakupov’s role on the team is to score. It’s the hardest job, but if he isn’t producing he isn’t helping the team win. I suspect once he scores his goals his confidence will increase rapidly, and he could go on a scoring binge. The Oilers need that to happen sooner than later.

LINEUP

Yakupov-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Hemsky
Jones-Gordon-Pitlick
Gazdic-Acton-Eager

Smid-Petry
Belov-J.Schultz
N.Schultz-Ference

Dubnyk

Tyler Pitlick will play his first NHL game tonight, and according to Todd Nelson Pitlick has played well in OKC this year. With Smyth and Hall injured he has a great chance to give the Oilers what they are missing in their top-nine; a winger who has some skill, will forecheck, can cycle the puck and play aggressive. He’s waited three years for this opportunity, so hopefully he makes the most of it.

Ben Eager will play his first NHL game since March 8th. This is Eager’s last chance with the Oilers. He should have lots to prove. Eager skates better and is bigger than Mike Brown, who was traded to San Jose last night for a 4th round pick, but he’ll need to cycle the puck better to be an upgrade on Brown. That isn’t saying much, since Brown sucked at it, but if Eager can’t stay out of his own end he isn’t an upgrade. Eager needs to play with conviction every shift.

The Canadiens are just as banged up as the Oilers. Max Pacioretty, Daniel Briere, Brandon Prust, George Parros, Alexei Yemelin, Douglas Murray and Davis Drewiske are all injured.

They will go with this lineup tonight:

Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Bournival-Plekanec-Gionta
Moen-Desharnais-Bourque
Holland-White-Blunden

Markov-Subban
Gorges-Diaz
Beaulieau-Bouillion

Price

Prust is a big loss for the Canadiens. He and Travis Moen dominated the Oilers in Edmonton a few weeks ago, and he brings a lot of energy to their bottom six. Lethbridge product Patrick Holland will make his NHL debut tonight, while Mike Blunden plays his first game with the Habs.

The Eller line has produced 21 points in 8 games, while P.K Subban has 2 goals and 10 points in 8 games.

The entire Oilers defence has 2 goals and 11 points in 9 games. Subban is a bonafide #1 D-man.

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers win when you least expect it, and they will continue that tonight with a 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Eager and the fourth line will struggle getting the puck out in the 2nd period, and the comment sections will explode with calls for the return of Linus Omark.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the 3rd period, Wil Acton scores and Eager gets an assist. This time the comment section explodes with barbs tossed at those who doubted the 4th line. None of the posts claim the 4th line is consistently productive; they just want to rip on those who wanted Omark recalled instead. Get ready for just another night in the rollercoaster season of the Edmonton Oilers.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Good on Arco. He’s quickly becoming one if my favourites. He doesn’t give the puck away, he hits, doesn’t dhy away from traffic and has a nose for offence. Give this kid a full time job!

    The Oil beat two playoff teams in a row? I must be dreaming. Sonehow this just doesn’t feel right after that horrendous first period.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I was waiting for a hab to pick up Hemskys miss (which should have been Arco’s 1st) to be picked up by a hab & returned for a goal for some patrik Stefan Deja’ Vu on Hemmer….

    all in all, the boys played well! lookin forward to seeing more & more of Pitlick…

    as for jonesy’s cough up he TOTALLY REDEEMED HiMSELF! crashing the net for the GWG!!

    well goodnite boys, cant wait for that blockbuster @ 10am tmrw….

    Pk Subban would look amazing in Oilers Blue!

  • Do what Weight did?

    Wow these guys have a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on right now. First half absolutely no fire or direction to their game then last half they put the pedal to the metal and come away from Montreal with two points. Couple things stood out, Gordon and Arcobello have been revelations at center. They’re two extremely smart players who rarely put their teams in danger and with guys like Yak who tend to make shaky plays often its a welcome change. The defense is slowly starting to take shape, Petry is very solid and found his game from two years ago. His physical play is a bonus, always making a good play on every shift. Dubnyk settling down is a huge confidence booster for this teams morale, knowing he can make the big save has this team being able to make a more offensive play every shift. Pitlick will find a roster spot if he keeps hitting, exactly the kind of player we need out there. Hemmer is shutting up all of his critics.

  • O.C.

    Thots.

    Habs thought it was over at half time?

    Lars Eller did Oil a favour.

    How in Hades did Hemsky get overlooked on the star ballot?

    First game where Dubey looked “on” the entire game.

    Eberle played pretty good for being on the doubtful list a couple hours before puck drop.

    and…

    FINALLY. I’ve been playing the Pitlick Banjo since January 2012. Sort of like a JFJ who gets it.

  • O.C.

    I’ve watched this team for the majority of my life, and I’d have to go a ways back before I’ve seen this team with a forecheck. Many nights I feel the Oilers aren’t a playoff style team, then they surprise me and play like they did for the latter part of tonight’s game. Like watching my kids taking their first steps.

  • Alsker

    Missed most of the fun due to entertaining/supper, but no sign of Yak on the scoresheet: did he have a decent game at least? I hace to go along with those seeing gags playing wing and leaving Arco up here when Sams ready to return.

    • Do what Weight did?

      Yak had some bad turnovers, and didn’t seem to be moving his feet. On the other hand, he had another close shot or two. On the whole, not good enough, I don’t think, for a 1st overall. Still, it’s early, and he’ll get better.

      Too early to shop him in a trade, but if someone wants to swap a bonfire top-end defenseman for him, it’s worth considering.

        • YFC Prez

          I think many people are forgetting yak hasn’t even played an entire full season yet. He is definetly in a slump and needs to bring up his game to a level we’ve seen him play. Back checking would be great !

          But talking about trading a 1 st overall pick before they’ve even played 82 games is a little nutty. That’s a lot of talent to send out. I have a feeling yak will be doing to the naysayers next week what dubs has done this week.

  • Pinoy-ler

    What does it take to get Subban in Edmonton? I held my breath every time he blasted it from the blue line… All-star defenseman. Definite Norris candidate.