Ilya Bryzgalov has been cleared to play and should return to the lineup tonight against his first NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers are hoping he injects some life, enthusiasm and even some humour into a downtrodden dressing room.

The Oilers were dominated in Vancouver, and despite a solid 40 minutes against the Bruins on Thursday, the Oilers are 0-2 in their six-game stretch against elite teams. They will need to put forth a much better effort tonight, if they want to avoid being blown out by the red-hot Ducks.

The Ducks have won four straight, and are 7-1-2 in their last ten games and they’ve only allowed 22 goals in their past ten games. The Ducks finished 2nd in the west last season, and some suggested that their underlying statistics suggested that was a lucky 48-game stretch.

If you combine last year’s 48 games with their first 34 this year you see an outstanding 82-game stretch.

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The Ducks are 52-19-11 good for 115 points and they’ve outscored the opposition 248-205. The Ducks are a very good team and despite not having a true dominant #1 D-man, their blueline has been very steady even with Francois Beauchemin missing the last ten games. 

  GP  G  A  P  +/-  PIM  TOI/G
Cam Fowler 34 3 16 19 6 8 24:03:00
Francois Beauchemin 24 0 6 6 15 19 21:54
Ben Lovejoy 32 1 4 5 9 10 20:03
Hampus Lindholm 32 2 8 10 14 12 19:17
Bryan Allen 31 0 6 6 12 34 18:51
Luca Sbisa 9 0 1 1 -5 25 18:00
Sami Vatanen 26 3 4 7 0 12 17:54
Mark Fistric 13 1 1 2 -1 14 15:47
Nolan Yonkman 2 0 1 1 -1 0 14:53
Alex Grant 2 2 0 2 3 2 12:10

Fowler is playing in every situation. He plays 3:15/game on the PP and 2:47/game on the PK. Since Beauchemin went down, he’s started playing even more and he’s only 22 years old.

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Hampus Lindholm played 44 games in the AHL last year as an 18-year old, and at 19 he has stepped into the NHL and performed very well. Ben Lovejoy was acquired for a 5th round pick last February, and he’s turned out to be a steal for the Ducks.

They play a very solid game in their D-zone, and when they get the puck Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry take over. Getzlaf is 4th in NHL scoring with 16-22-38, while Perry is 6th with 21-15-36. Both of them are locks to make the Olympic team again, and their line, with Dustin Penner, is carrying the Ducks offensively.

Whoever matches up against that trio tonight is in for a tough game.

The Oilers are 1-5-1 over the past two seasons vs. the Ducks, and they’ve been outscored 21-8 in those seven games. They’ve struggled handling the Ducks’ size, especially Getzlaf and Perry, and the Oilers will be hard pressed to avoid their 7th loss in 8 games vs. Anaheim.



Ales Hemsky is out with a rib injury, from the Ryan Kesler hit in Vancouver.

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Ryan Smyth will draw in and Eakins will have to change his lines. Gagner will need to earn his way back into the top-nine I suspect, and I won’t be surprised to see Smyth back with Gordon and Perron. The Oilers need Hall, RNH and Eberle to match the intensity and determination of Perron. If they do that, this team will have a much better chance of winning more games.


Looks like I was wrong…Gagner gets promoted to 2nd line…



Eakins could switch his pairs and maybe try to match Petry and Ference vs. Getzlaf’s line, otherwise Larsen or J.Schultz could be in for some long shifts in the D zone.

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I’m assuming he starts. The Ducks are one of his former teams, and the Oilers will need a strong performance in goal to stay in this game.


  • Jason LaBarbera must feel like he won the lottery. He struggled in Edmonton, was demoted to the AHL, got recalled due to an injury and then he was dealt to the first place Chicago Blackhawks. When Corey Crawford returns from his injury, I suspect the Hawks will send Raanta back to the AHL and LaBarbera will stay as the back up. The Hawks don’t need to rush young players, and they will want Raanta to play more games in the AHL I suspect.
  • It was a smart trade by MacTavish. They free up a roster spot, plus it allows them to keep Laurent Brossoit in OKC and share time between the pipes with Richard Bachman. LaBarbera was the wrong choice in the summer, and the Oilers will need to do a better job next year when they go searching for a back up. They can’t sign the wrong guy again.
  • The Ducks special teams aren’t very good. Their PP is 19th and the PK is 21st, but the Ducks dominate teams at ES. They’ve outscored their opponents 78-55 at 5-on-5. They are 2nd in ES goals in the league.
  • The Oilers are almost the exact opposite to the Ducks at ES. The Oilers have given up the most goals 5-on-5, 78, and they’ve only scored 53. If the Oilers are going to win tonight, they likely will need at least two goals from their powerplay. 


GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers struggles against the top teams continue with a 3-1 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dustin Penner scores and the Penner supporters say, "I told you the Oilers should have re-signed him."…The fact he is playing with two Olympians won’t be mentioned. Penner is a very smart player defensively, and the Oilers could desperately use someone with his size, skill and smarts, but there is no way he’d have the same success in Edmonton as he is having in Anaheim. Plus, I doubt he would want to return to Edmonton.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nick Schultz scores his first goal of the season. Schultz loves playing the Ducks. He has six goals in 43 career games vs. Anaheim, but he only has 21 goals in 800 games against the rest of the league. Schultz scores on a seeing shot from the point.


  • bazmagoo

    Definitely need to move on from Dubnyk, if we can off load him for a 2nd-3rd pick at some stage that would be great. I’m betting he’s a deadline move to a playoff team in need of a backup “upgrade”.

    Unfortunately this is going to be another season of what we can get for moving our dead weight. Only 2.5 months or so until the deadline, hurray! Hoping for a top 5 pick this draft so we can keep adding to this elite talent we have (sarcasm). Hoping something happens and we turn it around in 2014/15. Go Oilers!

    • vetinari

      Love to see us go after Scrivens when Quick comes off IR in LA and then turn around and see if we can move Dubnyk for a player or a pick.

      Unfortunately, Dubnyk’s trade value will be low because he is getting paid too much to be a backup somewhere else. At best, we may be able to pull off a “Horcoff” type of deal– take a depth player and a late pick in return.

      Let’s see, our trade bait at this deadline looks like:

      Dubnyk (let’s face it, unless he really bounces back for a consistent 30-40 game stretch, he’s gone)

      Hemsky, R. Smyth, R. Jones, Eager (pending UFAs, mileage varies)

      N. Schultz, Potter, Belov, Grebeshkov (pending UFAs, some easier sells than others)

      Omark (perennially on this list)

      Realistically, I see MacT maybe being able to move 2-3 of these players by the deadline, but most will walk in the off season without anything coming back except cap relief.

      • bazmagoo

        I think Belov, N Schultz, R Smyth, R Jones are all back next season for depth. N Schultz comes back at around $2 million. Belov, Smyth and Jones all come back for under $1.5 million.

        We’ll get picks for Hemsky, Dubnyk, and possibly Omark before the season is done.

        Potter, Eager and Grebeshkov have no value and will walk at season’s end.

        That’s my prediction for that lot.

        • reaperfunkss

          Why are you bringing back Smyth. Not trying to knock him but he is pretty long in the tooth and obviously hasnt helped make the team better. Not that it was his fault or anything but I don’t see him as a potential difference maker anymore.

          • bazmagoo

            I agree, I think Smyth is a mercy signing as a 13/14th forward so he can retire an Oiler when he chooses to retire. Personally I think he’d be capable in that role, and might exceed expectations. Would like to see MacT get him down to $1 million per season though, on a 1 year deal maximum.

          • reaperfunkss

            Makes sense.

            Personally I think he should retire and get away from this stink.

            I love you Smytty you will always be an Oiler great in my eyes. Too bad these last couple seasons have been losing and REEAALLY sorry you missed out on a Cup in LA to be here. You deserve a Ring.

          • Oliveoiler

            As much as I like Ferrance, Smytty should have the “C”. If anyone personifies the definition of an Oiler, then Smytty is the real deal. HE needs his statue in front of the new arena, hell, it should even be named after him.

          • Serious Gord

            I beg to differ. Smyth has been unimpressive since re-signing with the oils and really wasn’t that great during his Odessey away from the team. He certainly takes nights off; really isn’t that chippy; doesn’t seem to be much of a mentor or leader.

            He is far more myth than reality. But then the same can be said for a lot of players in the oilers past Glenn Anderson being #1 in that regard.

          • Jason Gregor

            Glenn Anderson was a myth who is in the Hall of Fame…His teammates said he was the most clutch player they had, but you say he is a myth. Good one.

            Smyth has been a very good player. He isn’t great, but no one ever said he was. It is ridiculous that you suggest he is a myth or not a leader. The guy led by his actions on the ice. Showed up, played hard, and never took a shift off for ten years.

            The need for you to want to tear a guy down late in his career is pointless.

          • Serious Gord

            Anderson shouldn’t be in the HOF – nor should several others (Clarke Gilles comes to mind) a life-long second liner who got to play against other teams second line with mess as his center man. Only a dozen or so more points than theo fluery who played super-tough first line minutes and isn’t in the HOF.

            As for his teammates pumping his (and by connection, their) tires is hardly surprising and surely you don’t take their word for it.

            As for Smyth – he was an effective player back in the day – never said he wasn’t. But please point to evidence that he was ever a team leader other than by example and while he may have never taken a shift off in his first ten years he certainly has since so what message/leadership does that give his current teammates? And even though he has faded skills wise there remains nil evidence that he has assumed the role of mentor/leader. Thus the commenters claims above are based on myth not fact.

          • Jason Gregor

            I don’t have to take their word for it. Anderson’s stats showed his ability to score big goals when the team needed it. Also was fearless going to net when they were glued on, and made his own space on the ice. Yes, he was a brutal player.

            I guess you are smarter than the Hall of Famer voters, which by the way needed 75% votes to put him in.

          • Serious Gord

            The same clubby group that keeps lindros out? Give me a break – the HOF committee has no credibility.

            Anderson never played a second of first line minutes his entire career.

            He had the great good fortune of being on the greatest team in history in the highest scoring era – that pads his playoff numbers. Take the playoffs out of the equation and he is comparable to and found inferior to theoren fleury and others.
            On a more mortal team he would have been an also ran – which is what he was when he played on those kind of teams.

          • reaperfunkss

            c’mon this has to be a troll. Anderson was one of the cornerstones of that offense. Wasn’t good fortune it was hard work and drive to succeed.

            hate to say this but the HOF committee also put Sundin in on his first ballot only cause he was a leaf. But that doesnt take away from how great anderson was.

          • Serious Gord

            He was a good – not great – player and every team he played on treated him as such.

            The HOF is a joke and Anderson being in it is proof – much as Clark gillies is in because of his role in the NYI dynasty.

          • Serious Gord

            Messier was second behind the third best player in hockey history (Orr and Lemieux being one and two) so he got the great benefit of second line minutes to pad his numbers but he was a dominant player on every team he played for.

            Anderson played behind kurri – big difference and he never played first line anywhere.

            As for sundin mentioned above he was the second best swede to ever play for the leafs. But he was also the softest 6’5″ player of his era. Got a lot of easy points when the leafs were often awful.

          • Serious Gord

            Ask bob stauffer if I’m joking. He and I have had this discussion (along with my claim that the worst draft mistake ever was Mtl picking lafleur (stauffers hero) over Dionne) on several occasions over the years.

          • **

            Bob Stauffer is a joke. Oilers apologist and only defends his own views, even when people throw stats at him to prove him wrong. Ha ha you think mentioning Bob Stauffer here will add credibility to your argument. Thanks for the laugh.

            This post is in response to Serious Gord ( I don’t know why the quote didn’t show):

            “Ask bob stauffer if I’m joking. He and I have had this discussion (along with my claim that the worst draft mistake ever was Mtl picking lafleur (stauffers hero) over Dionne) on several occasions over the years.”

          • Rocket

            dude youre so negative…….didnt your parents hug you as a kid….i havent heard or read anything positive from you on the radio or this website…..lighten up man….

            mind you not much positive to talk about this years version of oilers

          • vetinari

            Let’s take a quick look at ‘ol Glenn…

            Glenn Anderson,

            Regular season stats- 1129 games, 498 goals, 601 assists for 1,099 pts.

            Playoffs- 225 games, 93 goals, 121 assists for 214 points.

            4 time NHL All-Star

            6 Stanley Cups

            @Serious Gord, buy some eyeglasses my friend because THAT is what a HHOF career looks like…

          • Spydyr

            What those stats fail to show is he was the most fearless forward going to the net I have ever seen.In the time when nets were held in the ice with pipes.

            He took absolutely no crap from anyone.More then a few times oppositions players got hit by a “errant” high stick trying to run him.

            Finally…”weebles wobble but they don’t fall down .”He was the hardest guy in the NHL to knock down.

            Oh the memories.

            Edit : talk about serendipity post 89 a player who is almost a mirror opposite when it comes to playing hard and being hard to play against.

          • reaperfunkss

            makes me weep thinking about the good ole days and having to watch this version.

            edit/ so far so good tonight however…..dare i hope. Someone hold me.

          • reaperfunkss

            THANK YOU!!!! Grew up watching Anderson play in the 80’s Dude was awesome. Who at that time didn’t get chills when he broke in on the wing? It was gonna be a goal or a glorious crash or both. He knew how to pay the price.

            Smytty has been a fantastic Oiler and i just hate that he has to get painted with the stink that this franchise has become.

          • reaperfunkss

            I was a big fan of Smyth for years, but he is no longer a NHL player. For that matter neither are 1/2 the defence playing for this team. Larson, Belov, Putrid. I would gladly take a one-dimensional d-man like Peckham or Fistric than a zero dimensional player. They are so worried about a number one defenceman that the ignore the 3 through 6 defence they have that suck.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Telling the guy to lay down in traffic might be a bit much, but ‘coagulated gravy eating hot dog bun bastard onion ring sasquatch’ is pure gold of a Trailer Park Boys level.

  • Oliveoiler

    Downtrodden eh? Well, how about playing the way you KNOW you can – Minni 6-1, Nuks 7-2, Avs 8-2, Hawks 8-4 as you have before? How about playing the way you outplayed Boston for the last 40 minutes? How about you play as a team instead of 12 individual players? How about playing so your fans don’t boo you off the ice? How about playing the way you promised when you were 12 years old if you made the NHL, Finally, how about playing as if the threat of demotion/loss of salary was a direct result of EVERY game. Win please – regularly. Just a thought

    • Batfink

      Agree with your comments, but how did you come by your handle? I was Oliveoiler until about a month ago when my password ceased to work. Contacted Wanye with no success. I’m still Oliveoiler on, however. Now I know how Madjam felt, but at least I agree with my doppelganger!

      • bazmagoo

        sorry! I’ve been an Oliveoiler for about 10 years, since my grandson gave me the name. It’s my email addy and also on the back of my Oilers’ jersey. I guess we must be sisters!!! Merry Christmas, GO OILERS!!!

        • Batfink

          Missed game due to kid’s xmas party. That’s what the Oilers have reduced me to. Rather spend time round screaming spoilt brats than watch the game…Wait, that’s still the oilers, isn’t it? 10-4 on the name good buddy, merry xmas to you too!

  • Gregor you wrote “LaBarbera was the wrong choice in the summer, and the Oilers will need to do a better job next year when they go searching for a back up. They can’t sign the wrong guy again.” Don’t you think a higher priority will be when they go looking for a no.1 goalie?

    Does anyone know if the bookies will be giving odds on the ratio of shots on goal tonight? i.e. shot by Ducks:shots by Oil. Over under of about 2 would seem about right.

    • Jason Gregor

      LaBarbera was signed as a back up in the summer. The Oilers didn’t go looking for a starter last summer, so I didn’t mention it in this scenario.

      They likely will be looking for a starter this summer, but that is a different discussion. It would be higher priority, agreed, but that still means they have to sign the proper back up. Their starter won’t play 70 games.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers can’t even get their desktop wallpaper right.It says today’s game is on at four . Maybe that is why no one has heard from Lowe.He is busy f-ing up the wallpaper too.

  • **

    So Arcobello has one bad game, where everyone else had one bad game, and he gets demoted right away. And then you sit your biggest dman for a game against one of the biggest teams. Eakins is a fu$%#ng joke

  • Reg Dunlop

    How about that! Shoot the puck and sometimes it goes in. It is so odd to see a tender in the oiler net that moves, follows the play and isn’t on his knees when the opposition crosses the blueline.

  • YFC Prez

    What’s going on. They’re shooting. Getting to the net. Finishing checks. And hustling back after. Aggressive forcheck and backcheck.

    This team confuses me nightly.

    Edit : let’s see if it keeps up now that it’s tied

    • YFC Prez

      Anyone know kassians address. I think he deserves some Christmas cards. His lack of class last game just may have been the mouse that finally sank the ship. They look like a team. Let’s see them kill this one off for Potter.

  • vetinari

    I hate to say it but overall, I like Bryzer’s game a lot and think that a veteran goalie settles the team down better than “Up and Down-nyk”.

    Bryzer’s positioning is way better, he plays the shot and then follows it to the ice in case he drops it (which is rarely), he knows how to look around players in his crease, he knows where the play is going and responds by repositioning himself, and he actually directs his defencemen… overall, when he has started, the team looks less jittery and disorganized in front of him.

    • reaperfunkss

      maybe he isn’t. His mask in philly was solid black wasn’t it?

      maybe solid white is to reverse his fortune. (i say with having no real clue what he intends)

  • Serious Gord

    We played hard but I can’t help but feel like the Ducks weren’t on their game tonight. We made plenty of mistakes that they didn’t make us pay for. Another night, another loss. At least Bryz gives me some confidence that we might win the odd game.

  • Zamboni Driver

    What a joke , fans think they might have players that may make the Olympic team this year. They have never played under pressure, the only pressure on them is not to embarrass themselves. And they fold under that pressure most nights

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    all in all, Bryz kept us in this game, making saves that Dubnyk would have let in and we’d have been out of it in the 2nd period. please keep playing him!!