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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


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.


  • 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.

  • Serious Gord

    When sleeping beauty awakens, all will be well in the Oilers’ world, grass will be green all year in Edmonton vehicle plug ins a thing of the past, Flames and Nuks will be bottom feeders and the Oil will slug champers from the cup. We just have to figure out who/where sleeping beauty is and how to wake him up!

    • Jason Gregor

      Of course you will, same as I will. Masochists we may be, but we are TRUE fans first. Try reverse psychology – I did with the Avs game, rooted for them until we were up by 3, then changed tactics – it worked YAY!!!! Said 50 Hail Marys afterwards tho, as I was on a guilt trip…………. need to go to confession – NAH, not till after the season ends.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      and boring if you are an Oiler fan. i missed the 3rd period of that game…had things to do, but when i found out i just missed seeing more Canuck goals, and that the Oilers didn’t even get ONE goal….AGAIN, i wasn’t really surprised and was actually glad i spared myself from having to watch the 3rd.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Another men against boys effort tonight. The same pussy Oilers get run over at every opportunity without the Ducks having to break a sweat.

    Good thing this throttling won’t happen in front of the home folk. Penner with the hatty, in an 8-1 gong show effort.

    Keep in mind…. this is progress according to those teets in management. These kids can’t bail management out soon enough.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I’m aware of that. I was just wondering why we’re seeing them at United Cycle now. CCM made them, wasn’t sure if the Oil were introing a new third in the near future.

        • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

          Can’t say I’ve heard anything about a new third jersey. Wouldn’t surprise me though. I suspect jersey sales are way down this year. Gotta get the fan base motivated to spend their hard earned dollars one way or another.

  • Spydyr

    There seems to be an extra amount of trashes today, is it because both the Leaf’s and the Canuck’s won and we are all grumpy or a bunch of trolling going on? Wayne makes a lot of cash on trashes but it would be nice to be able to see who is trashing and propping like Facebook and then people might not be so quick to trash someone.
    (CWD is going to pay big time on this one)

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Breezy’s gonna have to stand on his head tonight. Not looking forward to watching the boys get thrown around, but Hall and Ebs could learn a thing or two from Getzlaf and Perry, let’s hope they’re paying attention.

    EDIT: Holy run on sentence, Batman.

  • I tried it at home

    I was just checking out 1260’s webpage and their sign on is Eberle teaching cellies at hockey school. My immediate reaction was, “how the hell would he know?”. Just goes to show how much these guys have fallen in public perception. 6 million a year for what, again? Oh, and for MacT signing a better choice as back up goalie this summer, as long as he makes a better choice on the number 1, Ill be happy.

    • **

      Couldn’t agree more. Kevin Lowe’s job will be done after the team moves to Seattle. A few of the kids will demand trades soon. That remains my big fear. Someone has to show Smith & Bucky the door now. That may be the only bold move this year…
      BTW Galchenyuk playing great again in the 1st vs Florida right now on TSN-Habs…

  • 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.

  • **

    When we were looking for a goaltender and MacT heard Labarbara’s name……….exactly what made him think this guy would help us? For that matter what made Mac T think that signing Ference would make us better?

    I know that when I heard their names, nothing about these players got me excited. It has been well documented that we need strong and large puck moving defensemen to help our little forwards out. Mac T has some sould searching to do……..he ran Penner out of town, and since we have not found any forwards with size that can do what he can do.

    I’m sure that he will be licking his chops as well as Cogs!

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Barbie played worse than he ever had when he was here. His numbers suggested a suitable backup, as Dubey’s numbers suggested he was an average starter. Guess numbers aren’t everything, eh.

  • **

    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

  • vetinari

    Two things

    A) Gene Principe is a tool and can’t stand him and b) wtf is Gags doing on the second line yet again?

    Well, here we go, practice time for the Ducks!!!

  • 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

    I gotta throw it out there even though it’s not really all that fair with the season he’s had so far. With the benefit of hindsight would you keep Gags and send Cogs packing like they did or would you still like to see cogliano with the oil and Gags elsewhere.

    Props for Gags. Trash for Cogs.

    Lol. I always wanted to do one of these.

    • reaperfunkss

      I believe cogs needed a new team. gain a different perspective perhaps (or actually be in a good organization that can develop players)

      Gregor has made mention on his show several times that some of the youngins will be traded and I believe this is true.

      Hypothetical: What if Dubnyk ends up in Phoenix next season under Sean Burke as goalie coach. Could he be fixed?

      And if so would there be ramifications here in the coaching staff?

  • Reg Dunlop

    A couple of possibilities; 1)the young oil are inconsistent and tonight they are on 2)the Ducks are not really as good as their record 3)the Ducks thought that this game was a free spot on the bingo card. I say 1-20%, 2-20%, 3-100%.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Debrusk: ‘Goaltenders are a lot tougher than people give them credit for’. When, in the history of televised hockey, has any commentator questioned the toughness of a tender who exposes himself to damage by 100mph pucks daily? What a moron.

    • 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.

  • Rocket

    I couldn’t see who it was but an Aneheim defender lays a hit from behind on Hall who crashes into the boards and there is no call.

    Potter does the same and he gets a game. SMH

  • Reg Dunlop

    What an amazing difference having a NHL goalie makes. Everyone’s attitude and compete level raises knowing that victory is possible tonight. Here’s hoping we never see DD again.

  • 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.