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.


  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I hope Bryz plays 45 of our last 48 games so we can see if he’s a goalie we might want to re-sign at the end of the year. good luck to Bryz…he’ll need it with the defense he has in front of him!

    • S cottV

      I know this won’t be popular but you showcase him too much and he takes one of several offers out of the north pole.

      Blend in both Bryz and Dubnyk and continue to hope they both play well off of each other.

      If they do – a better chance to sign one or both at a reasonable amount.

    • S cottV

      I know this won’t be popular but you showcase him too much and he takes one of several offers out of the north pole.

      Blend in both Bryz and Dubnyk and continue to hope they both play well off of each other.

      If they do – a better chance to sign one or both at a reasonable amount.

  • Slapshot

    “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.”

    We have been hearing that for the past 7 seasons,”the Oilers will need to do a better job next year”.When will we finally get to say the Oiler’s did a great job this year,I hope its in this decade!!!!

  • Slapshot

    You know what would be really nice this year as a gift from Wanye and co? A button to report ridiculous posts that cross a line like #14. Encouraging someone to lay in traffic to end themselves and then calling them a bastard is bad form no matter how you slice it. People need to be better. That sh*t isn’t funny.

    • Slapshot

      You’re absolutely right. In a hungover grumpiness I posted something absolutely not funny and I feel quite bad about it. Im very sorry and I sent an email requesting that it be removed as there is currently no option to do so on the site personally.

      @dvasteroid 76, I’m very sorry for saying that. It was unwarranted and inexcusable. I may not agree with you, but I had no right to say that. It was purely in pursuit of humour, but it crossed the line.

      The Oilers losing so much is bringing out the worst in all of us. 🙁

  • Spydyr

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Once again men against boys. With predictable results.

    The Oilers get dominated so much Gagner comes out for the third with his bottom chin guard removed but he is wearing “the Gimp” mask.

  • 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.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    good point was made by Gregor though….despite not having a true #1 d-man, the Ducks are winning! yes, it helps to have Teemu, Getzlaf, Perry…but their defense has been very steady. this is what i believe the Oilers need to focus on….instead of endlessly obsessing about getting a #1 d-man, the Oil should try to build a good, solid defense like the Ducks have. you really can win without a true #1 d-man.

    • S cottV

      If the Oilers already had several solid defensemen on the roster then I would agree with your point but being that they only have 1,(Ference & even that’s debatable), it would take at least 1 if not 2 stud defensemen to restabalize one of the weakest blue lines in the NHL.

      BTW, can they change the name of “Oil Change” to “Bad Oil” or is it too late?

    • Spoils

      two of the nucks DMen were basically waiver pick ups and the nucks looked like they were playing National Hockey Premier League.

      Oilers seriously NEED to be better.

      Toews had a stanley at 22. Gretz had 92 goals at 21.

      They have shown glimpses, they need to want it A LOT more.

    • reaperfunkss

      Agree about the building a steady defense without a #1 but how many teams win a cup without a true #1?

      If Bryz does well and is in position to get another nhl contract after this year, are we sure he will resign here?

      Just wondering

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        valid points! i was assuming the Oilers could just start *winning* with a solid, #1-less defense first, and maybe worry about finding one when they start winning….but i do realize that the Kings, Hawks and Bruins all do have true #1 d-men and have won cups, while the Devils went to the finals without one and didn’t win.

        as far as Bryz goes, i wonder why everyone on every hockey board i go on thinks that if Bryz shows well here, he’s a goner? i understand he said some things about Edmonton in the past, but he’s here and hasn’t complained at all as far as i know? i’m just not as convinced as some that if he plays well, he’ll take the first good offer from someone else and run.

        • reaperfunkss

          The only thing that makes me weary is that when Bryz was with phoenix and they were rumored to be returning to the peg he stated openly that he would not go he does not want to live in the cold. Temperature wise it is not much different here.

          However as one gets older their perspective changes. he said his kids play hockey and figure skate and Edmonton is a very good place for kids who enjoy that.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Good teams pace themselves during the season , Anaheim did enough to win.

    Fans will think Oilers competed but Anaheim brought their B game.

    Oilers have 21 losses already in 35 games. 8 years wasted

  • Spydyr

    For all the Nuck haters, including me, the Nucks not only handed us our lunch but they included a take out bag for the Bruins. I’ll say it again.The Bruins might be the 6-7 in the WEST.

    IB will need to stand on his head for the Oilers to have any chance. Getzlaf and Perry are both in Olympic form. Hall and Ebs should pay close attention tonight. This is what OLYMPIC level athletes look and play like.

  • bazmagoo

    Won’t make a difference who is in net. If Anaheim decide to play a 60 minute game .

    Oilers need to find a non- contact league. They cannot compete in the NHL.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • **

    So the Ducks coasted to victory. They barely even tried while the Oilers looked like they were playing game 7 of the SCF. Eakins genius moves didn’t quite work. But Gagner scored and had a good night on the FO, so now let’ shere how he’s back and he’s such a great player *yawns*.
    PS: What a difference a solid goalie makes. Bryz didn’t look shaky at all tonight. Even the Ducks respected him, i didn’t see any shot from mid ice.

  • 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!

  • S cottV

    1. The Fab 4 will float around then retire to a club for a few .
    2. Perron will work his rear off.
    3. Bryz gets yanked
    4. The D will be awfull
    5. The Oil will get pumped 5-1

  • Reg Dunlop

    Why does the team so convinced that Arcobello isn’t a full-time NHL player? I see a player making the most of his opportunity and the team thinks he is too small. He and Perron are the 2 most physically effective forwards on the team.

  • PutzStew

    I just wanted to point out the Edmonton is now 6 points behind the “Favorite to last in the West”, Calgary Flames right now, and the Flames have 2 games in hand.

    So two things.

    1) How are the (Supposed) media going to spin this weekend in to a positive. I’m sure it will be humorous and will continue to make people such as Gregor and Stauffer looking even more foolish then they do already, as the try to maintain paying employment and not face the wrath of the Oilers. In other words they are going to avoid the elephant in the room and won’t lay the blame on the feet of management, development or anyone in the oilers organization. I’m sure they will find a way to blame Dubnyk for tonights loose some how or pump the tires of Hall for the Olympics.

    2) Maybe this is Edmonton’s plan to win the battle of Alberta by getting higher draft picks then Calgary, thus slowing their rebuild.

    Naw….Edmonton just sucks.