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.


  • Wohin gehst du?

    We need a real top pairing defenseman. Suban would look great in Oilers silks. Habs still don’t use him as a true #1 and he’ll want, and get a lot more cash next year., The Yak and this year’s 1st may fetch us Suban.

    He’s still a restricted free agent. Maybe an offer sheet of 6×7 mill. (Then let the Habs talk trade with us.)

    • PutzStew

      So you would make the offer sheet and if by some chance Subban did sign it, Oilers would have to give up the next 4 1st for him.

      So what would you offer Montreal in trade after signing him to this offer sheet???? I’m sure montreal would be happy to take the Oilers Next 4 1sts. You might be able to offer up an Eberle or Yak to recoup one of them but If I would was them I would want the 1sts.

      Toronto overpaid the offer sheet value for Kessle to get him. ANyone wanting Subban would have to do the same.

      • Zamboni Driver

        Norris trophy winners are not like Vezina winners. There have been a lot of flash in the pan goalies. Not so for Norris winners. 4 1st Rd picks do not come with a guarantees. Suban most certainly does.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • Chris.

    Game Day Prediction: The Ducks take most of Sunday off and the Jekyll and Hyde Oiler offence returns in a big way for an unlikely 6-5 shoot out win.

    Obvious Game Day Prediction: David Perron scores three goals and the winner in the shoot out. After the game, even Bob Stauffer will have verbalize the growing question: How can a cap casualty player from the Blues walk on to our team and be so much more dominant offensively than all three of our first overall picks? Also, Penner will be a +3 somehow.

    Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: There will be a goaltending controversy in Edmonton after today… What controversy you may ask? The one that starts after Bryzgalov lets in 3 goals on 7 shots in the first period before being pulled. UUgggg. We can all spend Monday critiquing the win!

  • Serious Gord

    In other serious news a fan of the football club Manchester United killed himself after Man U lost in 2 consecutive games. In other news half of Edmonton jumped fron the high level bridge on Friday night.

  • reaperfunkss

    Haha another birdie for snowpants. -1.

    What a great player. 5 goals in the last 40 some games dating back to last year?

    All the while being an absolute disaster defensively. Wow.

    Not a 2C on a team that wants to be better than bottom 5 every season.

  • 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

  • Serious Gord

    Anaheim is due to lose. Perhaps today is the day.

    5-4 oil. Bryz plays very well and the regular set will begin the “MacT is a genius for getting him” refrain.

    As for attracting a first line defense men via free agency – for get it.
    No high end player is moving to EDM while the current management is in place. Name one reason besides a ridiculous overpay why a top end player would chose to come to EDM to play the potentially best years of their career? It’s catch 22 replete with Katz playing orsen Welle’s brig gen deedle and Klowe playing bob newharts major major.

    The only route is via a trade – probably sending low cost prospects back for an over pay.

    • S cottV

      I agree with the free agent assessment. We are limited in appeal to mostly guys who grew up here and they are coming back for the wrong reasons.

      We all know that Edmonton is not the ideal place on the mind of any free agent, from the standpoint of the city itself.

      Attracting the right free agents is probably a must, if the Oilers are ever again to be Stanley Cup contenders.

      • Serious Gord

        But attracting free agents for the right reasons means the team has be consistently competitive and in the cup race mix for several years and have the kind of high class respected management similar to teams like Detroit.

        And we can’t do that or at least it will be extremely difficult if we don’t sign some of the right free agents – hence my catch 22 analogy.

        (Note to self: Great movie – must watch it again soon)

  • S cottV

    82 games is a long season, teams pace themselves and bring their A game to some games and then there is the B game. Oilers rarely see the other teams A game. Teams try not to underestimate the Oilers because they are bad team.

    Anaheim will do enough to win.

  • 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

  • Comrade GT

    If we could put in great efforts like than consistently we could scratch and claw our way to .500. Its not the playoffs but at least it will be a good building block going into next year. As appose to these new mini rebuilds that happen every time a new coach is hired.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Spydyr

    “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.”

    I’m more concerned they do a better job next year when they go searching for a starter.