At the start of the season the Oilers’ goal was to be in the playoff hunt, and they are, but they need to win tonight to stay near the pack. So far, the Oilers are 0-3 in this stretch drive, and I suspect the players will be hungry to show they can win a meaningful game, not just play in them.

The first goal will be crucial tonight.

The Coyotes have been shut out in five of their last nine road games. Even Wanye doesn’t get blanked that much during his final tour of the bar at two in the morning.

Lately both the Coyotes and Oilers are getting outshot. The Oilers have been outshot 256-202 in their last eight games, but they are 5-3. The Coyotes have been outshot 285-231, but they are 4-2-2. Neither trend will last, and the Oilers must take advantage of a team that lacks any serious offensive punch.

Prior to their loss in Vancouver on Monday the Coyotes had won three straight, with three different goalies registering the win. Mike Smith blanked Colorado 4-0 on Saturday, Chad Johnson beat Detroit 4-2 last Thursday and Jason LaBarbera made 39 saves to beat the Kings 3-1 on April 2nd.

Smith will get the start tonight, but due to injuries he has yet to find the consistency he had last year when he led the Coyotes to the conference final. The Oilers need to get after Smith and the Coyotes.











Ales Hemsky’s foot is good enough to play, so he’ll draw back in and Jones will sit. Dubnyk is 5th in SV% amongst goalies with at least 20 starts and he’ll start his 32 game, good for 9th most in the NHL.


  • You wonder how much the uncertainty of their future impacts the Coyotes? Dave Tippett doesn’t have a contract extension, and even though Gary Bettman says, "There is more interest than ever in purchasing the Coyotes," I won’t believe it until a deal is done. That uncertainty has to wear a guy down eventually, no?
  • Dubnyk and Khabibulin each have a .923 SV%. The team SV% is .918 due to empty net goals and Yann Danis’ 110 minutes of .881SV%. The only teams with a better SV% than the Oilers are: Ottawa, .934, Boston, .926, Chicago .922 and the Rangers with .920. Those who believe goaltending is one of the Oilers’ main issues need to realize that isn’t the case. Goaltending isn’t the problem in Edmonton.
  • The Oilers will re-evaluate Eric Belanger tomorrow and if he is healthy enough to play then Anton Lander will be sent to OKC. I doubt Belanger draws in for Smithson, but the Oilers want to have a centre around in case of emergency.
  • Justin Schultz is a lock to make the all-rookie team, but he will need an excellent final 9 games to be a finalist for the Calder I suspect. In a short season, nine games is almost 19% of the season so how he finishes will play a big role in voting.
  • The Oilers outshot the Ducks 11-2 in the first 11:49 on Monday, but then the Ducks had 17 consecutive shots. The Oilers next shot didn’t come until 4:55 into the 2nd. They went 13+ minutes without a shot, and gave up 17. The Ducks did have two powerplays during that time, but the Oilers can’t afford unproductive stretches like that if they plan on beating top teams.


Are you good at karaoke? We will find out who is the best on May 17th. Submit a short video of you skills and the top-12 will perform May 17th at On The Rocks. Send video to The top-12 will compete with a few special "celebrity" guests. It will a be a great night, and the winner will also perform on stage with the band after being crowned King or Queen of Karaoke. No ballads allowed. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow for this  charity event.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both teams are desperate for a win, and instead of playing it safe they play run and gun to the delight of the crowd. Oilers win 5-4.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: With last change Krueger will get even better matchups for the 4/93/14 combo and they will combine for three goals. Hall picks up three points to move into a tie for 6th place in NHL scoring.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After nailing two NSOGDP (Flames quote and Nick Schultz goal) on the four game road trip, it will be difficult to accurately predict the unexpected…However….

After watching N. Schultz light up the Ducks on Monday Ryan Smyth is inspired. Smyth hasn’t scored in 23 games, the 2nd longest goal-scoring drought in his career — he went 25-games between Oct 20th-Dec 15th, 1998–, but he ends that tonight. Smyth has more points vs. Phoenix than any other franchise, 59, and he picks up his 60th point and 26th goal vs. Phoenix. It will be a patented wrap around.  


  • wiseguy

    This Dubnyk debate is entertaining. Yes he lets in the odd softy what goalie doesn’t? Dubnyk has been very consistent this year (every goalie in the NHL has bad games), Dubnyk is a #1 goalie in the NHL and its not even a debate anymore, add in the defence that is playing in front of him and what he has done this year is even more amazing. Put him on the Canucks and I bet he puts up better numbers then Schneider.

    To sum up the “but he allows soft goals so he isn’t a #1 goalie in the NHL” if my goalie makes 40 saves a night but allows one from the other end of the rink as the only goal he allows I could care less because my team should be able to score at least 2 goals.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)


      and you know who let in soft goals beyond your wildest imagination……

      GRANT FUHR! He had a 5 hole the size of Rama Lama’s Steve Tambellini file…..

      AND he won a few cups…was considered a clutch goaltender….and has his banner hanging in the rafters next to all the other Oiler GREATS!

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        There’s a reasonable chance that Dubnyk might outperform Schneider in Vancouver…..Do you know why?……because GOOD GOALTENDING IS A FUNCTION OF TEAM DEFENSE…..

        (I’m old and I sometimes repeat myself…hell, I’m so old I even repeated ON myself)..

        Look at Bryzgalov….MVP on Pheonix…Can’t stop a beachball in Philly…..Smith…Can’t stop a beachball in Tampa…MVP in Pheonix…

        In those years that Buffalo is a team committed to team D….Ryan Miller is an MVP….Buffalo loses its way…Miller is crap..

        Henrik Lundquist is a league MVP…Rangers trade away a few key defensive forwards to add more scoring (and lose a dman or two to injury) Lundquist looks average at best.

        You think Rask or Tim Thomas are MVP’s if they play for Tampa Bay?

        It’s no coincidence that the best goalie of all time, Martin Brodure played his entire career for one of the most Defensive style teams in NHL history. Etc Etc Etc

        • Alsker

          I asked if Van would trade Schneider for Dubnyk. If you posted that question to the general hockey watching public right now thers no question in my mind the overwhelming majority of responses would be NO. If you’ve watched any amount of hockey in your life you should be able to tell that Schneider has more talent than Dubnyk…he’s quicker, moves better and is much more athletic. End of story.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hey we have absolutely nothing to worry about……..we won five games in a row and Tamby told the world, he has faith in the current group of players.

    Now if RK can deliver his ” I live in a van down by the river speech” , then we will win all the rest of the games, make the playoffs, and win the stanley cup!

    Everything is fine.

  • northof51

    One last point about the goal tending – if Dubnyk isn’t a true #1, as is being argued by some, who is? How do we acquire said #1? Will that goalie make us better?

    I personally think that we are weakest within our top 4 dmen, and then everything else is complementary. Good goaltending (the same that Dubnyk has provided) and good D can turn also-rans into really good teams. With our burgeoning superstars up front, this team could really be something with another top tier defender.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Congratulations on the N Schultz Crystal Ball call, nicely done.

    I agree with you on Smytty but methinks he will use the rarely seen and often forgotten but statisticlly very sucessfull Ryan Smyth slapshot!!

    I expect a multi-pointer from Gagner tonight. He has been playing like a man possesed, he created at least 5 clear penalty dynamics last game through incredible hardnosed work in dirty areas and was snakebitten by the refs, in fact in the 3rd period he was ripping up the middle and two guys literally tackled him and there was no call at that critical point after he had done the exact right things. Gagner is very respectfull of the refs and has been his entire career, he takes incredible punishment and doesnt complain much, I believe we will see this dynamic balance itself out and that Sam also knows things balance out in the end and he will be working extra hard tonight hoping this is the game the balance happens in.

    Yakupov seems to be getting stronger and stronger out there and I think has earned a stay of execution from Ralph and he should be on the 2nd line with Sam and MPS.

    Ralph has really outdone himself, he has avoided the lines of



    In that order all year long, he has specificcly avoided these combos, Ralph sure found a way to dance around them all year long and I have harped on him relentlessly for it since game 3 of this year.

    Get over it Ralph because I will not let you forget the record as you yourself chose to write it this year, be accountable. Ralph Krueger still refuses to put Hemsky on the 3rd line as a zone entry specialist and Yakupov on the 2nd as a sniper with MPS as his zone entry specialist as they belong, he has kissed his own sister with tonights lines but he just refuses to buckle under to the reality I have been jamming down his throat since game 3, that these lines I list are and will be our proper dynamic fits.

    Until we make personell changes these will ALWAYS be the optimal lines because there is a SYSTEM behind my choices, there is a Program being utilised, it isnt guess work or gut feelings, it is NewAge Hockey System catalysed Intuative Dynamic Managment being expressed.

    Simply switch Hemsky and Yakupov and we are set, Gagner is hot on the trigger right now and Yakupov has been passing like Dougie Weight lately. Someone please show Yakupov some Weight footage so he can see his own future ASAP, the Kid is a Weight clone, I bet he can really “Do The Dougie” from three feet into the o-zone just above the half-boards, weights old wheelhouse. I bet a hundred bucks that if you just showed Nail Weights footage for an hour before the game we would see patented moves tailormade for Nail but executed by Weight.

    There is no one on our team who has the skillset to pass the puck with Yakupovs velocity and accuracy to teach Nail the NHL perspective to match his skillset, his passes are borderline shots every time, it is beautiful to watch and the last Oilers I saw with that ability was Doug Weight. So show Nail how another elite passer who his skillset exactly replicates operates at the elite level and give him some videos of exact situations and lanes Dougie used to break his linemates into the net area and set up the onetimer safely without getting turned around.

    The coaches seem to have designed the playaction to keep Nail in Douglases wheelhouse and they are a near-perfect match in stature,physicality,and skill levels, so lets let Nail “Do the Dougie” and have Gagner and MPS shoot it up, Magnus on the one-timer crossice, and Sam on the redirections and scoop-shots from those crispy passes to the middle. Weight embraces the NHS so lets celebrate his history here and teach Nail all of his old tricks, what better mentor for Yakupov to have from the Oilers closet of teachers.

    I sense a high scoring game from both teams, so I call it 8-7 Oilers in OT. I think both teams will be scoring 5on5 and that special teams will be working for both as well, it will be a Runaway Train I believe.

    • Ogie Oilthorpe

      I can’t even include your quote in the reply it was so freakin long.

      However, I agree. I don’t understand why at home they don’t swap Yak and Hemsky and give 91-89-64 some softer minutes and let the vet line take the toughs..

  • Mark-LW

    If a soft goal deflates the team, why didn’t Anaheim fold after Schultz threw that frisbee into the net on Monday from the left hashmarks?

    DD’s save percentage puts him in the top half of the league’s starters. His team doesn’t score enough goals, and doesn’t prevent enough shots. So they lose, despite his contribution.

    If you don’t understand the problem you are no better than Tambellini. That’s all we need, misguided encouragement for ST to downgrad the goaltending like he has every other position.

    Identify the real problem, don’t fix what isn’t broken.

    • match16

      Well, it also depends what position your team is in. If you’re up 5-0 and your goalie lets in a soft one late, teammates can laugh about him ruining his shutout. On the other hand, if you’re down 1-0 and your team is making a push for the tie, then your goalie lets in a softie, it can really deflate the team.

      I don’t think he’s saying Dubnyk is bad, just that always being focused and ready and not letting in those softies is what separates the elites from the above averages.

      • mr_nihilism

        It’s not about the score, it’s about whether you know as a team that you are good enough to overcome a bad bounce, missed call or soft goal.

        The Oiler skaters are not good enough, collectively. DD stops pucks for a living and he stops them at a respectable save percentage. The psyche of the team, and the causes of it, are up to ST to fix, not DD.

        But let’s say you are right, and the cure is to go get an elite goaltender. Who has to make that trade or sign that FA? The guy that does the trades and signs the UFAs today? Thanks but no thanks.

        • match16

          I wasn’t necessarily saying in the Oiler’s case. You asked why the Ducks weren’t deflated from the weak goal Schultz scored so I was stating it can depend on the team’s position.

          Personally, I think Dubnyk is a legitimate #1 in the NHL and is still improving. I never said “the cure was to get an elite goalteneder.”

          Quit assuming things.

  • Mark-LW

    Doobie has come a long way, there’s no doubt. his rebound control is night and day from last season. The soft goal syndrome will be overcome as well with some more time.

    Like most goalies he struggles when he plays to deep in his net but this doesn’t happen nearly as often these days.

    Does make me nervous when playing the puck behind net. just stop it for your dman and get outta the way! lol.

  • Mark-LW

    Looking forward to watching the last game every between the Edmonton Oilers and the Phoenix Coyotes. Long overdue because as bad as their attendance is, it’s inflated by Canadians vacationing in the desert. Good riddance.

    I don’t care what our odds are, I want to see us win. We’ve done enough sucking. Fan appreciation night? All I want from the team is a win.

    I’ll say 4-2 Oilers. Hall leads the way with 2 goals and an assist.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I guess if you want to dissect Dvorak goal # 2, I guess you could ask why the D didn’t do a better job of boxing out the screen in front of Dubnyk. You could also ask who was the Oiler skater that Dvorak beat to the front of the net.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Glad to see some people are seeing it my way. Makes me feel less crazy.

    Ryan Miller is considered one of the best goalies in the league. His SV% has been over 0.920 once.

    Also, f**k Millhouse. I hope I meet him one day.

    • Mark-LW

      And lots of goalies have had SV% over 0.920 more than once.

      What is your point?

      EDIT: No one is talking about long term performance. And does anyone here consider Ryan Miller one of the best goalies in the league? The point is that Dubnyk is keeping the team in games (save for maybe two) more often than the other way around.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    @ TDSM31: I disagree. If you watch Dubnyk’s head, he was clearly searching for the puck, meaning that screen in front of him was effective. He just got down in time to get a pad on the puck. And you want him to control the rebound on top of that?!?!? Maybe Dubnyk can hand deliver hot tea and biscuits to your door between periods too!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I dunno man. I watched the replay of the goal a few times on the Oilers website and I don’t see Dubynk struggling to see the shot. To me it looks like his head is always focused in the same direction towards the shooter. The Anaheim player by the net is clearly to Dooby’s side and he sees the shot the whole way.

      There’s no doubt he makes big saves during games but I feel he has more of a propensity than other no.1 goalies in this league to let in the soft goal. A soft goal will do more damage to a teams confidence (and to his own confidence) that a goal that went in on a great play by the other team.

      Bottom line is I’m just not a big fan of his style of play and I don’t think he’s in the top half of no. 1 goalies in this league. I don’t like using stats from 32 games either….lets see if he has a 923 sv% over the course of a normal schedule of a no. 1 goalie of 60 games or more.

  • Shaun Doe

    Interesting to know if the Oilers could or would send Nuge, Hallsy, Ebs, MPS & Schultz back to the AHL for the playoffs? Thoughts? I personally don’t see why they would at this point but it would be quite interesting to know if they could?

  • book¡e

    This ‘soft goals’ thing is simply funny. All that matters is performance and consistency over an extended period of time. How the goals look to you is irrelevant.

    If I didn’t know better, I would think that the ‘soft goals’ crowd simply are trolling for a response..

    • Spydyr

      All goals are not created equally. What is more important a goal that ties or wins a game with seconds left or the 9th goal in a 9-2 game?

      How many times have you seen a goalie make a big save at one end then the team go down the ice and score?

      Soft goals change momentum .Just ask Steve Smith.

      Watch the bench after a team battles back then the goalie lets in a soft one.

      • Ducey

        He said “If I didn’t know better”. He therefore wasn’t suggesting you were trolling for a response.

        He was suggesting you don’t know what you are talking about.

        Feel better?

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Hey, hey, I got one, I got one…..remember that UFO looking puck in Detroit. That one from center ice. Man that puck had some monkey junk wing thing going on there. Not many mortals could’ve stopped that howitzer. Wow, that was one mammary that stands out for me in that 2013 season. What I wouldn’t have given to be there for that!

      am I doing it right?

  • Bucknuck

    Allowing 40-something shots in a game is a problem, despite the good save percentage. Imagine if we allowed less than 30 per game??? At that save percentage, that would be one fewer goal against per game.

    I wonder how many Bettman points we’ve lost out on just because of that stupid single goal in games where we allowed 40 shots.

  • Bucknuck

    If the Oilers play as bad tonight as they have been the last few games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kreuger get a little “Tortorella” on the team.

  • The Oilers will not make the playoffs. But it’s okay because we can take the positives from this season and use it as a learning experience …
    Blah, blah, blah. Ya we heard it before. Story’s starting to get old. Either get it done, or find somebody who can.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      STARTING to get old??

      The rash on my scrotum is starting to get old, this Oilers thing has been going for the better part of a decade…..

    • wiseguy

      Man I wish I had the inclination to go back in all the fan forums here and elsewhere over the last 3-4 years. It would be remarkable how it sounds the same every year. Same old, same old.

  • There’s no question our goaltending is good enough -> pretty good for a 48 game season. I really like Khabi and Dubnyk both individually.. but this isn’t a good tandem for 82 games. Khabi can barely keep it together in the 9 games he’s played, let alone once we’re back to 82 games. Dubnyk so far has shown pretty reliable for a 40+ stretch, but he isn’t going to pick up the whole load when Khabi inevitably falls apart on us next year (if we bring him back).

    This is good enough to finish this season though. I’d question whether it’d be good enough for a deep playoff run, but queue Jim Mora here re: that, anyways.

    It really is too bad that Khabi’s health is such a problem. There’s still a good goalie in there. But 9 games and 30-40 games are a completely different animal, even if it is spaced out over a greater length.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!


    Edit: Dubnyk is always good for a softy despite his excellent SV%. And that to me is a problem. I don’t care where it ranks on the Oilers’ totem pole of problems.

    Also, Ochocinco is a multi-sport athlete?? Crazy!

    • GVBlackhawk

      Classic selective perception.

      We have all seen Dubnyk let in a few soft goals in his career. However, this phenomena of letting in ‘soft goals’ is not exclusive to Dubnyk. If you watched every game played in an NHL season and tracked soft goals (which is a very subjective measurement), you would likely find that the majority of goalies let in the same number of soft goals per season.

      But those times that you saw him let in a brutal one (eg. shot from center ice in Nashville…Legwand I believe) really stuck in your mind. And now you think Dubnyk lets in a soft one every game — even though his stats suggest that he is performing above league average.

      No goalie is going to stop every shot. Every goalie is going to allow soft goals on occasion.

      • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

        Don’t tell me what I saw and what it did to me.

        I don’t expect goalies to stop all shots. I agree with you. All of them will let in a soft one here and there. But some will more than others. And I’m not even talking about the center ice goal. That’s not a soft goal. That’s an accident.

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Precisely! I had to laugh during the Ducks game when Kevin Quinn screamed “Great save!”, only to have the shot kicked directly into the slot on Dvoraks stick and in the net. That was a routine shot that most goalies would have directed into the corner. The first goal was not much better. He does this almost every game.

      Habby has the same exact same save percentage but I don’t see everyone singing his praises the way they do with Dubnyk. Tencer tweeted about Doobies SV% putting him in the same class of goalie as Niemi and Lundqvist but it can be a very misleading stat to use to measure the quality of a goalie.

      • Ducey

        LOL…guy stops 36 of 38 shots and gives his team a chance to win even though they were completely outplayed, and some fans say hhe should of had those two as well.

        Accepting nothing but a shutout from your goalie while giving up 38 shots is ridiculous.

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Also, despite Crosby’s 56 points in 36 games, I don’t think he scores on nearly all the chances he should.

      Talk about completely unrealistic expectations. If you don’t like Dubnyk as a #1 goalie with a top 5 save percentage, then you will never like him.

      • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

        WTF is going on here??

        That Crosby comparison is completely out to lunch.

        And you think it’s unrealistic to expect your goalie to stop all the easy shots???

        • Ducey

          My point is that if you dissect anybody’s game, you are going to find faults. Looking at the pure stats, Crosby is having an amazing season, but I’m sure I could find 10-15 plays where he should have done better and maybe scored.

          Same with Dubnyk…if you look at his numbers, he is having an amzaing season. If you break down and dissect every game, then sure, you can find room for improvement. I’m sure he wants to improve too. But if his numbers don’t say #1 goalie, then again, you will never see a #1 goalie in Dubnyk.

          • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

            I like Dubnyk. He’s an interesting interview and looks to have the ability to be a good goalie. In short, I want him to succeed. If not for me, then for my Oilers.

            But you absolutely have to dissect to improve. Sure his overall stats are good. But we’ve seen time and time again where NHL stats don’t tell the whole story.

            As much as I want to look at his stats and say, “that proves it right there, he’s a legit starter”, I can’t because I’ve watched the games.

    • Ducey

      Sorry, but this is one of the dumbest things I have read in a while. You would prefer if he stops the “soft” ones but lets in the hard ones?

      He stops the 5th highest percentage of shots in the league. That’s all there is to it.

      I think the Coyotes will trap and clutch and grab and the Oilers will play right into it by turning over the puck in the neutral zone. The fans will be frustrated and boo and that will cause more turnovers.

      4-2 PHX.

          • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

            I’ve played hockey all my life. I hate when our goalie let’s in sh*tty goals. Especially in close games.

            If I, or any of my teammates, leave him out to dry and he has no chance, I don’t blame him.

            Nice try with the “stats are stats, bro” argument.

            Get real.

          • Ducey

            How about the other way around. What if you’re in Dubnyk’s position and you know if you let in 2 goals, your team is probably going to lose because the team can’t score to save their lives. The most important 3 games of the entire season and your offense can only muster up 2 goals TOTAL!

            The fact of the matter is during March and April, Dubnyk has a GAA of 2.36 and a .925 save percentage. That includes 17 total games…the team has only won 6 of those games.

          • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!


            I love when people think they’re smarter than you. That’s a sign of immaturity, if not stupidity.

            Fact: I’ve played organized hockey since 8 years of age. I’m 31 now. Still play beer league.

            Fact: I graduated from U of A with an Engineering degree. I’ve learned something about logical thinking along the way.

            Logic my d*ck.

          • northof51

            You are arguing for intangibles, and you have provided ZERO logic to defend your argument. I’ve been playing COMPETITIVE hockey for longer than you have been playing hockey, and I have 2 degrees, so does that make me more right than you? (See what I did there?)

            I wish Dubnyk stopped everything too, but the reality is that he is better than average and he is affordable.

            I’ve got buddies (who talk a lot like you) that are big fans of bringing Lou in – for what? His big salary and a ridiculous loss of talent at other positions. I’d like to see what you and everyone else would say bout Lou’s (cough) .904 save percentage vs. what Dubnyk is achieving.

            As Gregor said, goaltending is NOT the issue with the Oilers. It’s that we get horribly out-shot and out-chanced

          • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

            I agree 100% with you. Dubnyk is better than average, and by a quite a bit too. And he’s definitely a bargain.

            I also agree with you that Lou is not a good idea for the Oilers. Or most teams for that matter because of his contract.

            At the beginning of the season, the question was: Is Dubnyk good enough to start in the NHL?

            My answer now is: Almost. Soft goals have got to go.

          • Mark-LW

            You realize that most people here are in the same situation you are but with varying degree disciplines right?Saying you’ve played hockey all your life doesn’t exactly differentiate yourself from a crowd of Canadian men.

            I’ve played hockey my entire life as well and i think you’re stance on Dubynk is crazy

            EDIT: I have actually been playing hockey since I was 6, so by your reasoning my opinion on hockey means more than yours

        • Bucknuck

          Did you watch the Anaheim game? Those weren’t easy shots. I don’t know if it would have been physically possible to stop them. I haven’t seen him let in a softie for a while.