Ilya Bryzgalov will start tonight in New Jersey. The stats suggest it makes sense to start him instead of going back-to-back with Ben Scrivens, but considering the Oilers are winning by getting out shot, I wonder if combining that along with going back to Scrivens would guarantee a win.

We’ll never know, but it is good to look at the possibilities.

I looked at the top-ten goalie leaders in wins to see how many times they played back-to-back and how they fared:

Goalie…           result           SV%                    saves
Fleury                 L                 .902             stopped 18 of 21
Niemi                 W               .903              stopped 28 of 31
Varlamov           W               .926              stopped 25 of 27
Bishop               W               .941             stopped 48 of 51 (played night before allowed 5 goals)
Bishop               W               .933             stopped 28 of 30
Rask                  L                 .750             stopped 9 of 12 and was pulled.
Rask                  W                .977             stopped 43 of 44
Rask                  W                .915             stopped 21 of 23
Price                  L                 .943             stopped 33 of 35 (had exact same stats night before)
Price                  L                 .846             stopped 22 of 26 (had identical SV% and GAA night before)
Hiller                 W                1.000           stopped 22 of 22
Hiller                 W                 .955            stopped 42 of 44
Mason              W                 .944            stopped 34 of 36
Crawford          W                .935             stopped 29 of 31
Crawford          W                .958             stopped 23 of 24 (allowed 5 goals the previous night)
Crawford          W                .826             stopped 19 of 23 (defeated the Oilers)
CrawFord        OTL             .900             stopped 27 of 30

Most coaches don’t go back-to-back very often, but in these 17 instances with the top goalies their combined record was 12-4-1 with a .917 SV%.

It should be noted that Price’s two back-to-back situations came on January 25th and February 2nd. He had been struggling so Michel Therrien went against the grain to try and get him out of a funk. It was odd to see Price have the exact same stats in the first and second games. In the January sets he was bad on both nights and lost both games, but on February 1st and 2nd he had .944 and .943 SV% on consecutive nights, and allowed only two goals both nights.

Jon Cooper went back to Bishop after he allowed five goals the night before. He wanted his starter to bounce back and he did with a huge 48 save performance. Joel Quenneville did the same thing with Crawford this year and he rewarded his coach with a strong effort the second night.

Eric T from wrote a very indepth piece on the drop in SV% on the second night of back-to-backs, so I understand why Eakins is going with Bryzgalov, but the above numbers show that winning teams will go with their starter a few times a year on consecutive nights. This year they have had success doing it, and I’m sure it helps when you are on a good team, but it shows that coaches do go with gut feel sometimes and won’t always play the odds.

Scrivens has the highest SV%, .937, amongst goalie who has started 20+ games, and the only time he played back-to-back this year he was perfect. He stopped all 26 shots in a 2-0 Kings victory, and two days later he shutout the Rangers as well.

After beating the Rangers again last night, I wouldn’t have had an issue at all if Eakins went back to Scrivens.

Sometimes you have to go against the odds, just like I predicted in yesterday’s GDP and OGDP. That might have been my best prediction ever.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is a low scoring affair, and the Oilers continue to buck the shooting trend with a 2-1 victory. Gagner scores just to add fuel to the trade speculation. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Rangers outshoot the Oilers. Scrivens has faced an average of 39 shots in his five starts with the Oilers, but tonight he gets an “easier” night facing only 36. 





The Oilers didn’t skate this morning, but Jack Michaels hinted there would be one forward change. Maybe it is simply Joensuu back in for Jones or possibly something else. Likely on the 4th line, unless someone in the top-nine got banged up last night.


  • A rare twitter mistake by Gene Principe last night when he jumped the gun tweeting out that Ryan Smyth was now top-100 in goals. Smyth scored his 384th goal last night, but Patrick Elias has scored four in the last two weeks and he sits 100th with 386. 
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the seaon last night, and he is on pace to get 50 for the 5th time in his career, and when he does he will join a very select group of players who have scored 50 goals five times.

    Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy did it 9 times.
    Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux did it 6 times.
    Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Pavel Bure did it 5 times.

  • Since 2005/2006 there has been 17 occasions where a player scored 50 goals.
    Ovechkin has done it 4 times.
    Steven Stamkos, Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley did it twice.
    Jonathan Cheechoo, Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry and Evgeni Malkin did it once.
  • Despite playing in an era where goals are hard to come by Ovechkin has still produced, and at a rate better than everyone except Steven Stamkos. He has a realistic shot to become only the 3rd player in NHL history to have seven 50-goal seasons. I hope he gets there.
  • I’ve had many fans text the show and I’ve seen some people write how Nail Yakupov’s one-timer is similar to Ovechkin. Yakupov shoots the puck hard, but he isn’t close to the goal scorer Oveckhin is. That isn’t a knock on Yakupov, because Ovie is one of the greatest goal scorers the NHL has ever seen , but stop comparing the two. They aren’t close. Ovechkin is much better at finding an open spot, plus his shot is much harder. He regularly beats goalies from above the hash marks.
  • Here is a shot chart of Nail Yakupov (goals in red) courtesy of  You will notice that Yakupov has one goal from outside the top of the circles. Now look at Ovechkin’s shot and goal chart. He has 12 goals from outside the top of the circle. To beat today’s goalies from that far out you need a heavy shot and accuracy.
  • That being said, I liked how Yakupov found the soft spot in the high slot last night, and buried the game winner. It was a great pass from Gagner, but one of the most important parts of being a good goal scorer is finding the open spots and Yakupov found it at the most important time of the game. He has a very good shot and he should use it more, but let’s stop comparing him to Ovechkin. It is unfair to both of them.
  • Gagner’s assist is why you can’t trade him for spare parts. He has very good offensive abilities. I know he doesn’t show them all the time — consistency is what separates 50-point players from 80-point guys — but he has great skill. If MacTavish trades him, he needs to get a decent return.


GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are in the midst of their best stretch of the season, and they’ll head into the break on a high after a 3-2 win over the Devils.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will continue on their successful get-out-shot-but-win streak, but tonight they allow fewer shots than usual getting out shot 29-26.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scores a pair of goals giving him 19 on the season, but 700 in his career. He heads to the Olympics having scored 50 points. Unreal.


  • hankthetank

    I always thought Gregor’s show was one of the few places where “sports radio” meant more than just fapping over the Oilers ad nauseam.
    He even has that – I assume – paid segment with the dude who talks about fitness. I could see that going over the head of the average fat-ass Oiler fan.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Is it me or has Yakupov become a lot better defensively, like not only more responsible, but a better player overall for that?

    I don’t want to feel the rain of trashes for actually suggesting that maybe what Eakins did with Yak worked to make him a better player?

    Yakupov has been all over the ice and checking a lot more in the defensive zones, at least the last few games I’ve noticed.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Nuge’s game is rubbing off on him.

      Rumour has it he is going to change his name to Nail Yakupov-Hopkinski to show Eakins he is committed to a 200 foot game.

      Don’t think Gregor mentioned that in his NSOGDP, thus ending his hot streak.

  • D-Unit

    Some of the comment on this post are making my mind hurt tonight. I had hoped after a long week at work I wouldn’t have to do much math for a couple days.
    Instead I come here and get a grade school math word problem.

    If Zarny and G Bear go to the GDB to argue the statistics and math of how to properly calculate starting a goalie in back to back games, how far downhill has the Oilers season gone?

  • Reg Dunlop

    With regard to the debate over the relative merits of spending air time discussing the Olympics at the expense of oil rumors… come on, the Games are a once every 4 years chance to see a wide range of tobogganing: one guy on his back, one guy on his front, two guys on top of each other. That’s way more important than discussing Edmonton’s only real major league team(the CFL doesn’t count because a good Texas high school team would win the Grey Cup).

    Am I seeing true baby steps taken by the oil lately? Or is it the yearly illusion that keeps me going until October? Yak back checking like a buzzsaw. Petry bumping the opposition. Marincin looking like Randy Gregg. The tenders stopping pucks they see. Please oilers don’t break my heart again. No more fail for Nail or whatever, just win, baby.

  • **

    Great Effort boys!!! First New Jersey goal offside by a footno call surprise surprise.Devils winning goal should never have counted surprise surprise.Somewhere Bettman is grinning that the Lowely Oilers didn’t show up all his eastern teams.NHL officiating is a joke.Great effort boys!!!

  • **

    The Oilers have shown on this stretch their best hockey of the season. This is as good as it gets with this group. IT think it is easier now to identify the needs of the team and the failures of the coach. I’d say they hang on to both goalies for dear life.

  • **

    Well one good thing about 3 weeks no Oiler games,
    no Kevin, Louie or Gene.
    I see DSF has got off his grounding and got his Mac back, I hope your posts don’t make up 50% of the total on every article like it did last year.

  • Johnnydapunk

    It’s a weird feeling to feel chested by a bad call as opposed to bad play.

    I can’t really be that upset with the result, it was a clear holding the stick call but saying that, sh*t happens. At least the Oil came out to play and you’re gonna get calls for and against you so yeah. Still pants though.

    I had a quick look at the standings and it is pretty clear with the divide between the East and West conferences, as only 8 teams from the East have an above .500 record vs Western teams.

    I have no issues with saying the Oil are bad and are having a shocker of a season, but in a way they aren’t as bad as it looks.

      • Johnnydapunk

        I’m aware of that, I was just pointing out that despite their horrible record, they aren’t as bad of a team as they appear. It was also pointing out that the East is a weaker conference, and with the exception of the Boston game, the Oil seemed to hold their own at least in this road swing.

        The season was over in November, there is not a doubt about that, but if I see that they are putting an effort in and they lose, fair enough. At least the problem is now isolated and hopefully that gets sorted.

  • geeker99

    At this point all I am looking for is effort. Ever since the Dubnyk trade I feel that it has been there for the most part. My opinion is that we need a #1 center. I love nuge but think he could use a Backes, Thorton or Getzlaf type. I think Nuge is at the top as an asset to this club but has never had a “yoda” to learn from.

    Momentum is so large to this club and hope it continues after the break. Not drinking the koolaid , still know there holes but I believe Mac-t has made some nice moves and deserves time to continue. Just remember that 90 % of this team is going to be undervalued at trade deadline. I dont expect much to happen.

  • james_dean

    The Oil are playing a better overall game lately. I am also starting to see Yak gain steam, I hope he finishes really strong and that motivates him to work harder in the summer because I have high hopes on this sniper.

    • Thumby

      Its funny what happens when a kid gets to have a year or more to work on his pro level game. He starts too look more like pro…go figure!

      Usually, good teams let their kids do this in the AHL so they can grow without being exposed like the rookies they are. Too bad the Oilers just figured this out (see Marcinin for example).

      I hope hope HOPE they let Darnell age like a fine wine to the point of bursting before they bring him in. IMO If he’s on the roster before he hits 200+ lbs and has at least 50 games in the AHL, they have screwed up.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Like Elvis’s long awaited triumphant return to Las
    Vegas, like MacArther’s return to the Phillipines, like MacT’s return to the Oil…….welcome back DSF

  • oilerjed

    Wasnt just Gregor talking about it and I never heard Kypreos mention it all. Seems to me there are more people talking about then normal. And just because it didnt happen today doesnt mean squat, its cheaper for the other team to wait until after the break to save a couple of weeks salary.

  • **

    Thanks G Bear but what I posted was an opinion that could hardly be considered offensive.

    This site is called Oilersnation where bloggers and fans share opinions and discuss all things hockey. When I post I’am not naive enough to believe everyone here will agree, FWIW my player assessment often differs from the masses.

    I’ve seen enough posts that have been altered or deleted altogether to write this.

    It’s unsettling that my father, uncles and others of their age fought wars for our freedoms and liberties yet someone feels it necessary to censor posts simply because said person disagrees with someones opinion.