The Oilers play the Canucks for the sixth time since October 2nd. They lost twice in the preseason, 2-1 and 3-2 and they’ve already lost three times in the regular seasons, 5-4 (SO), 2-0 and 3-2.
We’ve talked ad nauseam about their inability to defeat a western conference team. They are 0-8-1 while being outscored 35-17. It hasn’t been pretty, so today we’ll look at the “positives” of tonight’s game.
We’ve spent a lot of time breaking down the struggles of the Oilers, so today we’ll switch things up a bit in honour of the first ever regular season, mid-week 6 p.m. start time in Oilers history.
- The start time reminds us of the playoffs. You remember the playoffs don’t you? They are played from mid April to mid June and feature 16 teams. The hockey is awesome, the atmosphere at the games is electric and it is the rare time of the year that the energy around the team is all positive.
- Even amidst another tough season, you are still looking forward to watching the Oilers play Vancouver. Mainly because you loathe the Casucks. It is still nice to have feelings of a rivalry even if the on-ice battles don’t match your hatred.
- For the first time since 2005/2006 the Oilers are averaging more shots for per game (30.1) than shots against (29.9).
- I did not realize until I looked it up that in 2006 the Oilers allowed the fewest SA/game in the NHL at 25.5. The Human Rake was damn good, while Spacek, Smith and Staios were solid. They also had very good two-way centres in Horcoff, Peca and Stoll…thinking about the good times can be fun, no?
- The Oilers have only lost 12-man games due to injury thus far. If you include Gazdic then it is 28, which is still very low considering what we’ve seen in previous years. **I didn’t include the seven games Fasth missed, because Scrivens started every game and considering how well he played during that home stretch it is possible Fasth wouldn’t have played anyways.** Again, looking on the positive side of things.
- You could be a Leafs fan…they were outscored 15-4 in their previous two games and the frustration in Leafsnation can be comedic relief for Oilers fans. Not to mention you have way more experience in dealing with frustration. Maybe you could reach out to Leafs fans and talk them through this…
- In five career starts vs. Vancouver Ben Scrivens has a .940 sv%. He has stopped 157 of 167 shots.
- Steve Pinizzotto will dress. At the very least he will bring some energy and emotion to the game. Joensuu’s play has tailed off the past few weeks.
- Martin Marincin won’t be able to ask for a big raise from his $735,000 contract next summer. As Petr Klima so eloquently said, “You need a long stick to score from the bench,” and Marincin will need a much longer one to contribute from the pressbox.
- Currently four NHL goalies are tied for the longest active win streak, 10 games, vs. one team. Ryan Miller and Jimmy Howard vs. the Oilers, Corey Crawford over Columbus and Tuukka Rask vs. the Panthers. You will either see the streak end, or witness Miller take the outright lead. Side stories are fun.
- Courtesy of Bob at Elias Sports Bureau, the longest winning streak for a goalie vs. another team was 19, set by Ken Dryden against the Capitals.
- The 6 p.m. start allows me to be home in time to watch Criminal Minds. Bonus.
- It is that time of year again. The JCI Holiday Hamper program is back on. You and your family can help make Christmas special for an underprivileged family. My family has done it for the past five years and it is the best part about Christmas. You go shopping together to buy food and gifts for this family and then you deliver it to them the week before. It truly is about giving. You can register here. They need about 200 more families/individuals to help out. God bless.
Pinizzotto should add some energy and excitement, but he likely won’t bring much offence. The top three lines need to start producing.
Aulie deserves to remain in the lineup, and it seems until he struggles enough to be taken out they will refuse to put Marincin in for Nikitin. Marincin hasn’t played great this year, however, having him sit for long stretches in the pressbox is not helping his development. When he does get back in the lineup, he has to play well and show that he wants to stay in the lineup.
Scrivens gets the start. He has lost two straight, so some would argue they should go to Fasth. That is valid, expect Fasth hasn’t played great either. Scrivens was solid against Arizona, and his past history against the Canucks might be the reason he is starting.
Neither option is a great one at this point, and it is why I won’t rip the coach for deciding who he plays. It is mainly an intuition call at this point.
You can see the Canucks lineup here via Dailyfaceoff.com, and here is how Vancouver sees tonight’s game unfolding…
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I’m letting Wanye make the prediction today, hence all Caps… JORDAN MY BOY WILL SCORE TWICE, PINNER WILL ROCK KASSIAN AND THE OILERS WILL SHOCK THE WORLD AND WIN 4-2… **PLEASE HOCKEY GODS LET THEM WIN…I CAN BARELY TAKE THIS ANYMORE…
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Sedins combine for a PP goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Petry scores twice becoming the first Oiler D-man to score two goals in a game since Corey Potter had two on April 26th, 2013 vs. Minnesota.
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