After tasting a tough dose of reality in St.Louis last night, the Oilers will try to avoid getting murdered in Detroit tonight. The Red Wings aren’t the dominant force we’ve been used to seeing for the past two decades. Without Nick Lidstrom their D isn’t as good, and Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk won’t be in the lineup together for the 6th straight game. The Wings are 1-3-1 with their two offensive leaders in the pressbox.

The Oilers have lost seven straight games in Detroit, their last victory was December 3rd, 2009, and they’ve only scored six goals during the last six visits. However, tonight’s version of the Red Wings is not nearly as talented as team’s of the past.

The Red Wings have been injured all season. Only Pittsburgh has suffered more man-games lost to injury, but the Red Wings have been without more of their key players:

Datsyuk has missed 26 games

Zetterberg has sat out 20.

Johan Franzen has missed 27.

Darren Helm has missed 36.

Stephen Weiss has sat out 39.

Only four Red Wings have played in 60+ of their 65 games. Drew Miller, Kyle Quincey have played all 65, Niklas Kronwall has dressed for 63 and Justin Abdelkader has skated in 60. The Wings are only two points out of the playoffs. which is outstanding when you factor in their injuries, so the Oilers better be ready to compete.

Everyone should have expected the Oilers to lose in St.Louis last night. The Blues were 41 points ahead of them in the standings, and the third period showed how far away the Oilers are from competing with the elite teams.

Detroit is no longer an elite team and the Oilers shouldn’t be over matched physically tonight. Every game is difficult when you are in 29th place, but this is not a game where we should expect them to be dominated like last night.


The Oilers won’t skate this morning, but Viktor Fasth will get the start in goal. Anton Lander is with the team and I see no reason why he shouldn’t draw in tonight. I’d love to see him in an offensive role, but at the very least slide him into the 4th line centre spot and move Smyth to the wing. If he doesn’t play then we likely will see the same lineup as last night.

**Update…Lander will draw in for Gagner. Gagner will rest his ankle.**





The NHL GM meetings wrapped up this week, and it sounds like they are very interested in having teams switch ends in OT next year with the hope it leads to more scoring and fewer games decided by a SO. I looked up the stats for goals by period to see how much of a difference there was. I tweeted out the numbers and noticed the 2nd and 3rd periods weren’t much different. However, I hadn’t included empty net goals in my original tweet, and when you factor them in there is a significant difference in goal scoring during the middle frame.

Here is the break down of goals by period including last night’s games.

1st period– 1529
2nd period– 1870
3rd period– 1643 (There was also 190 EN goals for a total of 1833)

I quickly looked at the last two seasons as well.

2013 (48 games)
1st period– 1125
2nd period– 1332
3rd period– 1162 (There was also 138 EN goals for a total of 1300)

2012 (82 games)
1st period– 1924
2nd period– 2254
3rd period– 2010 (There was also 238 EN goals for a total of 2248)

The long change definitely impacts goal scoring, so making that switch in OT should lead to more goals.

But why stop there?

Why not look at making the 1st and 3rd periods the long change? You wouldn’t be changing the dimensions of the ice, player equipment or a rule. If the NHL is serious about increasing scoring, why not try it?

  • The Oilers are one of only six teams who score more in the first period than they do in the second.
    TEAM 1ST period goals 2nd period goals
    Columbus 63 56
    Ottawa 62 56
    Detroit 59 55
    Los Angeles 52 41
    Edmonton 51 49
    Minnesota 49 46
  • The Kings, Wild, Blue Jackets and Oilers continue to buck the scoring trend and tally more goals in the 3rd period than they do in the 2nd period. (I only counted teams who had more 3rd period goals not including EN goals)
    TEAM 2nd period goals 3rd period goals
    Boston 65 72
    Columbus 56 62
    Calgary 53 56
    New Jersey 51 54
    Florida 49 63
    Edmonton 49 54
    Minnesota 46 53
    Los Angeles 41 52
  • I will have to look deeper, but I wonder if the reason the Oilers aren’t scoring as much as other teams in the 2nd period, where more goals are scored, is due to an ineffective transition game. The Oilers D-men don’t move the puck up as well as other teams, and often the forwards put too much of a gap between themselves and the D-men, thus limiting the ability to make good outlet passes.
  • Some of you might be wondering if it is the system. I looked at least season and the Oilers were one of only four teams — Pittsburgh, Calgary, Nashville were the others — who scored more goals in the 1st and 3rd than they did in the 2nd. I’d have to look at many factors to try and figure out why over past two seasons the Oilers haven’t been able to take advantage of the long change and score more goals.
  • In 2012, the Oilers scored more in the middle frame, 59-84-55, and their most used seven defenders were: Smid, Petry, Potter, Gilbert, Whitney, Peckham and Sutton. That was an overall better group of puck movers, especially with Whitney and Gilbert, than today and might be a reason why they produced more offence in the 2nd period. In fact, during every season since the 2005 lockout the Oilers have scored more goals in the 2nd period than they did in the first, and only once did they score more in the 3rd than the 2nd frame.
  • I’m curious if you have any other theories on why over the past two seasons the Oilers haven’t been as productive in the second frame, when goals are “easier” to come by.
  • I wonder if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is fatigued? He wasn’t able to train as hard as he would have liked last summer, due to his shoulder surgery. He’s not a very thick guy, so I wonder if he is worn down. This off-season will be very important for him. He’ll need to add muscle and strength.
  • There are many issues with the Oilers PP, but a glaring one is that they have 0 goals from defencemen. Last year Justin Schultz had 4 PP goals, but over the past two seasons he is the only blueliner to score with the man advantage. Oilers D-men have spent 504:22 seconds on the PP this year and they don’t have a goal. That is brutal. You can’t illustrate any better how much they lack a legitimate shooter from the point.

    Schultz scored four times with 153 PP minutes last year, but in 208 minutes this year he has no goals. Their zone entries and puck movement has been terrible lately, but it was unrealistic to expect them to be as good as they were last year. Last year, the Oilers had a ridiculous 16.86 SH% on the PP. This year they are at 11.31 (19th). New Jersey has the best PP SH% at 15.28, so there was virtually no chance the Oilers PP would be as good, but it shouldn’t be this bad. Teams have taken away the down low pass and the players refuse to adapt. Teams know they won’t shoot from up top, so they don’t respect the shot and they keep their PK guys packed in tight. You’d think Eakins would look at trying Klefbom or Marincin at this point. It’s not like the PP can get much worse.

    Schultz needs to learn to shoot more, or the Oilers have to find a D-man with a heavy shot.

    Here is how the Oilers compare to the rest of the NHL in goals and PP goals by D-men.

BOS 44 18
OTT 41 8
WPG 39 9
PITT 37 12
NSH 36 14
COL 36 7
PHO 35 10
ST.L 33 9
VAN 31 8
WSH 31 8
NJ 29 15
LA 29 8
PHI 29 4
SJ 28 9
TOR 28 5
CAR 27 7
CGY 26 11
ANA 26 8
CHIC 26 8
DALL 26 6
MINN 25 8
CBJ 24 9
NYR 24 5
T.B 24 5
FLO 23 6
BUFF 23 5
DET 22 5
EDM 22 0
NYI 20 6
MONT 19 6
  • The Oilers are 30th in PP goals and 28th in ES goals by D-men.
  • Finally, please stop suggesting the Oilers lose on purpose to get a better draft pick. Do you expect the coach to tell Scrivens and Fasth, who are both want to make a good impression and want the starter’s job next year, to let in a soft goal if the game is close? I’m sorry, but asking a team to tank on purpose comes from people with a loser mentality. The Oilers have mastered the art of losing, sadly, but it hasn’t happened because they tried to lose, it has happened because they aren’t that good.


    BWhKmRMCYAA5aiU.jpg large

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: In the second game of back-to-back sets the Oilers are 1-1-2 when they win the first game and 1-4-1 when they lose the first one. I see that trend continuing with a 4-3 loss.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers don’t get a PP goal from a D-man.

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have been out shot 43 times this year, 4th most in the NHL, but tonight they will shock the Wings and out shoot a team for the first time since January 24th, a span of 15 games. The Maple Leafs have been out shot in 55 of their 68 games, but their longest streak of not out shooting an opponent was only 13 games. 


      • Jason Gregor

        The Red Wings will perfectly demonstrate how an entire team playing and executing a system equates to a win, even without their star players.

        Also, can someone tell me if Lander or Gagner was second line centre last night and if that made any impact.

      • Concur

        To continue further, and it pains me to say it, but this is what Feaster did right in Calgary. The expectation should always be to win 82 games. This is why Calgary is above us in the standings.

        • vetinari

          That is what pissed me off so much about Katz latest letter. He openly said that they were out of the playoffs. Obviously he is right but you should never ever openly admit something like that to your fan base. If they are 20 points out of 29th place the “L” word should never be said to the fanbase.

      • Concur

        I know that the Oilers were not trying to lose to tank the season for better picks….. but when the management (Tambo) says that we are rebuilding and that losing is acceptable it is the next worse thing because it breeds a loser mentality. Sadly that is what the Oilers have to overcome. 🙁

      • mesa

        i do not know what to write .everything was said and covered .will like everybody else i am jumping of the bandwagon cause it is boring when you are by yourself..

        • Sean17

          Craig Button went off on Eakins today on Oilers Now. Something like “Is he a strength and conditioning coach or a hockey coach?” Dave Lumley didn’t seem too impressed either. Eakins came in too cocky and arrogant. Not sure if he can win me back. Stupid Miami Vice look doesn’t help either.

      • Jordan1126

        on a side note i cant help but think it would be better for klefbom to be down in OKC with todd nelson helping that team play games that matter rather then being surrounded by a bunch of hotshots who play like individuals each night…I don’t want it to rub off on him because I think he has a tonne of potential.

      • Jordan1126

        obvious prediction….everyone comes on here to vent in about 6 hours…then we realize it is nice outside and time with family is better spent then caring about athletes who dont care.

      • Sean17

        How come when other teams dump the puck in they win the battle. But when we do, the other teams come away with the puck? Big lack of support on the dump in. Nobody is there to help or pay the price. Maybe Eakins should do a Swarm offense… The puck is like a grenade on Fraser’s stick.

      • Tonight Klefbom gets his first NHL goal, and it’ll be on the PP with Smytty crashing the net. Ultimately the goal will be changed to Smyth because it glanced his skate, but that will put him into sole possession of the Oilers PP goal record. Klefbom scores again, even though he doesn’t score or get points often in the AHL or Sweden, somehow the NHL works better for him and he gets his 2nd. Nuge assists on both goals and is declared out of his slump.

        Prop this post if you think Klefbom looked good out there last night. I saw him shoot 3 times in a row (or at least put it towards the net 3 times in a row) while on the PP last night.

        • vetinari

          Klefbom obviously hasnt bought into the patented fire it ten feet wide of the net tactics the Oilers practice with all of their players. Taylor Hall has one killer wrist shot but when you have guys like Smytty crashing the net the simple smart play is to shoot it at the pads. Simple yet effective play that produces bug juicy rebounds. I hate seeing the Oilers bring the puck in and try to rip it top cheese only to have it rim around the boards and usually around 50% of the time create and odd man the other way. If I were the other team I’d let one of them take the shot and wait on the half wall on the other side and have numbers flying the zone. Count how many times it happens at tonights game, if you drank a shot each time you’ll be hammered by the second period.

      • Here’s hoping the players are as pissed off about last night as the rest of us and they light up the Wings….here’s hoping.

        Schultz, like all other young Oilers is a work in progress. I’ve never really understood the hype. I wish he were about 100 times more aggressive.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        That was one bad emotional beatdown last night in St.Louey.

        Hard to recover so soon. Wings play one period of hockey this evening to beat our Oilers tonight again as well. Oil come home Sunday night after losing to the Canes a frustrated, wounded and battered group. 1 and 3 on this trip.

        Develop from within, these kids are on their own to fix it. Ekblad or bust!

      • D

        The Red Wings have made the playoffs for 22 straight years so I definitely will not feel sorry for them if they finally miss this year. The sad thing is their management will probably use words like “unacceptable” to describe their season while Edmonton management will continue to take their loyal fan base for granted.

        We haven’t had much success against the Red Wings since the 2006 playoffs it seems so I will say 4-2 Red Wings. The usual suspects (Perron, Hendricks, Hall, Marincin) show some spark but the second line continues to be MIA and our D can’t break up a cycle to save their lives.

      • D

        I always console myself with the fact that the Detroit Red Wings have never, ever eliminated the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs. It’s really all that some of us fans can hang on to at this point.

      • vetinari

        We are boned. I expect one period of effort, one period of confusion and one period of “WTF was that” hockey…

        GDP: Red Wings 5 Oilers 2

        OGDP: United we stand, divided we fall… the Oilers fall hard and no one stands up for anyone else during scrums…

        NSOGDP: During the pre-game skate, on the benches, Renney leans over to Eakins and not realizing that there is a live mic nearby says “No Dallas, we don’t have any openings right now– why do you ask?”