The Oilers would love nothing more than to erase 2014 from their memories. It has been a terrible calender year for the Blue and Orange.
They’ve played 77 games.
They’ve won 24 of them.
They have totaled 59 of a possible 154 points.
It hasn’t been pretty, but they will try to end 2014 on a good note; with back-to-back wins.
Tonight will be their 78th game and they will try to end the year with two straight wins after losing 20 of their previous 21 games.
The Oilers played well for 40 minutes last night and then the Kings took over. You knew at some point the Kings would control the game, because they are simply a better team, but by outplaying and outscoring them in the first two periods the Oilers were able to hang on and get to the shootout.
Oscar Klefbom will play a lot under Nelson. Nelson loved him in OKC, and while Klefbom is still learning, especially to protect the middle of the ice on long breakout passes, I like most aspects of his game. The best part is that he doesn’t get out muscled very often during one-on-one battles in the corner or in front of the net.
That is the main reason he is here and Martin Marincin is in the AHL. The Oilers and Nelson want Marincin to be play with more urgency and competitiveness during battles. I believe he will improve and you will see him back in Edmonton. For those wondering why the Oilers won’t do the same with Justin Schultz. It is simple, Schultz needs to clear waivers. If he didn’t, I’m certain he’d be honing his skills in the AHL.
No reason to change the forward lines after a win. I’ll be curious to see who comes out of the lineup when Benoit Pouliot returns. He is getting closer and could play within a week.
Nikitin clearly isn’t healthy, or was simply out of game shape last night. He looked brutally slow last night, so Keith Aulie draws in tonight. Smart coaching decision.
Todd Nelson is going with Scrivens again. I recognize what the stats say with playing goalies on back-to-back nights, but sometimes you go with your gut. I don’t have much of an issue with this decision. If it works good for him, if it doesn’t it improves chances their chances of finishing 30th. A rare win-win for the Oilers…
You can see the Flames lineup courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com
- Oilersnation gives Marc Arcobello his farewell video. I know JeanShorts teared up making this video. He was a huge Marcobello fan.
- When you watch the WJC game today between Canada and the USA take a moment and dream about Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid playing for the Oilers. Both are great players. Who would you pick if you had the 1st overall pick in June?
- One of my New Years resolutions will be to ban “compete level” from my vocabulary. I haven’t said it in a long time, and considering it rarely is used properly by most hockey players, coaches, general managers, media and fans I will try hard to refrain from uttering it in 2015. I hope many do the same.
- Things I will never understand. The Oilers had lost 20 of 21. There was ample time to bitch, moan and complain about their play, and usually it was warranted. Last night, Ben Scrivens stops 37 of 39 shots, then four shootout attempts, yet some fans complain about goaltending. Why do it after that game? At least enjoy the victory, since they are so rare, or at least find the correct time to complain about a goalie’s performance. Last night was not the time to rip on Scrivens.
- All the best to you and yours in 2015. I hope your family life, party life, love life and sports fan life are all more enjoyable and entertaining in 2015.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
What is FlamesNation saying about tonight’s game? Check that out, here.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I loathe Calgary, so I will pick a big upset and the Oilers win, 3-2, on New Years eve against Calgary for the first time in franchise history. They are 0-4-1, actual tie in 2001 and losses in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, and all games have been played in Calgary.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Analytics people won’t be happy with decision to play Scrivens on consecutive nights.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: (courtesy of Baggedmilk) The Oilers close out the year with back to back wins, stunning the hockey world and fans alike. To celebrate, “Baby Nuge” is allowed to stay up until midnight to ring in the New Year. Craig MacTavish decides to spend New Year’s Eve with Kevin Lowe, and they play Dance Dance Revolution until the early morning hours.
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