GDB 78.0: King-sized challenge

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The Oilers faced Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry last night, with an expected bad outcome and it only gets harder tonight when they face Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter and the desperate Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings are two points behind Winnipeg for the second and final wildcard spot and three back of the Calgary Flames in the Pacific division.

Tonight is a must win game for the Kings, and it is the Oilers third game in four nights. It could be a tough night for Edmonton.

The Kings are coming off back-to-back 4-1 losses to the Wild and Blackhawks, and tonight is their game in-hand against Winnipeg, while the Flames are in St.Louis to take on the Blues. The Kings simply can’t afford an uninspired effort against the 28th place team in the NHL, and they have owned the Oilers the past few seasons.

The Oilers haven’t defeated the Kings in regulation since November 3rd, 2011, when they blanked LA 3-0. They did win 3-2 earlier this year in a SO, Todd Nelson’s first NHL win, but the Kings dominated the game out shooting the Oilers 39-21.

In three games this season the Kings have out scored the Oilers 13-5 and out shot them 94-76.

Last year, the Oilers were 0-3-1 vs. LA, getting outscored 11-3 and out shot 186-86.

The Kings are a horrible matchup for the Oilers, because they are much heavier, stronger and more experienced and when you combine the playoff desperation of the Kings and the Oilers third game in four nights this one has blowout written all over it.

Ben Scrivens will need to stand on his head, especially early in the game, and he has to make the first save. The Oilers have allowed a goal on the first shot of the game eight times this season, only Toronto is worse with ten. It isn’t solely the goalies fault, but I’d say the majority of the onus is on your goalie to make the first save.

The Ducks scored on their first shot last night, granted Beauchemin was allowed to skate untouched into the low slot, and it was downhill from there. Todd Nelson will need to use some very inspiring words prior to the game to ignite his team.

QUICK HITS…

  • I’m starting a new segment called Thursday Thought of the Week. I receive many tweets and texts, and some are very insightful, some comical while others leave me speechless. I will share the ones that stand out and look forward to your thoughts. 

The only accurate part of that tweet is that he has three goals in the previous 22 games, but our fearless tweeter forget a key point; Perron has 12 goals in 38 games since the trade. I assume he believes you evaluate a trade based on a select 22 games.

I’m not sure what he qualifies as a 4th line player, but here is Perron’s TOI for his last ten games.
14:07, 10:06, 15:38, 23:30, 17:02, 20:17, 16:31, 18:30, 17:24 and 14:51.

He has averaged 16:47 in his last ten games, and considering he averaged 16:51/game with the Oilers I guess he was a 4th liner here as well. Perron is in a goal scoring slump and for one game his coach played him ten minutes, likely to try and get his attention and snap him out of his funk. Many smart coaches use this tactic when a player is struggling.

Perron is tied for 54th in goals amongst NHL players over the past two seasons, despite his drought of three goals in 22 games. Suggesting he is a 4th liner in Pittsburgh or that the trade helped the Oilers today or for the next two seasons is simply incorrect. Klinkhammer has one goal in 36 games with the Oilers and he is a regular 4th liner.

  • Anton Lander signed a two-year extension with an average cap hit of $1.237,500 per year. He will make $925,000 in year one and $1,550,000 in year two.That is a great signing. Lander should be a “value” contract, in that he will contribute more to the team than what he is getting paid. The Oilers desperately need a few more of these, because many of their players have been overpaid by management. 
  • I’m very curious to see what type of extension Nail Yakupov receives. Will MacTavish give him money similar to Justin Schultz? I wrote last summer Schultz should have been signed for $2.3-$2.5 million. It was the last time the Oilers had all the negotiating power, especially when Schultz elected not to go to arbitration, but they signed him at $3.625 and now they have to qualify him at that.

    Yakupov won’t sign a long-term deal, because the money on a long deal wouldn’t be high enough. I see him signing for one or two years. Two years at $1.5 to $2 million/year is what I’d offer him. He might only want one year at that term, but there is no reason to overpay him based on his performance like they did with Schultz.

  • We only have 14 spots left in our 4th annual MS Bike Tour Charity Poker tourney. The winner gets a seat at the WSOP main event in Vegas as well as flight and hotel. You can register here. It will be sold out by the end of the day. Good luck. 

LINEUP…

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The Oilers didn’t skate today, and Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks will be game time decisions. Based on yesterday’s skate Hendricks seems the closest to return, and if he is ready, I’d play him and take out Matt Fraser.

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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From the Royal Half

After a grueling five-game roadtrip, the LA Kings finally return home and get a bit of a break in their schedule as tonight they face the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

And, once again, if the Kings manage to win, they’ll leapfrog past the Winnipeg Jets into a playoff spot.

Picking up two points shouldn’t be too big of a problem against the Oilers, right?

Never mind that the Oilers handed the Kings one of their worst losses of the season. Or that the Oilers are 5-2-1 in their last eight games. Or that the Kings have only scored three goals in their last four games at home. That’s all irrelevant and good things are about to happen!

TONIGHT…

MrPotatoHead

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kings win 4-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Kings use their size advantage along the boards and on the cycle to keep the Oilers in their zone for extended periods of time.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Even the most diehard posters/fans will be channel surfing during the game.

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