GDB 5.0: SUCK IT, FLAMES

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In the words of the great philosopher Lorraine Segato, small victories are big steps. For the Edmonton Oilers, tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames means an opportunity to give Oilers fans a reason to howl at the moon on a Saturday night. Will it happen? I don’t know. Probably stock up, just in case.

Never have I heard
A more disturbing word
Holdin’ out for long
I never felt so quite disturbed.
I get up in the morning now, I don’t know
Waiting for the evening now, I don’t know
Been lookin’ for whats comin’ now, I don’t know
Would somebody please, help me.

I’ve been reading comments and listening to callers all week, and have to say that Oilers Nation needs some good news. A release, if you will. Another poor start has some in ‘stay calm, idiots’ mode and others in ‘take the gaspipe, I’m jumped off the ledge’ mode. Blame no one, we all do what we have to in order to survive.

For an observer without any history, this may seem strange. However, Oilers fans have had a decade of being fed by various North American NHL cities and I think patience and rational thinking left town around the time of the Tambellini. I can’t blame anyone, frankly. If you’re a true orange and blue Oilers fan, the latest decade feels like the bad scenes in I AM LEGEND and true joy reaches us rarely and quickly fades from the sun.

Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan can’t possibly be held accountable for the last decade, but they would do well to understand it—at least, up to a point. For instance, the four losses can be washed away with a victory on national television tonight against the diabolical Calgary Flames, who quite simply don’t know their place.

Reckless youth has given way to adult education and for some of us (who remember the glory Oilers) 40s and 50s are turning into 50s and 60s.

We wait. As a group, we Oilers fans have the faith of a child. Grown men and women who deal in real wealth by day, and by night hold the orange and blue in the same esteem as children in grade school. Foolish heart.

LINEUP….

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

LOOSERS (FLAMES LINEUP)

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Flames lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • Goal differential after four games 2014-15: 11-23 (-12)
  • Goal differential after four games 2015-16: 5-13 (-8)

This is year over year after four games. A lot of the offensive issues have to do with shooting percentage but 10 fewer GA in four games is substantial.

McLellan has already shown himself to be an adept coach with the Oilers (his verbal after the home loss was outstanding—no finger pointing, no “I thought they knew how to play that defense”) and from the looks of Edmonton’s roster I suspect a few kids he’s already coaching may be on that Team North America squad.

SHOT DIFFERENTIAL AND TIME-ON-ICE

oc 16 center

oc 16 wing

oc 16 blue

This is the home game, the St. Louis game on Thursday. Todd McLellan gave a zone-start push to Klefbom—Schultz and everybody else rotated through some tough sledding. The Nuge line was firing and got a ZS push, the McDavid line did well by the possession numbers but in fact were bleeding goals (Pouliot took some heat for coverage issues. The Lander line was playing against the Backes line and getting 20% ZS’s, that the ninth circle of hell for an NHL line.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING IN CALGARY

From FlamesNation.ca

All off-season, the narrative has been Alberta improvement. One team has actually demonstrated themselves capable of it (even if PDO went their way), the other has… not.

I guess we’ll see what happens in their first matchup. (This is me trying to avoid the jinx before the puck has even dropped.) Just keep this in mind: on Oct. 17, 2015, the Flames have a 1-3 record; the Oilers, 0-4. Both remain possibilities for the playoffs.

The last regular season Battle of Alberta of 2015-16 is scheduled for April 2, 2016. We’ll see where both teams are then. We’ll see who still has something to play for, and who’s ready to lick their wounds into the off-season, hoping for more improvements to come before the puck drops on 2016-17.

We’ll probably still all hate each other by that date, though, as it should be.

TONIGHT

GDB5 (1)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers offense is going to read Calgary to filth. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. 5-2 Oilers, in a game that will forever be known as the “Lie Back and Think of Engelland” game. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall follows up his ridiculous goal with two more, as the Nuge line heads out on the highway and takes it to the limit. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

Oilers saloon door defense (they let people through with little resistance) is save by the goaltending, in what is becoming a theme. We win, bitches!