GDB 13.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – Looking to bounce back

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Nightmare

The Oilers need to bounce back after Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Flames.

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost three straight, including a 4-1 setback in Vancouver last night and they enter Rexall Place with a 4-5-2 record. This is another team the Oilers need to beat. They will never improve if they can’t compete and regularly defeat average teams like Philadelphia.

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The Flyers are struggling to score. They’ve only scored once in each of their past three games, and they’ve only lit the lamp once in six of their eleven games played.

Claude Giroux has four goals and only six points. Jakub Voracek has no goals and only four points. Voracek’s new $8.25 million/year deal begins next season. The Flyers need him to start producing. The low goal total isn’t a major surprise, he’s more of a passer than shooter, but four assists is unacceptable. The Flyers need their two best players to start producing if they hope to win.

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The Oilers have been getting excellent production from their two best forwards. Taylor Hall has seven points in his last three games, and 13 on the season. Connor McDavid has 12 points in 12 games, and those two give the Oilers two dangerous lines.

Leon Draisaitl has fit in very well with RNH and Hall, while the Pouliot-McDavid-Yak trio has been excellent, except for Saturday’s loss vs. Calgary.

The Oilers need some production, albeit not much, from their bottom six forwards. Todd McLellan mentioned that again today, and he is hoping Purcell’s two-point effort on Saturday will jumpstart the veteran’s production.

LINEUP…

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Flyers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS…

  • It is the battle of the backups. Anders Nilsson will play his first game since getting pulled on October 23rd vs. Washington, while Michal Neuvirth will start his 5th game of the season. Neuvirth has a solid 1.91 GAA and .939sv% this season, while Nilson, after a strong first two games, has a .902sv% and 3.92 GAA.
  • Matt Hendricks is back in the lineup. He took a shot off the inside of his right ankle in Calgary on October 17th and hasn’t played since. He suffered a bad pressure cut and he still has some swelling on his foot. He admitted it is painful to skate, but he wants to play and the Oilers need his energetic personality on the bench and in practice. The Oilers are an extremely quiet group. Good teams have vocal leaders and energetic guys on the bench, but with Hendricks out the team lacked that ingredient.
  • The Oilers activated Hendricks and put Lauri Korpikoski on IR, retroactive to last Wednesday. He said yesterday he is ready to play, so he could be activated by the weekend.
  • Darnell Nurse is a vocal player and as he gets more comfortable he will speak up more. It is difficult for a rookie to come in and be one of the vocal players, but with such a quiet group, Nurse might have to become more vocal sooner than expected.
  • Defencemen like the plastic skate protectors, but many forwards, especially wingers, don’t. The puck explodes off the plastic, and when D-men ring it around the boards and the forward tries to knock it down with his feet, it is much harder to do it wearing those protectors. Hendricks will wear them tonight. He wore them during the lockout season, but said they felt clunky. “I have no choice, but to wear them now. They help when you are blocking shots, but it is a challenge if you are trying to control a pass off your skates,” he said after the morning skate.
  • Sean Couturier skated this morning. He has missed five games due to a concussion and it sounds like he will sit out tonight.
  • McLellan said Fayne is out because he didn’t want to insert two D-men who didn’t play last game at the same time. Reinhart draws back in tonight, and we might see Fayne on Friday if one of the D-men struggle.
  • Peter Chiarelli has been working the phones looking to make a trade. Don’t expect a major deal, but it sounds like, and this surprises no one, that he trying to tweak his blueline. Historically very few trades occur before November 15th, and an Eastern GM said via text this morning, “It is tough to negotiate a trade early in the season because you don’t want to overreact and trade away a player just because he had 10 bad games, and then see him flourish elsewhere.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Bill Meltzer

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The Oilers had a dramatic comeback win against the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, recovering from an early 3-0 deficit to skate off with a 4-3 regulation win keyed by a three-goal outburst in the third period. 

The emotional win was followed by a 5-4 regulation home loss to the Calgary Flames. Once again, the Oilers fell in early multi-goal hole and battled back to eventually tie the game. This time around, however, it was the opponent who came up with a late goal to seal the match. Michal Frolik finished off a hat trick with the game-deciding goal in the final 10 seconds of the third period on a seemingly harmless shot out of the corner.

Tuesday’s game is the third match of a four-game homestand for the Oilers. The team enters the game having lost four of its last five games overall. On home ice, Edmonton is 2-4-0 on the season to date.

TONIGHT…

GDB13

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: After being outscored 8-2 in their three previous first periods, the Oilers storm out of the gate and lead 2-0 after 20 minutes, and win the game 5-2.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner picks up a point against his former team.

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McLellan mentioned they need more secondary scoring and he gets a goal from the most unlikely of sources. Eric Gryba has four career goals. His first NHL goal came on home ice on March 23rd, 2013 in Ottawa, but his next three have come on the road. He didn’t score a goal last year, and the last time he tickled the twine was March 8th, 2014 in Winnipeg. He ends his  105-game goalless drought tonight.

    NOMINATE YOUR HOME ICE HERO!

    Celebrate the volunteer, parent, coach or organizer who keeps the game going and asks for nothing in return. 

    Nominate your Home Ice Hero and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero.


    • ubermiguel

      Well there’s one defense I wouldn’t trade wholesale for the Oilers’ defense. Del Zotto and Schenn are where Nurse and Reinhart should be in a couple of years. Speaking of which, glad to hear Reinhart is back.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      A little girl showed up on Halloween with a crystal ball, said she was a ‘good witch’. I asked her if she could see into the future and she said she sure could. I then asked her how many games the Oilers would win in a row, starting tonight, and she said nine. I believe her, hope the team does too. (She got extra candy out of us!)

    • freelancer

      Is there a specfic source you are talking about in regards to Chiarelli or just the obvious fact that this defence needs a to be improved.

      Obviously a top d man would be lovely but even another Sekeraesque player that could provide some veteran help on one of the top pairings would be great.

    • A-Mc

      GDP: Oilers win 4-2 with the empty netter
      OGDP: McDavid and Hall both get a point tonight.
      NSOGDP: Even with a bruised marshmallow for a foot, Hendricks intercepts a pass with his skate and rushes down the ice for a Shorthanded goal. His leadership and sacrifice of the body is praised by Coach McLellan during the post-game presser.

    • YFC Prez

      Im glad to see that Gryba Reinhart pairing back again. Those guys together can make things tough around the net for the opposition.

      Purcell’s been better Lately ( Ya I know boo me) and with Hendricks back that line with letestu is hopefully in for a good night.

      So glad Hendricks is back. Watching this season the fight for the C is really a 2 horse race with him and Hall. That is until Darnell and McDavid enter the race.

    • A-Mc

      Dont look now but the 2 goats on defense are NOT in the line up tonight (Schultz and Fayne).

      This ‘look’ on the D is what many here at ON have been asking for. Lets hope they make a good showing!

      7.4 Million bux worth of defense will be sitting up in the press box tonight (11.15M including Ference). With Pete Chiarelli supposedly looking to make a change, i wonder what he’ll be thinking if the lineup tonight plays exceptionally.

    • vetinari

      @Gregor

      Given that Ference and Fayne are in the press box and Davidson’s stock is rising (and he’s unlikely to clear waivers), I wonder if Chiarelli is working the phones trying to pitch a 2 for 1 defenceman swap with someone to rebalance the roster. What teams are short a defender or two right now and would consider a trade?

      • A-Mc

        It seems to me that the only 2 D that you might get some value (albeit, very little) would be Davidson and Fayne. I don’t think Ference has any value until the deadline.

        SO if that is the assumption we go into a trade proposal with, what kind of Defenseman do you think would come back in a Davidson/Fayne trade?

        I dont see much actual benefit coming our way, other than cap relief, do you?

        • vetinari

          Cap relief and freeing up one roster spot.

          I know that Nikitin and Ference will likely be next to impossible to move but I agree that Davidson and Fayne are definite trade candidates.

          Given McLellan’s connections to SJ, I wonder if they would part with Braun (RH shot) or if an underperforming team like the Ducks would part with Stoner?

          Neither of these trade options would be overwhelming and I would expect a pick or a prospect to come back the other way but it would increase the size and grit on our back end.

        • Leaking5w-30

          If chi dumps a d man salary it opens the possibility of the oilers being buyers if they are in the playoff hunt.

          Also it would be better to get some return on a guy like Davidson rather than risk him on waivers.

      • Jason Gregor

        I don’t see Ference being moved. Has another year on his deal and has NMC and looks like footspeed is gone.

        I doubt a team would take both of them in two for one. No team is that desperate right now.

        • vetinari

          Sorry, I was unclear but I meant a 2 for 1 for almost any combination of our defenders. I was only using Fayne and Ference to illustrate that we have veteran defenders sitting and if the young guns (like Nurse and Davidson) continue to play well, we need to move some bodies out. And that might mean that a guy like Davidson may need to be packaged up with a guy like Fayne to get a more physical/younger type of defender back.

    • A-Mc

      The line up looks better than Saturday’s.

      I hope Lander gets out of his funk.

      I’m not yet down on Talbot but it’s good to see Nilsson getting a start. I’m thinking Talbot could use the break. There is a lot of pressure playing G for the Oilers.

    • mithaman

      I’ve spent the last hour brainstorming new nicknames for wonderkid…Any favourites?

      Connor McDangle
      Connor McDangler
      Connor McDominate
      Connor McDizzle
      Connor McDrizzle
      Connor McDazzle

    • Jay (not J)

      Big game tonight. Flyers are exactly the kind of team that the Oilers need to beat – although I’m sure Philly looks at Edmonton the same way. Hey let’s wear the orange jerseys tonight just to *&$# with them.

    • stonedtodeath61

      “Darnell Nurse is a vocal player and as he gets more comfortable he will speak up more. It is difficult for a rookie to come in and be one of the vocal players, but with such a quiet group, Nurse might have to become more vocal sooner than expected.”

      I look at this and think it’s too bad Nurse wasn’t apart of the core around when Schultz came in. With all the talk of who the next Captain will be, and I think it’ll be Conner, duh, I truly believe Nurse would have been a better choice. Especially for the Oilers. Having the Captain be the number one D man who goes out and plays hard every night is, inmo, the best person to fill the captain role.

      • vetinari

        Why trade Davidson?

        Same reason you trade anyone– to get something else back in return!

        If Nikitin and Ference are all likely untradeable because of their contracts, and you just signed or traded for guys like Sekara, Reinhart and Gryba, and you want to keep guys like Nurse, Schultz and Klefbom for the long haul, you only have a few names left remaining on your list of trade options when it comes to defencemen (Fayne, Davidson).

        Is Davidson a better option than some of these guys? Yes.

        And the same reason why you want him in your lineup is the reason why other teams will want him too and give you something for him.

    • Johnnydapunk

      Through boredom and curiosity I’ve actually made a little diagram/chart to see where all of the goals against the Oil have been scored and for the most part (26 out of 39) have been between the faceoff dots directly in front of the goal, 9 in the faceoff circles or just outside of them, 2 point shots from the blue line, 1 from behind the net, and one from centre ice (empty net goal).

      Maybe I’m being a bit Captain Obvious, but if they can manage to improve the defensive play directly in front of the goalies, like simple stuff of just clearing pucks to the perimeter, think they will hugely reduce the number of goals scored as shots outside that area are being stopped. I’m going to keep track from now on and if time allows do a few other teams for comparison.

      Semi related, according to sportsnet, Luke Schenn is being shopped around and may be interesting to keep an eye on him to see if he could be a player the Oil could use as they need defensive help.

      • 2Oilers4

        I’m actually excited to hear more shots aren’t going in form errant areas of the ice. Unlike previous years where pucks could go in from just about anywhere.

      • BobbyCanuck

        This tied closely with the advanced goalie stats. The save percentage for an unscreened 45 footer (or red shot) is a lot higher than a shot in the crease area (or green shot).

        Identifying the issue is one thing; rectifying it is another. That is managed through improvement to systems (which you would think MacL is trying to do), and improved personnel. Talbot is an upgrade, so far Nurse is an upgrade, and no Nikitin is an upgrade. But there is still a lot of work to do.

    • Romance14

      I can’t emphasize enough how great it is that McLellan is rewarding players for their play. It doesn’t matter how much a guy makes, the players who give the team the best chance of winning on any given night should dress. Awesome to see the accountability being instilled within the room!

    • shanetrain

      Hendricks would have been a great choice as C.

      Nothing to debate in the game prediction stuff, the Oil just have to go out and execute.

      That Calgary game still stings. Brutal.

      Onward!