GDB 20.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – The Devil’s Playground

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TomKillDevil

The Oilers come into tonight’s game against the Devils in 30th place in the standings – this is not a dream. I’m pretty sure I saw Bill Murray cruising around with that damned groundhog on my way into work this morning. 

For me, one of the most disheartening things about this season is the fact that the Oilers ARE playing fairly well but it’s not showing up as points in the standings. Eventually, you’d think that the tables would turn, and the wins will start piling up, but life as an Oilers fan has left our Hope Reserves® dangerously low. Frankly, I’d guess that the Nation comments section is only a few more moral victories away from spontaneous combustion, so it’s imperative that the Oilers get a win. 

In their last 10 games, the Devils are 6-4-0 and are currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. To me, seeing a team from the East floating around .500 means that this is a winnable game. So far this season the Oilers are 3-2-0 against the East and that’s enough math to predict that the Oilers should be able to end their slide. I’m not saying that games against the Eastern Conference should be guaranteed wins, but with the Oilers playing well against some of the top teams in the West you would think that they have a good chance at getting a winning streak started.

Besides, the Devils lost to the Flames a few nights ago and they’re equally as bad as the Oilers. Right? Right.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Devils lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers have played 14 of their first 20 games against top 12 teams. The schedule has not been kind to our beloved Oilers.
  • The Oilers are currently 3-2-0 against the Eastern Conference and will be playing their next 11 of 13 games in the East. If they can find some success against the East this run could start turning the ship around.
  • In their last eight games against the Devils the Oilers have gone 4-3-1. I’m not sure why stats from years ago necessarily matter, but there you have it. 
  • Resident goat, and carrot aficionado, Teddy Purcell is on an absolute tear after Adam Oates convinced him to cut four inches off his stick. For Teddy, it appears that size really does matter. He has eight points in eight games since making the change. 
  • Day 17 without Connor McDavid. This wait feels like an eternity. 
  • Andrej Sekera wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate so I’m assuming that means he caught the flu that has been moving its way through the locker room. Sekera has been playing better as of late and losing him would be a big loss for an already inexperienced back end. 
  • Oscar Klefbom looks like he will be returning to the lineup after missing yesterday’s practice with the flu.
  • Nilsson gets the start and will surely be looking to improve on his last two outings. Nilsson’s save % over his past five starts are – .909, .939, .919, .810, .852
  • The Devils have scored 43 goals on the year while the Oilers have scored 50. That would normally be a positive until you see that the Devils have only allowed 40 goals (good) whereas the Oilers have allowed 62 (bad). 
  • Join us tonight at the Pint Downtown from 5-8pm for our first NationGear pop-up store! We’ve got more fresh designs than you can shake Teddy Purcell’s shortened stick at! If you’re around, come down and visit the ladies from Nation HQ as they push out new designs like Ice Cube pushes rhymes. Get your Christmas shopping done AND have a beer and watch the game. It’s a win-win scenario! 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From All About the Jersey

There is legitimate reason for the Oilers faithful to think things are getting better. Todd McLellan is the head coach, Peter Chiarelli is in at team president and general manager, and those two aren’t dumb.  At least, not as dumb in management as, say, Kevin “I know a thing or two about winning” Lowe.  Five of their twelve losses were by one goal.  As OilFaninYYC stated in this recap at the C&B, they did play a good game against Chicago and have had some other good performances.

Here’s something the fans can also feel better about.  The Oilers aren’t sitting near the bottom of possession. On the contrary, War on Ice lists their CF% as 48.9%. While that’s not good, it’s better than ten other teams as of this writing – including the Devils. Let’s go a little deeper at War on Ice. Their SF/60 rate at even strength is still a low 26.5, but their SA/60 is only 29.5. That’s also not good, but their current lowest shots against per sixty-minute rate at evens ties their best mark in the last eight seasons. The Oilers are still prone to some massive brainfarts on defense, but the goalie isn’t getting shelled as much at evens. That’s another positive.

If the Oilers can build on these positives, then they could have a team that isn’t 30th about a quarter of the way through the season.

TONIGHT…

GDB20

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers finally get rewarded for playing well and beat the Devils 4-2. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Taylor Hall continues his warlord-esque pace and registers an assist in the first period. Not to be outdone, Leon Draisaitl carries the puck on an end to end rush, roofs it, makes Keith Kinkaid cry, and busts out a choreographed dance in celebration. Thrilled with how their partnership is going, Hall and Draisaitl continue to work on a secret handshake. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Anton Lander seems to have lost his powers since shaving off his pirate facial hair. As Movember moves forward, and Lander’s duster fills in, his source of power begins to refuel his ability to make plays. Lander draws power from the newly seeded mo and scores his first goal of the season. 

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.

    • hagar

      Too early to package Nuge for a dman? He is on a value contract that would be prime bait for a cap crunch team looking to move a big buck number 1/2 dman to free up some space.

      If Leon keeps this up, he is going to drive nuges value down by the week.

        • hagar

          Nuge. Long term at a totally reasonable pay.

          I am not throwing him to the fish, so don’t call me crazy.. just saying if Leon brings it all year like he is, we can’t have Nuge running the third line after mcdavid returns. Or maybe we could? A third line center at 5.5 that can put up second line numbers could be doable.

      • Anton CP

        What % of every season are all three centers going to be healthy at the same time? Teams that win cups normally are overaloaded at one of the forward positions and have 2nd liners on the 3rd, and 1st liners on the 2nd.

          • hagar

            robbing Peter to pay Paul buddy. You wait for a team with cap problems or you sign a free agent. Otherwise its not worth it. With a good GM, the opportunities will present themselves eventually.

          • hagar

            No it isn’t. You can NOT win without dman. How are we doing so far with all these first round forwards?

            You can win without four first overall forwards, but you can’t win without a proper defense. This is getting super old saying the most important position on the team can’t be improved because it might affect the part we can’t win with.

          • hagar

            So get a proper defence then. But don’t trade your core. This is why we are not GM’s. A good one can make it happen. And then if they do, the team is a cup contender. Its easy to just say…oooh trade nuge for whoever 1 for 1. Anyone could do that, but it wouldn’t be the home run we need. Since we didn’t draft one, we need to get one by seriously fleecing someone in a trade. And its not guaranteed to happen. But we might get lucky. If we do, then we may be a contender.

            But I guarantee you if we just trade one of our forwards for defensemen at the value the rest of the league things they are worth, we might be better, but not stanley cup better.

    • YFC Prez

      I’m very happy to have Draisiatl. But There’s a habit that hockey fans have gotten into that goes a little something like this:

      Hall-Seguin

      Yak-Galchenyuk

      Nuge-Landeskog

      Draisaitl-Bennett

      MCdavid-Eichel.

      Both Bennett and Draisaitl will be very good players. I just think the oilers needed Draisaitl way more than Bennett. He was the better fit.

      It’s okay for our players to be good and their counterparts in their respective draft year do well also.

      Anyone really disappointed to have Taylor Hall on this team this year? Be happy with what you got. Why do we have to compare each draft pick to someone else in his draft year. It’s a strange practice.

      • Anton CP

        I will bet a Gypsy Dollar that Nail Yakupovs stats line is higher than Galchenyuks by the end of this season and I think Galchenyuk is around 15 poits ahead him now….heal hard and fast young McDavidsky….oh my god are we gonna rip it up….I never dreamed 2 men could come in like Leon and McDavid and be more impactfull than the elite players we already had here….but now our Cores Draftmates are going to get buried…Mac-L really lets the dogs out…he is an aggressive Coach well suited for his Roster.

        2 things to discuss post-game…#1 when the Scrapper wanted a piece of Nurse in a Game like this a GODDAM VETERANS NEED TO STEP UP and cut in on the Dance on his behalf and offer some respect to the opponent and answer the bell or ou reputation will go to hell no invitation EVER goes unanswered by our Veterans …NURSE IS HIGH VALUE ASSET…he does not go down in the 1st Wave EVER and the only way we stop him from risking himself in a fight in a game like this is to have the Vets do their jobs properly…#2 pulling up at the end of the game was simply REGRESSIVE and builds a very very bad habit and nixes your 60 minute consistant message in minute 58…it sends the absolute wrong message…and it makes everyone on the team vulnerable we already lost McDavid on a playaction with less than optimal management ,never pull punches and always follow through …I dont care if you damwell skate it 200 feet yourself and pin it to the boards behind their freaking net you DO NOT EVER PULL UP IN AN NHL GAME…..this team has had its nuts crushed and fed to them for nearly a DECADE…and NO ONE HAD MERCY….they still dont….Mac-L that was a dissappointing thing to see in an otherwise complete game and JW that is your area, momentum management.

        Other than those few detail well done…2 games in a row where you all looked somewhat prepared to manage and play the game the right way is a good sign.

        The “contact” was well implemented again but it flagged TWICE at critical times in our zone when we stopped driving them right to the boards and pinning them there clogging up he pass lanes and they immediatly took control of the perimeter and of momentum…it was dicy a couple of times there.Coaches should have been on that but fortune favors the bold and this Team is already looking aggressive predatory and high paced offensively like San Jose for 60 full minutes which is Mac-Ls trademark full effort….hence disappointment in the pull-up near the end.

    • hagar

      He is hungry in the last five minutes.. you just turn the game on? Not sure he was even playing before this? I had to check to see if I missed a lineup change.

      • hagar

        I love Nuge! But I wouldn’t exactly call a 6million dollar 50-55 of center a value contract.

        I’d still rather trade a winger and keep all the centre. Maybe play Drai on the wing and he can fill in at center for injuries. Eventually maybe you have to trade nuge, but I wouldn’t be doing it for a few years.

        • hagar

          Nuge was my favorite player, recently replaced by Leon. I have cheered for Leon since he walked on stage, and am over the moon with his performance.

          I don’t want to trade my second favorite player, but the big picture is more valuable than any couch potatoes man crush on a player.

          • YFC Prez

            I agree, the big picture is more important. And I think big picture, it’s best to have 3 quality centers. Not a big fan of having 2 rookies down the middle, (as good as they are) and nothing else. I’d much rather play Drai on the wing for a year or 2, and trade a winger

  • hagar

    Overpassing on tha PP…not enough urgency…Nugey needs to take just 1 more big stride and let his shifty wrister go 5-hole or between the ribs and elbow on the Tender,freeze him up,chicken-wing him.

  • hagar

    We covered NOT giving them the perimeter to work from right…remember? You were back on it then you SLACKED OFF AGAIN…Coaches whats up with the inconsistancy… Are we TRYING to piddle this game away or something?

  • Anton CP

    Well placed shot Leestu!Really nice pressure on the puck in their zone.

    Nice job of putting this one out of reach of everyone on the ice..opponents and Refs….well done.

    Now lets see some bonus points,keep pushing fo more offense because THAT IS HOW YOU BUILD KILLER INSTINCT and a taste for blood…..you do NOT pull up “because you have lost so much you know how they feel”..lol.

    • YFC Prez

      matthews-pouliot

      ….and I say this because I want to desperately for the oilers to win the lotto this year from 20th overall so I can watch more epic draft lottery home videos by leafs fans. lol

  • Anton CP

    It is disrespectfull to your Goaltender and your nights work to goddam stop pushing now…..2 possesions softly dumped…while they are working hard POUNDING it at your Goalie…what if a shot clipped him because you were PULLING UP out of mercy…..8 years out of the playoffs no nine….and you want to GIVE MERCY????

  • YFC Prez

    So what was that. Like 2 shots against in the 3rd while pushing the lead?

    How’s that for game management. Good game! Even with captain boring socks Devils.

  • oilerjed

    Draisaitls play is slowly pushing down Nuges door, I love the Nuge but he can be used to fill a couple of spots in the lineup. Although having 3 lethal centres will keep this bus rolling for a long time sooner or later we gonna need a number one dman. I wonder if Big Buff the Stuff would consider Edmonton in the offseason? I think the wheels on this bus are finally pointed down a nice hill, Hall and Draisaitl look pretty unstoppable and Nuge and Ebs look to be getting going at the right time.