GDB 21.0: Capital Punishment

GameDay

The Oilers begin their season-high five-game road trip in Washington tonight before stops in Carolina (Wednesday), Detroit (Friday), Pittsburgh (Saturday) and Toronto next Monday. The Oilers have played much better the past two weeks, and five games against the Eastern conference should result in at least five points for the Oilers.

In 2013/2014 the Oilers were 14-14-4 vs. the East. They were 15-14-3 last year and they are already 4-2 this year. The Oilers like playing Eastern teams and with two healthy scoring lines and better defensive zone coverage this should be a productive road trip.

The Oilers are built to play in the East — although with recent additions/THE emergence of Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom, the Oilers have the skilled size necessary to compete in the West — because the games usually contain more skating and wide open play and less cycling and battles along the boards.

The Capitals scored seven goals on 26 shots on October 23rd at Rexall Place, and they’ve scored 21 goals in their last five meetings vs. the Oilers. The Oilers defeated the Capitals 5-4 (SO) and 3-2 last year, but Edmonton has allowed 4+ goals in four of the last five meetings, and tonight their team defence and goaltending must be solid if they hope to pull off the upset.

Alex Ovechkin has 9-7-16 in eleven games vs.the Oilers, but he’s not the most productive Capital so far this season. Fellow countryman Evgeny Kuznetzov leads the Caps in scoring with 7-14-21 in 19 games and he dominated the Oilers last month scoring a hat trick and adding two assists.

LINEUPS…

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Capitals lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS…

  • The Oilers faced backup goalie Philipp Grubauer (2.71GAA and .900sv%) in Edmonton and scored four goals, but they will be shooting on Braden Holtby tonight. Holtby has a stingy 2.01 GAA and .920 sv% and he’s one of the front runners to back up Carey Price for Canada at the upcoming World Cup.
  • Korpikoski slides to centre as Luke Gazdic draws back in the lineup on the fourth line and Anton Lander sits out. I don’t see Lander sitting out long on this trip because the other teams aren’t very big or physical, but he needs to find his offensive game. He’s been okay on the PK, but at EV he’s done very little.
  • Draisaitl has 17 points in ten games and he leads the NHL with 1.70 points-per-game. Patrick Kane (1.52), Tyler Seguin (1.43), Jamie Benn (1.38) and Taylor Hall (1.20) round out the top five. Obviously, Draisaitl’s PPG will fall, but I don’t see it plummeting below one. He’s very talented and he plays with Hall, who is a proven point producer.
  • The Oilers switched up their PP units with Nugent-Hopkins and Draisaitl changing lines. Draisaitl is with Hall, Eberle, Purcell and Klefbom, while RNH will line up with Yakupov, Pouliot, Letestu and Sekera. It makes sense to put Draisaitl and Hall together as often as possible. Their on-ice chemistry is off the charts right now.
  • Ovechkin leads the NHL with 96 shots and Hall is fourth with 85. Ovechkin has 10 goals while Hall has nine, but both only have one PP goal. They are producing at even strength. Both used to be criticized for their defensive coverage, but they’ve improved their defensive play and it hasn’t limited their offence. They are tied for sixth in the NHL at +11 and both have solid possession numbers.
  • Peter Chiarelli won’t trade Nugent-Hopkins now, but if Draisailt continues playing this well at both ends of the rink, and I expect he will, Chiarelli could contemplate moving RNH in the summer. I don’t see Draisaitl, RNH and McDavid all in Edmonton to start the 2017/2018 season. Salary cap would be the main reason one is moved. It will be one of the rare times in recent memory the Oilers trade from a position of strength.
  • NIlsson starts again and he has started seven of the last nine games. In his last six starts, beginning on November 3rd, he is 3-2-1 with a .900 sv% and 2.66GAA. Not great numbers, but his sv% in four starts was .950, .919, .939 and .909. He is playing better, but eventually they need him to steal a game or two.
  • This is a MUST READ. An outstanding letter by Hall of Fame forward Bryan Trottier to his younger self. Trust me, you will love this.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Stars and Sticks:

While the Oilers will have to do without teenage rising talent Connor McDavid after breaking his collarbone, they’ve recalled Draisaitl (3rd overall pick in 2014) from Bakersfield in the AHL. He’s shown quick chemistry with a line with Hall – knotting seven goals and 17 points in ten games already. He has a point in eight of 10 and multiple points in more than half of them. Number 29 in orange will surely be one to watch for Edmonton.

TONIGHT…

GDB21

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven’t won consecutive games in over a month, and that continues tonight with a 4-3 OT loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Draisaitl combine on another EV goal.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers had their Christmas party on Saturday evening, and Santa made a surprise visit. Lander and Yakupov both asked him for a goal. Yakupov was his usual smiley and happy self and Santa spent a bit more time with him. He told Yakupov he needs to be a bit naughtier in the offensive end, and rip a few high hard ones at the goalie. Yakupov, like most smart people, listened to Saint Nick and he fires one of Holtby’s shoulder/neck in the first period and later in the game he scores his first goal in 15 games.

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  • Jordan88

    Honestly it looks like Orlov was going 5 hole and it went up off letestu’s stick.

    If the oil play like this for 82 games we make the playoffs. That simple.

    • Jordan88

      He stopped 29 of 30 shots.

      And his glove was solid. He tracked the puck and unlike his last gave against the caps he was on the edge of his crease not sucked in the back of his net.

      Not sure who you were watching

  • bazmagoo

    Close game, tough loss. Just want to point one thing out – on the winning goal the faceoff was in our zone because of a Hall turnover on the previous play. How did he turn it over? Take a wild guess! If I never see him and Jordan try that dumb ass toe drag again I’d be a happy camper. Grr. On to Carolina. G’oilers!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Another 2 points frittered away because Mac-L and JW are BEHIND THE CURVE AGAIN.

    So far they have been coddled and have had their weak-process links IDed and curative actions directed….and to their credit they have listened to most directives.

    Everything is working now and Mac-L knows it….now MORE is needed…PROCESS REFINEMENT is desperately required….Mac-L has needed an NHS TSP/Tactical Shooting Plan since day one ,he has been directed and has balked and dilly-dallied….now count the one-goal games we have lost and remember we were 6 points out of a playoff spot going into tonight……this means had we won just 1/2 of our 1-goal games we would have been batteling to HOLD ONTO OUR PLAYOFF SPOT TONIGHT.

    This is crunch-time and ANYTHING which can increase the o-zone Possesion/Shots/Goals RATIO should be an ORGANISATIONAL PRIORITY.

    The last Oilers Head Coach faced the same demon…..I expected Mac-L to have figured out the Kings/Hawks were using a TSP years ago…nope…this is called being behind the curve and being VAIN for refusing to aknowledge how closely the Kings/Hawks follow the NHS Philosophies and concepts.They do NOT skip steps,thinking they can bridge steps of the Mother-Process with their Genius,lol..

    A properly applied TSP gives the Oilers Process 2+ more Goals per Game guaranteed.

    They have everything in place to ADD more Tactical Management and if they do not Mac-L and JW will begin to 2nd guess themselves and eventually their Process and then each other and then the men,we have seen this Death-Spiral before when DE wouldnt apply proper NHS based creatively triggered n-zone and o-zone Possesion/Transition type tactics to his structured refined high-speed d-zone exit which bordered on Elite when he began the season using it.

    We are approaching the Rubicon Mac-L….you must let someone external to your Processes “massage your body and spirit”and massage Katzes Consultant Budget…..
    .

    NewAgeSys is taking the walk of Blame and un-plugging from this Mainframe…Mac-L and JW know the State of Affairs right now,they only have one option,they are cornered like their predecessors were..and I see no reason why Mac-L/JW would reach out where those before them failed to …they have used all the availble data Fee could scrape up and now it is time to EVOLVE and it cannot be done autonomously …the wheels are spinning.

    It wasnt easy to sit this game out….but the point needed to be emphasized and if you can pin the Capitols to the Mat like the Oilers did tonight for 60 full minutes,then your System is a dam good one,which just needs upgraded fire-control structures put in place,an upgrade.

    Only thing missing from tonights Oilers effort was a TSP,nothing major Process-wise needs to be adjusted between now and next game….keep er steady….and figure it out before you run out of time to push for the Playoffs.

    Mis-diagnose now Mac-L and you immediatly fall into deep waters.

    It should have been 3-0 Oilers going into the 3rd…I love the starting Goalie now this Big-Dog is awsome…poor Cam no one saw this coming.

    HOw does Mac-L find and implement a TSP ASAP?I think Mess knows where to find one.

  • Jay (not J)

    Gregor,

    If Chiarelli trades RNH that would be a huge mistake. I have said this from the beginning. When everyone was rambling about trading Drasaitl after we got Connor I brought up the fact that if we have an injury to RNH or McDavid then we are down to one centre that belongs in the top 9. Injuries happen….RNH has spent considerable time on the IR, etc

    Centre is the most important positions. Moving or replacing wingers is lot easier. Should there be a significant career lmiting injury to one of our two guys this team is back at square one…trying to find a top 6 centre which no team wants to give up.

    On top of all of that. RNH brings so much more than offence. He is second in TOI and one the best two way forwards. What’s wrong with having such a great versatile forward. His cap hit in two years going to look lik a steal with the cap going up in each of the next two year. Complete non-sense trade one of those three. I would hate to see Eberle go but if we would trade him and one of the wingers goes down we can move one of those cenres to wing. You cannot move Eberle to centre if one of them goes down.