GDB 38.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – Powerplay struggles

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The Oilers are 7-4-1 in their last 12 games despite a non-existent powerplay. They are 3 for 30 in the month of December and special teams cost them the game vs. Calgary on Sunday. On their lone PP opportunity they surrendered a shorthanded goal which sparked the Flames comeback, and Todd McLellan has switched up his groups with the hopes it jumpstarts their lethargic power play.

Anton Lander will be the net front presence and take faceoffs on the first unit with Leon Draisaitl, Taylor Hall, Teddy Purcell and Brad Hunt. Hunt can shoot the puck, and he is a short-term stop gap until Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson are back in the lineup.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins moves to the second unit with Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu and either Andrej Sekera or Justin Schultz. The Oilers haven’t won enough faceoffs, and Lander should help there, which should lead to more zone time.

The Oilers have spent too much time skating back to retrieve pucks, and their zone entries have not been great either. The other missing element is a point shot. Hunt should help the first unit because he isn’t afraid to shoot the puck. He has a quick release and a hard, low shot. If he can jump start the PP he might stay in the lineup until Oscar Klefbom returns.

LINEUPS…

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Kings lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS…

  • Rob Klinkhammer is skating again and McLellan hinted he could be activated later this week. When he is, Jujhar Khaira will be sent back to Bakersfield. McLellan said he likes that Khaira has been around the team, watching video and seeing the intensity and commitment required to succeed in the NHL. He believes it will help him in his development.
  • Zack Kassian will report to Bakersfield. He hasn’t played a game this season so he will need to knock the rust off, and if he looks good in the next few weeks he will get a look in Edmonton. “Most teams can use a guy who makes the other team uncomfortable, ” said Mark Letestu. “Our team needs a guy like that. We don’t have a big body presence who can get in on the forecheck. It would give us another element and a different way to attack teams,” Letestu said.

    I wholeheartedly agree. The Oilers have lacked that element for a long time, and whether it is Kassian or another player like him, Peter Chiarelli will add that type of player in the future. Kassian will need to prove he can play at the NHL level. I hope he has his life in order after his stint in rehab, and when he returns to the ice the question will be: does he have the NHL smarts to be an effective player? He has the size and skill, but he’ll need to be more consistent and prove he can think the game.

  • The Oilers were the last team to surrender a shorthanded goal, but now they’ve allowed two in their last four games. They have scored three PP goals in December, but they’ve allowed two shorthanded goals. Ouch.
  • Brandon Davidson should be available for Thursday’s game vs. the Ducks. Oscar Klefbom is at least another week away. Nail Yakupov is still weeks away. Connor McDavid continues to skate on his own and progressing nicely, but he will need to practice with the team, at least once, and take contact before he returns.
  • February 24th to April 2nd, 1986 was the last time the Oilers won eight consecutive games at home. They also did in in January/February of 1985. The Oilers will try to tie the franchise record of eight straight home wins tonight.
  • “I’ve changed my pregame meals, my skates, my sticks, my gloves, pretty much everything to try and change my luck,” said Anton Lander about his goal drought. He was very excited about getting promoted on the PP, and he knows exactly what he needs to do. “Win faceoffs and then get to the net and create some havoc and win battles. Nothing fancy,” he said.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From the Royal Half

TONIGHT…

GDB38

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Not very often you can tie a franchise record set by the dominant teams of the 1980s. Oilers continue their strong play at home with a 3-2 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall and Draisaitl  combine for EV goal. Hall has 32 EV points, one behind Kane and Seguin, while Draisailt is 8th in EV scoring with 26 points.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score two PP goals and Hunt registers an assist. He now has four career NHL points and all of them have come against Pacific division teams.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Oilfaninvan

    Wow. 10 goals in two games for a traditionally low scoring team in the LA Kings, all without Jeff Carter. Is it just a really bad Pacific Division, or are the Kings that good?

  • Mr.Snrub

    Oil on a 6 game win streak! Actually wake up in a playoff spot on a cold december morning! Maybe year 10 is actually our year!

    1-5-1 since.

    Alrighty then.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Bradley,your relentless stupidity is an amazing diversion from just how bad the team is. Assuming that you are on the Katz payroll, you should demand a raise.

    Yes, I know. LOL and classic oilernation.

  • hagar

    It’s amazing how many small details of the game that LA does well.

    – go to the net after a pass
    – run a minor interference on the weak side forward
    – puck support
    – slaps shots from the point low and on the net on PP

    We do none of these things.

  • 24% body fat

    Imagine they go on a nice little run the rest of this home stand. They are in contention with McDavid coming back and they squeak in the 8th spot. The fans would be electric prior to Game 1. Then the Kings would totally decimate the Oilers when the referees put away their whistles. This is such a soft team.

    • bradleypi

      What game were you watching the best defender on the ice was without a dought. Justin shultz. He played with a weak “Norris potential” defender and got into a fight with lucic he set up the pouliot goal.

      Get your eyes checked

  • chickenStew

    Wow, that game really shows where we are at. Same old problems from the past:

    * shaky undependable goaltending

    * dmen can’t get puck out of zone and forwards don’t support them enough

    * not enough pushback

    I know we are not technically out of the playoffs, but I have that same old feeling again, where I know its over. Shouldn’t be long know until we are 30th overall, which in quite unbelievable.

    The thing that pisses me off the most is that after all these years of “rebuilding” we have still not closed the gap between us and the good teams. Tonight was an excellent example. The Kings are light years ahead of us.

    Pathetic – thanks MacT, Howson and Lowe – HTF does MacT still have a job with his organization? Unbelievable.

    • Athabascajim

      Not to mention:

      *No forecheck, as most of the forwards fight desperately to be second into the corners.

      * Best team at turning the other cheek

      * lazy back checking and lazy changes on the fly

      * consistently on the wrong side of the puck

      * no breakout to speak of, just ring it around the boards to the opposition point man. Every team in the league is looking for this now.

      *#20 should be embarrassed at letting a 19 yr old fight the teams battles. WTF else does he bring to the team?

      * afraid to hit anyone anywhere on the ice lest they may actually get mad and beat you up

      This is without a doubt the biggest bunch of pussies ever put together on one team. The only talent they have displayed is one for losing consistently. I don’t know how they can look each other in the eye after a game.

  • chickenStew

    Even though I’m guilty of it myself, so far tonight there have been 72 posts either by bradlypi or in response to same. That is roughly 1/3 of the posts.

    Pathetic hijacking of a board by an obvious troll.
    No one can be this idiotic, so the conclusion is that we are all being played.

    Solution? Either ban or ignore.

    • 3 Little Birds

      Ignoring 1/3 of the comments sure asks a lot out of the rest of ON.

      It’s so tedious, unoriginal and mind-numbingly juvenile.

      It may not be very PC of me to think this way, but it sure seems like the majority is sacrificing for the benefit of one, and that sucks, in this scenario.

      FN has the soup nazi as a moderator, and I would hate to go that far, but obvious trolls should be banned using not email, but their IP address.

      JMO

  • chickenStew

    During the winning streak this site was full of praise, relief, optimism, and talk of playoff hockey. As if the flaws just disappeared. From the beginning of the season, this group of defensemen almost guaranteed we were going to struggle, not to mention all the injuries that hit. Rather than focusing about one defensemen or the lack of heart, or whatever the issue-of-the-week is, I’d rather hear some real talk about balancing out our lineup so we don’t have a bunch of overrated potential all-stars up front with an absolute catastrophe of a blue line and bottom-six forward behind them. This team is built without a strong supporting cast, and that should be the management’s main concern. Until it’s addressed, we won’t be competitive.