GDB 43.0: HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – ONE STEP CLOSER

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With the news yesterday that Oscar Klefbom and Connor McDavid will not return until after the All-Star break, Edmonton Oilers fans have every right to primal scream until their lungs are raw. Why can’t we have nice things? WHO DARES to speak of a bright tomorrow?

CURRENT STANDINGS

standings

The Oilers are not out of this, but their homestand is almost over and the results have not been grand. Still, they are 2-1-0 in January and a win tonight offers fans some hope. Can they have another month at .500 or over (7-6-1 in December)? Seems difficult after the news yesterday.

I think humor is the best way to approach the injury situation, and injuries are absolutely part of the story this year. A lot of attention is being paid to Connor McDavid’s recovery, but losing Oscar Klefbom for this long has had a mammoth impact on the Oilers. It’s too bad, because they recovered from a 0-4-0 start to run 17-17-3 before the loss on Friday—that is a very nice run of hockey. This team lacks balance, but they cannot overcome injuries because the depth is razor thin.

MAKE A TRADE, DAMMIT!

Man, I would love to agree with you, but that is not the play here. Peter Chiarelli is best to keep his powder dry, to hope this team can stay healthy for the month of February and then make some calls on his roster. I do think we can assume Teddy Purcell, Cam Talbot, Mark Fayne, Benoit Pouliot, Matt Hendricks, Justin Schultz may all be somewhat in play come the deadline. Most of those men will be sent away for picks and or prospects, but is there a hockey trade to be made?

  • Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun: Ducks’ GM Bob Murray, who has stood by coach Bruce Boudreau despite the
    club’s struggles, has been looking for a forward. The Ducks have
    defencemen they can offer up in a deal and several teams have been
    keeping a close eye on Anaheim to see if they might be able to get a
    trade to fall into place.
    Source.

If the Ducks are dangling a defender like Sami Vatanen, I imagine Peter Chiarelli would be listening and possibly pitching some names. Vatanen is a puck-moving defender with great skills and a proven track record over 163 NHL and 70 AHL games. You would like him to be a little more experienced, but this is a player who looks bona fide. Profile here.

They should have won, Mr. Kissel, and I imagine the Panthers will see a determined bunch of Oilers this evening. The club is 1-1-0 this week, so a win tonight sets up their week much better than a loss, and the quicker we all get past that third period against the Lightning, the better.

PROJECTED LINEUPS……

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Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

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Panthers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • I believe Mark Fayne is one of the six best defensemen on the Oilers.
  • The Klefbom injury (groin?) has a tremendous impact on this season. Edmonton has been unable to cobble together true defensive depth since 2005-06, and that will be the challenge for Peter Chiarelli this coming summer.
  • Griffin Reinhart not being able to step up when needed is and should be a big story this year. The GM paid dearly for him, and part of that (as was stated by Mr. Chiarelli at the time) was immediate impact on the roster. A misstep, I would suggest.
  • Laurent Brossoit is playing very well in the minors, Eetu Laurkainen posted a 30-shot shutout for the Condors last night. Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson are playing well in the NHL. Can you name the last time Edmonton had four capable goalies in their pro system? I cannot.
  • Terry Jones has a nice article on Brossoit here.
  • I would like to hear about contract discussions for Cam Talbot and Teddy Purcell. Chances are the winger is traded, but it doesn’t hurt to talk about contract expectations.
  • I think Justin Schultz has played well in the last three games.
  • Anton Lander had 12 shifts Friday.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Looks like Al Montoya in net for the Panthers, who are on a tremendous winning streak (11 in a row, first place in the Atlantic Division) and have quality and depth across the roster. Jaromir Jagr is getting a lot of attention—deservedly so—but this is far from a one-trick pony. It should be a fun game tonight!

GAME DAY PREDICTION

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GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get caught napping early, going down 1-0. Later in the period, the Panthers pounce with the man advantage and it is 2-0 after 30. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lots of chances in the second period for both sides, but nothing rhymes enough for a goal. 2-0 FLA. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton roars back in the third, and scores twice—once with the man advantage, and both by the Draisaitl line. In OT, an end-to-end dash by Taylor Hall leaves Justin Schultz with an open net—and he cashes. 3-2 Oil.

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