The Edmonton Oilers reach the All-Star break miles before the rest of the league, but no one is complaining. The injury list is long and includes some of the best roster players (not) available, and the callups are lacking in important (defensive) areas. Hurry sundown, bring the All-Star break, bring rest, healing and a better day. The first 50 games for the Oilers were rife with danger, heartbreak and disappointment, and they barely (seriously) saved their bacon.
— Willy Daunic (@WillyD1025) January 23, 2016
SOME GOTTA WIN, SOME GOTTA LOSE
The Oilers and Nashville don’t traditionally hang out in the same area of the standings, so I thought it might be cool to post some numbers that compare the two teams:
- Total Points: Nashville (50) over Edmonton (43)
- Goal Differential: Nashville (-7) over Edmonton (-24)
- Last 10: Edmonton (4-4-2) over Nashville (3-6-1)
- Goals-per-60: Nashville (2.48) over Edmonton (2.35)
- Goals-Against-per-60: Nashville (2.67) over Edmonton (2.89)
- Shots-For-Per-60: Nashville (30.9) over Edmonton (28.5)
- Shots-Against-Per-60: Nashville (26.3) over Edmonton (30.7)
The Predators are the better team, with Edmonton having a slight advantage over their last 10. It should be mentioned those 10 games were tough sledding, with very little time in between games and a growing list of injuries. Currently, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brandon Davidson and Connor McDavid are on the list, but Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Benoit Pouliot and others have been on IR for extended periods.
EV SCORING AMONG OILERS FORWARDS
One of the developing stories for Edmonton this season is their impressive group of forwards and their 5×5 scoring prowess. Here are the top forwards (300 or more minutes this season) among the Oilers group, and where they rank league wide:
- No. 2: Leon Draisaitl 2.69
- No. 4: Taylor Hall 2.58
- No. 42: Teddy Purcell 1.96
- No. 62: Nail Yakupov 1.82
- No. 75: Benoit Pouliot 1.78
- No. 139: Jordan Eberle 1.53
- No. 152: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.47
The Oilers have five men inside the top 90 in the NHL! If all things were equal, each team would have three (I know you know, but we have had a lot of Oilers forwards called ‘third-line centers’ over the years) inside the top 90. Say what you will about this bunch, at 5×5 they are outstanding (and notice McDavid isn’t on the list, he is No. 2 overall but hasn’t played 300 minutes). Lordy.
- Brandon Davidson going down is a terrible turn for this team. He and Oscar Klefbom have emerged as extremely useful players.
- Joakim Andersson cleared waivers this morning. Lots of chatter on the interwebs about Edmonton picking him up, but he looked a lot like Anton Lander. I would guess the Oilers will cast about for possible replacements, but it will be summer.
- Griffin Reinhart was called up yesterday, +4 in his last two AHL games and we will see how many of the last 33 games he sees. Would expect him to go back down for the All-Star break.
- The power play showed signs of life this week, if they can get that part of their game going Edmonton should be more competitive in the second half.
- Connor McDavid is coming back after the All-Star break. I mention it because it may have slipped your mind.
- Teddy Purcell is absolutely going somewhere, but I wonder if the Oilers might be interested in bringing him back in the summer? He fits well here.
- In the summer, NY Islanders will be looking for a replacement for Kyle Okposo. Would they deal Travis Hamonic to Edmonton to take care of that? Or would they be more likely to bite on a deal that involves a (probably) top six overall selection? We wait.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Along the Boards: The Franchise center is legit – Ryan Johansen is
everything the Predators wanted and needed. Averaging over a point per
game, Johansen has made his linemates better, in particular James Neal,
who is not getting more prime chances than he ever has as a Predator. Source
GAME DAY PREDICTION
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers are flat as Baggedmilk’s wallet to start the game, and Shea Weber hammers TWO goals from the point into the Oilers net in the first 10 minutes. The world spins for the Oilers through the rest of the period but they get out down a deuce.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The kids find their legs in the second but Nashville brought lady luck and posts/bounces/hockey Gods bless us with a scoreless period.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:
It’s raining goals in the third period, with markers from Eberle, Johansen, Hall, Pouliot in the first 10 minutes of the period. Wild plays in the final 10 solve nothing, and Andrej Sekera’s seeing eye shot from the point in OT gives the home team a Saturday night 4-3 win.
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