GDB 52.0 Wrap Up: Oilers @ Senators

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Baggedmilk and many Nation readers departed today on the first annual Nation ski trip, and the undisputed leader of the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fan club asked me to fill in. I doubt I can match his antics, but here goes.

I’m sure BM and all the skiers will be in fine form tomorrow when they hit the slopes after celebrating the Oilers best road performance of the season. Edmonton crushed the Senators.

Final Score: Oilers win 7-2

 The Oilers stormed out of the gate with Mark Fayne and Jordan Eberle scoring 41 seconds apart and the Oilers led 2-0 five minutes in. Connor McDavid had two assists in the first eleven minutes and the Nation was roaring with glee.

This game had everything:

Lots of goals.

Three fights.

A big hit by Justin Schultz.

A PP goal from the fourth line.

Highlight reel goals from Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl.

Cam Talbot was solid once again stopping 36 of 38 shots. In his last 17 starts he has stopped 509 of 543 shots (.937sv%) and has a solid 2.00 GAA.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Ferrari

  • The start. Oilers dominated the first eleven minutes and took a three-nothing lead.
  • Justin Schultz with a great hit on Prince along the boards. Zack Kassian skates over right after to ensure Chris Neil didn’t rough up Schultz. Team togetherness. What a concept.
  • Kassian is playing right to the edge, but not going over. He was aggressive, had a great chance in the first period and scored in the second. He is silencing those who doubted the trade. I liked the trade at the time and it looks better by the day.
  • Eric Gryba’s point streak is as long as McDavid’s. Gryba had another strong game. Two fights against his former team will earn him big points within the Oilers dressing room. 
  • The McDavid and Eberle combination. Eberle showed why he is the best pure finisher the Oilers have and McDavid’s presence has lifted the team.
  • Tonight was an entire team effort. It was much more than one player leading the way.
  • Draisaitl has scored in three straight games, has four goals in his last five, and no one is talking about it. Nothing wrong with having a “quiet” three game goal streak and eight points in his last nine games.
  • Brandon Davidson. He has been the biggest and most pleasant surprise on the Oilers. Some wanted him put on waivers at the start of the season, but in his first game back he played a team-high 23 minutes and got rewarded with a lucky PP bounce.
  • The blowout allowed McLellan to rest his forwards. Mark Letestu played the most, for the second straight game, at 17:56, and Pakarinen the least at 11:56. McDavid (13:22), Eberle (12:48) and Pouliot (12:18) were the next lowest and they will be fresh for the back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.
  • I’m on fire with the GDP right now. Hope it keeps rolling. I say we make some SuperBowl prop bets.

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers take advantage of the Senators leaky defence and win 4-2.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid registers a goal and an assist.

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Korpikoski
    hasn’t scored a goal since he tallied a hat-trick on December 11th, a
    span of 18 games. He doesn’t score tonight, but he picks up an assist.

    THE FACE PALMERS

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    • There weren’t many in a 7-2 win, but Baggedmilk demanded I include some. So…
    • Pouliot’s first period penalty in the offensive zone. Needless and lazy. Otherwise a solid game from #67, but he can’t take that penalty.
    • The final eight minutes of the first and majority of the second period. The Oilers took their foot off the gas after dominating early. Once they mature and develop a killer instinct this group will be scary.

    BEST OF THE TWEETS

    WRAP UP…

    Oilers dominated two teams they should have which is a great sign, and now they travel to Montreal to take on the struggling Habs. Montreal is 5-20-1 in their last 26 games.

    Montreal is still the Mecca of hockey, and most players love playing there. Something tells me the Oilers’ top two lines will be fired up to score on Saturday’s Hockey Day in Canada. Don’t forget puck drop is at noon Edmonton time.

    Recently by Jason Gregor:

      • Zarny

        Realistically, the odds of the Oilers making the playoffs is essentially 0.

        They are 7 pts back of Ana; but Ana has 3 games in hand and is 8-2 over their last 10 games. The Oilers are 10 pts behind if Ana only picks up 3 of the possible 6 pts in hand.

        And every team in the Pacific has games in hand too. A quirky fact is that since the ’04 lockout only 4 or 5 teams have recovered to make the playoffs after being 4 pts out starting November. The Bettman point makes it very hard to close deficits in the standings and Edm has to climb over everyone.

        I don’t think that matters. The Oilers finished 27 pts behind SJ last year. This year they are 4 pts or less behind the Jets depending on the 2 games Wpg has in hand. They are only 20 pts behind 1st place LA; which beats the 47 pts they trailed Ana last year.

      • For Pete's Sake!

        It is at 6mil per year. The Oilers won’t be able to afford that for a third line centre in a couple of years.

        Much as I love Nuge and thank God Eberle is finally rejuvenated and starting to find his groove again, Chiarelli is going to have to make some tough decisions in order to find that top pairing D-man the Oilers still desperately need.

        It’s going to be interesting to see what he does.

    • Flin Flon Bombers

      I got to go to the game and saw a guy with a Horcoff jersey wearing a Nation hard hat. This definitely contributed to our victory. The Oilers fans owned the place, I would say we were about 30% of the crowd. Great evening.

    • HockeyYoda

      Anybody still pining to trade Ebs….last couple weeks comments included “lazy” “uninspired” “useless” He’s a finisher and one day come playoff time your going to need a clutch scorer like him. If your gonna trade a winger out gotta be Yak, although Purcell and Schultz might have more trade value right now.

    • Seriously Bored

      Any teams trading an older #1 d man isn’t going to want ebs or nuge. They’re going to want klefbom or nurse plus a pick which would be crazy for the oilers to do.

      Wait for the summer and our defense will get some help. Hopefully it only takes yak + a pick or ebs at that point to get it done.

    • Natejax30

      If that game doesn’t get Gryba a new contract…then there is something wrong with the world.

      Great Game Eric, great game team…geese they look tough right now. And the are developing the pack mentality.

    • Birdmon86

      I’m from ottawa, and oilers been my west coast team, so going in whatever the outcome was, i was happy with.
      there were more oilers jerseys in the crowd then sens last night.

      gryba taking on zack smith was insane.
      zack kassian drew a penalty on neil by refusing to fight, then later scored.

      chiarelli swindled MTL.

      my fantasy team had everyone contribute on every goal last night i think

      squad: stone, ryan, hall, mcdavid, draisatl, karlsson, talbot and anderson are my goalies lol.

      i also have nuge and turris both they both injured too ahah.

    • Seriously Bored

      Did Nuge just become expendable?
      With a pure finisher like Eberle to play with McDavid it doesnt seem that they would move Ebs.
      Also with two lines that are putting up huge points there is no real need for a 3rd line centre like NUge.
      We still need to upgrade our defence

    • wiseguy

      Did Nuge just become expendable?
      With a pure finisher like Eberle to play with McDavid it doesnt seem that they would move Ebs.
      Also with two lines that are putting up huge points there is no real need for a 3rd line centre like NUge.
      We still need to upgrade our defence

      • Zarny

        Hall Nuge Draisatle
        Pouliot McD Eberle

        How is nuge expendable? If we trade him, we are looking for a replacement that is exactly nuge.

        Please make a list of all #1 defenseman that have been traded prior to the age of 27 (which is what we need) for a 23 year old 1st overall pick that is a solid 2 way center. Ill wait.

        These trades happen, but it seems to be lost on everyone that they are usually traded for an ok roster player (usually older), prospect and a pick.

        Trading nuge for an established D man that we all want would be the first time it happens ever (please, try and prove me wrong). He is just too valuable to trade for a ‘maybe #1’, and not valuable enough to trade for a sure thing #1.

        Like it or not, we dont have the D man we need, and similar to many other teams we either need to get lucky and draft one, fleece a team in a trade or sign one.

        • Yandle got traded last year, so did Myers. Those are two under top line right shot D men who were traded.

          Pronger got traded, twice within two years.

          Burns got traded.

          It happens.

          But, what do you think about Nuge for Sean Coturier?

          Is it the same value, not in my mind, but maybe with the emergence of Draisaitl and McDavid, Coturier fits Chirelli’s team mold a little better.

          • S cottV

            Not sure Coturier in particular – is the right guy, maybe re speed concerns / rh shot preferred – but is the right kind of appropriately paid two way 3c we need.

            Nuge or any other core player that might be used, would preferably bring back a d man – as the key piece coming back.

            So – a package with a team where we give up a LH D man, say Nuge in return for a key RH D man and a 3c – might work.

            • Hhhmmm, what about separate deals? I still think Hamonic can be had for cheaper than Eberle or Nuge. If there was a better offer on the table then the deal would have been done by now. It tells me Snow doesn’t like what he’s getting, but probably knows it’s not going to get much better considering the player has openly asked for a trade to a specific area of the world.

              I don’t want to give up one of Klefbom, Nurse, or Davidson. But the left side d depth chart looks like this:

              Sekera, Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Reinheart, Laleggia, Legasson.

              And so, if it costs the team Klefbom, to basically get back right side Klefbom, I think at least they are trading from a depth position and can suffer the loss to make the team better.

              From there, I still think there’s an opportunity this summer to pick up the final D piece through free agency. Been saying it for a while, but one of Byfuglin, Yandle, or Yannick Weber, would make our top four D very formidable.

              But, two of those guys are going to be expensive, and that means shedding salary. And so maybe Nuge for Coturier is more about a salary dump, maybe Philly throws in a prospect or a high draft pick as well.

              Despite losing two very good players that will be extremely difficult to find outside of the first round of a draft, ultimately I think the team becomes a lot stronger and well rounded. Not to mention much bigger with the additions or say Hamonic, Weber, and Cotureier.

            • 916oiler

              Don’t be selling the farm to get this so called #1 Dman. A little patience is required here. We already have our #1 Dman in Klef or maybe Nurse. Let’s see what a healthy D looks like and more experience. Klef about 100 games Gryba 220 games, Davidson, Nurse, Reinhart, Clendening all less than 50 games. These guys with another 50 games experience along with Sekera, Fayne and Schschschulz might be good enough. Ideally get rid of Schultz and replace him. Get Gryba signed, anyone that takes his fiancée to the Arctic fishing is a keeper.

          • CanaDave

            If virtually no one was on board with taking Couturier over Nuge in the 2011 draft when that conversation was at least semi-acceptable to bring up, I doubt that conversation is going to pick up any momentum now. Of course I wanted Larsson the whole time so shows you what I know. 🙂

            My opinion remains to not make any “bold” moves before the end of the season, let Chiarelli and McLellan continue to evaluate the players currently in the system and make a trade in the summer when more teams are in play and looking to make roster moves of their own. I’d consider it bad asset management to trade any top level piece in the organization without seeing what other teams are willing to offer in exchange.

            As long as the Oilers go into the fall with the same coach, management and an actual long-term strategy starting to come into place that’s good enough for me.

            • This is all pretty reasonable. I don’t think you make that deal before the summer anyway, maybe at the draft.

              I also think it would behoove management to at least see the team play ten games when all their players are healthy to get a sense of what they have and who fits where.

              As for Coturier, he took a long time to develop, but I believe he’s coming into his own as the two way centre they always hoped he would be. He has 24 points on the season, which isn’t great but with some more season to go it’s not terrible either for your third line C.

              Really, I’m just spit balling on the assumption Chi wants his ‘heavier’ team, and Nuge is on his trade block. So given he’s there, what are some the things you could likely get for him / would want for him? A cheaper, bigger, two way C sounds about right.

        • 916oiler

          As an organization you cant afford to have 6 million dollars wrapped up in your third line center. Putting Drai on the wing on a line with Hall and Nuge doesnt make sense when Drai is pushing as a center himself.
          You can trade Nuge and get a Dman, even if it doesnt get you a shea webber calibre Dman if we can score another guy similair to Sekra who can play and be positive that gives us alot more competence on the back end. You are trading an area of strength to address an area of weakness. This is what good teams do.

          • When Huge went down, it didn’t look like a very strong area. And while the recent success has been great with the return of McDavid, lets try and keep in mind what teams the Oilers are facing. Jackets are worst in the league, Ottowa lost something like 9 of their last 11, and Montreal is currently experiencing the worst collapse in not just franchise but league history.

            If without Nuge McDavid and Draisaitl can take this team to the playoffs, then I think you can look at trading Nuge for D. If not, then Nuge stays not as our third line centre, but as our top line guy who is playing a ton of tough minutes, killing penalties, and clearing the air for Draisatil and McDavid to do damage.

            Also, look at how Mclellan runs his teams: Throton, Pavelski, Marleua, Hrtl are all centres, but are paired up on lines and put on wings. Given how well Drai played right wing from his back hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nuge – Hall – Draisaitl back together to start next year. Especially given Purcell likely won’t be back.

    • Jason Gregor

      So nice to come one here and see very few Eberle insults and trade talk. The duo of Eberle and McDavid is unreal to watch! So dangerous! Guess some will have to find their next Goat! Still need a defensemen but McDavid is raising everyone’s game and Talbot is looking like a true #1. I don’t think it’s such a desperate situation anymore and Klefbom’s return might even put them into the average range for the back end.

      • S cottV

        There is no doubt that a McD – Eberle connection is a potential keeper.

        Would still need to stand the test of time and in particular – vs teams like the LA Kings.

        Pretty obvious – that a McD – Yak connection, is just not the right thing to do.

        Eberle is much smarter than Yak and obviously a better finisher. The downside for Eberle is that he usually sinks too far when operating in the heavy go.

        That all being said – if the McD – Eberle connection cools a bit, I would like to see more guys matched up with McD.

        I would like to see Kassian in there for one, particularly when playing more physical teams. Too bad that Nuge is hurt – because Nuge – McD – Kassian might be an interesting line.

        • bazmagoo

          Totally get what your saying. It is a bit early and too small a sample to know what these two can do against stronger opponents. So we will have to wait and see. However the notion that Eberle sinks away against stronger competition is also based on too small a sample. The kid has played in a very large pacific devision for a number of years now. Aside from this season I don’t remember anyone making so many comments about his sinking/disapearing/etc. I hardly think he has got his 300+ points against only smaller competition! He does seem to need to play with other talented players to be successful and if they struggle he struggles. In other words he doesn’t drive the bus very often. However he may just be one of the most complementary passengers around! And with McDavid driving, by early accounts, we are in for a hell of a ride!

    • blark

      How much will we Chiarelli regret not bringing McDavid back 3-4 games earlier if we end up missing the playoffs by a few points, if Henderson is right that he was healthy to play pre-All Star game.

    • oilerjed

      LOVED the cut outs to Darnells parents during that fight!
      Im not a professional lip reader but it seemed pretty clear that Papa Nurse had this to say about his son fighting on his birthday:

      “Beat that Ass! Beat that Ass!”

      And watching the senators fans face right behind him while this was going on… Priceless

    • Bob Cobb

      The Oilers do have good play by play people, the worst has to be Calgary’s sportsnet people, actually any Calgary play by play is horrible, the tools on Fan 960 that include Peter Loubardius who still sounds like he waiting on his testicles to descend, and that c@#$sucker, Roger Millions…..Man I have a lot of pent up rage towards Calgary.

      The Oilers looked good last night, on to Montreal…… “NEXT!”

    • It is great to see McDavid, Hall and Driasaitl fly through the neutral zone and gain the offensive zone with possession. I notice more often than not it is Pouliot and Purcell making those effective breakout passes (even under pressure). If the cap space is available, these two need to be part of that top 6 mix next year. The Oilers have struggled mightily in exiting the zone in the past, and not all of the breakdowns were due to a lousy first pass by the Dman (although they were often part of the problem). I hope Purcell and his agent see the benefit of playing with Hall and Draisaitl and do not price themselves out of this market. This sure beats watching the Eakin’s era of Oiler hockey.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Bob Stauffer is getting tougher to listen to every week. He is taking his Oiler PR gig a little to far. Last night after interviewing Leon, Bob says…”see you on the plane Leon” Leon’s response was hilarious…like “ya whatever Bob”. I enjoyed a few weeks back when Craig Simpson lit him up for constantly making excuses for the team. Craig was bang-on and it was well overdue. He has some great guests on his show but often does not let them talk or continually interrupts them.

      I agree with another commenter though…Greg Millen the worst of all time.

      Go Oilers

    • Derian Hatcher

      Bob Stauffer is getting tougher to listen to every week. He is taking his Oiler PR gig a little to far. Last night after interviewing Leon, Bob says…”see you on the plane Leon” Leon’s response was hilarious…like “ya whatever Bob”. I enjoyed a few weeks back when Craig Simpson lit him up for constantly making excuses for the team. Craig was bang-on and it was well overdue. He has some great guests on his show but often does not let them talk or continually interrupts them.

      I agree with another commenter though…Greg Millen the worst of all time.

      Go Oilers

    • Zarny

      No to trading Nuge or Ebs. Selling low on any asset is bad management so we need to stop “trading” a player after he has a couple bad games or an injury. Maybe only in the off-season if something great comes along.

      Klefbom, Nurse, Sekera, Davidson, Gryba, Fayne. Three vets and three on the rise. Reinhart developing. Laleggia, Bear and Jones, waiting for their chance over the next couple years. Not great but with a solid offense they can all start to look better.

      Yakupov and Schultz are our trade chips, the price for a #1 dman is too high so don’t do it. See what Yak, Shultz plus a draft pick can get you at the draft. Maybe it isn’t much but that’s fine, likely another Reinhart level potential top 4 guy. Nurse and Klefbom still have the top pairing potential that we are trying so desperately to find.

      • Zarny

        A player’s value doesn’t drop because of a few bad games lol.

        Klefbom, Nurse, Sekera, Davidson, Gryba, Fayne, Reinhart aren’t great? They aren’t even good. They are, in fact, one of the worst bluelines in the league. They only have 2 top 4 D – Sekera and Klefbom. Nurse will get there but it won’t be this year and he’ll likely go through long stretches over the next 2 seasons where he isn’t at that level either.

        Yakupov and Schultz are not trade chips. They have no real value.

        Potential is just that…potential. It “might” happen…sometime…in the future.

    • 916oiler

      Everyone on vacation? I guess that means no new articles for the rest of the day….

      How am I supposed to close out Friday afternoon at work!? Actually work!?

    • Spoils

      Next steps?

      1) keep winning
      2) get Klef and Nuge back and win by more
      3) make playoffs and win calder
      4) yak city scores OT playoff winner with mustache
      5) wake from dream