GDB 53.0: J’ENTENDS FRAPPER (I HEAR KNOCKING)

The Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens are two of the most prominent NHL teams of the expansion era. From 1967 through today, the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Montreal Canadiens 10 times—twice since Edmonton entered the NHL. The Oilers own five Stanley’s since 1979, so in head-to-head competition, the western upstarts have the edge. Question: Which of the two teams wins the next Stanley?

LE HISTORY

Many years ago, in 1981, the Montreal Canadiens played the expansion Edmonton Oilers in a playoff series. Montreal owned all of the jewels of history and a storied past, while the young Oilers had no past at all. So it was, that on the nights of Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9,1981, the Edmonton Oilers defeated Montreal twice in their opening round (best-of-five) series. Game three, the clincher, is in the video above. Andy Moog was the star of the series, winning all three games and stopping 90 of 96 shots (.937 save percentage).Source

It would be epic to see these teams meet again, in the Stanley Cup Finals. It won’t happen this season, but maybe someday soon. As it is, there is a game ahead and the Oilers have a brand new hero to drive the Canadiens crazy.

The acquisition of Zack Kassian looks good today. The big winger has worked hard, been effective and is already part of an increasingly effective offensive group. Edmonton’s power play is improving (especially since the return of Connor McDavid) but as the Oilers enter today’s game, their 5×5 offense is a strong part of their success. Here are the top forwards (100 or more minutes this season) among the Oilers group, and where they rank league wide:

  • No. 1: Connor McDavid 2.85
  • No. 2: Leon Draisaitl 2.77
  • No. 5: Taylor Hall 2.64
  • No. 62: Teddy Purcell 1.88
  • No. 77: Benoit Pouliot 1.82
  • No. 101: Nail Yakupov 1.72
  • No. 147: Jordan Eberle 1.58
  • No. 174: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.47

Edmonton’s even-strength offense has been solid this year, and the top three men on the list have been ripping it up (when healthy) all season. Young McDavid is incredible, 15 games into his career and the entire hockey world can’t wait to see him again.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

FORWARDS

DEFENSE

GOALIE

Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

MONTREAL 2

MONTREAL3

MONTREAL1

QUICK HITS

  • Connor McDavid is having an enormous impact on the game—the entire game. Pierre Lebrun told me this week about a conversation he had with an NHL executive not part of the Oilers organization. The exec commented about how good it was to have 97 back, how much fun it was to watch him, and how good he is for the game. In an incredibly competitive industry, that comment shines as testimony to the young man’s appeal.
  • Brandon Davidson and his calm feet were badly missed when he was out with injury and you can see his value on every shift. If the Oilers can sign him (Jason Gregor wrote about this yesterday) to a reasonable deal, he would represent one of the few important roster spots filled with a value deal.
  • Zack Kassian ranks along with Cam Talbot and Andrej Sekera as ‘best moves’ made by Peter Chiarelli in his first 12 months. He will be going against the man he was traded for (Ben Scrivens) and it should be an interesting showdown.
  • The Oilers are in a strange tie for No. 25 overall with basically all of Canada, Buffalo and Columbus. If they win today, you could wake up tomorrow with the Oilers clear of Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, If that happens, I will have a beer, and then I will have another one.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

  • Ian Murray, Habs Eyes on the Prize: The Canadiens’ epic ascent, followed immediately by their stark and
    dismal failure, leaves them in a terrible position. According to Micah Blake McCurdy‘s projections over at HockeyViz,
    only the Senators and Devils were more likely find themselves without a
    playoff position or a top-five draft pick this season, as of Thursday
    morning.
  • Source

GAME DAY PREDICTIONS

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers and Habs begin the day game sleepily, but the home side scores on a weird Max Pacioretty shot from behind the net. Habs 1, Oilers 0 after one. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton doubles down on the sleepy in period two, but Montreal can only cash one time, on the power play from P.K. Subban. A late marker by Matt Hendricks gives the Oilers some hope entering the third period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

The heavens part and the power play runs rampant in the final frame, as Edmonton outscores Montreal 3-1 in the period and 4-3 overall. Connor McDavid puts on a show, the Oilers go to 3-0-0 on the week and Sam Pollock grumbles from the heavens. A perfect Saturday. 

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Every team would like a player with his skill set. Don’t tell me Ferlund is your teams guy. I know fans in Cslgary way overvalue Ferlund. He won’t amount to much.

  • TheYarish

    Send nurse down for the year he’s obviously struggling and don’t embarrass this franchise anymore with Schultz a whole fan base is dying inside every te
    Time he’s on the ice

  • CanaDave

    I’m thinking the coaches must have told Nurse about 10 games ago that he won’t get benched if he jumps up into the play offensively, at least not this season. As everyone around here knows, it’s painful at time to watch young players develop, but the thing I’ve notice about Darryl is that while he may be making a lot of mistakes he rarely makes the same mistake more than once. Plus once he finishes maturing and getting physically stronger he’s going to be on the right end of plays that he’s just a tenth of a second off on right now.

  • geeker99

    Dissapointing that we still have an effort like that in our team. Can’t believe that I hear get rid of Nurse comments as he has only 50 games under his belt. This team is in dire need of some good steady vets in our top six. Eberle is tough to watch as he is no longer a kid and is maybe worse in his own end now than in years past. now that Connor is back the hall line should be taking advantage and they are not.

    To get rid of Chia and the coach is a little pre-mature as the effort this has been a lot better this year. Chia is working from weakness and I for one is impatient . I was hoping to see some real meaningful hockey this year but dont see it.