GDB 20.0: What a difference one win can make

Joker

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

The Oilers stopped the hemorrhaging with a 5-2 victory in Dallas. They received some puck luck, created some chances and didn’t commit the egregious error which has cost them games recently.

Tonight they wrap up their toughest ten-game stretch of the season against the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, and a win will make their first quarter a big success.

The Oilers haven’t won eleven of their first 20 games since November of 2006, but a win tonight sure changes the outlook of where they sit at the quarter mark of the season.

Win and they are on pace for 92 points in 80 games.

Lose in regulation and they are on pace for 84 points.

Twenty-three points after 20 games would have to be considered a success, regardless of their slump prior to Saturday’s win. I don’t think anyone expected the Oilers to be a dominant team this season, but an 11-8-1 record after 20 games gives us a better illustration of what to expect over the final 62 games. A loss won’t derail their season, but it illustrates how much of a difference one more win can make over a 20-game period.

A win over Chicago would also help their average home record. The biggest improvement for the Oilers has been their ability to compete on the road. The Oilers are 6-4-1 on the road. Only Tampa Bay and Boston have more road wins and points. Meanwhile, only the Flames (3-7) and Buffalo (2-4-2) have fewer home wins than the Oilers’ four.

The Oilers started the season 4-1 at home, but they’ve lost three straight, scoring a total of three goals. They’ve shown considerable improvement on the road it is time they start making their new arena a difficult place to play for opposing teams.

LINEUP

Oilers

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Rarely do you change a winning lineup. No one played poorly. Zack Kassian was playing well before he took a four-minute minor, the second one for chirping the referee. He didn’t see the ice afterwards, but similar to when Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot missed icetime due to a bad performance or selfish decision earlier this season, they were in the lineup the next game. Todd McLellan hasn’t been afraid to send a message to players when they make a dumb play, but he also doesn’t carry the punishment over to the next game.

Players respect it when a coach doesn’t hold a grudge. 

Hawks

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Corey Crawford gets the start after a night off in Vancouver on Saturday.

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • Through 64 games Connor McDavid has 70 points. He has seven three-point games and one five-point night. In his first 64 games Sidney Crosby had 74 points and six three-point games and one four-point night. There were more goals scored league-wide in Crosby’s rookie season, and McDavid is playing his second year, so there are some differences, but there is no denying McDavid looks to be the next dominant player in the NHL.

    Crosby had 28 points in his final 17 games to finish the season, and if McDavid can come close to that over the next 17 games the Oilers should be in the playoff mix when 2017 begins.

  • The Hawks have allowed a league-high 18 PP goals (tied with CGY) and they have the worst PK in the NHL, an ugly 69.5%. However, those numbers are not reflective of their PK lately. They allowed 15 PP goals in their first eight games, but they’ve allowed only three goals in their last eleven games, killing off 36 of 39 power plays.
  • How about the Columbus Blue Jackets? They are 10-4-2 and only have two regulation losses in their last 14 games. They have defeated Dallas, Washington and Anaheim twice, and Chicago, Montreal St.Louis and the New York Rangers once. They are beating the top teams. They are the biggest surprise early this season.
  • With veterans Mark Letestu, Eric Gryba and Benoit Pouliot in the pressbox it doesn’t look like Edmonton will be in need to make a call to the AHL anytime soon. Taylor Beck leads the Condors in scoring with 5-11-16 in 11 games. Jujhar Khaira was off to a great start, seven points in six games, but an injury has kept him out of five games.

    The most interesting battle has been in goal. Laurent Brossoit has started seven games and has a .915sv% and 2.77 GAA. Nick Ellis has started six games and has a .931sv% and 2.38 GAA. Ellis is really pushing Brossoit for icetime.

  • We’ll be having another NationGear pop-up shop at Vacancy Hall (Downstairs at the Mercer building – 10359 104th Street) from 4-6pm. Swing by and upgrade your wardrobe accordingly. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Second City Hockey

The Oilers (10-8-1) came out flying this season going 7-1 in their first eight games, but have been struggling lately, losing five of their last six. Edmonton now sits in second in the Pacific Division, tied in points at 21 with the Ducks and Kings.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid has had an exceptional second season so far, sitting tied atop the leader board in points with 22 (eight goals and 14 assists). The Hawks missed out on facing McDavid last season because all three meetings happened when he was recovering from a broken clavicle. Chicago capitalized with McDavid out and swept the season series, scoring four goals in each contest behind Corey Crawford in net. Patrick Kane tallied two goals and five assists in the series while Artemi Panarin had four goals and four assists against the Oilers last season.

TONIGHT…

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers had played well and lost near the end of their losing streak before getting some bounces in Dallas. The Hawks have needed third period comebacks over Calgary and Vancouver in their previous two games. Instead of wasting a good opportunity, the Oilers finally defeat a team playing their third game in four nights. Oilers win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: On at least two occasions, Patrick Kane puts on a ridiculous display of stickhanding and controlling the puck in offensive zone. He’ll have the Oilers on their heels hoping not to get embarrassed. His puckhandling skills are top-shelf.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Puljujarvi scores his first goal since opening night.

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  • Ssseth

    We got my grandpa tickets to tonight’s game for his 80th birthday. I questioned getting tickets against such a good team but the Hawks were his favourite team before the Oilers entered the league. Here is hoping the Oilers don’t lay an egg for his first game at the new barn…!

    Go Oilers!

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Let’s see a couple goals out of Eberle, Lucic and Nuge tonight. 3 veterans making almost $20M a season combined should be able to lighten the 19 year old phenom’s workload every now and then.

  • Rob...

    I’ve seen a lot of players vehemently protest a tripping/hooking call, insisting it was a dive. I’ve only ever seen Kassian get an extra 2 for his rather tame protest.

    If the refs try to impose their will on the game on behalf of Chicago tonight I sincerely hope we get a legit comment from the Oilers brass. Enough is enough.

  • The Future Never Comes

    You know what is going to make Edmonton be more competitive, the players knowing there are three legit healthy scratches waiting in the crowd to step in. That’s called depth.

  • Harry2

    I have never in my life heard a comentator like Drew Remenda. I mean its not as if what he is saying is wrong its just that he seems to have forgotten who signs his paychecks.

    He spends 60mins licking the Blackhawks bags. Its unreal. I mean hes by far worse than John Garrett in Van. Hes got to go

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Spydyr slags Eberle needlessly with his tired one-note-hater schtick before the Zamboni even warms up . . . because, Spydyr.

    • Shameless Plugger

      Solid test tonight. Hoping JP has a breakout game.

      Game day prediction: Oil win 3-2 in o.t.

      Obvious Game day prediction: Spyder hijacks another thread with his incessant Eberle whining.

      NSO game day prediction: Caggulia moves up the depth chart.

    • I am Batman

      You can only compare Kane to Eberle for three reasons:

      1. You have NEVER seen Kane.

      2. You are on drugs and have never tried rehab. You are in such bad shape, that the last time you were sober, you were 11 years old.

      3. You are under 11 years old.

      Patrick Kane is a star, he handles the puck as nobody else does in the league, he is not a complete player but he is the best at what he does.

      Eberle, well, one day he will wake up from his eternal nap and we will find out.

      • IRONman

        Is Eberle suppose to be 100 pt player?

        He was drafted 22 overall. Now look at all the other 22 overall draft picks.

        14 has more points. Hockey is points based game.

        Not f@cking figure skating girls.

        Ebs and Nuge play great together.

        • Leigh

          Pacioretty and Giroux were 22nd overall. Both have more points than eberle. Giroux has much higher ppg than eberle. Both score and a lot of other things better than eberle. What are you getting at?

        • I am Batman

          Does Eberle know that it’s not figure skating?

          You can google a few of his back checks that prove he doesn’t.

          I am not saying he doesn’t have points. I am saying: don’t compare him to Kane. Unless it’s Evander Kane…. and even then….

          • pkam

            So Patrick Kane is much better than Eberle in back checks?

            I don’t see why we can’t compare Eberle to Patrick Kane. They are similar style player, Kane is more talented but get paid more, Eberle is less talented but get paid less.

            If you compare their value, i.e. their stats vs their salary, I find they are very closed.

            Kane is making 10.5M, he is at 1.05 ppg, 0.3 hits/g, 0.1 blks/g, 3 GA and 8 TA.

            Eberle is making 6.0M, he is at 0.68 ppg, 0.3 hits/g, 0.4 blks/g, 3 GA and 6 TA.

            Eberle’s stats look very good to me for 6M.

          • I am Batman

            Patrick is a lot better in everything. Period.

            If we wanted to trade Eberle we wouldn’t get much.

            If Chicago wanted to trade Kane….

            Money has nothing to do with it because Eberle ‘s salary is just an indicative of MacT’s poor management. Shall I remind you Schultzy was making 4 mill????

          • Seriously Bored

            Have you ever actually looked at the list of players who make 6+ million? There is a few on that list far worse than eberle. Heck for fun check the list starting at 5 mil + and see what you come up with. Lot of bad contracts with NMCs

          • I am Batman

            You are right, what a bargain!

            Need to get us some more Eberles in the team!!!!

            Thought the point was winning games, and eventually Cups, not getting great value for dollars. Do you remember when he signed the contract? It was one of the most expensive!

          • Seriously Bored

            The oilers are winning.

            Ebs point production has been just fine.

            You hate him because he isnt a big sexy stud forward that crashes and bangs all night long which makes no sense given his size and style of play.

            Every team hands out poor contracts or at times over pays players. Maybe he should be making 4.5 million.

            Since you are such a sarcastic hockey genius why arent you suggesting who the oilers should trade him for or a player who would have been a better draft pick? I argued they should have traded him after his second season. Where were you then? Probably drooling over his stats.

          • pkam

            Money has nothing to do with it? LOL.

            Shall I remind you that Eberle’s salary has nothing to do with MacT, and MacT didn’t sign Schultz to 3.9M, Chia did.

          • pkam

            It is not funny if you don’t understand that salary (or contract) is a factor to determine the value of a player.

            Shouldn’t a 10.5M player produce more than a 6M player?

            Yes, Kane is better than Eberle in everything, but he is paid better too, much better.

            Using Kane’s 10.5m contract as a baseline, Eberle’s 6M contract is a reasonable contract comparing their stats.

            Actaully, Eberle’s 6.0M contract compares favourably to Kessel’s 8.0M contract. And so far this year, it compares favourably to JG 6.75M contract as well, considering these 4 are similar type players.

          • Sir Dudeinstein

            You are correct. Eberle is a great great player.

            I guess moving him from first to second line hurt the team that much.

            No one will argue that Eberle isnt skilled. He is, just he is unmotivated, and when he yawns coming off the ice for a change, when he looks like a space cadet when the game is playing. That is where I have a problem with Eberle. That is what I wouldnt want in the locker room. Someone isnt interested in the game, someone who seems not willing to learn or talk to his teammates. At lease Kessel has a cup ring, so does Kane. Kessel was overpaid by Toronto because they are Toronto. No sense putting Kane and Eberle in the same sentence. Not many players show as much disinterest in hockey as Eberle lately.

            He is playing with Hopkins and Maroon who are two players that can play at the speed of Eberle, you can switch maroon and Lucic and it will work either way. Eberle never proved to me he was a 1RW except his contract year. He isnt big enough to be a 1RW playing with McDavid, He has the hands, but lately they been cold.

            I am not sure if Eberle became a predicatable player (off wall, near the slot, glide into position, glide to the bench) but he has to move his feet.

            Pulijarvi unlike Eberle, can find open ice. he needs to shoot more, he needs to able to use that one timer to maintain on that spot. If he can cause eberle to compete then I do hope this works out.

          • pkam

            Where did I say Eberle is a great great player and moving him from 1st to 2nd line hurt the team?

            I just disagree with so I respond to some comment that Eberle shouldn’t be compared to Kane.

            My argument is we can still compare the two players base on their productions vs their contracts.

            And Eberle’s contract isn’t as terrible as some posters painted it considering Eberle get paid less at than 60% of Kane, but his numbers are better than 60% of Kane’s.

          • Spydyr

            To change the minds of people one must be perseverate. If you look back at when I started my Eberle is the weak link narrative a few years back to now you will see many more people now agree with that sentiment.

          • @Hallsy4

            I know you didn’t ask me, but my list would be.

            1 Griffin 2. Ebs 3. Pouliot 4. Nuge 5. Lucic and Sekera’s future contracts.

            I think Griff, Ebs, and Pouliot will be traded before this team is a serious contender. But as for this year I think Ebs, Pou and Nuge will get going and provide secondary scoring. Ebs is an interesting player…. He is often very frustrating, but the skill is obviously there. I just don’t understand, being average defensively as a winger should be easy…. I don’t get it, all he’d have to do is usually (haha) try to be ok defensively and everyone would get off his case. Lack of effort.

          • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

            Are you the TRADE THE MALL guy?

            The thing about being average, is that by definition half the players in the NHL must be less than average. Should they all get traded?

            Kinda like the guy who has never seen a Dr. because they can’t be trusted. You see every med school in the world has half the grads below the class average.

          • @Hallsy4

            For skill, yes, half the NHL is below average. Ebs is above average. To be average defensively as a winger, however, he just needs to put in more effort. He has the skill. He’s fast enough to back check, he often just chooses not to. To use your med school analogy, he’s like the student who has the brains and ability to excel. However, he doesn’t show up to class on time. It drives everyone crazy. He knows he’s supposed to be in class on time, he has the ability to get to school on time, but he chooses not to, because he’s gifted enough to get by on his own schedule. He’s also a poor influence to the other students (team mates), as they see an experienced student not put in the effort, and follow suit. Because of this, the class doesn’t perform as well as they could/should. He would have the top marks in class, but Pitlick shows up early, and puts in the extra effort to get top marks, even though hypothetical EBS is a more gifted Doctor than Hypothetical Pitlick. Also, I do believe there are some serious issues with our Medical Care, and I believe they should be addressed forthwith. Lol. Anyways, TRADE THE MALL.

  • Anton CP

    How many no calls against McDavid in the past few games that we have already? When will someone slap all those blind refs in the face and tell them to smart it up that McDavid is their meal ticket, do whatever to protect him.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    If someone were to tell me at the beginning of the season that the Oilers would be 11-8-1 after 20 games and first in the Pacific while McDavid would be alone at the top of the scoring race and the 20th game would be a 5-0 win over the conference leading Blackhawks . . . I’d say I’d be pretty happy with that.

  • Randaman

    You know, I love the Oilers and watch every game but I find myself turning the channel much more often with Quinn filling our ears with irrelevant statistics and Remenda spewing his crap.

    I swear I hear them even when I mute the TV. They absolutely SUCK the enjoyment from my game experience