GDB 28.0: Buffalo Beat Up

Call of Duty - McDavid

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

The Buffalo Sabres are banged up, especially on the backend. Josh Gorges has a non-displaced fracture in his foot, Dmitri Kulikov has a bruised back, Zack Bogosian has a strained MCL and Taylor Fedun is day-to-day.

Jack Eichel was labouring last night in the Sabres’ 3-2 OT loss to Washington, and while he said he was okay this morning, he clearly isn’t 100%. They also have forwards Tyler Ennis and Cody McCormick on the sidelines.

The Oilers play their first of three games in four nights this evening, and taking advantage of an injury-riddled Sabres team playing on back-to-back nights is a must.

The Sabres embarrassed the Oilers 6-2 in Edmonton on October 16th. Todd McLellan ripped his team during his post-game press conference and they haven’t played that poorly since.

This is another game the Oilers are very capable of winning, but they will face former Oilers Anders Nilsson. Nilsson has played exceptionally for the Sabres this season. He is 4-2-2 with a 2.30 GAA and .934sv%.

The Oilers only managed one point in three consecutive games versus Arizona (twice) and Toronto, but they have proven they are more capable of learning from their mistakes this season than repeating them. They can’t settle for outside shots tonight, and they need to attack the inexperienced defence of the Sabres.

Eric Burgdeorfer played his first NHL game last night.

Brendan Guhle (from Sherwood Park) was an emergency recall from Prince George of the WHL late last week and he has played two NHL games.

Jake McCabe has 111 games of experience while Justin Falk, Cody Franson and Rasmus Ristolainen round out their D corps. Ristolainen is very good. He played 29:51 last night, while McCabe played 28:52. The Oilers have to attack those two and hope fatigue becomes a factor.

LINEUPS

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Matt Hendricks and Jesse Puljujarvi draw back in while Benoit Pouliot and Anton Slepyshev are out. The bottom three lines are all different from last game, as Maroon moves up to the second line, while Kassian will play with Caggiula and Puljujarvi.

This will cause much debate within Oilersnation. Debate is good, and sitting guys out is not an easy decision for McLellan. Certain players fit in different spots, and some players can be effective in ten minutes while other can’t. It is a great problem to have, and for a talk-show host it is excellent to debate who should be in or out.

Pouliot has one point in his last 17 games. He’s played 15+ minutes in 14 of those games. He’s been given every opportunity to produce and at $4 million/year they need more from him. I don’t see how anyone can defend his play since October 28th. It simply has not been good enough.

Some will argue he’s still better than Hendricks, which is fair, but he isn’t producing and he hasn’t been as effective on the forecheck or at creating turnovers as he has in the past. Is he better than Hendricks in a fourth line role playing 10 minutes a game? It is debatable, considering he hasn’t played that role in years.

I believe McLellan sits Pouliot because he isn’t producing at the level to which he is expected. I don’t see it as hating on a player, simply trying to get his attention. I don’t think he has played awful lately, but he has not been playing up to his capabilities. I can also see him putting Hendricks in because he’s an energy player and the Oilers didn’t have a lot of jump on Sunday. There are always many factors in play when a coach changes his lineup.

Sabres

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They didn’t skate today, and Fedun might be able to play tonight. Eichel will play.

QUICK HIT

  • Guhle has played second pair minutes in this two games. Dan Bylsma has a lot of confidence in him and Guhle has not looked out of place. His solid play in Buffalo just confirms how ridiculous it is that he wasn’t invited to Canada’s WJC camp. He is very good and I’m stunned they choose 10 D-men ahead of him. I’d happily wager he has a better NHL career than many of the D-men on Canada’s WJC roster this year.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Die by the Blade

1. Will McDavid dominate Buffalo like he did last year?

The NHL’s leading scorer comes to Buffalo tonight, and the last time McDavid was in town, he scored both goals in a 2-1 Edmonton win. He has 34 points in 27 games this season, and has taken the next step towards challenging for the title of “Best Player in the NHL.”

The Sabres and their banged-up defense will have their hands full with McDavid, who’s combination of speed and skill is unrivaled in the NHL today. Connor hasn’t registered a point in two games, so you know he’ll be itching to get back on the score sheet, especially with his Eichel on the other side.

2. Speaking of Eichel, will he show any ill effects from his ankle non-re-injury?

For 30 seconds yesterday, Buffalo Twitter almost burned itself to the ground when Eichel gingerly skated back to the bench and the TV cameras caught him writhing in pain on the bench.

Thankfully, he played the rest of the game and says he’s feeling great for tonight’s game. We’ll be keeping an eye on his acceleration and quickness tonight, and for any other lingering effects of his recovery from a high ankle sprain that kept him out for the first meeting between these two teams, a 6-2 drubbing of the Oilers in Edmonton.

MONTH OF GIVING

Thank you A-1 Heating for the outstanding donation of a high efficiency furnace and thanks to Miles for the awesome $5,500 bid. Operation Friendship Seniors Society really needed the help, so thank you both.

Today’s Packages

Package #1

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Courtesy of The Base by RVH….

  • The Base is a sport performance facility that offers the best in training, treatment and nutrition.  The 16,000 square foot gym boasts state-of-the art equipment, indoor turf, a forty yard sprint track, and a smoothie bar.

    The Base is offering a training package of 30 sessions with one of their personal trainers. The  package will get you a customized one-on-one training plan. This is great for athletes looking to push to the next level, or average Joes/Jills who simply want to get faster and stronger.

Package #2

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  • A $1,000 shopping spree at Mr Derk.
  • And One Renoir Suit.
  • Includes all the tailoring for your suit and all the clothes you purchase.
  • In store consultation with Sterling Derk to ensure you fill out your wardrobe properly.
  • And a pair of tickets to Sunday’s Oilers/Jets game.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go towards Santas Anonymous.

TONIGHT

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers improve to 9-4-2 on the road with a 4-1 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: In 72 career games, McDavid has yet to go three games without a point. After going pointless on Saturday and Sunday, #97 picks up two points tonight.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kassian scores his first goal since October 23rd, and picks up his third point in four games.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

  • Monday Musings: The Library
  • Who Are You with Oscar Klefbom
  • GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing
  • Oilers need to be better
  • GDB 24.0: A budding rivalry
  • Monday Musings: This is who the Oilers are 
    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      You know that fans’ expectations for the team have changed when:

      1. The team comes back from being down two goals to get a point

      2. They move all alone into 1st place in their division a week into December,

      3. The 19 year captain is first in league scoring, and gets 2 pts

      4. Draisaitl, Eberle, and Lucic all score goals, yet

      5. Everyone’s still completely pissed off.

      Good times.

      • TruthHurts98

        It won’t last much longer, Flames have almost caught the Oilers. TM makes a rookie move (High School level) calling a timeout when the Sabres were getting outshot 16-1 at that point in the game. Leaving Hendricks out there was boneheaded. Connor should have been on the ice. Talbot has lost his groove and is playing too much due to weak backup that can’t push him for his spot. Very unimpressed with TM’s coaching since he’s been here. They should be so much better with Connor yet never seem to come prepared for games. It’s depressing.

            • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

              Undressing a goalie in OT is like finding you get fries with that burger. It tends to happen a lot. When it’s 3-3 and one of the other players is named Letestu–it’ll happen. I can’t blame Gus for that, never mind that he played a great sixty minutes.

              The fact that most teams wouldn’t sign him is irrelevant as to whether he’s played a bad game this year. He hasn’t. Move on.

      • Not a First Tier Fan

        Maybe you didn’t watch the game from the beginning – where they only got five shots in the first period and played like they were all just unfrozen from being in a cryogenic sleep…

        No way they should have HAD to come back from being behind 2-0.

        The effort wasn’t there this game and that’s a shame because they might need the extra point that was available. Also – this is happening more than a couple times so it’s kind of a cause for concern.

        Without the first ten-twelve games of the season where the boys were playing like lights out, the team would be nowhere near a successful as you point out. And that gap between them and the other teams in the division is long gone…

        Good grief…

        • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          Maybe you didn’t watch last season.

          All I’m saying is that expectations . . . have changed. I’m not making excuses or throwing a party. But I’m not breaking my legs jumping of the bandwagon either.

          • Not a First Tier Fan

            Been in the band wagon for the last fifteen years – so yeah I watched last season. And their play tonight brought back too many familiar memories from the last few years that I thought this team had moved past.

            Put a fancy dress and a Mr Potato Head. Smile on it if you want… A turd still stinks like a turd. And that’s what our team has given us tonight. As well as against Toronto. As well as against Arizona.

    • madjam

      We got a point in another game we should have lost in regulation , that’s the good news . Nilsson outplayed Talbot tonight which was unexpected . Henricks looking like time is passing him over .

      Letestu not doing well either .

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Last December ‘Ders won 7 in a row and everyone was calling him ‘Ders.

        We can’t be that surprised.

        Completely agree with Hendricks. He’s done.

      • I am Batman

        Isn’t that the same Gerard Gallant that got kicked out of Florida for losing zillions of games?

        Why do we love reclamation projects?

        I get it he made a mistake that lost is the game but you have to think he also did a couple of things right to get the team back in it, no!? Put Caggiula with McDavid, motivate them in the first intermission…. I mean it’s his job but he still did something right.

        I don’t love McLellan…. but:

        If we are going to change coach let’s get a proven Stanley cup one: and none are available. Why would we go with another “interesting ” one…. chill out

      • I am Batman

        Keep your eyes on the stars, as a whole. We already got rid of your idiotic buddy (virtual buddy cause clearly you have the charisma of a rotten zucchini), we can get you next.

        Or, again, not enough action in Shames Nation?

        That team would have less fair weather fans if it had stayed in Atlanta.

        Go Stars Go

      • Ned

        Well at least they didn’t pass on Draisatl, 7th power play goal for share of the league lead. Btw, has Bennett been moved back to centre yet? Pitty he isn’t capable of playing centre at the NHL level isn’t it…..

          • Ned

            Um… Draisatl has proven to be able to play centre at this level, he plays wing on occasion just to provide a different look (and to give him and Hopkins more ice time).

            Bennett on the other hand was moved back to wing recently because he was getting absolutely killed at centre. Two different coaches for the Flames now have not shown any confidence in playing him at centre. Not the same thing.

    • Connor McFly

      I really question McLelland and his staff. I could coach this team. His insistance on putting Letestu on the ice the other night cost them game with three bonehead moves late in the third period. Cam Talbot should be given the rest of theseason off. Ever since his childrenhe has lost all focus. Not having a better back up is on Chiarelli.

      I think they will be >500 hockey by the new year. Todd’s head is up his ass.

      • hootoil

        Did you not see Todd’s Method for the OT.Don’t put MCDAVID out to start the first OT. Rest him so he is ready for the SHOOTOUT.

        Maybe Todd didn’t explain his Strategy? ?. ?