Explaining Hockey Night in Canada to someone who isn’t from here might take all day. With games on 57 channels every night, with Christmastime featuring tournaments and all age groups, it would be easy to argue getting away from hockey on New Year’s Eve is the right thing to do. Except, Canada. Except, Edmonton. It is Hockey Night in Canada, we are the late game and the future belongs to the Oilers. Or so the scripts tells us so.
SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY SPLATTERDAY
Since 2006, the Oilers have been poor every night of the week, but Saturday—and national television—have offered their own special funk for the town team. I don’t have to look up the record to know it, because Saturday night HNIC has been special for me since the 1960s.
The Oilers are exorcising demons all over hell’s half acre this season, on their way to a truly respectable record. Please, baby Jesus New Year baby baby, let this night be the beginning of a new dawn, a new day, get us feeling good for Saturdays to come. Amen, hallelujah, amen.
HAMMER OF THE GODS AND KILL THE WEAK
Anaheim blew their chance to pass Edmonton last night, now the Oilers get to use that game in hand. A victory tonight against Vancouver puts them two points un on Anaheim and 11 up on the Canucks. Vancouver has been on a run of late, they can see Los Angeles and Calgary from where they sit today. A win tonight hurts them plenty, meaning a game on New Year’s Eve for Edmonton’s NHL team is important. It has been awhile.
SCORING, LAST 10 GAMES
Connor McDavid has eight points in the last 10 games and people are wondering what is going on. Heh. This young man is a special player. Impressive run for Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu and Andrej Sekera, who is out tonight (according to reports) for the second game in a row.
I find this 10-game measure to be a good one, it can be found via the link below.
Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com
- Very important for the Oilers to win this game, head-to-head against the Pacific Division have been tough times for this team over the last many years.
- Edmonton won the first meeting between the two teams, goals by Connor McDavid and Milan Lucic plus a shutout by Cam Talbot.
- Just for fun, here are the records against division rivals so far this year: ANA (1-1-0); ARI (1-1-1); CAL (2-0-0); LAK (1-1-0); SJS (0-0-1); VAN (1-0-0). Record: 6-3-2.
- The Oilers will be without Andrej Sekera tonight, Jordan Oesterle was recalled to be the seventh man for this evening.
- Both the Maroon—Nuge—Draisaitl and Pouliot—Caggiula—Puljujarvi line were fantastic on Thursday, hope we see both tonight.
- Anton Slepyshev had another big night for Bakersfield on Friday, I wonder if we see him again soon in Edmonton.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Canucks are the 3rd hottest team in the NHL right now after a sizzling 3-2 OT winner against the Ducks last night (Blue Jackets and Wild are the other two but you knew that). The Oilers are coming off a big win against Milan Lucic’s old team, the Kings. It has the makings of a championship bout after the undercard is played (again, Jackets and Wild).
I can’t think of a better way to finish off 2016 but to read this action packed GDT and watch said game it is about. It’s not the Flyers and I doubt the Canucks lose 8-0. The Canucks DO have to fly to Edmonton for this one so there’s a chance the first period goes poorly because of the shock of being in Edmonton.
Go Canucks Go!
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers enter the game full of energy, but three early trips to the penalty box puts them in a 2-0 hole after one period.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton roars back in the second period, as Matt Benning scores his first NHL goal, drawing a priceless look from one relative who works for the Canucks.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Vancouver holds the town team to one goal in the third period, but bow in extra time on a stunning goal by Connor McDavid. 3-2 Oilers, party ends about 4am.