GDD 38.0: HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! AMEN.

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

STANDINGS DEC 31

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

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

Oilers

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 11.58.17 AM

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 11.58.28 AM

Canucks

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 11.55.55 AM

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 11.56.12 AM

Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

NOTES

  • 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.
  • Source
  • 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

From CanucksArmy:

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! 

TONIGHT

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

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.

  • nqmt

    “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.”

    That’s a punchable quote if i’ve ever read one

    • Spydyr

      Take it in context. It is coming from a fan group that tried to burn their city to the ground after LOSING the Cup. Not the best nor wisest hockey fans on the planet. Not to mention the most fair-weather hockey fans in Canada.

  • chickenStew

    Why, oh why aren’t Lucic and Maroon swapped to the other’s line?
    Nuge and Drai seem to have some good chemistry developing with or without Maroon. Lucic probably wouldn’t hurt that, but Maroon would add so much more to McDavid’s line.
    The trade off seems like an easy choice.

    • RJ

      This is the same coach that thought it would be a good idea to play Korpikoski on the PP last season, so I think it’s settled he makes questionable lineup decisions from time to time.

    • Total Points

      Lucic signed here with the promise that we would be given a good shot to play with Mcdavid.

      The problem with the line is not the heavy player (Lucic) but the sniper (Eberle).

      Eberle should have 20 goals by now which would probably be 2 to 3 more wins. He has hit numerous post and just bad luck around the net. Whether he responds to prior shooting percentage or removed from the line, time will tell.

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        The problem isn’t just Eberle.

        Take a look at the players on page two of NHL.com Stats for players.

        until the NHL recognizes that Obstruction and Interference are at it’s all time worse, the skilled players will be eaten alive.

        Not a huge Eberle fan, think he’s a bit of a wet blanket most nights, but this a league issue in my opinion.

  • Mitch92

    No so obvious game day prediction: Jesse Puljujarvi assists on a Pouliot goal and pots one himself in a 5-1 Oiler win. Obviously Connor McDavid chips in with a goal and two helpers giving the Nucks porous D fits all game long.

  • dougtheslug

    Off topic, but what is the deal with Anton Lander? Another stellar 4 point game last night, 20 points in 12 contests with the Condors, yet he simply can’t get traction in the NHL. Do not understand it.

      • dougtheslug

        I suppose that is a factor, but does it fully account for such a glaring discrepancy?

        34 points in 209 NHL games (.16 ppg), over half of them(20) in a 38 game stretch under his old AHL coach Todd Nelson in the second half of the 2024-15 season.

        103 pts in his last 87 AHL games (1.18 ppg), almost 7 times his NHL production rate. NHL equivalency calculators usually project AHL production rate should be slightly less than twice the NHL rate. By that metric Lander should be at least a 40 point per season player in the NHL. Instead,he disappears into the Bermuda Triangle. Except for that one 20 game stretch in 2015, where the equivalency convertor was accurate.

        I still believe there is an NHL player in there. I imagine he will turn out to be a Dan Cleary, Kyle Brodziak type, who enjoys his career elsewhere. Sigh.

        Anyway, don’t mean to stray too far off topic. Just saw the stats from the Condors game last night and was interested in other takes.

        Meanwhile, the current roster should manhandle the Canucks tonight. Go Oil!!

        • Dwayne Roloson 35

          You just have to look at a guy like alexander giroux. Scored 60 goals one year in the AHL but has only 12 points in 48 NHL games. Some guys are just not quick enough or cant process the game at the NHL level.

          • Spydyr

            When was the last time Lander stood up for teammate,made a big hit, fought or blocked a shot that destroyed his can. That and many other intangibles is the reason why “we watch Hendricks with his brick hands and his foot speed clomp all over the ice”

            I for one am enjoying Wagons last hurrah as an Oiler.

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            Not that those aren’t important intangibles.

            Just a different perspective..

            Hendrick – 35yrs old. 13 GP-1G-2A-3P and -4

            Lander 25yrs old. 16GP 1G-2A-3P and is +4

            I’m not sold on ether player really, I like Landers age and his overall game better, but it would be nice to upgrade ether player or not have had Pitlick go down.

            I do agree on Hendricks intensity level if you can somehow measure that.

        • RJ

          I think for most NHL players, production is going to be dependent upon who your linemates are, and the type of usage you receive.

          Play Maroon in the bottom six with limited ice time, and you get 13 points in 56 games (Ducks). Play him on the top line with an elite centre and you see 14 points in 16 games (last season with the Oilers).

          Same with Lander. Lander’s points explosion under Nelson coincided with his opportunity to play with Hall. Love him or hate him, Hall was able to produce. Then under TM, Lander was back playing with fourth-line talent.

          And as a third example, the media loves to say Eberle is an elite RW, and he produced with Nuge and McDavid, but pair him with Letestu and he scored zero points.

    • Dreadguy

      Lander is fine where he is. He’s providing scoring and leadership for the prospects on the farm. As mentioned above, his sluggish foot speed has been most of his undoing at the NHL level. It’s too bad because I have been a fan of Lander since he captained the Swedes at the world juniors. At the time the perception was that he was one of the top NHL prospects.

      • ubermiguel

        Exactly. I liked Lander as a prospect and was happy the Oilers drafted him. You can never have too many ex-captains on a team. I had hoped Lander would provide leadership on an NHL team sorely lacking it. But he never figured out offence at the NHL level; he’s simply not an NHL player. No shame in playing well in one of the best leagues in the world, so now he provides leadership at the AHL level.

  • passenger

    KD Lang’s version called the definitive by Cohen himself, but I’m not sure if he heard Jeff Buckley’s.

    80’s Oilers have been the definitive so far, but this new version might have something to say about that.

  • Scratch

    Ok what is up with Sekera ? Ill, bad foot, flesh eating thingy ??? It is starting to look like another Klefbom episode that can only happen to our defencemen.. Good luck tonite, hammer the pukenucks !

    • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

      The “dead zone*” Oilers were famous streak breakers. If a team was on a losing streak or a player hadn’t scored since before they invented dirt, the Oil would put a stop to that. This edition of the Oil are starting a steak ending tradition of their own, i.e. ending Oil futility streaks (eg a road win vs. the Isles, winning games vs. Californy teams, the Yotes). Maybe another one tonight.

      * the period from fall 2006 to spring 2016.

  • elliotsmom

    If the Oilers play balls to the wall against the Cansucks tonight, like they did Thursday against the Kings, we win. Hopefully they don’t come out taking them lightly, because Vancouver is playing for the win. Let’s Go Oilers.

  • Opie

    Nuge has no future with this team as a centre imo. Leon is a driver more down the middle than he is on the wing. I’m not a huge fan of them rotating the centre position between the two during the game. Would much rather have drai play centre in all positions of the ice. Let Leon run with it and let nuge get used to the wing on a line with drai. #Goil

  • tileguy

    I imagine we will see Anton Slepyshev as soon as Mr an Mrs Puljujarvi board the plane home.

    Sure glad Gryba stays in the lineup, had a bad feeling because Oilers.

  • tileguy

    Interesting observation from the 10 game stat, Pouliot has only taken one penalty in that time frame. Do you think it is coincidence that he is in a slump since the strip was taken off him by Tmac for taking Ozone penalties?

  • SALAKAN

    Said it a while ago and will say it now. Oilers should trade for cam atkinson in exchange for 14. all the people who were against it I hope you ate some snow to put some sense into your mind. On a side note… Happy new year citizens !!!!!!

  • fasteddy

    I hope Luc and Eberle have a great game and make me eat my words, but I don’t care what the numbers say; I’ve seen enough! Put Letestu, Hendricks, anyone on that line is worth trying in my opinion. (My personal choice would be Maroon, but I’d be happy with anything! Even bring up Khaira and play him there)

  • Jehu23

    By what metric are the Canucks the 3rd hottest team in the NHL? Oddly unjustified quote in the “what they’re saying” portion of the article.

    4-5-1 in last 10
    only a 2 game win streak

    Neither of those are top 3 in the league.

    I guess we live in a world now where you can just make up and state facts if they help your narrative.

  • OilersGM

    A must win game that’s obvious, I don’t care how we get it done just get it done even if it’s in OT or shootout, I also wanna thank the Canucks for beating the Kings and the Ducks to keep them behind us because there is no chance in hell you the Canucks make the playoffs.
    One more note I don’t think Slepishav have been treated fairly, he was playing hard physical hockey. He should still be here and Puljujarvi should be developing in the AHL.