GDB 39.0: Striving to break the streak

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Game Day

(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

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The Oilers skate to Columbus looking to hand the Blue Jackets their first loss since November 26th. The Jackets have won 15 straight and they’ve outscored their opponents 59-26 during this incredible run. Their 3-1 victory over the Oilers on December 13th in Edmonton was the seventh of the streak, and the Oilers will try to avoid becoming the second team to lose twice during Columbus’ dominant six weeks.

Arizona lost 3-2 in a shootout on December 3rd, when Mike Smith made 58 saves, and then lost 4-1 two days later in Columbus.

The Blue Jackets streak began on November 29th over Tampa Bay, then they defeated Colorado, Arizona (2), Detroit, New York Islanders, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Boston, Winnipeg and Minnesota. They ended the Wild’s 12-game winning streak on Saturday, and Columbus knows they only need two wins to tie the 1993 Pittsburgh Penguins record of 17 consecutive wins.

The Oilers are excited about the chance to play spoiler. I think we can safely say this is the most anticipated Oilers/Blue Jackets game in history. They have never met in the playoffs, and they’ve never played each other with a playoff spot on the line late in the season. They don’t have a heated rivalry, but the Blue Jackets want the record, and the Oilers would love to gain some notoriety by being the team to end it.

It is amazing how things change when you are competitive. The Oilers sit in 10th place in the NHL, while the Blue Jackets are first. They were 29th and 27th last year. There is excitement in both dressing rooms now, not to mention some new found confidence, and tonight’s tilt will have a unique feel to it.

Columbus fans are loving their team more than ever. The place will be electric tonight. It will be the loudest building many of the young Oilers have ever played in. These are the types of games players live for, fans want to watch and media want to cover.

I’m expecting a very entertaining game.

LINEUP

Oilers

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Andrej Sekera draws back in and Eric Gryba will come out. Brandon Davidson will play with Matt Benning, while Sekera will slide in beside Kris Russell.

Blue Jackets

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The Jackets are getting production from every line. Saad has 17 points in his last 17 games. Scott Hartnell and Sam Gagner are on the “fourth line” and they’ve combined for 23 goals and 50 points.

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com.

QUICK HITS

  • The Oilers still have a better road record, 10-5-5, than home 9-7-2, and much of that has to do with the play of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid leads the NHL with 27 road points, while Draisaitl is third with 21. Milan Lucic is 18th with 16 road points. The Oilers will need those three going tonight to have any hope of derailing Columbus.
  • The Oilers have to be leery of Saad at even strength. He leads the NHL with 31 EV points. He only has one point on the PP, despite the Jackets having the league’s best.  Twenty of Hartnell’s 22 points have come at EV as well.
  • The Jackets are 13-of-49 (26.5%) on the PP during their winning streak, and remain in first in the NHL at 27.4%. Their first unit does most of the damage. Nick Foligno (15), Sam Gagner (13), Cam Atkinson (17), Zach Werenski (14) and Alex Wennberg (16) have combined for 75 PP points. The rest of the team has a total of nine points.

    The Oilers have to be disciplined, but when they do go on the PK, their first unit killers have to be on their toes. Just try and survive the first minute and hope you get to the second unit.

    The Blue Jackets’ first PP unit has been on for 468 PP minutes and they’ve combined for 25 PP goals and 75 PP points. Their second unit and rest of the team has played 420 PP minutes and they have three goals and nine points. It’s amazing how good their first unit is.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Jackets Cannon

Tonight, Columbus goes for #16 in a row. Unlike a certain other #16, let’s hope the Jackets come ready to play tonight. Lining up on the other side of center ice will be phenom / wunderkid / possible hockey Jesus Connor McDavid. McDavid leads the Oilers in every scoring category, captains the club, and leads the National Hockey League in points registered on the season. Safe to say, he’s pretty good.

Columbus comes into this game … well, by now you know. They’ve won 15 straight, were perfect in the month of December, and lead the NHL at the start of 2017. Sergei Bobrovsky has regained his Vezina form (even if the NHL somehow cannot recognize it, which is beyond words baffling), Cam Atkinson is playing like a superstar in the NHL, and Torts has changed the culture in the locker room completely.

TONIGHT…

GDB

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This sets up like a trap game for the Blue Jackets — they just defeated the Wild, ending their 12-game winning streak. But I love to see records broken, so I’ll go with a 3-2 Blue Jackets victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: CBJ first PP unit scores a PP goal.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Russell scores his first goal of the season. He hasn’t scored a home goal since February 4th, 2015. His previous seven goals have all come on the road.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

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  • GDB 34.0: St.Louis singing the goalie Blues
    • Finnish Oiler fan in Edmonton89

      I think we need to take a moment and remember there were bloggers on this site who suggested we need to protect poo from expansion

      LOL

    • hags437

      Seriously someone find out how to make a complaint with Sportsnet about Remenda. I’ll be on board. I turn off the volume when I watch. He’s THE worst! I’ll take John Garrett over this moron

    • TruthHurts98

      Losing confidence in TM’s coaching ability. 2 games in a row the Oilers seem disinterested and don’t even show up for the game. JP should be in the minors, they are destroying him like the management of old. Tkachuk is looking far better for crying out loud. I see potential, but so did we all with Nuge and Ebs. Playoffs are a pipe dream with performances like this. Hope they wake up and realize these games are important.

      • hitchikerforajax

        After watching the game yesterday, it looked like the Jackets were the men & the Oilers the boys. It wasn’t even close. When is the Oiler management, going to do something, with the dead weight, aka, Eberle, Pouliot, etc., etc.? It reminds me of years gone by. This team, looks like they’re disinterested, in playing hockey. If the coach, can’t motivate these players, then change the coach(like the last 10 yrs.), OR GET RID OF THE BUMS. Eberle, has played like he’s in a fog. Imagine if McDavid, had line mates, who could score, like Crosby has? He’d have a 100 points already. Trade Eberle, now, while he still has some value. Look at Gange. He gets out of Edmonton & he starts playing good hockey, like so many other former players, who get out of Dodge & then they start playing great hockey. Doesn’t say much for the Oiler management!!

    • Anton CP

      This season that eastern conference is on fire. It is not much of PK units can do since Jackets PP are nearly unstoppable. They did a risky move last season by trading away their best player for a RHS defenseman and it paid off.

    • Hockey123

      Lucic- 7yrs 6m

      Reinhart- #16 and #33 in the so called strongest draft in over a decade.

      These are major mistakes that will hurt the Oilers from now till?

      My guess Oilers would have taken Ericsson- Ek/ Chabot and Brandon Carlo at #33.

    • TruthHurts98

      Horrible coaching or it’s all the players fault again? Zero motivation and they expect to make the playoffs?? Yeah right! Not with this group playing like they have the past 2 games, trades are needed. Rask will be expecting to get an easy shut out next game. JP isn’t in the minors? They must want more duds like Nuge and Ebs. Trade them and they’ll turn into stars. Must be a curse. No morning skates for the Blue Jackets, hmmm. Maybe that works! Good for the Jackets, they are fun to watch.

      • Bondo11

        If you haven’t read Gregor’s post today, you should.

        He breaks down what PC has accomplished over the last 20 months. This team is more than Connor, but they need to find a consistent work ethic every game.

        As Randaman said in an earlier post, PC is not finished. There will be more trades to come.

    • hockey fan 1976

      OMG. Everyone shut up about the refs already. You sound like a bunch whiners. Columbus outworked us. Period. Want to blame someone? Blame the coach for making game decisions like rewarding Poo with ice time with MC Jesus.

    • TruthHurts98

      On a bright side Maroon is awesome! Why isn’t he with Connor all the time? Lucic McDavid combo at even strength doesn’t work. Enjoyed watching the hit and fight, almost got a wicked upper cut in which would have knocked Dubinsky out. Then I would have watched it dozens of times!

    • Measuring stick game and they came up well short.

      The pouliot giveaway was symbolic of the teams effort overall, and predictably the fixation of the HOF loaded MSM that would like to think they sway public opinion.