GDB 46.0 Wrap Up: Dirt Dogs Down

Oilers win. Coyotes get hit by cars and eat garbage, as per tradition. Final Score: 3-1 Oilers

I won’t lie to you guys, there is nothing more annoying than seeing another Coyotes game on the schedule. Even though the Oilers won the last time I still get those sketchy feelings, alright? Not only are the Coyotes boring to watch but the Oilers have, as you all know, sucked the hind banana against Arizona for years regardless of how good or bad either team has been over that time. The fact that the Oilers finally ended the Coyotes’ 6000 game point streak against them back in December still doesn’t make me feel any better yet. I still have that feeling of opponent dread anytime I see the dirt dogs on the schedule and it’s going to take a few wins to retrain my psyche. 

To their credit, the Oilers started tonight’s game like they wanted me to stop doubting them. Not only did they appear to show up ready to play, but they also found a way to gain an early lead, a task that has been a challenge at times. Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring less than four minutes into the first period and Edmonton was able to keep the Coyotes at bay while mostly limiting their chances to shots from the outside. They followed up on a strong first period by winning the middle frame as well. The home side added two more goals to their total while allowing only one for the visitors which set them up with a good chance to win the game and get themselves back into second place in the Pacific.

Heading into the third period with a two-goal lead, it was the Oilers’ game to lose. All they really had to do in order to cash in their chips and put two points in the bank was to play mistake free hockey for the last 20 minutes, and the Oilers were able to achieve that. Frankly, it shouldn’t have been too tall of an order considering the Coyotes are missing players and looked like garbage for 78% of the hockey game. To put it bluntly, the Coyotes are battling the Avalanche for the title of NHL’s smelliest garbage fire and are a team that Edmonton should beat 9/10 times.

With the curse put to rest, it looks like the Oilers finally feel like they can get to work and beat a team that everyone expects them to beat.

We wrap.



  • Nuge put the Oilers up by a goal (his ninth) early in the first period after Eberle sprung him for a partial break. RNH made no mistake after his quick little wrister beat Mike Smith low to the blocker side. Nuge seems to be settling into the season after a slow start and he finds himself with three points in his last four games. He was easily one of the best forwards tonight.
  • Jujhar Khaira scored his first NHL goal by planting himself in front of the net and keeping his stick on the ice. Letestu made a perfect pass to Khaira and the big man made no mistake for his first NHL goal. I’ll never get tired of seeing those.
  • Leon Draisaitl is making the NHL his bitch right now. Big Sexy 2.0 is playing like hot fire and he continued the streak with his 17th goal of the season on a filthy little dangle and finish from the right side of the slot. Draisaitl is playing with more confidence than any Oiler right now and it seems like the guy can do nothing wrong out there. Tonight’s goal was his fifth point in his last five games. Amazing season so far.
  • Cam Talbot was rock solid yet again. As we’ve come to expect, Dadbot was a wall in the net and he made all of the saves that you would expect a number one goalie to make. Talbot adds to his career high in wins and he did it by stopping 20 shots with a .952 save%. 
  • The Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle line played much better in the game against Calgary and they continued that trend tonight. If the Oilers are going to make the playoffs they need these guys to get going and they had another encouraging game. 
  • Eberle had all kinds of chances but could not beat Mike Smith or the post. With the quality of opportunities that he’s had over the past couple games it seems like a matter of time before he pots one. 
  • Team high 22:48 for Adam Larsson tonight. Impressive when you consider that he didn’t play Saturday night as a result of an injury.
  • MORE MCPOINTS! Well, one at least.
  • Oilers were 52% in the faceoff circle which is the second straight game this has happened. Progress? Dare to dream, Arnold. 
  • Oilers outshot the Coyotes 27-21. Not only did we win the game we also won the Corsi. 
  • Second place in the Pacific, baby.



  • Edmonton got caught sleeping in the defensive zone on Radim Vrbata’s second-period goal. They had been much tighter defensively until that point, and the miscue allowed the puck to end up in the back of their net. 
  • The Oilers power play could have really put the Coyotes out, but they couldn’t find a way to cash in on their chances. The PP struck out, going 0/2 for the game. 
  • The Oilers took way too many penalties. Even though the Coyotes power play only cashed in on one of their chances Edmonton still gave them too many at bats with five power play chances.  
  • I know I probably complain about the reffing too much but there were some weak calls, again. I’m thinking specifically of the Eberle call for goalie interference and a missed call against the Coyotes when they had their entire lineup on the ice at the same time. 
  • Tobias Rieder still annoys me and I don’t care what you say about it. Thanks, Tambo. 



03:34 Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (9) ASST: Jordan Eberle (19), Adam Larsson (7) 0-1


11:40 Edmonton Jujhar Khaira (1) ASST: Mark Letestu (12), Zack Kassian (9) 0-2
13:37 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl (17) ASST: Connor McDavid (37) 0-3
17:56 Arizona PPG – Radim Vrbata (10) ASST: Alex Burmistrov (3) 1-3


No Scoring


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  • S cottV

    No question – a step forward for the Nuge line.

    No one can really get too excited about that and really the whole team, vs a bad AZ team – that had an off night even for them.

    Can they deliver consistently vs big tough – good hockey clubs, playing hard? Not likely – but lets hope so, because future decisions about who goes and who stays are best made with as many guys playing at the top of their games as possible.

    I certainly lean to appreciating bigger and or harder to play against – both ways, with an ability to mix rush and o zone possession on offence. That leaves a big I doubt it, for the Nuge line for me. Although I would like to see Nuge on McD’s right wing, to see what that looks like.

    They can’t leave Lucic in 3rd rotation for much longer. Drai needs to centre him in the second rotation. Lol – not that I would suggest scuttling guys by design, – but if McL doesn’t break that line up – it’s gonna cost millions. I think there is an argument that the team is better off splitting the two up. Besides – Drai needs the c experience, as our obvious 2c of the future.

    Khaira? Very nice. Can play both c and wing. A no brainer to keep him. The cycle of life for Hendricks, who has been an excellent warrior for the Oilers. Khaira might even end up in 3rd rotation.

    • camdog

      Oilers have no problems against the big west teams 16-5-5. Where they have trouble is against the faster eastern conference teams 8-10-2. They need to find a way to compete against teams that are quicker than them.

      Let’s face it the only reason you want to break up the RnH, Pouliot, Eberle line is so you can can get your boy off the third line before they start lighting it up. 🙂

      • S cottV

        omg – Camdog, you really think that Pouliot – Nuge – Eberle are for real and are gonna start lighting it up?

        You bring Lucic in here to change the complexion of the hockey club and you bury him 3rd line without making it a priority to get him going?

        You think Pouliot – is a priority over Lucic?

        That Drai is not the logical 2c for the future and a better fit for Lucic, than that of McD – who only has two operating speeds – fast and fastest?


        • 3 Little Birds

          I’m not Camdog, but I’d like a go.

          Pou, Nuge and Ebs are all having a very slow years statistically. The way they have been playing over the last 5 leads me to believe they will progress back to their personal averages. Hell, Nuge scored last night! When Ebs and Pou get the monkey off their backs, they very well could light it up.

          “You bring Lucic in here to change the complexion of the hockey club”, and he has, full stop. Every interview with players or coaching staff is littered with comments on the leadership and experience he brings, scoring or not, third line or not. Most guys that score 40pts it’s a bonus if the can lead. Lucic leads and his 40pts are the bonus. He is exactly the type of guy you want pushing for the playoffs when the games get tougher.

          Pou isn’t priority over Lucic, just far better suited to his linemates.

          Of course Drai is going to be our 2C, but Tmac has a habit of stacking a line to get the team rolling. He has us in 2nd in mid Jan, I’ll take it!!

          I’m sure the line will change between now and the playoffs.

        • camdog

          Lucic has earned third line duties, his even strength productivity hasn’t been good. It’s up to Lucic to work his way out of the slump, not the coach to gift wrap him minutes. Oilers can’t afford to sacrifice games because the coach needs to work a winger out of a slump.

    • Fair point about the Nuge line’s quality of competition, but here are some things to consider:

      -Sometimes for established and talented players (which I’d argue all 3 players are to varying degrees) that are in slumps, you need to have a breakout game vs easier competition. In my eyes, confidence has a large part to do with the slumps of Ebs and Nuge, and Pouliot (who we’ve seen as an effective Oiler with McD as well as Nuge in the past) will benefit too. So yes, the Coyotes didn’t put much of a fight but having success whatever the circumstance can lead to more confidence.

      -Their success vs big/tough teams, and vs highly successful teams may vary, for sure, but if they can keep this up I like how this line matches up against the 30 other second lines in the league. They may compare well against the bottom 20, just shy of the top 10 teams, which is something I’d take. As of late I’d say this isn’t the case but I can see them improving to this point.

      -We’ll see if playoffs are in the cards for the Oilers, but if they are, we all know how team matchups and team chemistry works. The Coyotes had the Oilers number for the longest time, despite being a worse team on paper (in fact their wins vs the Oil may have made them better in the standings, and that’s about it). When it comes to playing teams like Chicago and the Ducks, I can see these guys comparing pretty well, despite both teams being better than the Oilers as an entire team…it’s just the matchup chemistry that works out for the Oilers, partly because of these guys comparing well to Vermette, Silfverberg, Schmaltz, Anisimov, etc.

      -If this sort of play continues as it has over the past 4-5 games, this confidence will hopefully translate to better PPs. As you said, the Coyotes weren’t putting much of a fight, and in the same manner a 5 on 4 situation gives the Oilers a similar advantage. Eberle and Nuge with higher levels of confidence in those situations could mean a lot. I have to say that even 10 games ago, they did not look too hot on the PP. Nuge was shooting, which was great, but even with the man advantage Ebs looked like he was off. So even if they can’t repeat their performance vs big/tough/established teams 5v5, a more confident Nuge and Ebs could still be effective on the PP.

  • Leef O'Golin

    Like seeing the first NHL goal by the Iron Beard. Got pick-pocketed a couple of times, but once he gets used to the speed of the league he’ll be a great bottom-sixer. Regulation win within the division!

  • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

    The Yote’s goal was a memory I was trying to repress. Looked like the spirit of Dallas Eakins made an appearance with all 4 Oil penalty killers about 10 feet from the puck along the boards and a Yote lonesome in front of the net. Long live the swarm!!! (not).

    • Gravis82

      So what about all the other Coyote rushes? Who was to blame for them?

      He played the best game I have seen him play all season. That is a positive thing. What the heck is everyones issue, I seriously dont get it.

  • oildawg99

    Does anyone else find it odd that there is a certain segment of so-called Oilers fans whose favorite players always exist on other teams and most hated players exist on the supposed team they cheer for?

    I do not see why, as an Oilers fan, you would not be just a little bit excited to see the Nuge, Eb, Pouliot line get things going. I have found the last two games to be a couple of their best of the season.

    Now before you get too excited I am not arguing they have not been underperforming all season, they have. But as an Oiler fan this is exciting to see them start to turn the corner for a playoff push. If Ebs can get going like we know he can we will have two legitimate top tier scoring lines. This is a good thing.

    • Gravis82

      I agree. There is a lot of BS on this board. Posters with an obvious agenda which they support by cherry picking occasionally true observations mixed in with many other irrelevant facts which serve to support a mostly illogical and non-objective assessment of reality.

      Its damaging. People who are new fans come here and are excited, and they read certain posters bash Eberle every page on every blog over and over again, relentlessly, and they eventually turn on him too..and so it goes.

      This kind of thing is bad. It spreads negativity. Its why comment sections of most real websites dealing with real problems have been shut down now.

      • Hemmercules

        I agree to a point. Years and years of losing breeds negativity, some people don’t know how to handle winning after all that losing.

        I think you would find that when any player that gets paid larger than average pay and is underacheiving, fans will complain. It goes for any team, not just the Oilers.

        I dont see how any Oiler fan could be disappointed with the results so far. Individuals will always be scrutinized though and thats part of being a fan.

        When the Oilers make the playoffs I think a lot of the negativity will subside but there will always be some.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    Great all-around game by the Oilers except for a stretch at the end of the first, and of course the “Throwback to THE SWARM” goal they let in.

    Pou played extremely well, and the thing i noticed about that line was the HUSTLE. They kept it up, when in games past they didn’t.

  • JBear

    Solid effort tonight and the boys looked good except for the lone ARI goal. Then again, this is the horrible Arizona Coyotes team so anyone looks good against them. I hope they keep this momentum and up their confidence.

  • Bob Cobb

    Hey Lowetide, how many signatures would it get to have you never blog and quit from your radio show? Your to blogging and reporting what Eklund is to NHL trade rumors.

    • number99

      I have been visiting this site daily since 2010. I read every article and every post. I have to say tho, that of the literally tens of thousands of things written by readers on this site over the years, and many of them absolutely absurd, this is by far the most ignorant comment ever. You owe me 12 seconds of my life back that I wasted reading it.

  • The Oilers have played many very exciting close games this year.

    It was finally nice to see them win one decisively.

    And great to see Jujhar pot his first goal by doing what the Oilers have lacked for years and that’s net presence.

  • @Hallsy4

    Bagged milk, I’d like to see a trade bro. Hopefully the 2nd line gets going and this team will be dy-no-mite. Don’t think ebs is here longterm though. It was weird watching him yesterday when it looked like he was actually trying. Different than the past 6 years. What changed? What say you? Don’t think consistently trying is in his DNA brother

    • #97TRAIN

      What a bunch of crap! Did you see his press conference from out side of Rogers place before the season started?
      He was in great shape and still is.
      Get off the hater bandwagon!!
      You’ll see his real value down the stretch and in the playoffs.

  • Spoils

    to all the people who want to trade ebs and pouliot. i respectfully submit last night’s game AND a prediction that Ebs goes on a big run, let’s say 14 goals in 12 games.

    wishful thinking, but i like it as a bet.

  • Spoils


    a RHC with truculence for the 4th line RW position. maybe Khaira is that guy…

    and a goal scoring RW scheduled to be a free agent in the summer. added at the deadline from one of the bottom feeders, in return for picks and prospects? and then signed for next year.

    does that player exist? can we fill that position without trading Nuge?

  • Derian Hatcher

    I know a person who’s children have been very, very generous with them. By generous, I mean providing a very nice place to live, for very, very little rent, tropical vacations annually and cash gifts every so often.

    Yet all this person does is whine and complain about the benefactors behind their back. It is pathetic and deflating to listen to this person, so I finally pointed out how fortuante they are. This person didn’t get it and never will.

    As a life long Oiler fan, along with many of you, the tire fire that has been the last ten years was disheartening to the max. We now have an exciting team that is far from perfect, but is definatley trending. Yes there have been some questionable moves but there have been some very solid additions as well.

    For those of you who are real Oiler fans but are constantly complaining on this blog, here are some reminders….Tambellini, Jared Smithson, Dallas Eakins, MacT, Grebeshkov, Belanger, “I think I know a little about winning” , “Norris Trophy potential”, etc. etc. etc.

    I’m not meaning to lecture, as I get frustrated like everyone at times, but these are good times Oiler fans..really good times. With more to come. Much more.

  • @Hallsy4

    I think it’s time for a big trade by PETE. Show the league that the Oil are done waiting and are ready to bark with the big dogs. Time to play some ball, make it happen PETER or are you too much of a SISSY. Cmon down brother make money money.

  • bazmagoo

    I could see the Oilers and Jets being trade deadline partners. I’d like Vrbata, but I bet he gets at least a 2nd rounder which we don’t have. Stafford and Pavelec could probably be moved, both have little value but both are in positions where the Oil could use a long shot move. Maybe our two third rounders land both?

  • McPucker

    This was the first game in quite a while Talbot didn’t have to outplay the other goalie to get a win.

    Good team effort. I’m still concerned about lack of good scoring chances. This game they looked better. It could be the team they were playing against, or maybe they’re turning the corner.

    Perhaps with Ebs and RNH challenging the D more, things will turn around. If they start putting up points it will force teams to pay less attention to McDavid.

  • VC Glaswegian

    Only a one persons opinion in anything written or said

    The pessimist sees difficulties in opportunity
    The optimist sees opportunities in any difficulty

    Praise over criticism builds team work

    Oilers hockey always givr!!!never give up hope!