GDB 62.0: Capital Challenge

Game Day

(Photoshop: @NewfieMikey)

PowerByLiquorDepot

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

The Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL. They have the most wins, the most points, they’ve allowed the fewest goals (122), and they’ve scored the second most goals (198). They are +76 in GF/GA ratio. Their PP is fourth best and their PK is sixth best, despite them being 29th in PP/PK time ratio at -54:25.

They are destroying teams at 5×5, outscoring the opposition 139-76. They are +63 at EV.  Minnesota is second at +39, Pittsburgh is +31, Chicago +24 and Columbus +21, to round out the top five. The Oilers are 11th at +11.

Edmonton defeated the Capitals 4-1 at home on October 26th when Benoit Pouliot was relevant. He scored the first two goals. Edmonton will need a Herculean effort tonight to upset the surging Capitals.

Since December 5th the Capitals are 27-5-4. They have 58 points in their last 36 games. The Red Wings and Canucks have 58 points all season, while Carolina and Dallas have 56, Arizona has 49 and Colorado has 35.

In their last 36 games they’ve outscored their opponents 140-71, their PP is clicking at 28% (28 of 100) and their PK is 85.7% (18 of 126). They were +7 in GF/GA ratio through their first 23 games, but they are +69 in their previous 36. They are winning games by an average of almost two goals per game since December 5th. That is crazy.

After Wednesday’s win in Florida Todd McLellan discussed the need for more consistency from his team. “We thought we had 11 players going in Tampa, and tonight we had everyone. It is in them to do it, we just need to ensure we get it (effort) out of them every game,” he said.

The reality is the coach can’t “get it” out of players. He can encourage them, challenge or ask them, but ultimately it is up to the players to perform. If I’m McLellan I’d show them the Capitals record since December 5th. Sometimes fear is a great motivator, because if the Oilers don’t have all hands on deck tonight, they will get embarrassed.

The Caps are 16-1-1 on home ice since December 5th. They’ve won 12 straight, and in their previous 11 home games they’ve scored at least five goals every game. They’ve scored five goals six times, and six goals five times. For a fan of offence that is awesome. And their defence is pretty good as well. They’ve only allowed 19 goals in those 12 home games, while scoring 62. Braden Holtby has three shutouts and Philipp Grubauer has two in their past ten home games.

Every Oilers player needs to be ready, as the Oilers have shown they will either be really competitive versus a top-ten team, or they will get crushed.

The Oilers are 7-3-1 versus top-ten teams like Washington, Chicago, San Jose, Montreal and Anaheim, and they’ve outscored them 30-22.

However, they are 0-6-2 versus Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Columbus and the New York Rangers, the other top-ten teams, and were outscored 14-28.

They can play with the top teams, but they need to bring their best effort to compete. The Capitals are rolling and they are playing better than when the Oilers faced them in October.

Their effort, execution and attention to detail will need to be exceptional if they hope to upset the red-hot Capitals.

LINEUP

Oilers

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 11.39.50 AM

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 11.40.14 AM

Andrej Sekera avoided serious injury and will play tonight. He said he had numbness in his hand after being hit by a shot in Florida. He will play tonight and the D pairs will remain the same. Adam Larsson did not skate this morning and will miss his second consecutive game.

Benoit Pouliot joined the Oilers in Washington, and skated this morning, but he is still not ready to play.

Capitals

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 10.24.35 AM

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 10.24.50 AM

 

Matt Niskanen was injured on Wednesday and will not play tonight. He leads their D corps in points (32), and plays over 22 minutes/night. Brooks Orpik will take the pre-game skate and is a game time decision.

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • As mentioned earlier the Caps have scored 5+ goals in their last eleven home games. They’d only done it once in their first 19 home matches. The Oilers have scored 5+ goals four times at home, however, they have also done it six times on the road.
  • Their 12-game home winning streak is the longest home winning streak in the NHL this year. They’ve outscored teams 62-19, and their PP is 35.7% (10 of 28). They don’t need many PP chances to score.
  • It is a bit odd to see the Capitals penalized so much more than their opposition, considering they are the better team most nights. They’ve been shorthanded 200 times, while having the man advantage 176 times. Conversely, the Oilers have had 180 PP opportunities and been on the PK 173 times.
  • Historically the Oilers haven’t had much success in Washington. In 35 career games the Oilers are 11-21-3, and you can’t blame the Decade of Darkness as they went 2-3-1 since 2006. The organization has never had much success in America’s capital city.
  • Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 39 road points. Leon Draisaitl is tied for ninth with 30. Niklas Backstrom is second in the NHL in home points with 39, while Alex Ovechkin is ninth with 31. I hope we see those two lines go head-to-head this evening.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk didn’t veto a trade to Edmonton, but he told them he wouldn’t sign an extension and there was no way Peter Chiarelli would make the deal unless he would get Shattenkirk to sign. The Blues could trade him to Edmonton now — he doesn’t have a NMC — but Chiarelli knows he won’t re-sign here so he won’t want to give up as much as a team who Shattenkirk would sign with. I’ve been told he has about 12 teams he’d sign with. No one should take it personally. It isn’t a knock on Edmonton. It is one player’s opinion. Some love it here, some don’t. Players have the right to choose where they want to play when they are UFAs.
  • There are still tickets available for tonight’s #PrayForPlayoffs Party at the Pint Downtown. All the ticket info and event details are available here.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Russian Machine Never Breaks

On Thursday, the Washington Capitals recalled forward Riley Barber and defenseman Aaron Ness from Hershey. They both may play tonight.

After the Caps’ morning skate, Barry Trotz revealed that Matt Niskanen will miss tonight’s game, after the defenseman suffered a lower-body injury Wednesday against Philadelphia.

With Niskanen out, Nate Schmidt will return to the lineup while Taylor Chorney will get a jersey for a second straight game. Ness may get game action because of a lower-body issue Brooks Orpik is currently dealing with. The 36-year-old defenseman absorbed several big hits in Philadelphia and is questionable for tonight’s game.

Meanwhile, Riley Barber will take warmups for the Caps tonight as well and could make his NHL debut.

TONIGHT…

GDB

(Photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Capitals don’t score five goals, but they defeat the Oilers 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Backstrom picks up his league-leading 20th PP assist.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nation readers decide to ignore the trolls in the comments section. Instead of giving them the attention they crave, you ignore the inane comments because it is Positive Friday and choose to be the bigger person.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • Randaman

    Oh well, can’t complain about the effort tonight, missing Larsson really hurt.

    Again, Davidson looks very slow and cumbersome back there these days.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Meh. Close game – could have swung either way. Caps managed to cash in one more opportunity than we did, that’s all.

    Funny how Maroon takes at least two high sticks but Washngton gets no penalties… Meanwhile Gryba gets called for… uhm… what did he get called for again? Seemed pretty weak-sauce to me.

    Hope they put Slepyshev back in. I think he brings a little something something that they seem to have missed the last couple games.

  • GK1980

    That was a BS game. I saw at least 3 horrendous missed calls against Washington. Oilers had them and deserved at least a point. 2 high sticks on maroon and eberle totally interfered with and tipped.

    Love the Oilers game tonight. Good game. Deserved better.

  • nrXic

    If you want to look at this game against the best team in the NHL right now to see where the Oilers fall short…it isn’t in many areas, and it isn’t a drastic difference in those areas.

    The difference is so small that you feel like having Larsson and/or Nurse back would’ve resulted in an Oilers OTL or even win.

    Heck, or even just a bit more experience. Khaira played very well, but made a couple of mistakes due to inexperience when with McD on the top line (nothing costly, mind you). McDavid has some prime opportunities to shoot and decided to pass instead, that’s something that will come with experience.

    I really want to see Lucic, Nuge, and Kass on that second line. I think Ebs could benefit on the 3rd by facing slower defenders and lines. I don’t think Ebs is playing horrible, I just want him in a position to gain some confidence.

    • I am Batman

      So you think “Ebs” is playing great???

      Summer can’t be here soon enough.

      Useless player. Waste of spot in the line-up.

      Just hope the 3rd rounder we get for him turns out to be a player.

      • How did my “I don’t think Ebs is playing horrible” statement, along with my suggesting that he faces easier opponents because I think Kassian could be a better option on the second line, equal me thinking that “Ebs is playing great”?

        How old are you?
        Are you insane?
        Have you forgotten to take medication?
        Are you still in grade school?

        I have so many questions right now…

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Kassian has an insane amount of pure skill.

      Assuming the Oilers don’t lose him to Vegas this summer I’d resign him to a team friendly deal in the 4 year range.

      I think he’s going to be our Dan Cleary (circa Red Wings 2006-2011). A key cog who can play up and down the lineup.

  • This.Is.NHL

    I can’t believe I have to say it but HIT for crying out loud, so many times the oil could have stoped their cycle, I know they had more hits but those are called love taps. It was a good game the oil could have won besides me yelling hit the whole game like I have the past ten years but oh well I guess.

    • Seriously Bored

      We get it, you do not like ebs. Virtually every comment you make on oilersnation is about how you dont like him. It is insane, do you really not have anything else to say about the team at this point?

      He is not playing well, he is not scoring enough points and is currently not worth the 6 mil he is being paid.

      No one is really even arguing with you about it anymore. He isnt as bad as you say he is but he certainly isnt living up to his level right now.

      Its like you are obsessed with posting multiple times a day about how much you dislike him so you dont forget.

        • StephLee

          Yo man, how many goals did maroon, or even mcdavid score tonight?

          Again, eberle is definitely not having a great year. But no need to beat the dead horse.

          • I am Batman

            I’m not beating on no dead horse.

            I’m saying that we missed out on Eaves and we are stuck with lazy.

            That is just a fact.

            Then you argued that he showed up tonight. Hopefully they gave him a participation ribbon because other than that, nothing to show for, correct?

          • StephLee

            Lololol. Everyone knows you hate ebs man.
            But for real, Eaves isnt even someone that we should be comparing ebs to.
            A lot of Eaves goals come on the PP, not at even strength.
            Again, 1 person scored a goal tonight. Are you gonna say drai was the only one trying and no one else was?

            Eberle definitely wasn’t lazy tonight. If you watched the last 3 games you would’ve seen that he’s had a lot of chances, hussles on both fore and back check. Yes, a lot of people, ME included, whip him for defensive struggles, but he has improved. Again, no need to beat him down further on a game where he isn’t the reason why we lost to a better team.

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            What if PC didn’t want Eaves?

            Maybe he’s looking at Sharp or Vanek?

            Yes, you’re beating a dead horse, day in and day out, week in week out, month to month.

            Find something original to bring.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Why are Remenda and Gregor allowed to be associated in any with the Oilers? They clearly don’t like them. We need some positive vibes, these guys are nothing but closet Oiler Haters.

    • OilersGM

      Mr Gregor thinks he knows everything but infect his GDP has been so awful this year that even a none hockey fan could’ve done better. Mr stubborn it has to be his way or the highway as for DrewMonkeyManda well we all know what he is.

  • DieHartOiler

    not gonna lie but the flames are slowly but surely catching up to us. 6 points difference, and next game vs preds. Gonna be a tough one. I dont know abt most of you guys, but reading the comments section, it sure looks like most of you have low expectations, starting with you Mr. Gregor. The oilers have several number ones in their lineup, it should be expected of them to beat the caps. Being okay with losing regardless of who the opponent is, shows a loser mentality. Even though the oilers played okay, they got dominated in the slot again. This has been a recurring issue against the better teams. In the playoffs, this team will get smoked out of the water if they continue to play piss poor. Watching nuge’s post game interview, he seemed quite content with the game. That mentality needs to be gone asap.

    • StephLee

      For reals dude. Look. We are 6 points ahead, we had a hard fought game tonight, if you actually watched you would’ve saw that we didn’t even get a PP on obvious missed calls. Just sit down and enjoy the run instead of whining even after good games.
      I don’t think anyone here has low expectations, the team has been significantly better this year. Goal differential is much better, PP has improved, and depth has improved.
      I think you sir, belong to the group of fans that are always unsatisfied and don’t know when to just sit back down and enjoy the game.

  • Muddy

    We were in it and playing with the TOP team in the NHL. Try saying that for the past 10 years – tough loss but I’m more than happy with the effort. Good job boys.

  • Freddie the fog

    Bring back Hemmer. Hes gonna b healthy real soon and the aquisition cost will b mininal. I watched alot of Stars games last year…he can still wheel. And he was only playing 12 min. A night. He competes hard..goes to the dirty areas. Hes aright shot upgrade over Letestu on the PP. OILERS should take a flier on him. Nothing to really lose here.