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Edmonton Oilers fans have enjoyed a wonderful winter and the club has passed every test (so far) worth discussing. As we prepare for the deadline and to exit February, there are some pressures bubbling up from the lower levels—Calgary is pushing! Should this run by the Flames include passing the Oilers?

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First, let’s establish what is really important at this point in time. The Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, so that is the first order of business. With their win yesterday, the LAK are 10 points behind Edmonton, and have a game in hand. Let’s give them the win in that outstanding game, meaning the club is eight points away from the Oilers with 20 to play. That is a gigantic number and very difficult to recover from in the Bettman NHL. If Edmonton goes 9-9-2 in their last 20 games (for instance), the Kings would need to go 14-5-1 to beat them. That isn’t impossible, but the chances are minute.

So, let’s assume Los Angeles is unable to catch Edmonton—in part because the Kings and Calgary Flames play each other four times down the stretch. The issue then becomes the Flames, and their ability to catch Edmonton for that third spot (we are assuming the worst here, Edmonton could finish higher than third inside the Pacific) by season’s end.

Let’s give Edmonton the same 9-9-2 finish (they should be much better based on strength of schedule) and that would result in a final record of 42-30-10, 94 points. In order for Calgary to finish above Edmonton from here, the Flames would need to go 12-5-3 (95 points). The Flames have been 7-2-1 in their last 10, so in order for them to post 95 points, the would have to come close to duplicating that run two more times. Seems like an enormous task.

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I think it is reasonable for Oilers fans to breathe a little now in terms of playoffs, and to regard the Flames as at least a minor worry as opposed to a real and present danger for No. 3 in the Pacific Division. Credit to them for putting themselves in this position after a terrible start.



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Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of


  • We could see Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse back in the lineup for today’s game, and that represents some nice trade deadline adding without assets out.
  • All manner of trade rumors out there from Kevin Shattenkirk to Justin Faulk and beyond. We will see this through trade deadline (I will be on TSN1260’s coverage Wednesday, hope you can tune in) and I do think Peter Chiarelli will be more active than some believe. I think three transactions is a reasonable estimate, there were five a year ago around the deadline (Phil Larsen, Anders Nilsson, Teddy Purcell, Justin Schultz, Patrick Maroon).
  • Jason Gregor mentioned a couple of weeks ago the possibility of an AHL center being added. With Anton Lander ripping up the AHL, that may not be necessary, but it is something to keep in mind.
  • Brandon Davidson’s name is in play, but PC has to factor in the playoffs and possibly robbing his coach of a useful defenseman in the postseason.  Edmonton will have 8 healthy NHL D when all hands are on deck, and may proceed with that number for the rest of the year. Davidson can be dealt before the expansion draft, and maybe the club keeps him and George McPhee takes a different player.
  • The McDavid line has been hemmed in for long periods on the road trip, it will be interesting to see if we see a tweak if this continues.
  • Peter Chiarelli has some picks and prospects to deal at the deadline, but I think there is a reasonable chance we see a substantial player dealt. A lot of forwards who are struggling, suspect there is a possibility of a big deal by Wednesday.


  • Adam Vingan, The Tennessean: Pekka Rinne, expected to start Sunday, against the Oilers in the past three seasons: 8-0-0, 0.98 GAA, .966 SV%, three shutouts.Filip Forsberg (7G, 2A) is the second Predators player to record at least three points in three consecutive games (Scott Walker, 2004).

    Peter Laviolette said playing James Neal on the fourth line was more about rewarding Austin Watson. Take that for what it’s worth.

  • Source

The item about James Neal is interesting, Neal is a pretty impressive winger to be playing on the 4line. Suspect he will be back up with the skill and giving Cam Talbot fits today.



(Photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have a slow start, with defenders shaking off the rust and Cam Talbot getting a lot of work in the first 20. Predators score on a weird goal, Viktor Arvidsson crashing into the net with the puck and getting the goal despite the net going off its moorings.

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  The second period starts poorly, with that blasted Ryan Ellis scoring on the man advantage 56 seconds into the frame. Matt Hendricks scores late in the second to set up a big third period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Midway through the period Connor McDavid feeds Jordan Eberle, who dekes (of course) and goes shelf to tie it. In overtime, 97 himself gets a clear breakaway but is hauled down, then scores on the ensuing penalty shot.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Big Game. Please be ready from the start.
    Preds might me a little let down after beating the Caps and taking the Oil a tad lightly.
    I hope they do.

    Rough game

    3-2 Oilers in OT. Sekera..who else.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Has anyone heard the Oilers put a banner up celebrating Garth Brooks selling out 9 shows?

    Wish we could spend some time on that. I think it is a worthwhile discussion.

    • MessyEH!

      Sounds like a great idea for an article. Can we also hear about the possibility of trading for Shattenkirk. An in depth look at Kris Russell and his underlying statistical analysis would also be incredible.

      • Spydyr

        If you are looking for “An in depth look at Kris Russell and his underlying statistical analysis ”

        Just search Henderson’s articles on here. He must have done a dozen of them.

  • Oiler Al

    Good point on the McDavid line being hemmed in their own zone for almost entire shifts. Althouh he is very capable,too much dependence on #97 carrying out the puck. To my eye Maroon has not be as effective the last few games,and Dr Dia,giving the puck away too often..[blind passes to empty spaces]

    • FISTO Siltanen

      The blood bath these comments sections would turn into would result in life time bans for fans of both teams.

      I don’t think the Nation can handle that loss.

  • M22

    “I think it is reasonable for Oilers fans to breathe a little now in terms of playoffs, and to regard the Flames as at least a minor worry as opposed to a real and present danger for No. 3…”

    – Lowetide


    Lowetide, your article paints a fairly comfortable picture for Oiler fans, but from my perspective, it’s not as rosy as you claim. Let’s look at a very real possibility: should we lose our next two games (@ Nash, @ St.L), and Calgary wins their next two (@ Caro, home to LA), they would be only two points behind us, each with eighteen games remaining.


    That would be a worry, not minor – and a present danger.

  • Craig1981

    I don’t think there is a rush to trade Davidson. If you trade him you will ALSO lose someone like Letestu. Plus no one knows who LV likes more. Perhaps they go off the board and take someone like Rienhart or have better options (from other teams unprotected) on the Blue and take a forward.

    I’m annyoyed the Oilers are playing without a full deck, because we hired a fired GM

    • oilerjed

      “I’m annyoyed the Oilers are playing without a full deck, because we hired a fired GM”

      This comment is not worthy. Have you never heard that saying that ALL coaches and GMs are hired only to be fired? Chia has shown that he has the chops to make a big trade when necessary as well as knowing what it takes to put a team over the top. Not entirely sure where your negativity comes from?

  • Harry2

    Lowetide. Seriously. Tgis is getting comical. Your game day blogs are thebexact same every time.

    Edm starts slow and get behind, make it interesting in the 2nd and comes home with the W in either the final minutes of the 3rd or OT.

    Got to admire your consistency

  • Ivan Drago

    Lowetide why does every one of your GD predictions involve the oilers being down early and storming for a comeback? Please come up with a new one sometime

    Edit ok the one before this didn’t but I swear if I were to check back further they would lol

  • Rama Lama

    We seem to be shooting a lot less the last 20 or so games………tonight is the night to reverse this and get back to playing hockey in the opposition zone.

    Allan, I see that you brought up Justin Faulk in another article……..what do you think it would take to get him?

  • PlumbOil

    I would seriously entertain a trade involving Nuge and a pick/prospect for Faulk and Derek Ryan. Leon would fill the 2C slot and we can go after a vrbata or vanek type player to add depth to the right side. I’ve always been a big Nuge supporter but he doesnt seem to be the same player since Conner and Leon took over this team. Might be time to move on and look at a serious hockey deal. Playoffs Baby!!!

    • country mac

      next year my good man, after expansion, If we protect 4 d we are going to lose maroon.

      Its also going to take Nuge, (davidson or Reinhart) and at lease a second to get him.

  • Spydyr

    I hope they practised line changes. So we don’t have to watch veteran right wingers making weak changes when the puck is in the neutral zone. It cost the team the first goal in the last game.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Would Davidson, 2017 1st, and Caleb Jones for Landeskog. GL might be the guy on the left side needed for McDavid, and 1/2 mil cheaper than Eberle for 3 more years than Ebs. Plus having Puljujarrvi on 97s right wing(depending on development).

    Ebs could then be traded in the summer for whatever is needed.