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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 81.0: Ahead by a Century

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

After 10+ years of mind-numbing misery, Edmonton Oilers fans have so many wonderful storylines to follow that the mind boggles. As we prepare for the game tonight on the left coast, let’s have a look at some of these stories.

PACIFIC HEIGHTS

The Edmonton Oilers have ripped it up over the last 10 games, the only sin being two losses (Anaheim got the Bettman point in their two L’s during this period). One more point secures second in the division, and some strong play (two wins against Vancouver) and luck (a loss by Anaheim Sunday against LAK) would allow the Oilers to win the division. Even without winning the Pacific, Edmonton’s performance down the stretch is admirable and worthy of praise. There was a time not long ago that the Flames appeared to be a real threat for No. 3 in the division.

CONNOR MCDAVID’S HISTORIC SEASON

I keep reading about McDavid’s accomplishment this season against the Gretzky years and it becoming a little galling. Folks, today’s NHL does not resemble the 1980s version. Connor McDavid, if he scores 100 points this season, will have accomplished a very rare feat. Reaching 100 points in the modern era is one giant mountain climbed. Here are the 100-point NHL seasons since 2010-11:

In this decade, McDavid (who turned 20 in January) has posted the 7th best single season points total already, and he has two games to go. When you see his numbers compared to 99, it does a disservice to this young man’s accomplishments. Connor McDavid has delivered 97 points in 2016-17 and placed in historic terms, his season is a rocket. This needs to be recognized, we need to shout it from the highest mountain!

LINEUPS

Oilers

LW C RW
Patrick Maroon
Patrick Maroon
Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid
Leon Draisaitl
Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Jordan Eberle
Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot
Benoit Pouliot
David Desharnais
David Desharnais
Zack Kassian
Zack Kassian
Drake Caggiula
Drake Caggiula
Mark Letestu
Mark Letestu
Iiro Pakarinen
Iiro Pakarinen
Defensive Pairings
Oscar Klefbom
Oscar Klefbom
Adam Larsson
Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera
Andrej Sekera
Kris Russell
Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse
Darnell Nurse
Matt Benning
Matt Benning
Goalies
Cam Talbot
Cam Talbot

At the time of posting no lineups had been released yet but we do now know that Cam Talbot gets the start.

Canucks

LW C RW
Daniel Sedin
Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin
Henrik Sedin
Nikolay Goldobin
Nikolay Goldobin
Sven Baertschi
Sven Baertschi
Bo Horvat
Bo Horvat
Brock Boeser
Brock Boeser
Reid Boucher
Reid Boucher
Brandon Sutter
Brandon Sutter
Michael Chaput
Michael Chaput
Griffen Molino
Griffen Molino
Drew Shore
Drew Shore
Jayson Megna
Jayson Megna
Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler
Alexander Edler
Troy Stecher
Troy Stecher
Luca Sbisa
Luca Sbisa
Chris Tanev
Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton
Ben Hutton
Nikita Tryamkin
Nikita Tryamkin
Goalies
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller

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

NOTES

  • Plenty of talk about resting players this weekend, but it makes sense to play the full roster as long as playoff seeding remains in doubt. We’ll see how these two games roll out, but for Edmonton winning tonight has real value in the standings.
  • The signing of William Lagesson this week further adds to the impressive group of young defensemen who will be bubbling under come the fall. Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear will turn pro with Lagesson this fall, and CHL free-agent signing Ryan Mantha will join too. Add in Ziyat Paigin (who has signed an ATO but not his entry-level deal) and we are talking five substantial prospects arriving at the same time. With Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning already in the NHL, the Oilers are going to be very strong at the position. That means great depth, and it also means possibly dealing from a position of strength in trade.
  • The Bakersfield Condors are having a disastrous road trip and the playoff implications are dire. The Stockton Heat are up by two points with a game in hand, so the Condors are going to need to correct the mistakes (they looked very poor early in last night’s game) and hope the Heat cools during the remaining games.
  • Jordan Oesterle was hit from behind in last night’s game and left on a stretcher. The hit was dangerous and anyone watching the game had to be worried, but Oesterle was released from hospital today and is reportedly doing fine.
  • A lot of talk about Milan Lucic and his 5×5 scoring, it is way down year over year. On the other hand, Lucic is red hot on the 5×4. Never a strong power-play performer, this season Lucic is running at 7.24/60 scoring, No. 6 among NHL forwards.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Always90Four, CanucksArmy: At some point, everyone needs to acknowledge that the Sedin line needs to be demoted to the second spot and Bo Horvat and Co. to the first. You have to love Nikolay Goldobin’s play with the Sedins lately and Brock Boeser’s drive. This season might be done but these are the positives we can take from an otherwise dreadful season. Source

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: @TomKostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get off to a nice start, with Mark Letestu cashing on the power play early in the first period. Connor McDavid gets an assist, thus moving him to 30-68-98. Unfortunately, Bo Horvat scores late in the period to tie things up.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  The second period dissolves into a physical battle, with plenty of hits and a fight or two. No numbers go up on the board, 1-1 heading to the third period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: A brilliant individual effort by Connor McDavid early in the third period results in his 31st goal of the year and two broken ankles for a Canucks defender. After that, the floodgates open, and Edmonton scores three more times, including point No. 100 for McDavid. Final score: Oilers score 5, Canucks score Nolan Patrick.