GDB 40.0: Bounce back in Boston

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Game Day

(photoshop: @isuckatpicking)

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One of the biggest improvements the Oilers have made this season is their ability to be competitive after a poor outing. There hasn’t been many games this season where the Oilers were completely outclassed, but Tuesday in Columbus the Oilers were overwhelmed.

They will look to rebound tonight in Boston, against a good, but not great, Bruins team.

“It was a playoff-type environment and we had some people out there who were invisible,” said Todd McLellan after Tuesday’s loss in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are a better team right now. They have won 16 in a row and are in first place in the NHL. A loss was expected, but they got outworked and I’m certain that is what annoyed McLellan the most.

That can’t happen again tonight.

The Bruins and Oilers are evenly matched.

The Oilers produce more offence, 2.80 goals/game to Boston’s 2.32, while the Bruins allow fewer goals, 2.40 to the Oilers 2.59.

Edmonton has a better PP, 21.1%, to Boston’s 14%, while the Bruins’ PK 87.6%, is higher than the Oilers 81.5%.

The Oilers have 45 points in 39 games and the Bruins have 44 in 40 games. Both are currently in a playoff spot.

LINEUP

Oilers

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Todd McLellan switched his lines looking to jump start the offence. The Oilers have only scored 22 goals in their past ten games, while allowing 22, but they’ve managed a 5-2-3 record.

Connor McDavid only has five points in ten games, which is good production for the majority of the league, but you know he wants to produce more. He has to find his groove again. The Oilers’ PP has seven goals in the past ten games, and he’s only had points on two of them. That is a great sign for the team, but if the PP keeps producing it is highly doubtful he won’t be involved in more goals.

The Oilers EV scoring has slowed down a lot, and McLellan is hoping the new combinations can ignite some more production.

The Oilers averaged 2.24 EV goals per game in their first 29 games, but have dipped down to 1.5 EVG/game during the past ten games.

Their forwards have only scored 12 EV goals in the past ten games, and Tyler Pitlick scored two of them. He’s out for the season with a torn ACL.

Pitlick is tied with Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for most EV goals during this 10-game stretch.

McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks and Drake Caggiula have singles.

Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot and Zack Kassian have none. Jesse Puljujarvi hasn’t played enough to be asking for more.

McDavid, Draisaitl, Eberle, Lucic and Pouliot need to produce more at EV, but especially the latter three.

Eberle can’t finish right now, although he’s still producing some points. Him and Pouliot on the same line will either be an offensive blackhole, or they will jumpstart each other. Maybe McLellan is thinking mathematics. Multiplying two negatives and it becomes a positive. Ohhhh….

Bruins

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Oilers fans are upset about Eberle, who has 26 points, but Bruins fans are even more perplexed by Patrice Bergeron’s lack of production. He only has seven goals and 12 points. He had 68 points last year. Bergeron simply can’t finish. He leads the Bruins in shots with 130, but he can’t score, and he hasn’t been able to set up many plays. His lack of offence has him a minus player, -1, for the first time in his career since 2006/2007. He is still very good defensively, but when you aren’t producing at EV strength (he has eight EV points), it is hard to be a plus player.

QUICK HITS

  • The strange part about Bergeron’s struggles is he’s played the majority of his time with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Marchand leads the Bruins with 31 points, while Pastrnak leads them in goals with 19. Bergeron has played 476 EV minutes, and only 33 of them have been without Marchand.
  • Bergeron is another example of how playing with the team’s leading scorer doesn’t guarantee offensive success. His offensive struggles are similar to Eberle’s, but he’s produced much less. It is very odd for Bergeron considering his linemates and the amount of shots he’s generated.
  • I like a little animosity among players. Evander Kane recently called out Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller on twitter.

        My only issue is the Sabres don’t play the Bruins again this season. Will we see some fireworks 
        between them next year?

  • Anton Lander returns to the lineup after a stint in the AHL. Lander lit up the AHL scoring 10-11-21 in 13 games in Bakersfield. His footspeed seems to be the only thing holding him back from being an everyday NHLer. His AHL success illustrates how much of a jump it is between the AHL and the NHL.
  • On the season Jesse Puljujarvi is averaging over 11:30/game. Tyler Seguin averaged 12:12/game as a rookie when he scored 22 points. It did not stunt his development. However, he also didn’t have a five-week stretch like Puljujarvi is in right now. Puljujarvi has only played a total of 72:30 since November 29th. He’s dressed in eight games and is averaging 9:04 a game. 

    If he was playing every game and was close to 12 minutes a game, I wouldn’t have much of an issue about him being in Edmonton, even if he wasn’t producing. But the limited amount of icetime he’s had since November 29th makes it very hard to develop and maintain confidence. A few weeks ago both Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan said he is here for now and we’ll see. I got the sense from both men that Puljujarvi would get a stint in the AHL after Christmas. Tyler Pitlick then got injured, and it seems that has kept #98 here. 

    It is too dramatic to say with certainty this will severely stunt Puljujarvi’s long-term production. I doubt it will, but I don’t see it helping him much, nor do I see it helping the Oilers. He needs to play more regularly, or he needs a stint in the AHL. Playing 72 minutes over five weeks is not good for the player or the team.

  • Take a moment and help out a good young Edmonton race car driver Stefan Rzadzinski. He has a chance of a lifetime to compete in the Race of Champions vs. Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Kanaan, Sebastien Vettel and many others. All you have to do is vote for him. I’ve watched Rzadzinski chase his dream for the past six seasons, racing in many different events. This would be a huge opportunity for him. Do him a solid and vote here. Good luck Stefan.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Stanley Cup of Chowder

Chiarelli, Lucic, Ference (injured), and Benning (2012 6th rd pick, 175 overall, not signed) were all tied to Boston in recent membery. Chiarelli snagged one of his draftees off free agency. They’ll probably all be in the building, but since Ference isn’t playing and you’re in the Garden, recycle your cups. Captain America won’t tolerate that.

TONIGHT..

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Boston is 9-9-0 at home and 5-6-0 versus the West. The Oilers rebound with a solid performance and win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid picks up a point. He has 21 career points on Thursdays, the most of any day of the week. **Obscure stat of the day.**

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sticking with obscure trend, Patrick Maroon has no goals and only one assist in his last 16 games versus Atlantic Division teams. He ends his goal drought and scores his 12th goal of the season matching his career high. 

Recently by Jason Gregor:     

  • GDB 39.0: Striving to break the streak
  • Chiarelli deserves credit: Oilers are more than McDavid 
  • GDB 37.0: King Nothing
  • Sekera, Puljujarvi, Caggiula and a Big Thank You
  • Fishin’ For First Place
  • GDB 35.0: The Oilers Kryptonite
    • btrain

      McDavid is clearly a special talent and will only get better. That said, despite his status, he can also be expected to be better, including being more accountable to the success of his line. Namely I think he can be more patient and prioritize possession over immediate attempts at setting up high danger opportunities. The quick rushes and nice passes are great when the opportunity is there, but I find he forces it when its not. He can also be a bit more selfish and create and take his own scoring chances.

      This does not dismiss the accountability of his wingers. I feel they need to stop being so determined to filter everything through him. I mean just stand between him and Lucic on a breakout and Lucic will basically give you the puck. Its completely predictable and relatively easy to shut down. The goal against Columbus occurred because Eberle and Maroon were not concerned with where McDavid was and how to get him the puck (a rather rare event for the top line). Instead they passed to the teammate that happened to be open. I think this is why Draisaitl has been successful with McDavid as he doesn’t allow himself to become dependent.

      Anyway, the wingers deserve a lot of heat, but McDavid is the permanent factor on that top line. Its lack of success is definitely not because of McDavid, but it would be a mistake to ignore his influence entirely given the several failed combinations that have been attempted.

    • Spydyr

      The Oilers could use a trade to shake things up and fix a couple soft areas. Remember when there were actual trades in the NHL during the season. Good times.

    • IRONman

      We are 2 games out of the playoffs again.

      The coach has to go.

      Look at the blue jackets. 2 seasons to be good

      Honestly wtf is with the lines.

      98 and 67 and lander AHL

      • Of course, accountability is still tied to the amount and duration of contract of the player with this franchise. The more things change the more they stay the same. GDP Beatdown in Boston 5-2 Bruins. OGDP Eberle will avoid contact at all costs, and give up possession the minute there is a black jersey within 30ft of him.
        NSOGDP Connor has a meltdown and demands Eberle be removed from his line on a permanent basis. Wont be watching . I will watch the Juniors because I prefer their work ethic, something the Oilers seem to know very little about.

    • Rama Lama

      Me thinks this team is underperforming lately and TM needs to take a different approach to get this moving in the right direction.

      I suspect that the flu bug is partially responsible at least for a couple of weeks ……….the team has looked totally out of sync.

      I do think getting Milan off the first line is a good step both for the player and the team.

      • OilersGM

        The idiot that hire Tambo hired Tmac and the same idiots we’re in the room when the so called new regime hired Chiarelli and TM.
        Have you heard of the saying
        “Great minds think the same” in this case it’s the exact opposite idiots minds think the same.

    • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

      I can certainly feel TMc’s angst, 4 of the last 5 games have been lost decade material.

      3rd period melt down in Phoenix, lucky to survive;

      No-show in San Jose, Talbot steals a point;

      Solid game vs the Kings, their best in December,

      No-shows vs the Nucks and BJs, again Talbot keeps thing respectable.

      I’m worried.

      PS, I know they got lots of shots vs Nucks but were out chanced in the game, were content firing from the outside while the Nucks were working to get the puck to the net. Got a Betman due to a shaky penalty.

    • Hemmercules

      That last game was sad. Didn’t watch the entire game but there wasnt one moment after the first puck drop where I felt like the Oilers could win that game. CBJ is fast and they work crazy hard for every puck. Slot passes from Pouliot help out somewhat too.

      I’m ready too see Mcd snipe a few goals. He always looks for that sneaky pass, especially on the PP. With his talent he should be able to score through the defensemen a little more often. Ditto Eberle, his shot isn’t what it used to be for whatever reason.

      You know Marchand is going to be beaking like crazy tonight. Hope someone buries him for it. GOILERS!!!

    • Oilers4Ever

      Gregor grow a pair and start asking some tough questions such as:

      – Why Pouliot is in the lineup after his horrific play last game?

      – Why Puljujarvi’s confidence is meticulously being destroyed every game that he is in the lineup and not in Bakersfield?

      – Why RNH hasn’t been tried with McDavid yet?

      • Hemmercules

        From what I have seen from McL this season is that he likes to gives players a chance to redeem themselves rather than just bury them. Pouliot has seen the press box a few times already and its not like he’s getting destroyed defensively, he’s just not putting up the points he should be. I’m sure Pouliot learned his lesson on that horrid giveaway last game, if he doesn’t rebound with a good game tonight I could see him back in press box for a game or 2. I don’t think anyone is happy with him this year, including himself. At this point I doubt he’s on the team next season.

        The instant Pitlick went down for the season I knew Jesse wasnt going to bakersfield.

        McD needs a trigger man. Nuge isn’t a triggerman. Anything is worth a try I guess but McL seems content on keeping Nuge at centre. I think Maroon and Drai are better suited to play with McD so I’m looking forward to watching them tonight.

    • CRONENBERG

      I watched that last game against the CBJ with a buddy who doesn’t follow sports at all, but he comes around every now and then and watches a game with me. He didn’t know how to properly describe what he was seeing but he said “Man this other team is going nuts. They’re all skating way faster than the Oilers” and he also said “why is the puck always on our side of the rink?” Even to someone who doesn’t follow sports, he could tell we were being seriously outplayed, not so much by the better team, but by the team that wanted it more. I’m still fuming about the effort they (didn’t) put in last game. How many games has Talbot stolen for us this season? 5 or 6? We could easily be sitting in 12th place in the conference right now. We need a better effort from everyone that doesn’t have 97 or 33 on their back.

    • Randaman

      “Eberle can’t finish right now, although he’s still producing some points. Him and Pouliot on the same line will either be an offensive black hole, or they will jumpstart each other.”

      Seriously? You can’t finish if you don’t start! He seems to have the motivation of a hound dog on a hot afternoon. Useless these days and I like Eberle. As for Pouliot, don’t get us started. Useless x 1000.

    • Wilee1

      This is my first post:

      Remenda sucks! He sometimes praises the other team and was critical of a bad play by an Oiler!

      McLellan is being outcoached! Unless they win, then the players did great.

      Chiarelli is the worst! How dare he not turn a team into a Stanley cup favourite in just over a year!

      Eberle, Pouliot, Nuge are overpaid and overrated. They suck! Why doesn’t Chia trade them for great players?

      Am I doing it right?

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        Just remember to act like it’s the end of the world after a loss no matter what place the oilers are in.

        We may have drastically improved in every measurable statistic but a loss means they’re the worst.

        Make sure to bring up the conspiracy that Lowe and Mactavish are still pulling the strings. Chia and McClellan are puppets.

        Also, someone has to be fired or traded after every loss.

        Do these things and you’ll be the average ON poster.

        • OilersGM

          Buddy it’s obvious without McDavid this is the same old team that’s been iced for 10 years with different personal.
          McDavid has 2 points in last 8 games what’s our record in that span well I’ll leave that for you to ponder on.
          I can live with the loses as long as the team gives it all it has a full effort that sure seems like it hasn’t happened in a while.
          I want to know who is to blame for that. If your coach can’t get your team ready then what is he doing there just collecting paycheques. This is a professional league if your coach can’t get your team ready then the coach has as much to do with it as the players.
          Be realistic man, I’m as much as an Oilers fan as there is. We love the team we our passionate about the team we want the team to succeed but when they don’t show up for games that is not acceptable absolutely no reason for that. People have to be accountable for their jobs just like the players.
          We just lost to a team that was 27th in the league last year, why? Because they have the will the effort not because they have more talented players and it’s all because of their coach so don’t make excuses for Chiarelli and TM.
          We are sick and tired of not making the playoffs and everyone has to be accountable. It’s as simple as that.

          • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

            To answer your question about the last 8 games, despite all the angst (including my own), they are 4-2-2. Both reg losses vs the best team in the league. Why do I feel so unhappy?

            • 3 Little Birds

              A team that goes 4-2-2 over the season has 102 points, no?

              They are a new group, sick right now, and could be better on quite a few nights, but the general negativity to massive improvement is strange.

              I thought everyone wanted meaningful games in the new year and maybe, just maybe, a playoff push.

              Mission accomplished!

              Doubt we have a cup team right now, but that’s all part of the process.

              I’m not sure why you are so unhappy.

      • Tony Montana

        LOL

        Remenda does suck though. Before joining the Oilers broadcast team he had a radio show in Regina and the complaint out of Regina was rather than talk about the local sports teams (OK, the Riders), he would spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the San Jose Sharks. He was not popular amongst the people who I knew, though to be fair this is hearsay, I never actually heard the show myself. We are seeing this now when we watch Oiler broadcasts.

        • Wilee1

          Oh, I’m no fan of Remenda at all. There are lots of colour guys I would prefer to him (not DeBrusk). That said, it’s ridiculous the amount of hate that he gets on here for supposedly hating the Oilers. I don’t want a colour guy, even on an Oiler-centric broadcast, to be a complete homer. I can’t see the whole ice when I’m watching a game on TV, so I want to know where things broke down, who screwed up, who made a great play on the boards etc. He’s there to tell us what happened beyond the obvious, not coddle the home team.

          He knows hockey, he’s been around it at the highest levels for a long time and he is capable of analyzing games. That said, I’d trade 50 Remendas for 1 Ferraro, who by the way would criticize the crap out of Oiler players who deserve it.

        • FISTO Siltanen

          I can now imagine what went into the decision they had in bringing him aboard.

          They probably needed someone who could talk about anything other than the Oilers when he first arrived. And spice it up, talk up the other team like that is the team the Oilers should aspire to become. And remind fans what amazing talent they are witnessing wearing the other jersey.

          He’s done all that and more but his time has come to an end.

        • pkam

          I feel sorry for Remenda. It is not his fault that he has to be the color commentator of the Oilers. Can you imagine you are put to be the color commentator of the Shames? I bet you will be very frustrated and will behave very similar to Remenda.

          The person who put Remenda in this position should be fired. I bet this person hates the Oilers even more than Remenda.

        • BobbyCanuck

          #3 whateverhappenedtoearledwards

          Your post is almost perfect, but to really up your game you need to include

          1)Hall being traded – Fire Chia!
          2)a dig at KLOwe and MacT

          Baby steps bro, welcome to the Nation!