GDB 41.0: OPEN ALL NIGHT

PowerByLiquorDepot

As a bona fide Springsteen fan I had a helluva time picking today’s GD song. I almost went with Darkness on the Edge of Town but wanted to go with something more hopeful (haha, Springsteen hopeful, listen to me reaching for the unlikely). I settled on a driving song, the wonderful Drive All Night. I believe this is going to be a strange game for everyone: Hall, the Oilers, you, me. How can it be anything else?

CURRENT STANDINGS

standings jan 7

The Oilers are hanging in and a late night hosing of the Calgary Flames by Vancouver (how in h-e-double-hockey-sticks did Calgary lose that game????) allows fans to dream of a five-point gap in Alberta. Nice.

SCORING LEADERS

scoring leaders jan 7

Connor McDavid cannot get clean air for love nor money, but he remains atop the NHL’s scoring leaders all the same. Special player.

Nick Kypreos mentioned on the Maple Leafs broadcast last night (I believe it was then) that 97 has slowed down. Not in points, but in foot speed. Do you see that? I have not, would love your input. I have also reached out to Zdeno Chara about McDavid’s foot speed, want to find out what he thinks.

Was that fast? I think that was fast. 

TAYLOR HALL, ENEMY?

I can’t see it, honestly. Whatever happens tonight, from Hall scoring 10 points to the Oilers rolling over the Devils, one suspects Taylor Hall’s enormous popularity will survive untarnished by Oilers Nation. NJD are a building team, Hall was sent to an unfair place if the world truly turned as it should, but my bet is he makes New Jersey his own, and finds his place on the Texaco road map.

OILERS SCORING, LAST 10 GAMES

last 10 games jan 7

LINEUPS

Oilers

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Devils

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Lineups (subject to change) courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

NOTES

  • If Edmonton wins tonight and tomorrow night, they could be in first place Sunday night. That would mean a fantastic road trip, travelling some of the miles other Pacific Division teams stumbled on recently.
  • I am genuinely curious about how you feel about the Oilers playing Taylor Hall tonight? Sad? Happy? Hoping he scores four, or Edmonton scores 10? Let me know.
  • Are you spending time pondering the expansion draft? I think Peter Chiarelli may leave Brandon Davidson unprotected because Patrick Maroon. We wait.
  • The Devils are not a good team, but they have a lot of dangerous weaponry. The goalie Schneider was pulled last night, if he gets in this evening I expect a fantastic performance.
  • Should Todd McLellan play Jonas Gustavsson tonight?
  • Bakersfield plays their outdoor game tonight beginning at 7pm Edmonton time. It is available free online via AHL.com.
  • Connor McDavid is going to the All-Star game. Any other Oilers? I will guess Cam Talbot.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

  • Taylor Hall: “I wanted to prove them wrong in more of a team sense than anything, more of, ‘How much can I do to help my team? I’m obviously disappointed in that factor. We’re one game below .500. We’re not in a playoff spot and Edmonton is. I don’t think that falls all on my shoulders, but certainly I think I have another level to get to and I think I will.” Source

Do the Oilers miss Taylor Hall? Oh yes, yes they do. When we discuss Connor McDavid not being able to get clean air, the unwritten followup sentence pertains to what the other skill forwards are not doing. If a line feature RNH was scorching opponents, or the third line was overwhelming the soft parade, teams would adjust. As good as this season has been for Edmonton, the club badly needs to find a second line they can count on to pummel opponents who concentrate their heavy artillery on McDavid. That is the nut for Edmonton.

TONIGHT

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

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GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get off to a quick start, a weird goal puts the Devils down one. NJ scores on the power play late in the period to tie the score.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  New Jersey scores another, and then quickly another, leading the game 3-1 entering the third period. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

The Oilers score two ugly goes in the third to tie it, and we are heading to overtime. Andrej Sekera makes a nifty play in extra time and Edmonton gets its second win of the road trip.