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Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Hits: Blues at Oilers

After pumping the Golden Knights for eight goals on Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers will look for a repeat performance against the St. Louis Blues.

Coming into tonight’s game, the Oilers seem to be turning a corner in their season. Yes, the slow start was like a kick to the pills but they’ve been playing much better of late and looking more like the team we all expected to see. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of work to do, but the fact that Edmonton is 3-1-1 in their last five games can only be considered a positive. Can they continue the trend against the Blues? Can they flex their mighty muscles once more and put another touchdown up on the board? We shall see.

QUICK HITS

1. Thirteen different players recorded points for the Oilers in Tuesday’s win over Vegas. Needless to say, they’ll be hard pressed to replicate anywhere close to that amount of offence. That said, how amazing would it be to have back-to-back games where the Oilers can put up some numbers?

2. The Blues come into tonight’s game on a two game losing streak, a trend you know they will be working hard to end. The Blues fell to the Flames by a score of 7-4 when they last played on Monday night. In their last 10 games, St. Louis has a record of 7-3-0.

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3. In their history, the Oilers and Blues have squared off 131 times, with Edmonton sporting an all-time record of 56-60-11-4. Last season, the Oilers went 3-0 against the Blues.

4. Connor McDavid is starting to catch fire and it’s beautiful to watch. So far in November (8GP), the captain already has 11 points (4G, 7A) and it looks like he’s just getting started. If Connor can keep heating up, the NHL had best prepare itself for a wake of destruction. I’m stocked up on beets and water and am ready for the McMagic show.

5. The Oilers could have an advantage in the goaltending battle tonight, as Cam Talbot’s .912 save% has a slight edge over Jake Allen’s .908%. In Allen’s last five games, he has allowed 16 goals against, so the Oilers need to shoot early and shoot often, because this guy is nothing to write home about right now.

6. Before Tuesday’s win against Vegas, the Oilers sat in dead last in terms of goals for. Their eight goal outburst bumped them up six spots to 25th overall (with 46). As for GA, the Oilers sit in the middle of the pack at 17th place with 54 goals against. I assume that -8 differential will disappear as the season goes on, but there would be no better time to chip away at it than tonight.

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7. The Oilers had their best special teams night of the season against the Golden Knights, going 3/3 on the power play and killing off all four penalties they faced. I’m going to assume that tonight’s game will be a tight one, and the Oilers will need their special teams to be on point if they’re going to get the advantage needed to beat the Blues.

8. Speaking of special teams, the Blues are working with the 20th ranked PK that is running at 79.0%, while their power play sits in 22nd place at 16.4%. By comparison, the Oilers’ PK is no longer ranked dead last as their kill percentage rose to 73.3%, while their power play also lept a few spots after Tuesday’s game to 13th, with a 20.0% success rate.

9. The Oilers currently sit four points out of a wildcard spot with six teams they need to jump over. That’s quite the ladder to climb, and scoring two points against the Blues will go a long way to helping them get there. I’m not saying tonight is a must win, but tonight is a must win.

10. According to Corsica, the Oilers are currently ranked second in Corsi with a 55.85%. That number indicates that the team is probably playing better than their record, but, unfortunately, Corsi don’t pay the bills and rent is due.

11. As for the fallen, the Blues will be without Jay Bouwmeester (fractured ankle), Zach Sanford (dislocated shoulder), and Robby Fabbri (Torn ACL) all of whom are currently on the IR.

12. We are 3-1-1 in the beet era. I won’t take all of the credit for this turnaround, but I will definitely take some.

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WHAT HE SAID

“The last couple of hours have went quick. I’m excited to go there and have an opportunity to play. I feel great. I want to enjoy playing the game and Edmonton is a team that’s pretty exciting to join. I know it hasn’t been the start they were looking for, but it’s a team that can honestly be as good as it wants to be. I’m looking forward to it.” – Mike Cammalleri, source

Cammalleri only played 5:30, 9:52 and 11:40 in his last three games with the Kings. I wonder if a better suited role will also see a boost to his offence? Maybe I’m just being hopeful?

GAME DAY QUESTIONS

  • How will Mike Cammalleri be used tonight, considering he has yet to get any practice time in? Is he even going to play? Who comes out?
  • The St. Louis Blues have scored 16 more goals than the Oilers but have given up only three less. How will the defence adapt to a much more powerful offence than we saw on Tuesday?
  • Which version of the special teams will we see? Will it be a dominant performance like we saw on Tuesday night or will it be the lacklustre wastes of time that we’ve seen many times this year?

Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/16/2017, 9:30am


  • D

    I am mainly convinced that the Oilers’ slow start was related to them believing all the press that they were going to be Stanley Cup finalists or even Stanley Cup Champions this year. Now that they are playing solid hockey, the trick is for them to not fall back into that old habit.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Yeah, bang-on. And when they actually started slow, the “Eastern Scribes” were feeding they “nay-sayers.”
      They just keep feeding off each other at that point, & then gets out of control…
      People start to believe them & bang,…. team turns to crap…
      Case in point: “Slowest team in the league, No depth, Talbot a one off season…”
      I’m not the only one last year that was really excited about the depth & versatility on this team.
      Then, bang,… the team started to live up to the naysayers expectations…
      I think that this young team is extremely fragile on the confidence front. It takes a coaching staff to continue to keep them believing in themselves. Looch, McD, Cammy & some of the other vets are going to help with that.
      It’s a young millennial team for the most part. Have to keep them focused.
      Can’t believe the RNH is a “seasoned veteran” at 25… I have to give my head a shake, it’s like he’s played forever…

  • Spoils

    Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl
    Lucic-RNH-Puljujarvi
    Cammalleri-Strome-Kassian
    Khaira-Letestu-Pakarinen

    or something like that… I like the hope that Cammalleri brings, but forgive my continued chirping about the Oilers needing to bring in a big gun to allow Draisaitl to shift to 2C and move everyone else done the depth chart.

    that and sekera coming back are all we need (oh and many more games against the VGK)

  • McRaj

    I see that Lucic is the new Horcoff, Hemsky, Schultz, Eberle this year. Makes me wonder if people even watch games and look at stats or just go off word of mouth. What Lucic provides, no other forward does. Stop expecting him to be a 65 point guy. He is a 55 point guy who will throw 200+ hits. Exactly what we signed him for. It’s not years 5-7 of his contract yet, worry about that when we get there. He helps win hockey games today.

    • MrBung

      If the Oilers start winning and get into playoff content, the heat will be off of Lucic. People can stomach that kind of spending on a Lucic type player if the team is winning.

    • gr8haluschak

      Wow who are you kidding, what does he do that no other forward does – let’s hear it. Does he shoot better than most of the forwards – nope, does he pass better than most of the forwards – nope, and we know he is one of the worst skaters on the team. To hit someone he needs to actually get there which he rarely does, he cannot carry the puck more than 3 feet before a backchecker is on him and unless there is a draw in the offensive zone that is won by the oilers there is no way he gets to the front of the net in time.

      • McRaj

        He’s on pace for 50 points, 46 at even strength (would have been top 30 in NHL last season). Hes on pace for over 240 hits (good for someone who can’t skate eh). Not sure what games you been watching, but he has been as advertised. LOL the hate is too funny.

        • StatsOnFleek

          I’m glad to see you’ve been brushing up on last season’s early season highlights of Lucic. If you didn’t notice that towards the end of the season he was gearing up and looking as advertised. The rest of the team was lamenting in a clinched playoff spot at took a night off against San Jose. What does Lucic do? Win us a game on grit and will power. This season? He is slightly below the team average CF% of 55.85% with a 53%. He is getting close to 63% of offensive zone starts. According to HERO charts, he is also producing offence and suppressing shots at a first line wing rate whilst on the second line. *crotch chops* Eyeball tests prove that he is also skating much faster than he was last year. he stays in plays instead of getting left behind this season. It’s almost like he wasn’t in game shape come regular season because of the media touring he had to do… Also, he has a different role in Edmonton than he had with LA or Boston. We have guys that take lots of “dumb” penalties for defending our own (Kassian, Nurse).

        • gr8haluschak

          Oh yes, rubbing someone out after the puck is 90 feet up the ice is so beneficial that no one else could provide, which is how he gets the majority of his “hits” stats guy. Tell me how many times does he actually initiate the forecheck or hell even the second man in? I also love the comment about playoff experience, tell me what he did that was no one else could provide – let’s hear it, when Perry and Getlzaf were getting away murder was Lucic doing the same thing – nope and that is where he was supposed to earn his money as a “playoff experienced guy” who would have known how to push the edge.

          • Dr

            Really. The two replies to your post had some convincing arguments and they were expressed eloquently. You just put your fingers in your ears and pretend you didn’t hear it. He’s on pace for 50 points. He may end up with more points than Maroon, but he gets so much criticism. Edmonton always needs a goat. It must drive the players crazy.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            He has one a cup in very short time in every league he has played in.
            He rallied his team to score 3 or 4 (can’t remember for sure) goals to take the leafs out of a seventh game with 2 minutes to play. He is a fantastic role model for the younger inexperience in the dressing room (more upside of this trait will be seen going forward on this team)…
            He makes room for the team to do its job in the offensive zone…
            He’ll get 35 – 50 points a year, no problem… what else?
            He knows how to overcome adversity. Also, in that Duck game (there was only one that got out of hand, unfortunately the last one) he thought it best not to play into that & leave his team short… it would have worked that way as that game had it out for us & it wasn’t Getzlaf & Perry. You can’t punch a ref…
            There are a few players in this league that fall into this category,.. I for one am glad that Milan is an Oiler.
            You my friend have been feeding off the “Eastern Scribes & Naysayers” & getting a little too fat…
            Read my comment above… that’s you…

          • gr8haluschak

            If I was a horse I would worry about not being able to eat with all the straws that are being grasped here by you people. He was a non factor in the ducks series – Kelser, Perry, Getzlaf all knew how to walk the line because they have been there before and Lucic apparently was there once before too yet was he on that line – nope, worse yet he saw how the game was being called and still did nothing to change his play to get that line. Did he make Gibson’s life hell by constantly being a mountain near him – nope. The way some of you fans are talking I am wondering if Milan turned water into wine too, he rallied his team, he has won a cup blah blah blah, give me a break, sure he scored one goal – the 3rd so I do not think that “sparked the comeback” and I am pretty sure again watching the highlights Bergeron was more important in that game then he was. As for the cup – I highlight doubt a guy what was what tied for 8th in team scoring was solely responsible for winning that cup (because the way you people are talking it seems that way). I do have one honest question, are you people this stupid to think that if you are a veteran NHLer you are intimidated by anyone out there, do you think Sidney Crosby, Vladdy Tarasenko, Corey Perry, etc are all of a sudden sitting there thinking oh my god Milan Lucic is out there ohhhhh nooo I am soo scared. It is true that the Oilers have straighter backs and do not sulk away from scrums after getting pushed around and laughed but that is hardly all on Lucic, I am damn sure it is a collective of Kassian, Maroon, Lucic, Gryba, Nurse, Larsen that helped.

      • McRaj

        Also, to answer your question. The size, skill, physicality, intimidation, and leadership combination Lucic provides. NO OTHER FORWARD DOES. Want to know something else, he is younger than Maroon. Lucic at 6M any day over Maroon at 4M.

      • Derian Hatcher

        When I played hockey, we had a guy like Lucic on our team. When we played a big team or a physical team, I loved lacing up in the room beside our Looch. I think we all played a bit taller and a bit bigger with our Looch in the line up. Now, I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the Oiler room, but I will say that If I was going to war on the ice, Looch is a guy I’d want on my team. The fact that he makes $6M would not matter to me when he arrived to a scrum in ill-humor. Just my two cents.

        PS. The look on his face when he is pissed is worth at least 1.5 million. “Me mad”

        • Beer_League_Ringer

          You hit the nail on the head. The teams I was on growing up always had the 1-3 guys that everyone loved for the exact reasons you describe. Folks that devalue the presence of Looch in the room and on the ice clearly have never played hockey.

          “You need a guy with a couple screws loose on your team to be successful” -Milan Lucic

          This is why guys love having Kassian, Looch, Nurse, Maroon, on their team.

      • He also brings something that this team doesn’t exactly have in spades…A STANLEY CUP RING. If/when this team makes it back to the playoffs this year, they’ll need that sort of experience and leadership if they want to go past the second round. There are intangibles in play here.

        Also, for the record, I think he’s looked much, much faster the last two or three games. He’s never going to be a coast-to-coast dangles kind of guy, but he’s gaining the offensive zone with straightaway speed, allowing his line mates to set up and offer puck support. That’s huge.

    • gr8haluschak

      And man where the Blues intimidated by Milan Lucic last night, his one of a kind play really screwed with them defensively too – they just had no answer for him.

  • camdog

    The first 10 or so games Lucic didn’t look good, but the last 6-7 he’s looked pretty good. As season goes along he tends to get better, others wear out he improves. He’s on pace to have a very good season, as long the coach doesn’t mumble and gumble the lines up like posters are requesting he’ll continue his good play.