Tonight, the Oilers kick off their three-game road trip with the first of back-to-back starts against a pair of Atlantic Division teams.
After Wednesday’s horrible effort against the Flyers, the Oilers needed to find a way to collectively pull their heads out of their asses and figure out what it takes to play for 60 minutes. The first 45-50 minutes of that hockey game against the Flyers gave me Decade of Darkness flashbacks, and that’s something that shouldn’t happen anymore. The Oilers are supposed to be past those kinds of shitacular efforts and the fact that they’re not is increasingly disturbing. To make matters worse, the Oilers have shown just how good they can be, and the fact that they can’t do it consistently is endlessly frustrating.
As an added kick to the figs, watching the Montreal Canadiens turn their season around over the last month or so has been tough to watch — that was supposed to be our turnaround. WE were supposed to have the team that clawed their way back from a disastrous October. After their horrible start, the Habs were able to gain enough traction to pull themselves out of the league’s basement and back into playoff contention, something the Oilers haven’t been even close to being able to do. That said, the Canadiens can be just as inconsistent as our boys in orange so this game really could be a toss up. Like the Oilers, trying to predict which Montreal team will show up on a nightly basis can be a fool’s errand and that makes today’s game a mystery that Scoobie and the gang would even have trouble with.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
- The Habs are coming into today’s game the losers of two straight games with their last being a heartbreaker to the Flamz on Thursday night. Despite those two losses, the Canadiens are still 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
- Looking at the special teams battle, none of you will be surprised to know that the Canadiens beat the Oilers in both the PP and PK categories. On the power play, Montreal takes it with their lacklustre 17.34% which is still better than the Oilers’ 16.66%. On the PK, Montreal once again beats the Oilers with their 78.78% compared to Edmonton’s league-worst 72.34%. Sweet baby, Jeebus, that’s ugly.
- Both Edmonton and Montreal sport similar goal differentials this season with the Habs taking a slight edge at -10 (83GF – 93GA) over the Oilers -16 (80GF – 96GA). Mediocrity be thy name.
- According to Corsica, the Oilers still rank 2nd overall in terms of CF% with a 53.6. That means they’re getting plenty of shot attempts, but not a whole lot of them are going in the net right now. Why? If you combine these numbers with what my eyes are telling me, I think the Oilers are getting a lot of outside shots that are contributing positively to their Corsi but not on the scoreboard where it matters. Agree? Disagree?
These are the lines I’m piecing together from Stauffer’s tweets, but no one has really put out who’s playing where yet (I’ll update things as they come up). Aside from Walker’s debut and the Caggiula scratch, the most interesting thing for me is that Brossoit is starting because I figured that Ellis would have to get into one of these back-to-back games. Frankly, I would have prefered that Ellis makes his NHL debut against Montreal than Toronto. Then again, Stauffer also said that Talbot was on the ice with his teammates today so maybe he’s ready to come back? Unless they actually plan on giving Brossoit back-to-back starts — which would be complete madness btw — then I don’t know what the plan is. Then again, why would any of us be surprised at this point?
Galchenyuk-De La Rose-Byron
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
The Canadiens and Oilers face off on Saturday night, and neither side has lived up to its lofty expectations, despite plenty of promising flashes. After the game against Edmonton there’s a lengthy break in the schedule between games, so winning is paramount. Heading into a break on a skid can lead to some rash decision-making, while going in on a convincing win might allow the team’s outlook to be viewed more clearly.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: As they’ve done for most of the year, the Oilers put together a solid road game and find their way back into the win column. After a back and forth affair, the Oilers score a late goal and walk away with a 3-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Though Bob Cole’s voice is still powerfully nostalgic, he has no idea who is who and calls Connor McDavid ‘the guy’ on more than one occasion.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After a big win, the boys head out on the town to indulge in some of Montreal’s finest smoked meats, cheeses, unfiltered cigarettes, and strip clubs. Since there’s a game tomorrow, the boys make sure to celebrate responsibly and are all in bed by no later than 11:30pm.
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/09/2017 – 11:00am MST