For the second time in a span of 24 hours, the Edmonton Oilers will have a matinee start against a Western Conference opponent. This time around, they’ll need a much better effort in order to achieve a better result.
After getting dummied by the Stars in a matinee game just 24 short hours ago, you can’t blame Oilers fans for being less than excited about the prospect of watching another one. Quite frankly, yesterday’s performance, or lack thereof, had to be one of the most disheartening losses of the season for me. The Oilers had finally ended their losing streak with a detailed performance against the Ducks and show up two days later looking as bad as ever. I don’t know about you guys, but this lost season of constant pummelling has been a lot harder to take than any of the DOD years we’ve been through. This year, the good times were supposed to keep rolling.
Having the Oilers be this bad is offensive on almost every sensory level. I’m mad because they were supposed to be good, I’m mad because Chiarelli wasted the last year of Connor McDavid’s ELC, and I’m mad because I don’t want to have to start working on draft coverage soon. This whole season has been a disaster, but the worst part about it all is that this kind of year means that panic decisions could be on the horizon which could end up being more painful than just losing hockey games. We’ve arrived at a place that we could never have expected, but now it’s important for the men in charge to hold the line and not buckle under the pressure to make changes.
Heading into today’s game against the Blackhawks, the Oilers almost need to forget about the first half of their season and go out and play some hockey. We need one of those pen things from Men in Black to do a clean wipe of everyone’s brain bank. At this point, I almost don’t care whether they win or lose, but just that they put in enough effort so that we’re not disappointed for spending our free time watching. I don’t really think that’s too much to ask.
NUMBERS TO KNOW…
- At this point, the most important number to know is that the Oilers have only 39 points in 42 games played. That horrifying reality puts them nearly 10 points back of the second wildcard spot in the Pacific and with a handful of teams ahead of them in the standings, the Oilers are drowning with no relief in sight.
- Over their last five games, the Oilers have only scored six goals which is reminiscent of the kind of drought that was hanging over this team’s head throughout the month of October. Over their last 10 games, Edmonton sports a modest 5-4-1 record which is actually not too bad considering how many losses have piled up in the last week. Unfortunately, ‘not bad’ won’t cut it anymore and ‘not bad’ also sees the Oilers falling further and further behind the teams they’re supposed to be chasing.
- On the Chicago side of the equation, the Blackhawks are firmly in the playoff hunt as they currently sit three points back of a Wild Card spot. In their last 10 games, the Blackhawks are also sporting a 5-4-1 record with their last game being a loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. Much like the Oilers tend to go, the Blackhawks allowed two quick goals in the first period that sunk their ship before if even got out to sea.
- Once again, the Blackhawks will still be without Corey Crawford in net which means that the Oilers will have to try and get back in the win column against a backup. As you’ll remember, Jeff Glass stole the show the last time these two teams met, just before New Years.
- There was a miracle in yesterday’s game and I think it’s worth mentioning. The Oilers not only scored a goal on the power play (Draisaitl’s first PP goal of the season, he had 10 last year), but they also killed off both penalties they faced. Win?
After the horrible effort in yesterday’s game, it’s anyone’s guess what the lineups will look like. As was pointed out in the comments, Pat Maroon’s suspension is over so you know he’ll be back in the lineup. Where he goes? I’m guessing beside Nuge but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m also guessing Talbot will get the start since he only played half of yesterday’s game, but what the hell do I know. Nothing makes sense anymore. I’ll update the lineups as news comes out.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
A big concern this year for the ‘Hawks is their health. Their biggest star, Corey Crawford, has been slowed down by injuries, as he’s been the ‘Hawks’ best player all year. Crow is 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. Those are Vezina-quality statistics, but the only problem is he’s going to remain out indefinitely with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Luckily, Jeff Glass, the 32-year-old rookie, is playing well with a 2-1-1 record, doing well in each of his wins. However, it’s most likely not going to last for a long time. The ‘Hawks are also without Artem Anisimov, a key second-line piece, as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury he suffered versus the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 29.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers bounce back with a valiant effort, but can’t overcome an early lead given up in the first period. Blackhawks win 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Todd McLellan ripped the boys in the dressing room after yesterday’s game, on the plane ride to Chicago, and again in the hotel lobby before they left for the rink. They show up to the United Center ready to play and ready to hit posts.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Patrick Kane’s car broke down and he has a civilized conversation with his game drive on the way how from the rink and then pays the man in full with a 11.5% tip.
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 01/07/2018 – 10:00am MST