100
Photo Credit: © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 48.0: Baby steps… (7pm MST, SNW)

Every player inside the Edmonton Oilers dressing room still believes they can make the playoffs. They have to, and they should. They are well aware the odds aren’t great, but you won’t last very long in the NHL if you are a quitter and won’t continue to work hard when things aren’t going your way.

The Oilers need wins, and a lot of them, just to get back in the playoff conversation, and right now they are using the Colorado Avalanche as positive motivation. The Avalanche won their 10th consecutive game last night in Toronto. Prior to their winning streak, the Avs were one point ahead of the Oilers and in 12th place in the west.

The Avalanche winning streak came against good teams. Nine victories came against teams ahead of them in the standings and all nine, excluding Minnesota, are currently in the playoffs. They defeated good teams,

The Oilers have won three in a row, and if they have any hope of making the playoffs they need to go on a long winning streak now. A win against the 30th place Buffalo Sabres is a must.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Sabres topped the Oilers 3-1 in Buffalo on November 24th. It was one of the most boring games of the season. The Oilers had no emotion and they are well aware their effort and performance wasn’t good enough. They won’t be taking the Sabres lightly. They can’t afford to, and I don’t believe they are arrogant enough to do so tonight.

The Sabres won 2-1 in Calgary last night and are looking to win consecutive games for only the second time all season after defeating Boston and Detroit in October.

This is not a marquee matchup, although it does have Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the first and second overall picks from the 2015 draft. Those two don’t have a rivalry, nor do these teams, but the Oilers motivation should be easy to find. It is based on desperation.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

And they need a quick start. The Sabres have been outscored 44-20 in the first period and they are 4-20-4 when allowing the first goal. I’m no Einstein, but scoring first against Buffalo will increase the Oilers odds of winning significantly.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

LINEUP

Oilers

Maroon-McDavid-Caggiula
Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Khaira-Strome-Slepyshev
Pakarinen-Letestu-Kassian

Nurse-Larsson
Klefbom-Benning
Sekera-Russell

Talbot

Anton Slepyshev draws in for Mike Cammalleri. Slepyshev needs to show something. When other players like Caggiula or Khaira have come out of the press box, they made an impression and stayed in the lineup. Slepyshev hasn’t done that once this year. He needs to play so well he forces Todd McLellan to keep him in the lineup. He can’t settle for just being on the ice.

Sabres

Girgensons-Eichel-Okposo
Wilson-O’Reilly-Reinhart
Kane-Larsson-Pominville
Nolan-Rodrigues-Baptiste

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Scandella-Ristolainen
McCabe-Falk
Beaulieu-Nelson

Lehner

The Sabres didn’t skate this morning and Benoit Pouliot has been scratched in three of their last seven games. But often a coach plays guys against their former team. I’d expect him to draw back in tonight, but anyone holding on to the notion Pouliot would be helping the Oilers a lot should let it go. He has been healthy scratched on the 30th place team. When he is on, he is an effective NHL player, but consistency has always been his nemesis. He has four points in his last 26 games after starting the season with six goals in his first 19 games. He is a frustrating player, because he shows a coach how good he can be for stretches, but then his play really falls off. He has the talent to be more productive than he’s been in his career, but he’s always battled inconsistency. It’s too bad.

But due to his high-end play, I still think a team will acquire him at the deadline. He won’t cost very much and if he finds his game at the right time in the playoffs, he could score a big goal. It is a risk, but a low risk move and I could see a team acquiring him.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Die by the Blade:

After a nice little run in the playoffs last season. The expectations were high for the Oilers entering this season. Thus far they’ve fallen well short of meeting those expectations. Entering tonight they’re 11 points out of the final playoff spot in the Pacific division and 12 points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Oilers have won their last three games by a combined score of 12-6. They’ve also been sitting idle since Saturday. The Sabres could be in tough tonight after a tough overtime game last night in Calgary.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers match their season-high four-game winning streak by downing the Sabres 4-1.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Kassian picks up a point. He has eight points in nine career games against the team who drafted him 13th overall in 2009.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Puljujarvi scores two goals in a game on home ice for the first time in his career.

GDB BROUGHT TO YOU BY COLLIN BRUCE MORTGAGE TEAM

Find out why so many people are using Dominion Lending Centres #1 broker in Canada.
We are paid by the banks on the size of the mortgage, not the interest rate, so we try to get you as low as rate as we can. Whether it is a purchase, renewal or refinance, contact us to see what we can do to help!

Recently by Jason Gregor:


Source:  NHL, Official Game Page, 01/23/2018 – 12:30pm MST


  • Lazarus

    Any truth to the McDavid is asking for a trade rumor? I bet he’s regretting signing that contract. That face he made when the Oil won the lottery for him sure looks justified now

  • Derian Hatcher

    Benning – take a seat – you couldn’t make a jr. B team
    Coaches – start freaking coaching or get the heck out of the way for someone who has a clue.
    Lucic – start trying to earn your money and take some freaking power skating lessons this summer
    McDavid – shoot the GD puck
    Strome- try giving a crap
    Caguilla – same as strome
    Katz – this team is not a freaking toy. Act like an owner who gives a crap about the fans – the people who fill the building every single game to watch this $hit game after game – (and you owe my wife $900 for the Dec 31 Christmas gift game)
    What a freaking joke of a hockey team, coaching staff and entire organization. There is NO WAY this team deserves the fan support you are getting.

    PS atta boy Kassian – start showing some balls when you’re down 4-0 – nice lazy penalty you pretender.

  • slats-west

    It’s Mind boggling that this team does not show up as much as it does. And how do you have a “collective everybody” not show up at once? Do they live in a commune?

    Lehner is laughing at these guys he’s as relaxed as rental goalie in a beer league.

    Are these guys on drugs its unbelievable they can be this lethargic after two full days off? How is that freakin possible? All you do is train, eat and play hockey – you cannot show up for 60 mins once every 3 day effin days!!
    Against the 30th placed team in the league?!! In your Barn. If I am McLellan I’m effin lighting the room on fire!! Buffalo isn’t even sweating.

    Louis Debrusk just gave you 9 things you were doing wrong on your PP – he was a 4th line plugger and hes dissecting your brutal PP. Sickening.

    • Heschultzhescores

      I’m with you! Time to flip some FN tables! Pine some FN a$$es! Bring up some guys who will give 110% and send down the 50% guys. Rather lose trying that like this. It’s beyond embarrassing to the City!

    • Heschultzhescores

      TMac keeps playing (4th line sniper) Letestu on the PP for an entire season when HE has sucked for an entire season. That tells me TMAC is the problem as well! Nobody can be that stupid, but he’s that STUBBORN! To the point of proving his point at the cost of LOSS after LOSS! Letestu is also a big part of the sucking PK. Can’t we just admit when a guy has lost it and give someone else a shot?

    • Harry2

      The team as constructed is not near this bad. MacLellan has lost the room and his assistants are bushleague at best. Fire every coach including Coffey. What an embarrasment

  • Heschultzhescores

    Am I the only one who has thought many times, this is as for sure as low as we can go, then they find a new bottom. Somebody MUST get fired or us fans need to stop supporting this gong show.

  • CMG30

    One of the many problems is that Chirelli tried to stock the team with big guys when he should have been stocking the team with guys who play hard. Now we’re stuck with a bunch of slow pylons who occasionally get a nice hit instead of guys who compete hard.

  • Randaman

    Wow, what a pathetic team, pathetic coaching staff, pathetic management team (the heart of the problem by the way) and most importantly, a pathetic owner. What an embarrassment!

  • Harry2

    Can someone in Edm please explain to me why fans keep paying to watch this disgusting effort? Im mean really there has to be more to do in Edm than watch this abortion.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Maybe a media member could ask this question to the coach after the game;

    “Todd, what would you say to the average fan who puts in hard work to pay for tickets, parking, maybe a beer or snacks, to watch your hockey club play like they did tonight, which is not a one-off game – It;s happened all season long?”

    And I have a follow-up if you don’t mind;

    “Waht would you say to the same fans about the special teams effort and execution considering this has been going on all season long with few changes in personnel, and seemingly little to no change in tactics or strategy?”

  • Derian Hatcher

    And the most frightening part of it all is they dont seem to have any pride or compete level at all. Gliding on the forecheck seems perfectly acceptable. And it’s all of them – the 97 I have watched would never let Eichel out-show him. W. T. F ?????

    • Derian Hatcher

      Ok – last one – I promise….I love it when Maroon acts like a complete child when he doesn’t get a call or misses a pass or goalie makes the save – looks like a 7 year old throwing his head back and making sure his terrible body-language is there for all to see, before he decides that it may be a good idea ot back check. A Pro’s Pro for sure.

      OK That is all from me – thankfully….Hello Miss Bacardi…you’re looking HOT tonight!

  • Coach Rick

    WOW…..was management watching. Fire one, two maybe 3 assistant coaches…..you need to do something. I assume giving me my season ticket price back for the rest of the season might cut into your film making Darrell! When the city put in the no combat rule for Edmonton, who knew the Oiler’s would take it to heart with such vigor. You gave up boys, every one of you slugs. The fans paid their money, sat in their seats and you #$!$#@ all over every one of us. Shame

  • Heschultzhescores

    You ever get the feeling the “dynasty” don’t want to let their glory days end, and it’s still more about them than it is the current team on the ice. We are not making new memories, we are trapped in the past with stars who could care less about todays team winning as long as they can all chum around and laugh about how great they were.

  • That's My Point

    Every player inside the Edmonton Oilers dressing room still believes they can make the playoffs??? Gregor do you know weed isn’t legal yet?? Oilers need to go 25 W and only 9 Losses to get 95 points. Record is now 21W and 27L. They’ve won 44% of their games up to now but MAGICALLY they’re going to win 74% of their remaining games??? How???