Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Quick Hits: Oilers vs. Flames

The Oilers will try and bounce back from a pathetic performance against Buffalo on Tuesday night. Odds are they will, because they are playing a Pacific Division opponent. The one thing that has carried over from last season is the Oilers’ ability to beat division rivals. The Oilers are 9-2 against the Pacific this season after going 20-6-3 last year.

1.The Oilers have won six straight over the Flames, outscoring them 30-16. They’ve scored seven goals three times. The Flames lost 2-1 in OT to Los Angeles last night and will start their back up tonight. Will the Oilers waste another opportunity like they did on Tuesday or will they play with desperation and desire from the opening faceoffs? We’ll see.

2. Connor McDavid has nine goals and 14 points in nine career games versus the Flames. Calgary and Dallas (seven goals, four assists) are the only two teams McDavid has more goals than assists against in his career. He seems to enjoy playing the Flames.

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3. David Rittich is expected to start in goal for the Flames and it will be his sixth career start. All six have come on the road. His only appearance on home ice came on December 2nd, 2017 when he started the third period with the Oilers leading the Flames 5-1. He allowed two goals on six shots, although one deflected in off his own D-man. The Oilers are playing a team on consecutive nights with their backup. Oilersnation has seen this movie before.

4. Mike Smith has started 41 of 48 games for the Flames and he’s been excellent, with a .926sv% and a 2.39 GAA. He will be joining McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau at the All-Star game in Tampa Bay this weekend. Smith is the main reason the Flames are in a playoff spot. They have allowed the seventh fewest goals in the league.

5. Gaudreau is having an excellent season as well. He is tied for fourth in league scoring with 56 points. Sean Monahan is second on the team with 43 points and Matthew Tkachuk is third with 32. Gaudreau has carried them offensively. They are in a playoff spot, but only 22nd in offence. If Smith ever falters the Flames could be in trouble, unless they get some secondary scoring soon.

6. Jack Eichel leads the NHL on being involved in his team’s offence. He is in on 44.5% of the Sabres goals. He has 49 points. Gaudreau is second at 42.4% (56 points on 132 goals) and McDavid is third at 40.7% (53 pts on 130 goals). Claude Giroux is fourth at 40%, Jakub Voracek is fifth at 39.2% and Nathan MacKinnon is sixth at 38.7%. The NHL’s leading scorer, Nikita Kucherov is at 36.3%, while John Tavares is at 34.1%. The Lightning and Islanders both have very productive second lines which is why Kucherov and Tavares, who are first and third in NHL scoring, are lower.

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7. Dougie Hamilton was ninth among NHL D-men in scoring last year with 50 points, while Mark Giordano was tied for 24th with 39 and the Oilers Oscar Klefbom was tied for 32nd with 38. All three have dipped this year, but Klefbom has dropped the most. Hamilton and Giordano are currently tied at 34th among D-men with 22 points, while Klefbom is 99th with only 11 points. A nagging shoulder issue hampered him a bit, but Klefbom hasn’t been nearly as confident or effective offensively this season.

8. The Oilers have won six straight against the Flames. Cam Talbot has won four and Laurent Brossoit won two. The Oilers have been able to defeat the Flames regardless of who plays in net the past two seasons. Talbot has a 1.96 GAA and a .938SV% in his last four starts.

9. Magnus Paajarvi was placed on waivers today by St.Louis. He is a bottom six forward at this point of his career, but he can fly. He had 4th most PK minutes among Blues forwards. If I was Peter Chiarelli I’d consider him. I believe he will bring more than Iiro Pakarinen on the 4th line. The issue is it puts Oilers at 50 contracts. The Cameron Hebig contract counts, odd rule, so it isn’t great to grab Paajarvi to make him 50th, but I’d argue he’d be better than Pakarinen.

10. The Flames have the fifth best road PP in the NHL at 22.7%, but they are 28th on the PP at home at 13.5%. They are the exact opposite of the Oilers PK, which I know you are all aware is an NHL worst — in history, not just this season — at home, 54.2%, but is a league-best 86.6% on the road. The Oilers have allowed a powerplay goal in 13 of their past 14 home games. The only team not to score was the St. Louis Blues on December 21st, but the Blues only had one PP opportunity.

11. The Oilers have allowed a PP goal in 19 of 24 homes games. In the other five, twice they never took a penalty, twice they only took one and once they killed off four, versus Vegas on November 14th. If the Oilers take two or more penalties tonight there is a 95% chance the Flames will score a powerplay goal. Only once in 20 home starts have the Oilers not allowed a PP goals when taking two more more penalties. That will be hard for any NHL to match. Wow.


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Source:  NHL, Official Game Page, 01/25/2018 – 10:30am MST

  • Oilers_1978

    another lost season…good team/management can build on lost season as well…
    but with the oilers old boys I am waiting to see how bigger hole they create for them in the coming days…

  • The Future Never Comes

    McL switched up the lines in practice probably to scare people except for the fact that he basically constructed four third line combos. Big whoop, I would tell the players if you are not playing you are not seeing the ice at this stage. This year Spezza, Seabrook, and Atkinson have all been sat due to their poor performances. Don’t tell me you can’t sit a player because of how much they make, at least cut back their ice time and stop giving them gravy PP time. Hopefully Chi doesn’t make the playoffs and they make the rancid mistake of ditching coach Q, than we swoop in to pick him up.

  • That's My Point

    Kansas City Scouts, Cleveland Barons, California Golden Seals, Colorado Rockies, Hartford Whalers, Atlanta Thrashers, Atlanta Flames, Brooklyn Americans, Quakers, Falcons, Wanderers, Arenas, Maroons, Bulldogs, St. Patrick’s, Tigers, Pirates, Cougars, Eagles, North Stars, Nordiques, Mighty Ducks etc.

    Oilers PK at home is worse than all these defunct teams were.

    In fact, the WORST PK at home in the ENTIRE HISTORY of the NHL.

    But don’t make an Oilers coaching change, especially with the special teams.

      • Rock11

        The only issue I take with blaming it all on the coaches is the fact that the road PK is the best in the league. This would suggest that the structure in place can work when executed properly. PK numbers are a small sample size(particularly if you just take road or home) so I’m wondering how much of the home PK woes are some version of “luck”. Things like bad G play, weird deflections, etc.
        Having said all of that it is no excuse for the pathetic PP and the continual no-shows effort wise. If they fired the coaches tomorrow i’d be on board.

  • Steveland Cleamer

    Sounds like a loss to me tonight.
    1. Edmonton on a winning streak against Calgary – broken tonight.
    2. Edmonton playing against a backup goalie – a guaranteed loss this year (I don’t know why more teams don’t put in their backup when playing EDM, it’s a surefire win).
    3. Edmonton put in a horrible effort and should be angry – won’t be and most of our big contracts don’t show up again tonight.
    4. Just a bad makeup of a team right now…..

    I’m glad I have a reason to not watch it tonight….aside from bad Oilers…

    • Fire Woodcroft!

      Sad to say but this is all too true. The fan in me is hoping the players will be embarrassed by the effort level on Tuesday, will be energized because it’s a game against the Flames and will all come out guns blazing.

      The realist in me realizes that’s all just a pipe dream. While the players might say the right thing to the press, they’re all too busy thinking about what golf clubs should be the next to go into their set. I predict another night of sloppy passing, lazy skating, next-to-no back-checking and strictly ‘safe’ shots from the outside.

      I’ll be pretty stoked if I’m wrong.

      But I won’t be.

  • I think your powerplay math is off.

    If the Oilers are killing 50% of penalties and the Flames get 2 powerplays, there’s a 75% chance the Flames will score, not a 95% chance. If the Flames get 3 powerplays, that rises to 87%, and four powerplays it rises to 94%.

    • Hemmercules

      If one of the best teams in the league doesn’t want him what makes you think the Oilers of all teams are going to magically turn him into something good. I probably wouldn’t complain if they claimed him but he is what he is, a third line guy that plays on the PK.

        • Hemmercules

          The Oilers need a lot of things. More fringe players aren’t really on the list if you ask me. That said, I say claim him and start sitting guys that make huge money just to send a message.

          • LAKID

            I would agree claim him he is better than Lucic, and one or two others. Lucic is a 3rd liner at best and probably should be on the 4th line but that takes a quality 4th liner out of the line up. Heck if Maroon is on the move its probably a low risk gamble.

  • ScottV

    I wouldnt waste any time over thinking the road vs home pk. If doing the same thing, it will start evening out.

    Look at the overall pk percentage and it isnt good enough. End of any meaningful discussion.

    McL has more important things that he is obviously befuddled about.

    Befuddled is not a great trait for an NHL coach.

  • Spoils

    i like the current talking points- PC has bled talent that is near impossible to replace. PC has constructed a team that didn’t account for Sekera, Talbot being overworked, the gap in scoring created by replacing Eberle with Strome, building a slow team, not having PK players. – i mean the thousand cuts are his thousand mistakes!

    now Todd has been accused of not making the right adjustments – ie. your team can’t handle the PK system, so build something that works for them.

    And I do think the Oilers suffered a demoralizing loss to the Ducks. I think it cost them some swagger – something intangible…

    BUT… what if that’s not the problem.

    what if the real problem is…


    (kidding, but just… nah i’m joking around… uuuuhhhhggg what is the effing deal!!!!!)

    and now, at the stake… the flames.


    what if glory just doesn’t suit him?

  • OldOilerFan

    I’ll be watching, and I’ll be cheering for the boyz. But I admit, there is a side to me where I hope the Flames blow us out. They are playing their backup goalie so there is precedent. I’m always the ABC guy, don’t get me wrong. But I think a loss to Calgary in big fashion will be a good thing. The Oilers organization top to bottom needs to be publicly humiliated.