GDB -2.0: Pre-flight victory

The last thing you want to do before a really long flight is lose a pre-season game to your provincial rivals. So what did the Oilers do? They wrapped up the North American part of their pre-season with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.

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What happened?

JJ Khaira got the scoring started just a few minutes into the first period with a power-play goal. Connor McDavid lost the puck skating into the zone but Drake Caggiula picked it up and fed it back to the streaking McDavid who found Khaira all alone in front of the net.

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Calgary would go ahead and score three quick goals before the end of the first period, but the Oilers battled back. McDavid got a shot on goal, the puck bounced around in front, and then the captain picked up his own rebound and buried it past Mike Smith.

This one was originally credited to Jakub Jerabek, but after the replay, it’s clear that the Calgary defender knocked the puck into his own net. Kailer Yamamoto streaked across the middle of the offensive zone, tried to feed Jerabek, but ended up with a goal of his own to tie it.

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It was Yamamoto again giving the Oilers the lead in the third period. Drake Caggiula drove around Calgary’s defender and tossed the puck towards the net where a driving Yamamoto would nudge the puck over Smith’s pad. The Oilers would hang on to the one-goal lead and come out with the win.


  • Cam Talbot was the star of the game for the Oilers. He faced 43 shots and stopped 40 of them, giving the Oilers a chance to win. Save for that three-goal rally the Flames had late in the first, Talbot was unbeatable all afternoon. He’s had an excellent pre-season all around and it seems his troubles from last year are behind him. On the flip side, Mike Smith looked terrible.
  • I guess this can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing, but the Oilers had terrible discipline all afternoon. They gave Calgary seven power-play opportunities, which isn’t ideal, but, on the bright side, they stopped six of them.
  • I really noticed Evan Bouchard again today. He still has a bit of a tough time positionally in his own zone, which is to be expected, but he’s ridiculously good at breaking the puck out and hitting forwards in stride. Another thing he does well is join the play and give the forwards another option in the offensive zone without completely getting himself out of position.
  • Speaking of rookies, Kailer Yamamoto will make the team this year. He’s earned it. He looked very good again today. He’s a weapon in the offensive zone and, all pre-season, really, has been one of Edmonton’s best forwards at generating offence without playing with Connor McDavid.
  • This was Drake Caggiula’s best game of the pre-season. That was key for him because he had worked himself out of the opening night lineup by being largely invisible in earlier games. He looked quicker tonight, generating offence and getting the puck to the net.

        • Derian Hatcher

          That was me Opi, and I wasn’t “jawing”. I simply asked if you were going to comment after Oiler wins? And here you are, good for you….what did you think of the game?

        • Moneyball

          Lol, like a bad smell your still lingering around. I wonder how the flames will do this year? Stanley cup finals? Or clinging to the hopes of an 8th place playoff berth again?

          • Opi

            If history is any indicator the Flames will finish higher than the hapless Oil, hey … I mean, that’s exactly what has happened in eleven of the last dozen seasons so likely to happen again … to say the Flames have overhauled their group of forwards this summer would be an understatement. Calgary has added James Neal, Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan, and Austin Czarnik to the mix while simultaneously saying goodbye to Micheal Ferland, Troy Brouwer, Matt Stajan, and Kris Versteeg.

            On paper and especially on the ice this is a vastly improved group from last year.

      • OilerForLife

        I agree with you that it was Caggiula’s best game, by getting in on the forecheck, skating and passing well. Things are working out and everybody appears to be buying in.

        • Opi

          Caggs is a borderline NHL’r that has never come close to the hype surrounding him back when he was a free agent. It’s only because the Oil are so weak & essentially devoid of any quality for bottom six guys that Caggs even has a job. Factor in the ridiculously high contract the idjit Chia gifted him & Caggs is much more a part of the overall Oil problem than any type of solution, yes … 🙂

  • Damon Mace, opi, oil spilly, I have no life yes

    Darn my team lost again. At least my team has been out of the 2nd round of the playoffs twice in 30 years. Yes:) LOLO 🙂 that yes:)

  • Himynameistaylor

    Imagine thinking Cam Talbot isn’t the answer still.
    The Lucic contract looks bad but when you look at Mike Smith’s 6.5M AAV and the level of play that he’s exhibited since signing in Calgary it has to make you laugh.

    Talbot makes 2.4m less and has better stats and more playoff wins lol.

      • Himynameistaylor

        I think Talbots play has justified itself.

        As for Lucic. The contracts between him and Smith are comparable. I’d rather take Lucic’s contract over Mike Smith’a any day

        I don’t get your vitriol for Talbot. He’s probably the best goalie the oilers have had since Dwayne Roloson. We could go back to Scrivens and Fasth?
        Or how about Deslauriers and pre 2014 Dubnyk?

        Count your blessings fam.

  • Opi

    Hapless Oil fans taking huge enjoyment out of another meaningless pre-season victory, yes … sure there is one more meaningless pre-season game for the hapless Oilers but let’s award the Fanly Cup now, lolo …

    I find the study of the Oil & their fans an incredibly interesting exercise in human nature. Both the team & their fans were beaten down as badly as possible in the world of pro sports & it couldn’t have been fun to be such a laughing stock for such a prolonged period. The manifestations only increased after the losing decade to the opposite end of the spectrum … culminating in over-the-top, endless, grandiose euphoria that mankind has seldom seen before …

    Who could look away … ? 🙂

    • MrBung

      Pretty rich coming from a Flames fan. If the Oilers are poorly managed and run, the Flames are right behind them. I always laugh when the two groups of fans talk smack to each other. Both teams have sucked it big, period.

        • Opi

          No team has come close to sucking like the Oil did that decade of darkness, despair, anguish & misery … Over 786 games the Oilers compiled a 298-398-90 record. That works out to an 82-game average of 71.6 points, in a league where the other 29 teams averaged 92.4. Not surprisingly then, the Oilers had the fewest wins and fewest points in the NHL over those ten seasons, as well as the lowest win percentage, the lowest points percentage, the worst goal differential, and the worst shot differential.

          The Oilers trailed the 29th place Maple Leafs by 86 points, a total large enough that if the Oilers could all but one of their last ten seasons and still be in last place overall. Basically the Oilers got lapped over that decade. Looked at another way, the difference between the 30 place Oilers and the 29th place Maples Leafs was larger than the gap between the Leafs and the 19th place Calgary Flames. The Oilers were basically playing in a different league than everyone else. And the goal and shot differentials tell a similar story.The goals are bad but the shot differential is simply amazing. With a shot differential of -3234, a full season pace of -337, the Oilers deserve some sort of medal. The Buffalo Sabres are the next worst team on the list and they’re 1253 shots better than the Oilers. Put another way, the Oilers shot differential over the last decade has been 63% worse than that of the Sabres. 63% worse than the Sabres. One more time, 63% worse than the Sabres. If you need to take a minute to let that sink in, I’ll understand, it’s a shocking total.

          • oilman3

            Calgary fans call out Oiler fans for living in the past (clearly because the Oilers actually have a history that’s worth talking about), yet here you are talking about the last ten years. Remind me again of what the Flames have accomplished over that period of time. Why don’t we look at more recent history where both teams have accomplished nothing significant, but the Oilers have compiled a 7-2 record over the Flames in the past two seasons. Maybe you can enlighten me about how the Oilers, who you incessantly call hapless, managed to lay the boots to a team that I assume you think is not hapless. The Flames continue to accomplish nothing, maybe that’s why you’re so insecure that you have to come on here and post more than anyone. Pathetic.

          • Opi

            The Panthers have 21 season playoff series victory drought going on, the Jackets 17 seasons, the Leafs 13 seasons, the Sabres 11 seasons, the Av’s 10 seasons, the Canes 9 seasons, the Nucks 7 seasons, the Yote’s 6 seasons, the Devils 6 seasons, the Flyers 6 seasons, the Wings 5 seasons, the Kings 4 seasons, the Flames 3 seasons …

            If not for the solitary, aberration season where the hapless Oil beat the M.A.S.H. Sharks the hapless Oil would be sitting at twelve seasons … yet, some Oil fans still believe it’s OK to come across as pompous, loudmouth schnooks, hey … 🙂

          • Opi

            Still tugging on old championships to wash away the last 12 years of misery are we … ?

            I think it’s great that your Grandfather was tall but don’t forget to do your own growing now, ya hear … ! 🙂

    • All Ice

      One time another poster figured the lowest possible average time for Opi’s commenting (mostly copy/paste bull) and figured out he had spent over two years of his life commenting. He is the worst kind of troll. Do not give him time of day. Has been kicked off the site stupid amount of times on multiple accounts. Will ruin a site if given the chance

    • The Future Never Comes

      Slow little Jimmy’s special tutor gave him the homework of using the word hapless in a sentence multiple times, so he would remember the definition quicker for his next quiz!

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      @opi it’s ok opi I understand stand why you troll like this you suffer from a inferiority complex. Rooted in the fact your team has always been the second best franchise in this province. Are 5 Stanley cup to your 1. The fact we have now had the best player in the game on are team now twice for extended periods of time during are franchise history. I know you got lil Jonny hockey and the “best D in the league”. I know lil Jonny is like the 35 best player in the league and a D core that always seems to fail you. Strange how your Dcore is always the best but always falls on there face. Your team wasn’t named best team in the NHL history like the oil were. You traded a top paring 50pt dman cause he like to go to the museum. For a guy who is NOT a top paring dman and will never put up 50pts. Your 36 year old past his prime goalie looks about as good as are back up. I seem to remember you making comments about Koskinen earlier this week might as well just apply those to mike the sieve smith. It’s ok opi your doing the best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt. We are not all first round picks we could be a seventh round pick like you who has zero chance of amounting to anything.

      • Opi

        Those hapless Oil, lolo … Tambi was actually one of their better G.M.’s of late … have a boo for yourself … he G.M.’d a hapless Oiler team that had a better Pts % than the 2017-18 version of the hapless Oilers … K-Lowe & Mac-T were better one season … speaks volumes that … enjoy Chia next season, folks … I know I will …

        2006-07′ … .433 Pts % … Mac-T … K-Lowe … Rank Sixth worst
        2007-08′ … .537 Pts % … Mac-T … K-Lowe … Rank Eleventh worst
        2008-09′ … .518 Pts % … Mac-T … Tambi … Rank Tenth worst
        2009-10′ … .378 Pts % … Quinn … Tambi … Rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd worst
        2010-11′ … .378 Pts % … Renney … Tambi … Rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd worst
        2011-12′ … .451 Pts % … Renney … Tambi … Rank Seventh worst
        2012-13′ … .469 Pts % … Krueger … Tambi … Rank Eighth worst
        2013-14′ … .409 Pts % … Eakins … Mac-T … Rank Fourth worst
        2014-15′ … .378 Pts % … Eakins/Nelson … Mac-T … Rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd worst
        2015-16′ … .427 Pts % … McLellan … Chiarelli … Rank Fifth worst
        2016-17′ … .628 Pts % … McLellan … Chiarelli … Rank Twelfth worst
        2017-18′ … .476 Pts % … McLellan … Chiarelli … Rank Ninth worst

  • Kneedroptalbot

    A very strong game by Cam Talbot today, he kept them in it after being outshot badly.
    Give the kid Kailer an Orange Jersey, he made the team today.

  • Pizzy

    Lucic looks just as useless as last year. He is too slow and the play always dies on his stick. He doesn’t even hit or fight anymore. It’s to bad we are stuck with him

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    A pity I was stuck at work during this game. Had to jack some data to listen via Ched. Fantastic game by the boys, and Talbot really shut the door when I thought all hope was lost. Smith is a sieve and I don’t know what Calgary sees in him, but it’s good to know he’s been less successful against Edmonton as of late. Caggiula and Jerabek easily has their best games in Oilers silks, and from what I hear, Bouchard was pretty good defensively. Interesting to see what happens between today and Game 1 of our season, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless

  • Hockeytalkguy

    Seriously…..I feel bad for Lucic, the harder he tries the worse it gets. He can’t handle the pace. The scary part is it’s only the pre -season. What’s going to happen 10-15 games in when teams start ramping it up?

    • OilerForLife

      I for one I’ll will wait to see how he does in comparison to other backups for us, before I pass judgement. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him, it’s just that he has improved a little every game. He has to adjust to not only the size of the rink, style of play and the what certain shooters are capable of. Give him a little time.

      • MrBung

        Give him a little time….until the Oil are out of contention again. Heard that a lot last season. The Oil will be fine. Give it more time. Chia knows what he is doing….

    • Leichs

      Who’s that? Benning? Him and Nurse looked awful today. I really don’t like our D at all lol. Bouchard and Bear the only two players who I am actually excited for down the road and maybe Caleb Jones. Nurse is so overrated in this city its sickening. Whats the difference between this Nurse and the one that entered the league a few years back? People say hes taking strides but I seriously don’t see it. Still cant break up the cycle and throw a proper bodycheck. Cant teach hockey IQ and that’s something Nurse will be lacking his whole career. Benning, Russell, Klef, Lars all average at best. Could trade any/all of them and I wouldn’t lose one minute of sleep. Most of these guys black out as soon as the puck is on their stick in the ozone.

    • Leichs

      Ah a second thought tells me matty mouthpiece would be Tkachuck I guess. Matt Benning chews on his mouthpiece a lot so I assumed wrong. Either way my point stands, our D core sucks ass.

  • KootenayDan

    Enjoyed the article but find it difficult to read the comments section very little to gain from it. So much hate, I’m a babyboomer maybe I am too old to understand trolls and just plain bad behavior on both sides of the fence. Show some respect when leaving a comment regardless of who you cheer for.

    • MrBung

      People find it difficult to read the comments because it ties into reality. People don’t want to believe the mess that is. Last season was a giant gut punch to everyone. It was a wake up call. The Oil can make their own reality. Respect will be shown when the organization earns it. The organization’s inability to make the playoffs for 11 of the last 12 years…. This has been loser central and it abuses and erodes the fan base.

        • Serious Gord

          This has been noted before elsewhere (including by john Shannon):

          Detroit’s new arena is fantastic (far nicer than Rogers). One of the excellent aspects is that there are world class restaurants right in the building with huge screens showing the game. They are so good that many of the high class /cost seats in the lower bowl remain empty because their owners are inside the restaurants watching the game.

          So don’t let the visuals fool you, they are better attended than they look.

      • IRONman

        Lucic has to be a bear. Be the guy that runs people over. He is not winning battles down low. Talbot is saving the Oilers again. 40 shots is ridiculous. Can’t make playoffs like that. More hustle needed. Play Puljujarvi and Strome with Jj

  • oilredemption

    I don’t want to harp on Lucic too much. I really want to see him do good and we desperately need him too it’s just…. he isn’t a top 6 player anymore. Nevermind the contract if he’s on your 3rd line or 4th line your team is in decent shape. I just can’t handle the puck dying on his stick. It destroys any momentum that Drai tries to build. He just can’t keep up with that kind of skill anymore.i propose a lineup change:
    Line 1: nuge mcdavid Rattie
    Line 2: Khaira Drai Yamamoto
    Line 3: Cagguila Strome Poolparty
    Line 4: Lucic Brodziak Kassian

    PP1: Point- Bear
    Right half wall- Mcdavid
    Bumper- Drai
    Goal line- Nuge
    Net Front- Lucic
    PP2: Point- Klefbom
    Left Half Wall- Strome
    Bumper- Puljujarvi
    Goal line- Mcdavid
    Net Front- Khaira

    • CMG30

      Yes, I’m still hopeful that he will kick it up a gear when the regular season starts but if he falters then the coach cannot hesitate to move him off the 2nd line. No player’s pride is worth risking a season.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Lucic will rebound. People seem to have forgotten that he was on a 59-point pace before Christmas, and I don’t remember anyone complaining about his skating or stick handling skills then. They seem to think that back-Hal from of 17-18 Lucic is the Milan going forward. He hasn’t looked that bad in preseason, and when he has, it’s because he isn’t giving it his all.