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Photo Credit: © Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 4.0: Going to Winnipeg (6pm MT, SN Oilers)

“Gate 31A was Hawaii and gate 31B is Winnipeg…alright, going to Winnipeg.”

It was a classic line from a Fountain Tire commercial in 2005.

It obviously was a joke, since there is no airport in Winnipeg, but the Oilers are in Winnipeg and hoping to find some offence.

It is difficult to win when you only score five times in three game, but the good news for the Oilers is they’ve only allowed eight actual goals in three games (Boston and New Jersey each scored an empty net goal). The Oilers have only allowed five EV goals in three games — granted, they’ve only scored three at 5×5, but considering how bad they were at defending at 5×5 last season, the early low goals against total at 5×5 should be looked at as a positive. (On an unrelated note, the Arizona Coyotes haven’t scored one goal at 5×5 in four games. Unreal.)

But the Oilers lack of offence is a major concern right now. We did see some life from the third line in New York. The Ryan Strome-Drake Caggiula-Jesse Puljujarvi trio combined for seven shots, and were on for three other shots. Strome and Caggiula weren’t on the ice for any shots against. That is a dominant performance, but they need to find a way to bulge the twine to make it really matter.

Leon Draisaitl can do more. He is the leader of his line, and they go as he goes. He does have three points, which is good, but you’d like to see him be more of a consistent threat. He is capable of it, and needs to get going at even strength.

The Carolina Hurricanes dominated the Jets in Winnipeg on Sunday night. Former Oilers netminder Laurent Brossoit stood on his head, stopping 42 of 43 shots, including 32 in the first 40 minutes, before Patrik Laine scored on the PP early in the third and Bryan Little scored the winner with just over two minutes remaining. The Jets couldn’t handle the Hurricanes speed, and with Dustin Byfuglien scheduled to miss his second consecutive game, the Oilers need to use their speed more than we’ve seen. They are still struggling to move the puck quickly up ice, or move up ice as a close unit. When they do make a good outlet pass the forwards aren’t supporting one another, and it often leads to Edmonton dumping the puck in or losing possession.

The Jets are off to an average start, by their standards, but they have too much talent to see their offence struggle like it has for the past four games. The Oilers need to be on their toes in all three zones this evening, and ideally they do not want Connor McDavid tying or setting the NHL record for factoring in on seven consecutive team goals to start a season. We know McDavid is great, but if he breaks the record then the Oilers chances of winning are very slim.

LINEUP…

Oilers

RNH-McDavid-Rattie
Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
Caggiula-Strome-Puljujärvi
Rieder-Brodziak-Khaira

Klefbom-Larsson
Nurse-Russell
Garrison-Benning

Talbot

Benning returns and will play with Garrison. I’m a bit surprised the coach changed a winning lineup. However, I do think it is smart to put Benning in the third pair where he is better suited right now. Putting players in positions they can handle and hopefully succeed in is wise.

Most importantly, the PK needs to be on their toes this evening otherwise the dangerous Jets powerplay will light up the Oilers.

Jets

Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler
Ehlers-Little-Laine
Lemieux-Roslovic-Perrault
Copp-Lowry-Tanev

Morrissey-Trouba
Kulikov-Myers
Chiarot-Morrow

Hellebuyck

Even without Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets top four is pretty solid. The Jets aren’t playing great hockey right now and with Big Buff out of the lineup the Oilers need to take advantage of his absence. The Oilers went 0-3 v. Winnipeg last season and were outclassed in two of those games.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From JetsNation:

Perhaps the biggest weapon the Oilers have had in the past is no longer with the team. Mark Letestu was a well known Jet killer during his time in Edmonton. In fact, over his career, he recorded more goals against Winnipeg than any other team in the league. If there is any time Oilers fans might still want Letestu, it’s tonight in Winnipeg.

As mentioned above, the Oilers have only played three games so far this season. It’s a tough schedule quirk as they are near the bottom of the league standings almost entirely because of the schedule. Granted, if the Oilers had won three straight, nobody would be using this as an excuse…

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: I don’t see a .500 trip. The Oilers score three goals, but lose 4-3.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Jets score on the powerplay.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: McDavid picks up points on the Oilers first two goals to tie Adam Oates’ NHL record of getting a point on his team’s first seven goals of the season, but he doesn’t break the record as Ryan Strome, flanked by his linemates, scores the Oilers third goal.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/15/2018 – 11:30 am MT



  • Rufio Barcoli

    It is quite unfair of you to single Leon out and expect more from him.
    75% of his line doesn’t belong in the NHL yet alone in the Top 6.
    Toddy should switch Nuge and Leon.
    Nuge is a former 1st overall pick with more games under his belt. Give Nuge the 2nd line and let’s see what he can do, and how you’d feel.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. I know people are already down about this season, but look at it this way. It took the Oilers until Christmas to make it back to .500 last season. They have a wonderful opportunity to do that here. If they do it, this is a new ball-game folks.
    2. Bouchard out, Benning in. *facepalm*. Yeah sure, just take out the bear puck moving defenceman so far out of the lineup, and replace him with the guy who’s been a complete liability. Jeez Todd, what happened to you man?

    • Leichs

      This is a joke. I cant believe he’s actually putting Benning in already after a solid win. I thought he actually might sit him until our next loss but nope, gotta make sure his buddy gets every chance to succeed. I hope Benning gets roasted for a -5 on the night and we don’t have to watch him play anymore. Ill take another loss if it means he wont be on the ice anymore for us. I’m not going to hope he does good because I’m done being insane. Missing one game isn’t going to magically make him learn how to defend or skate lol. Screw you Todd, you ruin our Oiler watching experience and your dumb decisions are a lot of the reason we are where we are.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Benning being put in does nothing to fix the issues of bad play that we see from Benning time and time again. There are those who say ” Benning shouldnt be playing 2nd line minutes, he’s not ready” Very true, but Benning is just as bad when he is playing on the 3rd line. Benning continually loses his man, gets caught puck watching, had no clue where his defensive partner is and his on ice awareness of the opposition in are end is horrible and so is his communication with his partner.

        Benning has been in the Oilers system 3 yrs and Bouchard hasn’t even played a handful of games and has been consistently better than Benning. I am not even going to get started about the overpayment on Bennings contract that he was signed to.

        Here is the thing nothing has changed with Benning the guy is continually a tire fire, it has been this way since he came here and it hasn’t changed. Now whether this is a Player being unteachable or the player being teachable but just not getting it I dont know, But I am going to slam the Oilers coaching staff for continuing to let Benning make the same mistakes time in and time out most of the time for the last 3 years and not being able to help him fix the issues in his game. Benning is also culpable but maybe that is due to the fact that he keeps getting ice time no matter how poorly he plays so there is no real danger to being yanked from the line up so why cure the defences in your game.

        I honestly believ it is time for the Oilers to cut bait on Benning, trade him for a puck ( and be lucky you got a puck ) or waive him and hope someone takes him and his contract. The Oilers have made plenty of bad mistakes with prospects and people they have signed, Benning just isnt able to fix the issues with his game and the coaching staff doesn’t seem to think its an issue ( or so you’d think ) If it wasn’t for the fans and media saying how bad Benning has been would he have came out? The fact that they are sticking Benning back in is maddening because the guy needs to ride the pine for 4 or 5 games and get a view fr,m the pressbox on what the others are doing in the games and think about his own game and maybe that will light a fire under him to play better. Stciking Benning back in is a mistake IMHO, not enough time for him to get a sense of the game and positional awareness, count on Benning being on for a few goals

    • Soccer Steve

      Not really defending the coach but give it a little thought…Bouchard is what, 18? They’ve travelled halfway across the world and back, played multiple game. Don’t you think line-up rotation like this is smart in the long run? Muscle fatigue, run down, sick. Who knows? It’s not automatically because the coach is dumb…

  • RexHolez

    Too bad the leafs don’t play tonight, I’m enjoying watching them. Never thought I’d ever say that in my life, almost makes me puke, but it’s better than watching this team