255
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.

Recently by Jason Gregor:


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



  • 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…

  • Randaman

    Benning will get turn styled as usual. I predict a loss (not going out on a limb here). He is not an NHL quality D. Third pair in the AHL but not NHL. My mother skated faster than Benning.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    Clubber, what is your prediction for your fight with Rocky Balboa?
    “Pain”

    Seriously though, I hope the Oilers have a good start. They were surprisingly good last year when playing with the lead.

  • Wayde

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

    Since when doesn’t Winnipeg have an airport, Jason?

  • cupcontender

    Benning has looked awful, wouldn’t even make an WHL lineup with his play thus far. It’s a head scratcher for sure hopefully they limit his minutes, hopefully under 10mins.
    Oilers 4-3 in OT
    Mcdavid – 3 pts
    Yamo gets a goal
    Book it!

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont think it is a hate mob, but when we have seen Benning make the same mistakes for the last 3 years and there is no change to the guys game, it drives the fans nuts. How long do the Oilers give him rope? 3 years and he hasnt been able to fix the deficiencies in his game, the only reason fans are making so much noise about his play is because it is par for the course with him. Overpaid and short on ability, the Oilers and him would both be smart to part way because neither the coaching staff or Benning seem to be able to fix his shortfalls in his play

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I agree, but I said last year the Oilers need to play Brossoit more, but TM was loathe to use him, and then the Oilers signed Montoya and then with Koskinen signed the writing was on the wall.

      The maddening thing is that TM seems to have a short leash with the rookies if you will and the Oilers traded for Brossoit. The Oilers need to send Dustin Schwartz back to the Oil kings to be their goalie coach, he just does not have the NHL experience to be the goalie coach. And we still havent seen Koskinen play a NHL game to see if he can handle it in the NHL, and we all have seen how short TM’s rope is with the goalies

  • BasementDweller

    Game day prediction: Depending on the outcome Mark Spector writes a hyperbolic piece either claiming the season is over or planning the parade route.

  • OilersRidersChargers

    So Matt Benning, a young defenceman who surprised us with his upside a couple of years ago and has earned his spot over time, is suddenly this season’s Shultz / Eberle? As in it’s all his fault? Everyone, it’s not all on one kid, it’s early, etc., etc. Let’s not break his spirit like we did Eberle’s.
    I’d dearly love to see a win tonight – we can do it, but we have to play over top of our skates, and not chase the Jets.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      I think the problem, at least from my standpoint, is that Benning has NOT earned his spot over time!
      He has been bad from day 1 to my eye, and the only reason he has been gifted ice time is because Chiarelli drafted him out of the NCAA when he was in Boston and then brought him to Edmonton. The fact his dad is an ex Oiler and uncle is GM and POHO in Vancouver makes it look bad as well.

    • jesse says yep

      Benning earned his shot with is first year as being a rookie he was given leeway and performed well enough. 2 years later he hasnt really developed much past his rookie year and that level of performance is not acceptable for a player position. I don’t think he is being railroaded by anyone, he just doesn’t look like he has what it takes to succeed in the NHL. And I havent seen anyone expecting Benning to carry the load. Just break even would be ok with me..

    • Arfguy

      I’m actually ok with Benning. He is a young player and I think he is feeling the pressure. This team is not doing well and I am starting to place more and more blame on the coaching staff. I do not like the ultra-slow second line. Yes, Yamamoto is on that second line, but I have not seen a burst of speed and offensive chances generated by Kailer. I still think Rieder should be placed on the Draisaitl line, since Rieder has amazing breakaway speed. Of course, MacLellan does not want to do that because he has it in his mind that Lucic and Draisaitl will circle the offensive zone, making passes back and forth and cycle until they get a goal…since it’s happened so many time.

      If this season starts to spiral, I am going to place less and less blame on the players and more on the coach (and management) for not adapting to how the game is now played.

  • 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

  • oil.99.97.11

    Bouchard is better NOW than Benning will likely ever be! Pretty freakn simple! Play the best you got at any given time, sit or send down those who are showing poorly. We don’t have until Christmas for Benning to ‘get his confidence back’!!

  • 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.

  • Van isl Oiler

    I’m sorry, I missed the punch line on the “Winnipeg has no airport” joke. (James Armstrong Richardson international airport?)

    I will be watching the game tonight, but my expectations are low. The defence is just so weak and Chiarelli has no clue how to fix it. Hope is the plan, which isn’t a plan. My heart is heavy as an Oilers fan this year especially. The short comings of this team have been glaringly obvious for a very long time and the people in charge who made the decision to not make any decisions (with the defence) are still with the organization. How many of you would still have a job if time after time you had to report to your boss that you just simply couldn’t accomplish your objective? The root of the problem is soooooo obvious….FIX IT ALREADY!

      • QuitForRealThisTime

        Other then just fire Pete. Not sure how the on ice team magically gets better because the GM is no longer there. I would assume a new GM would have to do something for that to occur.

        • Van isl Oiler

          You’re right, firing Chiarelli won’t instantaneously make the Oilers better, but without someone who knows what they’re doing at the helm, how do you ever right the ship? The Oilers as it stands right now are a tire fire of over paid has beens or never were’s….many with no movement clauses. The Oilers are never gonna get anywhere with this guy running things, so lets fix the obvious.

      • Van isl Oiler

        The solution is to fire Chiarelli and hire a competent gm. Who is this person?…don’t know, but the team Chiarelli has assembled isn’t near close to good enough.

  • chezzychez

    Benning in the past has played well as a third pairing guy. He’s a plus player in his short 137 game career. He had a horrible start to the season, but I’m thinking he’ll show well tonight playing with a vet and playing sheltered minutes.

  • Abagofpucks

    I’ll start by saying lucic looks a lot better now than how he played the last half of the season last year. But the speed of the game in todays NHL is too fast for him to be in the top 6, he needs to be moved down to the 3rd.
    Put Reider up with Leon and Yamamotto for now.

  • Soccer Steve

    The negativity on this site is absurd. Common sense has been replaced with rage. Reason with complaining.

    Honestly, some of you need to be reminded that this is a sport, about which you have 0 control over. Don’t let it ruin your whole damn life…