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GDB 6.0: Like Arnold, we must slay the Predator (8pm MT, HNIC)

Welcome, friends, to a Hockey Night in Canada edition of the Oilersnation GDB! Tonight, our beloved Oilers will be looking to extend their winning streak against the red-hot Nashville Predators in front of a national TV audience. Can they make it four in a row? We’re only a few long hours from finding out.  

What a difference a week can make. Last Saturday, the Oilers faced off in a must-win matinee against the New York Rangers with the threat of a 0-3 record hanging over their heads but rather than keep digging the grave, they were able to calm the nerves of a Nation with a clutch win. Two more wins later and all of a sudden Oilers fans are starting to feel pretty good (or at least decent) about what’s going on here, which was something I think we all needed. Frankly, the rage levels were getting out of hand and I think we can all agree that it was way too early for that. Sure, there’s still plenty of work to be done but it has been nice to have the vibe lighten up around here a little bit, especially considering that we’re still in October. But even with those much-needed wins tucked safely in the bank, the road doesn’t get any easier for our heroes and if they want to keep the winning glow going then they’re going to get themselves amped up to play because the opponent is a tough one.

Tonight’s game against Nashville will easily be the biggest test of the year for the Oilers so far, at least in my opinion. Coming into this thing, the Preds are sporting a 6-1-0 record which puts them first in the Central Division and they’ve looked every bit like a contending team should. They’re fast, they’re skilled, and they’re getting great goaltending which is a pretty lethal trifecta. Yeah, sometimes early season records can be misleading but that’s not the case here — this is a very good hockey team we’re talking about. And even with Nashville playing last night in Calgary, everyone wearing an orange jersey should expect nothing less than a Predators team that will be ready to play and one that won’t allow any time to settle in or get going. As much I loved how dialled in Cam Talbot was against the Bruins and the fact that he was able to hold the boys in it while they got their legs under them, I’d rather that this didn’t become the norm this season.

Instead, I dream of a world where the boys are flying around the ice at breakneck speed, murdering fools with a relentless attack and that they’re making it all happen right from the opening faceoff. I want to see the Oilers work their bags off to try and dictate the pace of the game rather than playing the role of a gracious host that lets anyone come into their house and set the table. Against the Nashville Predators, they’re going to need to put the hammer down right from the jump and they’re going to need everyone on board. I watched chunks of last night’s Preds/Flames game and saw plenty of shifts where the Flames were locked down in their own zone because of a simple mistake on a breakout or mishandling of the puck, which tells me that the Oilers need to take extra care with their choices. On Thursday night, Edmonton was lucky that they didn’t get burned by the bounty of turnovers they gave up early on and I’m not so sure that they’ll want to test their luck with that strategy again tonight.

THE NUMBERS

OILERS PREDATORS
RECORD 3-2-0 6-1-0
GOALS FOR 13 24
GOALS AGAINST 16 15
POWER PLAY 35.7 13.0
PENALTY KILL 71.4 72.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 25.8 31.0
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 29.0 28.7
TEAM SAVE% .902 .925
CORSI FOR% 48.83 50.82
PDO 99.04 103.2
TEAM SHOOTING% 10.08 11.06

Numbers courtesy of Corsica

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Nuge-McDavid-Yamamoto
Rieder-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Lucic-Strome-Chiasson
Khaira-Brodziak-Kassian

Klefbom-Larsson
Nurse-Russell
Garrison-Bouchard

Talbot

With Matt Benning being placed on the IR yesterday, it looked like Kevin Gravel was going to get his first NHL action of the season after starting his year with the Bakersfield Condors, but we’ll have to wait another day. In other lineup news, Kailer Yamamoto will get a chance to play with McNuge today with Ty Rattie nursing the injury sustained against the Bruins. Alex Chiasson will also make his Oilers debut after turning his PTO into a one-year contract shortly before the season kicked off.

Predators

Forsberg-Johansen-Arvidsson
Fiala-Turris-Smith
Jarnkrok-Bonino-Hartman
Rinaldo-Sissons-Salomaki

Josi-Ellis
Ekholm-Subban
Hamhuis-Weber

Saros

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From On the Forecheck:

Perhaps the biggest surprise for this Nashville team is the performance of their depth players. Colton Sissons, Anthony Bitetto, Dan Hamhuis, Miikka Salomaki, Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Hartman have all recorded at least one point, which is at least one point more than second line phenom Kevin Fiala through six games. Zac Rinaldo, who has also not scored a point, has a mere 11 penalty minutes while having played in each game, and he has not been suspended—at least not yet.

Juuse Saros taking a bigger role in the goaltender rotation has also been a huge help for a team whose fans used to believe that their window closed as soon as Rinne steps away from the game. Saros is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals allowed average and .902 save percentage in 2 starts against the Islanders, and there’s a good chance he gets his third start in the back end of a back to back this weekend as the Preds take on the Edmonton Oilers.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers come firing out of the gates and grab an early two-goal lead. The Preds bounce back with two goals of their own and take the game to overtime. Unfortunately, Nashville takes this one in the extra frame. 3-2 Preds.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor McDavid scores two points and refuses to accept any praise for yet another stellar performance.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Inspired by Kailer Yamamoto’s first goal, Evan Bouchard made it his mission to get his first in front of a hometown crowd as well, and he does exactly that with an absolute bomb from the point. After posing for the usual picture with the puck from his first goal after the game, Bouchard does what any good dad would do and passes along the memento to his son to display in his room.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/20/2018 – 12:00 pm MT



  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Man both those goals were played brutally by the Oilers. That 1st goal Strome is back but he didnt even try to take the paaing lane away, like he is just standing their skating back, so it leaves Talbot having to deal with two instead of one if Strome tried to take the lane away…

    The Nurse plain out just got caught flat footed, it was like watching a matador just stand their and wave the flag as the bull was going by.

    The Oilers are going to have to tighten up and get on their horse to come back in the 3rd

  • Randomfan

    This is a washed up team besides Mcdavid. Don’t expect any playoff hockey anytime soon. We dont matchup against the best in the league. Atleast not with group of guys. There is no hustle in them night after night.

    • Big Nuggets

      Giving up the first few goals every game seems to imply that when the other team is pressing the Oilers can’t match the intensity. In the Winnipeg game I think the jets had a crash in adrenaline after they got up so many goals and McDavid ended up torching them.

      It’s too early to make any definitive conclusions about the ability of this team to win games. I think the forwards in general will be alright, but on defense we really need help. I can’t imagine what kind of deal is available though.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      There were more than a few culprits that had that issue. The One thing I didnt see the Oilers do that they did against Boston was fire pucks whenever they could there seem to be wanting to pass more than shoot, against Boston the Oilers were peppering them with shots, I think the Oil were a little guilty of trying to be a little too fancy tonight. The Other thing was they were not using the boards as much as they were against Boston. Tonight they were wrining it around the board trying to skate it thru the man up the ice. When they played Boston they used the boards more to chip it out of their end, to chip it by the man to chip it into the zone, they seemed to get aay from that tonight, whether that was by design or accident who knows but I saw more than a few times where I thought they could have done more board use rather than try and skate it in and getting it taken away or losing the puck to the defender.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Wow, some things never change the Oilers continue to have trouble with teams that have played an opponent the night before, you’d think they would have the edge due to a team being a tad tired from playing just 24 hours earlier, but nope. You’d swear the Oilers just take teams that played the night before too lightly.

    It is a shame the firsttwo periods were really good, but Stromes terrible play on the 2 on1 was brutal, I mean he may as well not have been there because he did zip to take away the passing lane which would have limited or made it a little more difficult for Nashville and a tad easier for Talbot.

    Nurse deserves a knock too for getting caught flat footed, he played that 3 on 2 horribly and boom in the back of the net, like there was little effort given to even try and stop that.

    I wiull give Nashville credit they played pretty well for a team that played just 24 hours early and Sorros did well in both games he played in. If Sorros keeps that up he could unseat Rinne

  • Heschultzhescores

    OK is just not ok. 3 times he let the puck get out on the blue line. Easy plays that cost us. He can’t hit the net, he isn’t great on D, and is poor on Offence. Until we address the need for a real Number 1 D-man we will alway be close but never get to the elite level.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Klef is not, and never will be good enough to play anywhere but bottom 6 D. He waits too long to head-man the puck, he can’t hit the net, he can’t handle the puck at the blue-line. What does he have? Tell me that? Potential? No, he doesn’t, he is what we see, and always will be that.

  • The Preds are one of those teams that make you wonder how they are under the cap. Poile and his scouts have done a great job.
    Didn’t think we played that bad tonight. Tried to get to fancy at times. I think putting struggling players on 97’s line sends wrong message to him and rest of the team. If you don’t shoot on the power play then take Lucic off the the #1 squad. I liked Chiasson tonight had a lot of jump.