How do you guys feel about back-to-back afternoon games after yesterday’s big win? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Personally, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid pretty hardcore after beating the Preds and I’m jacked up and ready for another game. With that, I welcome you to yet another daylight hours edition of the Oilersnation GDB.
I’m not sure who it was in the NHL’s scheduling department that wished horrible things upon the Edmonton Oilers but these first 10 games have been something else. Before today’s matchup against the Blackhawks, Edmonton had to get through six straight opponents that had 100 points or more in the 2017/18 season (Winnipeg, Boston, Nashville x2, Pittsburgh, Washington) and the fact that they finished that stretch with a 4-1-1 record can only be viewed as a monstrous success. I don’t know about you, but I would have definitely been pumped if you had told me the Oilers would have a 5-3-1 record after nine games, especially after losing those first two. In terms of how they’ve played, it’s been night and day. They’ve had to earn every point they have on their record and to grind those out against some very tough hockey teams is something Oilers fans should feel good about.
Looking at today’s matchup, the journey through October doesn’t get any easier with a stop in Chicago either. After missing the playoffs in 2017-18 with 76 points, the Blackhawks have had a pretty solid start to their season, posting a 6-3-2 record over their first 11 games which has them right in the mix in a very tough Central Division. I know some folks on Twitter were talking about today’s game being the easier of the two in the back-to-back set but I’m not sure that I necessarily agree. Despite not being the Cup winning team they once were, this is still a team with plenty of weapons that can burn you. As you’ll see in the number section below, the Blackhawks are a team that can score a lot of goals, but they’re also one that gives just as many and that makes them a wildcard.
With both of these teams playing yesterday, the Blackhawks got dummied by the St. Louis Blues while our beloved Oilers beat the league-leading Nashville Predators, it will be interesting to see where their energy levels are at for today’s game. I’m not saying that either team is going to look sluggish per se, but there could be an advantage to whoever can get their legs under them the quickest. Perhaps this is something the Oilers can take advantage of since their game had ended hours before the Blackhawks and Blues had even gotten started? Could a few hours of extra rest be enough to give the Oilers a head start? We’re only a few hours from finding out. All I know for sure is if the Oilers can play the way they did against Pittsburgh and Washington then they’re going to be in good shape.
In three appearances against the Blackhawks last season, the Oilers finished with a 1-1-1 record with two of those games (a win and a loss) ending in overtime.
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||52.19||45.29|
Numbers courtesy of Corsica
Outside of Talbot getting the start, these are yesterday’s line combos and I haven’t updated them yet because no information has been released on any changes. I’m only guessing here but I could see Evan Bouchard getting back in the mix somewhere for his eighth game, though Matt Benning looked pretty good in his first game back off of the IR. Another thing to watch for will be Zack Kassian’s usage going forward since we learned last night from Elliotte Friedman that the organization has given him permission to seek a trade elsewhere. As always, I’ll update the lines when news comes out.
***UPDATE*** Jack Michaels tweeted out that the lines will stay the same for today’s game apart from Talbot getting the start. As you were.
Corey Crawford got the start for the Blackhawks in their matchup against the Blues yesterday which leads me to believe that Cam Ward will be getting the start today. Again, nothing confirmed there but I’m just using my best guess. Also, this could be the first time that we get to see Brandon Davidson in a Blackhawks jersey so we’ll keep an eye on that too.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Ward has struggled at times in net but competed well enough and got enough offensive support to pick up three wins. His stats are atrocious but the Blackhawks goal scoring has come through when needed. Ward should now be able to settle into the backup goalie role and provide Crawford with rest as required. This will take the pressure off of Ward to be “the guy” in net and hopefully provide a solid backup to Crawford.
Unfortunately for Ward, his time in net may not be as enjoyable as he would like. The Blackhawks are still struggling to provide solid defensive coverage and they hit a new low in their last game.
Game Day Prediction: Wanting to stick in the NHL past his ninth game, Evan Bouchard scores another goal to open the scoring and set the Oilers on their way to a 3-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Whoever loses this game will use the excuse of playing well but that they just ran out of gas after finishing off a back-to-back set.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Late in the second period, Cam Talbot rims the puck around the boards to a waiting Connor McDavid. Upon receiving the puck, McDavid uses his speed to blow past a flat-footed Brent Seabrook and finish off another highlight reel, giving himself the game winner and Talbot his
first second point of the season.
NATION ROADIE TO CALGARY
Friends, your time is running out if you want to get in on this road trip to Calgary. We’re about 3/4 sold out and you have less than a week to make the call on coming or not.
Give me the details, guy:
- When? Saturday, November 17th, 2018
- How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($329/person) up to groups of four ($249/person).
- Why? Because we love to party
- Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy if you want to come.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/27/2018 – 10:00 am MT