How are you feeling this morning, Nation? After the Oilers rattled off three straight wins against the Caps, Preds, and Blackhawks, they fell short against the Wild on Tuesday night and it left some folks feeling down again. For me, I’m seeing the Oilers rocking a 6-4-1 record despite wandering through the brutal hellscape that was the first 10 games of the schedule and that makes feel pretty damned good about how things are going so far. Is there room for improvement? Always, but we should all take a moment to smell the flowers from time to time.
Tonight, for the second time in less than a week, the Oilers are going up against a Blackhawks team that’s playing their second game in as many nights. On Sunday night, Edmonton got outstanding goaltending from Cam Talbot and that smoothed over any bumps in the road and kept them in the game even when the Blackhawks ramped up the pressure. What should we expect from tonight’s rematch? We’re only 12 short hours from finding out.
1. In their last 10 games against the Blackhawks dating back to the 2015-16 season, the Oilers have a 4-4-2 record against the Blackhawks with a goal differential of -6 (22GF, 28GA) over that span. Of those 10 games, four were decided in overtime and others were slightly more lopsided. Sometimes it was like getting pie for breakfast and other times like a punch to the throat. You get it. For whatever reason, these two teams always seem to play well against each other and I’d expect nothing less from today’s game.
2. Coming into today’s game, Connor McDavid has only been held pointless once this season and the Blackhawks were not the team to get it done. In 11GP, McDavid is scoring at a rate of 1.63 points per game which puts him on a 133 point pace that would blow out last year’s total, and ranks him third in the NHL in PPG, behind only Mikko Rantanen (1.75) and Gino Malkin (1.9).
3. Over their last 40 games played, no one has scored more goals than Connor McDavid which makes me laugh because I think of the fools that are still trying to pretend like he’s not a goal scorer. McDavid’s 27 goals over that span puts him ahead of Alex Ovechkin (25), Auston Matthews (25), and Patrik Laine (23). How many goes does the guy have to score before the rest of you jabronis figure it out?
4. On Tuesday night, the Oilers were ruined by their lack of special teams execution but they had been good on the PK and PP up until that point. Before the game against the Wild, the Oilers had only allowed one power play goal on 11 attempts at Rogers Place.
5. Throughout the month of October, Chicago has mostly off-set their inability to keep the puck out of their own net (47GA) by scoring goals (43GF) in bunches. Only three other teams have allowed more goals against than the Blackhawks (Philly (48), Detroit (46), Ottawa (44)) but they’ve managed to keep pace with a very tough Central Division thanks to the offence put up by Kane (11G), DeBrincat (8G), and Jonathan Toews (7G).
6. While the Oilers have started to get some secondary scoring over the past week or so, they’re also far too dependant on their big three to score. McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins have scored a combined 19 goals which is more than the rest of the team combined (13) and Alex “The Answer” Chia’s son has four of those.
7. Speaking of The Answer, Ty Rattie seems set to make his return to the lineup after working through a midsection injury that kept him out for the last six games. If he does get in the lineup for today’s game, a roster spot will have to be opened up in order to make it happen. Furthermore, because of his injury, Ty Rattie lost his ‘The Answer’ title belt to Alex Chiasson and he’s going to have to bust his ass to get it back. Chia’s son has four goals in six games and that’s the kind of pace that only The Answer can keep up. Personally, I think Rattie is still a strong contender for the title and it will be very interesting to see how this matchup plays out. In five games played so far, Rattie has one goal, one assist, 11 shots on net, and 52.0 CF%.
8. Patrick Kane missed last night’s game in Vancouver due to illness and we can only hope that the bug carried over because that would take a lot of offence out of the Blackhawks’ lineup (12GP – 11G, 7A). Having Kane miss out on tonight’s game would be a massive advantage for the Oilers and I’m thinking that maybe we should try to pull some kind of Dumb and Dumber tea shenanigans just to be sure?
9. With Corey Crawford playing last night in Vancouver, it looks like the Oilers will get Cam Ward in net again. During Saturday’s game, Ward played well for the Blackhawks, making 24 saves on 26 shots and finishing the evening with a .923 save%. Going back to 2006-07 and never earlier than that for reasons I’m sure you can figure out, Cam Ward has posted a 7-4-3 record against our boys and it would be nice to see them tack another loss on today. Bonus-Totally-Unrelated-But-Possibly-Related-Stat: I’ve hated Cam Ward (and Marc Andre Bergeron) for 12 years now.
10. Chicago-style pizza can vary in style depending on the varying styles developed around the city. The most famous, obviously, is the deep dish variety of pie in which it is baked with a characteristically high crust and a mound of toppings. In fact, some pizza purists say that deep dish pizza is not pizza at all and should be considered more of a casserole or lasagna.
11. Should we watch a replay of how the last game against Chicago ended? Of course we should.
THE REAL LIFE PODCAST
You’ve spent the last week pining away for a new episode of the Real Life Podcast and the wait is finally over! This week, the boys are bursting with excitement as the Oilers find themselves near the top of the Pacific Division standings for the first time in a while and they just can’t hold it in.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/01/2018 – 9:00 am MT