Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to yet another edition of the Saturday GDB as our beloved Edmonton Oilers get set to take on the Detroit Red Wings for the first time this season.
After navigating the October death march with more success than many expected, the Oilers come into November challenging for the Pacific Division lead, a welcomed change from where they were at a season ago. I don’t think I have to remind anyone here how painful last season was but it really struck home when I was digging into the season series from a year ago. When the Oilers and Red Wings matched up on November 5th of last year, our boys were spinning their wheels with a disappointing 4-7-1 record which is significantly behind where the Oilers are already at. We all know how poorly the Oilers started their season, the losses against New Jersey and Boston were enough to set many of us off, but in the 10 games since they’ve rocked a very tidy 7-2-1 record with many of those wins coming against the league’s best.
While the Red Wings may not be the team they once were, I’m thinking specifically of some of those early 2000s teams that were absolutely dominant, they’re still a group with some offensive weapons that can burn you if you’re not paying attention. Players like Larkin and Nyquist have all kinds of skill and speed (Anthanasiou too had he not been injured), and if the Oilers aren’t careful they can easily get caught flat footed with those guys on the ice. Despite this being a winnable afternoon against a rebuilding Red Wings team, this is going to be one of those games where the Oilers need to make sure that they don’t play down to their competition or else they’ll get themselves in trouble. If the Oilers are going to truly establish themselves as a legitimate option in the Western Conference then stomping teams worse than them is something that just has to happen. I need that to start today.
Now that we’ve got 12 games in the bank, it’s been especially nice to see the Oilers starting to get some secondary offence in support of what’s been happening on McDavid’s line all along. Leon Draisaitl’s second line with Rieder and Chiasson has especially been very good over the last few nights, and they’ve been a handful for their opponents to handle ever since being put together. Having the top two lines going is an absolute game changer and it will be interesting to see how the Red Wings will be able to handle it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ryan Strome’s line is a dark pit where offence can only die and that’s a trend that desperately needs to change. That’s not to say that the effort isn’t there, it is, but they’ve had nothing go there way offensively. Could today be the day when all that changes? Well, among active Oilers, Ryan Strome is tied for the team lead in career goals against Detroit with two (Brodziak and McDavid also have two) so maybe some prior success against them will help? Dare to dream, Arnold. Dare to dream.
In 2017-18, Edmonton and Detroit split their two games, starting with the Oilers dropping a 5-0 shutout loss at Rogers Place on November 5th before rebounding with a 6-2 victory later in the month.
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||51.88||46.92|
Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)
At this point, you should pay no mind to what these line combinations look like. As of this posting, the Oilers haven’t released their line information yet so I’m just guessing based on what happened on Thursday against Chicago and the news that Rattie is ready to go from yesterday. When news comes out about who’s playing where then I will jump back in and update.
***UPDATE*** Stauffer just tweeted out the lines for today’s game and it looks like Rattie won’t draw in despite being activated from the IR yesterday, and that the Oilers will run with the same lines that they used against Chicago. It’s also interesting that Mikko Koskinen will a second straight start, though, you could definitely argue that he earned it with a 40-save shutout over the Blackhawks.
Nyquist-De La Rose-Rasmussen
The Red Wings are having all kinds of injury problems right now (Athanasiou, Nielson, Vanek, Svechnikov, and DeKeyser) and the Oilers need to take advantage of it. Despite winning their last three games, the Red Wings are a team that Edmonton needs to beat every day of the week and anything less would be disappointing.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
The Red Wings have now won three games in a row and have scored at least three goals in all three of those games – that means we all get some damn curly fries!
In this new magical world of Arby’s giving away some free curly fries for every time the Wings score three goals in a game, we can now gorge ourselves on some delicious fried potato shaped like a crazy straw.
If you’re not on your way to your local establishment after these games, then you’re wasting some good opportunity to feed yourself and your friends the salty taste of a Red Wings offense.
I looked it up and this is actually real. Seriously. I want some damned curly fries!
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers come out flying and score two first period goals, setting themselves up for a casual 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid turnstiles each and every Red Wings defender at one point or another.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Wanting to celebrate Ryan Strome’s first point of the season while also taking advantage of the opportunity of being at Little Caesars Arena, the boys stock up on Hot n Readys and Crazy Bread for the plane ride to Washington.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/03/2018 – 9:00 am MT