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GDB Game Notes: Avalanche @ Oilers

After a four-game road trip through the Eastern United States, the Oilers are back in Edmonton for a Sunday night game against the Colorado Avalanche. Here are your game day notes.

1. The Oilers had a hell of a stretch in which they played eight games in 13 days in seven different cities. Tonight’s game will mark just their seventh home game of the season as they’ve played 10 games on the road and six at home for an 8-7-1 record. In their six home games, the Oilers are 3-2-1.

2. The Avalanche are also rolling in on a pretty tough schedule. They had to jump on a bus at home in Denver and drive all the way up to Winnipeg for their game against the Jets on Friday night. Then, after that, they jumped on another bus to travel to Edmonton for tonight’s game. This, of course, is because Winnipeg doesn’t have an airport. Interesting they didn’t opt to fly into Fargo, North Dakota for a shorter bus ride.

3. Colorado’s hot start to the season has been all but erased by a five-game losing streak. The Avs came flying out of the gate, going 6-1-2 in their first nine games. Since then, though, they’ve gone 1-5-1. Their fall back to earth has been fairly predictable. When they were rolling early on in the season, they were riding high percentages and poor shot numbers. That usually isn’t a recipe for success.

4. One part of the unsustainable percentages I mentioned above is goaltending. During the team’s hot start, Semyon Varlamov was playing out of his mind. The team was routinely being outshot and out-chanced, but Varlamov stood on his head. In six starts over that hot nine-game stretch, Varlamov went 4-0-2 with a .953 save percentage. Even Phillipp Grubauer was excellent, as he went 2-1-0 in the three non-Varlamov games in that stretch with a .925 save percentage. Since then, though, the goaltending has cooled off, and so has the team. Varlamov has started four of Colorado’s losses during the five-game skid, posting a .875 save percentage, and Grubauer got tagged for seven goals on 37 shots in his loss during the skid.

5. One thing that hasn’t cooled for Colorado is their offence. The Avs rank fourth in the league with 55 goals scored through 16 games played. They’ve scored more than three goals in half of their games played this year and only twice have they scored fewer than two goals in a game.

6. Virtually all of Colorado’s offence comes from their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. Rantanen is currently the NHL’s leader in points with 24 and MacKinnon isn’t far behind him with 22. MacKinnon and Landeskog also sit in a tie for second in the league in goals with 11. All told, this trio has combined to score 27 of Colorado’s 55 goals this season.

7. It’ll be important for the Oilers to stay out of the box against Colorado. As is the case pretty much whenever you have a high flying offence as Colorado does, the team is excellent with the man advantage. The Avs are currently scoring on 24.56 percent of their power plays, which is good for ninth in the league. The power play is also pretty much the only place Colorado gets any depth scoring. Two of Carl Soderberg’s five goals and two of Colin Wilson’s four goals have come on the power play.

8. The Oilers aren’t that different than the Avs in terms of being top-heavy offensively. Connor McDavid leads the team with 23 points and Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sit in a tie for second with 17 points. After them, there’s a steep drop off to Oscar Klefbom who sits in fourth on the team with eight points. The big three Oilers forwards have combined for 23 of the team’s 45 goals, an even higher percentage than Colorado’s big three.

9It’s important for Edmonton to win games against Western Conference opponents. The conference is looking very competitive right now as everybody save for the Los Angeles Kings seem to be in the thick of the playoff race. Some teams like Vancouver might fall off, but other teams like St. Louis who got off to cold starts could rise up. It’s anybody’s guess as to who grabs those eight Western playoff seeds so wins against middle-of-the-pack teams like Colorado count for four points.

10. This game will be only Edmonton’s seventh against a Western Conference team so far this season. The schedule has been very Eastern-heavy early on, as the Oilers have played 10 games against the East and six against the West. In their games against the West, the Oilers have gone 4-1-1, which bodes well for navigating this deep, competitive conference.

GAME NOTES BROUGHT TO YOU BY ATB FINANCIAL

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/11/2018 – 7:00 am MT

  • Gravis82

    Can we get some objective analysis? Heard a lot about 8 games in 13 days stuff . But, over last few years, when teams play 8 games in 13 days, what is their record?

  • Elgando

    What’s with the Winnipeg doesn’t have an airport thing?? Don’t get it. Also, who’s in goal tonight? Finally, wtf is it with all these spam apps that only originate from this website? Critically low storage, critically low battery, etc. Can’t something be done about this before my phone explodes?

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The Av’s are one of the teams that is tied with the Oilers in 17pts in the west, the Oil need to win and start putting a string of wins together, because there are 4 teams with 15 pts right behind the oil and it wont take long to drop in the western conference with a couple of losses.

    I would hops these guys come out and play a full 60 because the last few games they havent and that is getting them behind the 8 ball and the Oilers have trouble with potting goals and that hasnt been an issue for the Av’s

    Let’s hope they are better in their end and the PK because we need to stay out of the box, too many penalties and too many goals being scored against us when we are on the PK.

    The interesting thing will be have they decided to fix that anemic PP, that five lefties thing isnt working, and it needs to change same with switching up who is where on the top 2 units, I fear like last year TM will wait until the last damn minute to do something about it but what else’s is new.

    Hopefully the little bit of rest helped, the Oilers need to start taking points, because if they get in a real slump, well we all know how that went last year.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I used this site a couple times on my pad, after that no way, too many bad adverts serving pop unders , pop overs, redirects and the scareware. Like I dont know what ad network they use, but its freaking terrible like seriously

    Honestly either that or their antivirus client is terrible, because there is no way these adverts should be this bad with all the crap that is going on.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Would you walk into a ghetto naked? Because that is essentially what you are doing on the internet without a pop-up blocker. Firefox (with the proper settings) + Ad Blocker Plus is all you need. Both are free and very user friendly.

  • #97TRAIN

    The bottom line is this team has to make strides and if they don’t soon maybe it’s time for a change and Quenville is waiting in the wings.
    If memory serves me correctly, Chicago was in a skid when I think Savard was fired and they hired Quenville and they went on to a 45-22-11 record and a place in the western final losing to Detroit. We all know what happened after that.

        • cityofchampions

          I can’t believe I cheered a Serious Gord post. He’s right though, on any given night anyone can beat anyone else. Hell, even in the decade of darkness the Oilers managed a few wins against top teams. You can’t judge on one game. There is enough randomness and parity in hockey that you can never tell what will happen in any given game. The Oilers have played well this season and outside the first two games they have been in most game. Even in the current three game slide they ran into hot goaltending in Tampa and Florida but still created chances to score. To my eye, the Oilers have been much more entertaining and competitive this year, even when they lose, and that is what is encouraging.

      • FISTO Siltanen

        Coach Q needs Blackhawks blessing.

        If you are right and the next coach of an Oilers dynasty is Quenville do you honestly think the Hawks are going to let him come here?

      • Serious Gord

        No way that happens. Quennville is 60. Probably will go to another big market team starting next year. He’s an old school coach and that isn’t what’s needed here imo.

  • Rama Lama

    I’m hoping that the Oilers finally dominate a game offensively…….a lop sided score say 9 to 4……..have everyone contribute offensively.

    I do hope we get to see Koskinen play……..Cam Talbot is turning into a floppier…….before the play is even in the defensive zone, he is laying on the ice. Sign of a NOT confident goaltender.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. It should be 4-1 vs the west. We lost to Pittsburgh in OT.
    2. Were 4-1 vs the west!?
    3. Oh look, yet another day my job will get in the way of some decent Oilers hockey. Eff this job!
    4. Solemn Remembrance Day to you all

  • Serious Gord

    This may come to be seen as an inflection point in the season:

    Two teams on losing skids both having played 1/5th of the season. A win corrects the skid and renews hope that the season will be a good one. A loss especially for the avalanche could portend another disaster year. (How many teams that lose six in a row make the playoffs?)

    And for many oil fans clinging to the theory that western opponents will be dominated as has been the norm the past this will the first proof or the first breach of that redoubt.

    One of the harder games to predict the winner, I lean slightly towards the oil but wouldn’t put much money on it.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Considering that Connor is sandwiched between two Avs players in the points race, I hope our D and goaltending are on point tonight. Apparently, Todd ran the modern day version of a bag skate the first practice back from Florida. Lots of battle drills, best on best, etc. I prefer team-building through hard work over punitive measures like scratching players, which should be the last option.