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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 19.0: Let the Battle Begin! (8pm MST, CBC)

Can you believe that it’s November 17th and this is only the first time the Oilers and Flames have met so far this season? It’s weird, right? Thankfully, the wait is over and the 239th edition of the Battle of Alberta is finally upon us.

As you read this, I’m on a bus packed with 50 Nation citizens and we’re making our way down to Calgary to help make sure this train stays on the rails. After making it through a tough four-game losing streak, the Oilers came roaring back with a big win against Montreal. But, in my opinion, they’re still in need of some support and we’re taking it upon ourselves to head into enemy territory to send them our energy and love. With our boys going 2-4 in their last six games, we need the wins to start piling up in short order or risk falling further back of the playoff group — it can’t happen. Selfishly, I don’t want to be going all the way to Calgary to see another loss. When we did our first bus tour of Calgary back in February, the Oilers dropped that game in an uninspiring fashion and I can’t bear the idea of seeing the same result again tonight.

Considering this is the first game the Oilers are playing against not only the Calgary Flames but the Pacific Division in general, I damn well hope the boys are fired up to play. Not only do they need the points but they’ve lost far too many games lately, and when you combine that with the fact that this is the mother truckin’ Battle of Alberta we’re talking about, anything less than a complete and total effort will be unforgivable. I mean, you’d have to think that this is one of the easiest games to get fired up to play, right? As I post this from the back of the Nation Bus, I’ve already got fresh cold ones beside me that are waiting to be cracked and I want these joyful, delicious beers to be the start of something beautiful, not the start of a miserable Saturday.

The Oilers have had a great run against the Flames over the past couple of years (7-2 in the last two seasons) and it would be a wonderful, splendid bit of luck for us all if they can continue the trend tonight.

NUMBERS

OILERS FLAMES
RECORD 9-8-1 10-8-1
WIN/LOSS STREAK W1 L2
GOALS FOR 52 58
GOALS AGAINST 56 59
POWER PLAY 19.0 18.5
PENALTY KILL 74.1 77.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 31.8 34.1
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 29.8 28.4
TEAM SAVE% .902 .898
CORSI FOR% 51.19 54.69
PDO 99.05 98.15
TEAM SHOOTING% 6.8 7.06
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 52.7 52.73

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINES

Oilers

Caggiula – McDavid – Draisaitl
Spooner – Nuge – Rattie
Lucic – Marody – Chiasson
Khaira – Brodziak – Kassian

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Benning
Gravel – Russell

Koskinen

The big news for today’s game is obviously the addition of Ryan Spooner who was acquired for Ryan Strome and where he will slot into the lineup. Based on Chiarelli’s conversation with Reid Wilkins from yesterday, it seems like Spooner will be playing on the wing so that makes me think he will be playing with Nuge on the second line, but I’m only guessing. I guess we shall see. With Tobias Rieder on the shelf for a next month, I was also curious to see how the Oilers would fill that hole. According to yesterday’s practice lines, Ty Rattie gets back into the top-six and will slot in next to Nuge and Chiasson with the latter moving to his off-wing. Koskinen gets the call in net as he looks to build off that big win against Montreal. Does he get win number six tonight?

Flames

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Dube – Jankowski – Neal
Frolik – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Andersson

Rittich

Was anyone else hoping that the Flames were going to play Mike Smith tonight? Dude has been a sieve all season long and I was hoping that we were going to benefit from his generosity tonight, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Flamesnation:

David Rittich can’t start the remaining 60+ games for the Flames. Barring going with three goalies on the roster, demoting Smith, or trading him away, Smith is going to be on the Flames no matter what, and that means he’s going to get at least some starts no matter what. But the Flames should be cleanly leading the division at this stage of the season, and they aren’t, and it’s way, way too often you can point to just one guy for the loss of so many points.

I’m sure it sucks a lot for Smith, a person who’s nearing the end of his limited career window and almost certainly has a lot of pride that’s taking a beating right now. But you know who it sucks even more for? The other 18 guys on the ice. And I feel for them way more.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers forget about the struggles that have led them to this point and continue their recent run of success over the Flames, walking away from dome with a 4-3 win.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The Nation crew that lands in Calgary will be the drunkest group in the 403 area code.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Everyone on the bus ride down to Calgary is at risk of tetanus just by stepping foot in the Saddledome.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/17/2018 – 12:00 pm MT

  • Oiler Al

    Hellk of a game from Koslkinen……. deserved better than the 2 goals scored by Oilers. Defense was terrible……Klefbom on for 3 goals,,,Nuge on for all 4 Flames goals UGLY

  • Connor McFly

    What exactly did the Oil get for $20 million? Oh yeah, squat tonight. Eleven freaking penalties. Absolutely brain dead. It always kills me the way TMac makes every loss out to be a victory.

  • TDSM31

    Was at the game and I have to say that was probably the worst game I’ve seen McDavid play as an Oiler. Which goes to show what everyone already knows…if he’s not on we have no hope.

  • Burnward

    Feel bad for you guys.

    The love for your team is so strong that you think what Lucic and Kassian do is hockey.

    They’re just another of the five-ten players that would pass waivers on the roster that attempt to be impactful but are really just overpaid filler.

    They need these games because it allows you to think they have a role in this NHL.

    Unfortunately they do not.

    Irrelevant. Just like the Oilers despite having the best player in the world.

    • Neddd

      @Burnward
      Hey Burnward, do you know why I like those players as much as I do? Its because I know that they really bother you!! I bet you didn’t sleep last night because you were so upset about how they beat up on your favourite precious Flames players, that makes me laugh….. Are they still relevant in today’s game? During the regular season, perhaps not. But in the playoffs definitely!! Ya ya I know “but your team won’t even make the playoffs”. Maybe the Oilers won’t make the playoffs, oh well. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that they really bother and upset you which again brings a smile to my face 🙂

        • Neddd

          @Burnward
          Whatever dude! You make me laugh. You are far too emotionally attached to what those players do or don’t do. The frustration and stress they’re causing you is taking years from your life and I find enjoyment in that. Be honest, were you jumping up and down swearing at your tv last night as Kassian beat Tkachuk to the ice (as he turtled btw….)!!!

          You are too funny, thanks for making my morning!!

  • madjam

    Oilers the better club as first two periods showed . However , the third period showed why the Oilers are losing games they should be able to finish and win . Coaches on Oilers unable to motivate the players in mass for final period of game . Guliksen had same problem with Flames last year just like Todd . It is wrong to assume the players can in mass motivate themselves !! Misdirected or lack of coaching motivation a big downfall with Oilers club. The players are running around like they are on eggshells rather than with purpose and fluidity . How badly were we outplayed and outshot in last nights 3rd period collapse ?? Oilers not that fragile come 3rd periods if coaching motivation up to snuff . That is my take on the game last night .Most nights Oilers seem to lose focus and motivation . Thus it is hard to determine how bad or good Oilers might be .

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      The chances the Oiler got (and scored on) are miscues by Flames defense, not being the better club. First goal was a bad oinch followed by a C/RW being in position to prevent Chaisson frm cutting in. The 2nd goal was another bad pinch which lead to the 2 on 1 with McDavid wide open. Other than that, the teams were fairly even through 2. The third was less about the Oilers badly playing and the Flames’ offense getting shots through. Koskinen is a decent goalie, but you can’t give up rebounds like that and expect to win.

      Depth is killing the Oilers. Shut down McDavid or get him off his game, and there may be one line that can do anything. The defense is suffering from lack of real depth as well. You can have Stone if you like. He’s being outplayed by two rookies that show composure.

      Don;t talk about firing the coach, since Gully was never able to get the Flames to play from behind. His idea of a win was getting a tie or trying to preserve a one goal lead. That rarely works today. The GM and Old Boys network is killing the franchise.

      • IRONman

        Flamers are not going to win the cup. Salary cap had wrecked that. Oilers are capped out, so how can they afford to get scoring wingers. Sad the oilers spent the cap on forwards and calgary spent it on defence