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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



  • Heschultzhescores

    The new generation hockey players turtle and the refs back them up. Oh I miss real hockey and real hockey players who are tough and would never turtle

    • Clayton

      Why would Tkachuk fight Kassian? He gives up nearly 40 pounds to the guy. Smart move by him to not get hurt and to get Kassian off the ice for 16 minutes and negate an Oilers powerplay.

      • Leichs

        40 pounds?? Tkachuk is listed at 201 and kassian 210. And its called being a man and owning your actions. If you are going to take shots at stars when they are down and mouth off then you better be willing to answer the bell.

        • Clayton

          Nope, just saying if players should be expected to stand up for their actions why doesn’t the same standard apply to LD and Captain Connor? They took cheapshots on Flames players and refused to back up their actions!

          • Leichs

            Ughh you are hopless. By your standards every single time a player does something illegal he should have to fight because of it? Because Connor grabbed Backlund he has to fight him? Tkachuk is notoriously dirty and was dirty the whole first period. THAT’S why he should have to answer the bell. It’s for his whole entire style of play, not just one little clutch or grab. Drai and Connor do not spend half of their TOI mouthing off and taking runs and cheap shots at other players like Tkachuk. Get what I am saying kiddo?

          • Clayton

            Nope, not when they do something illegal…just cheap and dangerous. The LD slew foot was cheap and dangerous. The Connor headlock and drive backlund’s head into the ice was dangerous and cheap. Yet they don’t have to stand up for their actions! The Oilers lost the game because instead of playing hockey they ran all over the ice dishing out cheap shots and chasing down Tkachuk while the Flames tried to find their game.

          • ChillyPepper

            Leichs, so let me get this right… you are saying that “Player A” shouldn’t fight “Player B” cause he is like 10 years older than him. Yet do not apply that same thought process towards the other team. You can’t have it both ways. Tkachuk is 8 years younger than Kassian and 11 years younger than Lucic.

            Tkachuk has a role to play and he does it well. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to respect it. But, you should expect more from your team. His job is to get the opposing team off their game. He succeeded and the Flames won. Instead of playing for 3 full periods, the Oilers looked like they suffered a serious adrenaline crash. Tkachuk got their fight or flight response spiked in the 1st 20 min and the come back kids just had to ride it out.

            My brother never let’s me win a Flames win down. Especially when I turn the TV off with a 2-0 score and run my mouth.

        • Clayton

          Fair enough…then why didn’t LD have to answer the bell for the cheap slew foot he laid on Tkachuk in the first? Tkachuk challenged him at least 3 times. And what about Captain Connor? He put Backlund in a headlock and drove him to the ice. Backlund challenged him later in the game and was declined! Seems to be a double standard there! Only guys that piss the Oilers off should have to fight?

          • Leichs

            You are comparing the way Connor and Leon play with the way Tkachuk plays? Really? Everyone around the league knows Tkachuk is the dirtiest player in the west now that Kessler is basically done. Ask Doughty. Backlund is going to challenge the best player on planet earth to a fist fight? A kid he is like 10 years old than? Real tough. Give your head a shake. If Backlund had issues he should have explained them to Kass or Luc or Jujar.

          • Leichs

            If Tkachuk didnt play like such a cheap dirty little greaseball then no one would have an issue with him not fighting Kassian, he’s not the first person to turn down Kass. But he showed his true colors by going fedal like a coward.

  • Harry2

    That little puke Tkachuk is the biggest piece of crap coward in this league. He runs around taking cheap shots at McD and LD all game then cowars anytime someone comes near him. He’s the definition of a little pu$$¥

  • Ted

    What is wrong with Draisaitl … Toughen up son … TOO SOFT!….. What is wrong with Klefboom …. NO BRAINS! …. Hanofin skates with his head on swivel where Klefboom can’t hit the net from the hashes at the circles … Gives away the game tying goal. At point could PC not have gotten Hanofin for Klefboom plus. The biggest problem is not showing up in the third period like the Lames we’re gonna fold. Coaches thats on you! Out shot 18-5 in the third. Poor Mikko. Embarrassing!!! Have I mentioned how much I hate that little whiner Thachuk….. Penalty free twice where he should have easily been in the box. Bad referring on that note! … Three break away and nothing….. Tough one to swallow!!!!

  • West

    tkachuk with the turtle. Embarrassing. What does he have to do to get a penalty? Third man in on McDavid. Punched Draisaitl in the face 5 times in front of the refs and we get penalized. Biased reffing? Something is weird.