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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 23.0: Finish off strong (8:30pm MST, SNW)

Welcome, friends, to a Sunday edition of the GDB that will get you set for tonight’s late matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings. Puck drops at 8:30 pm MST so there’s plenty of time to get settled in. 

After suffering a tough OT loss in Anaheim on Friday afternoon, the Oilers are back in action against another Pacific Division team with the hopes of closing out their road trip with five of six points. From where I blog, this is a game they need two points from. The Kings have really struggled this season which makes this as close to a must-win game for the Oilers as you can find right now. Not only are the Kings a struggling team below the Oilers in the standings which implies a win should be the expected result, but they’re also coming off a tough loss to Vancouver last night as well. To recap: they’re not as good, they’re not as rested, and this needs to be a win. Agreed? Cool. With the Pacific Division being as bad as it is, Edmonton is lucky that they’re still in the mix despite losing seven of their last nine games, but it also means that the pressure is on to start winning. If they can finish off this road trip with points in all three games then that will go a long way in helping get them back into a playoff spot.

As disappointing as it was to lose to Anaheim by allowing two goals in 31 seconds to both tie things up and then close it out, the Oilers actually did a bunch of things in that game that they’ll want to carry over. For two periods, they did some fine work of limiting Anaheim’s ability to generate second chances or even get an initial shot off in the first place. If there’s one thing the Oilers could use, it’s fewer pucks heading towards and ending up in the back of their net. Edmonton currently ranks in 19th in goals against (71) despite playing one or two fewer games than many other teams in the league, and that’s something that needs to change. Actually, the Oilers have allowed only one fewer goal against than the LA Kings who are currently sitting in dead last in the Pacific Division. That’s not a great look for the team as a whole, and it’s something that Ken Hitchcock will certainly want to remedy, but improvement needs to start from the net on out. With Cam Talbot starting today’s game, you know that getting a save will be on everyone’s mind.

Last season, the Oilers and Kings split their four-game series which each team picking up a win at home and on the road. Two of those four games were one-goal games while the other two were won by three goals or more.

NUMBERS

OILERS KINGS
RECORD 10-10-2 7-14-1
WIN/LOSS STREAK L1 L2
GOALS FOR 62 46
GOALS AGAINST 71 72
POWER PLAY 21.1 13.4
PENALTY KILL 76.0 74.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 31.0 28.0
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 29.8 31.0
TEAM SAVE% .898 .904
CORSI FOR% 50.47 50.03
PDO 98.35 98.43
TEAM SHOOTING% 6.45 6.11
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 51.37 49.4

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Spooner-McDavid-Draisaitl
Caggiula-RNH-Chiasson
Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian
Rattie -Khaira – Puljujarvi

Klefbom-Larsson
Nurse-Russell
Gravel-Wideman

Talbot

On Friday night, a source told me that Jesse Puljujarvi was going to get recalled for Sunday’s game rather than the following contest against the Stars and it seemed a little soon for me. I thought Puljujarvi would be best served to spend at least a month or more working on his game and restoring his confidence in Bakersfield, but the Oilers obviously decided otherwise. What I’m interested to see is how Hitchcock deploys Jesse and how his minutes compare to what he was getting under Todd McLellan (Average TOI: 12:00). Hitchcock said yesterday that he’s hoping to have Puljujarvi up to shape and into the top six within a month but that he’d have to work his way up, and I’m intrigued to see how this approach will go. We know that Hitch likes to double shift Connor which means Puljujarvi will get some McPlaying time regardless of whether he’s on the first or fourth line, and it will be interesting to see how he responds. How will Puljujarvi respond to Hitchcock‘s flavour of communication? It starts tonight.

Kings

Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Kovalchuk – Carter – Toffoli
Hagelin – Kempe – Luff
Clifford – Thompson – Wagner

Forbot – Doughty
Muzzin – Martinez
Phaneuf – Fantenberg

Budaj

Look at this roster and tell me that you don’t think the Oilers should win this hockey game. The Kings have lost two goalies (Quick and Campbell) and two forwards (Brodzinski and Lewis), which means the Oilers have yet another chance to take advantage of a team that’s banged up in key areas.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From LA Kings Insider:

Muzzin, on the lack of an inescapable hockey culture in the United States:

Everything is football, basketball, baseball and we’re used to hockey, hockey, hockey up in Canada on television. So that was a big change. The only hockey we saw were Boston Bruins games because we lived up [in Manchester]. So, that was a change as well. Although the TV in the United States is way better than in Canada, that’s for sure. [LAKI: Any shows you don’t get now that you enjoyed in Canada? TSN?] Yeah TSN is a big one, but most of the stuff we get here. Maybe not Trailer Park Boys. If you guys don’t know what that is, great Canadian show.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers close out their strong road trip with a big 4-2 win.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Chris Wideman gets a point in his Oilers debut and the comments section gets flooded with calls to trade Matt Benning.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ken Hitchcock not only knows Jesse Puljujarvi’s name but he also plays him MORE than five minutes in tonight’s hockey game. Great success.

BLACKOUT COLLECT

Coming up on Thursday night at midnight, our annual Black Friday collecting drops for a limited time only. We’ve got hats, a tee, hoodie, and toques and they’re pretty dope so you’ll definitely want to check it out. Every year, we sell out of all of these items so be sure to get to NationGear.ca as fast as you can if you want to score something to beautify your wardrobe.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/25/2018 – 12:00 pm MST