GDB Game Day Notes: Wild @ Oilers

The Oilers are back home for a game against the Wild after splitting their mini two-game road trip in Dallas and St. Louis. Here are your game day notes.

1. The Wild are playing in Edmonton tonight 24 hours of getting dropped 2-0 to the Calgary Flames. They fired 31 shots at Mike Smith but he stopped all of them. With the win, the Flames are now only one point behind Nashville and Colorado for first place in the Western Conference, while the Wild are now sitting outside the playoff picture.

2. Given the Wild played a tough game last night, the Oilers should have the advantage tonight. But this scene is the exact same as the first time these two teams met back in late October. The Wild got dropped 5-2 in Vancouver and then headed to Edmonton the next night. The Oilers would blow three different leads and end up losing the game 4-3.

3. The Wild are currently rolling in on their coldest streak of the season. They’ve dropped four of their past five games that has dropped them out of a playoff spot. They haven’t scored more than three goals in a game in that span and they’ve allowed four or more goals against in three of the five. This is a four-point game for Edmonton as Minnesota is a team they’ll be fighting with for a playoff spot.

4. Cam Talbot’s cold streak began the last time the Oilers played the Wild. Prior to that game, he had a decent .909 save percentage in nine games. He took the loss against the Wild, allowing an ugly game-winning goal from a sharp angle. After that, he would go on to drop his next six starts, posting an .855 save percentage over that span. He finally snapped that streak in St. Louis with that huge 3-2 shootout win on Wednesday. Talbot will get an opportunity to build on his strong start as he gets the start tonight against the Wild.

5. Devan Dubnyk will be in net for the Wild tonight. The Oilers’ 2004 first-round pick and former goalie of the future has generally done well against the his former team. In nine career games against the Oilers since being dealt back in 2014 for Matt Hendricks, Dubnyk has earned eight wins. He owns a .911 save percentage on the season this year and a .921 save percentage in parts of five seasons with the Wild.

6. The Wild rely on shutdown defence and strong goaltending to find success. They rank eighth in the league with 80 goals against through 28 games and they allow the fewest shots on goal (27.31 per 60 minutes) at even strength in the league. Minnesota has a good shutdown guy on both of their top two pairings. Ryan Suter is their No. 1 defenceman but Jonas Brodin, who anchors the second pair, is also a strong defender.

7. The Wild weren’t able to shut down Connor McDavid in the previous meeting this year. After Suter got burned badly on a goal by McDavid, head coach Bruce Boudreau went with the quicker Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon to deal with the Oilers captain. McDavid slaughtered them. The Oilers had 19 shot attempts for, only nine against, and seven high danger chances in the nine minutes in which Brodin and Spurgeon were up against the McDavid.

8. While the Wild are great defensively, they aren’t great at putting the puck in the net. That isn’t really the Bruce Boudreau mantra, but it’s always been a Minnesota Wild thing dating back to the expansion-era Jacques Lemaire days. They rank 17th in the league with 86 goals for, which is an average of just over three goals-per-game.

9. The Wild have a lot of underachieving forwards this season when it comes to offensive production. Jason Zucker, who had 33 goals last year, only has nine goals so far. Charlie Coyle, once a 20-goal scorer, only has four goals this year. Nino Niederreiter, another consistent 20-goal guy, has only three goals.

10. The Oilers made a flurry of roster moves yesterday. Valentin Zykov got his visa issues sorted out and was activated, Drake Caggiula went on the Injured Reserve, Patrick Russell got sent to the AHL, and Cooper Marody came back up. Zykov is on the fourth line with Ryan Spooner and Ty Rattie in an attempt to get some offence into the bottom-six. The weird thing, though, is bringing up Marody, a legit prospect, just to sit in the press box. Why not bring up somebody like Brad Malone who doesn’t have a future with the club to sit and watch?


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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/07/2018 – 11:00 am MT

  • Spydyr

    “The weird thing, though, is bringing up Marody, a legit prospect, just to sit in the press box. ”

    Because it is the Oilers way. Why have a young kid play games and develop in the minors when he can sit and watch.

    • Redbird62

      We’ll see if he plays in the game against the Flames. If so, having him sit one game watching the team play from the press box might be helpful. The Condors next game isn’t until Saturday anyway. I think they had seen enough of Russell to now maybe give Cooper another chance. If Marody sits Saturday, which could happen if the roster tonight plays very well, then maybe it is a mistake. I am sure Marody is not complaining. He gets paid $11,000 a game, even in the press box up in the NHL (assuming salary is prorated by games on the roster versus days on the roster – either way he makes way more whether he sits or plays), compared to $1,000 a game in the AHL. Of the waiver eligible players on the AHL team, they probably view him as the most capable right now. If Malone were thought to be clearly superior for the Oiler’s line up, maybe they’d risk waivers on him when they have to send him back, but if they view them equally for what they can contribute, bringing up Marody makes more sense.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I don’t think it’s anything more than showing the promising players “the ropes”? They sit up with a coach and are shown the playing style & whats expected of them in real-time. Then review on film after (next day) with Hitch and the Coaching Staff.
      Maybe play a game or two, then go back to the A to work on what they learned.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          It’s not like they are teaching him to skate? The guy is a pro hockey player that just needs a little tweaking in the coaches eyes. A couple of games off the ice to see what he needs to focus on going forward not only engages him in the team & helps his development more than just playing him in the minors… Hope they start doing that with Benson, Jones, Hebig etc. as well.

  • The Wild are anything but. They remain the most boring team in the league. It’s excruciating watching them play against the Oilers. None of their goals are exciting. None of their players are fun to watch. It’s too bad this season the Wild play twice at Rogers Place because Oilers fans don’t deserve to pay money to watch an opponent like the Wild. However, McDavid will once again, make that boring team look utterly ridiculous.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Just saying that, the wild outshot the Flames 31-20 last night. While they have always played a defensive game they are a dangerous team that isn’t boring because they can get a lead they hold it.. If we continue to back check and play positionally, get some turnovers, this should be a watchable game.

  • FlamesFan27

    Can you Oilers take advantage this time? Yesterday afternoon, Gregor said this gives statistically them a 63% advantage, and they get it 18 times this year. They HAVE to be able to make the playoffs with that much of an advantage. Vancouver gets screwed on the schedule. Arizona also has a big advantage. Rest of Pacific is more or less even.

  • Rufio Barcoli

    Unknot the panties.
    The probably brought the kid up for a few days to be around the team. Let the coach meet him, see him and practice and let him get use to the roster.

    He is doing good in the minors, so more than likely he will see some ice-time with the big club sometime this year.
    Heck, even if one of the Oilers poops the bed tonight-maybe he slides into the line up next game.

    I don’t see the big deal.

    • Spydyr

      No one has their panties are in a knot as you so eloquently stated . It is just another strange decision made by a team that has a long history of strange decisions.

      • Rufio Barcoli

        You can meet people on more than one occasion.
        Are you saying he can only be around the team once?

        It appeared to me as quite a few had their panties in a knot. I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular 😉

        Realistically, not anybody from here had anything to do with that decision-so it appears: it is all a matter of ignorant and arrogant perspective.

      • Shameless Plugger

        I think we’re jumping the gun a bit here. If he’s here for two weeks and hasn’t played or only gotten into 1 game I can understand the bellyaching. But my goodness the transaction isn’t even 24 hrs. old yet and we’re already moaning about it.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          or trying to read into it and comment like pro-hockey scouts or something…
          This is a fan forum, not a scouts private twitter acct.
          Those that call out team decisions as being idiotic should give their head a shake?
          They should leave that to the pros.

  • The Oil is due for a loss, this is Oilers hockey after all.

    Hitch has got everyone bamboozled with his low scoring, defensive style of play. This madness stops tonight and Dubnyk is just the guy to see to it.

    Wild 3 – Oilers 1

  • Bob Lawblaw

    It would be nice if the doubters would relax. Give the Oilers some time to get adjusted to the new system and learn what to expect from Hitchcock. Then, when everyone is on the same page, watch the offense take off. The Oilers have had a 3 day break since Hitch has been here but if I recall, there was a CBA mandated day off in there, preventing an extra practice.

    I’m sure that the Oilers will be just fine. Stay positive. Being negative doesn’t help anything or anyone.

    No matter what, win or lose, the Oilers are my team. Period.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Very well said, my sentiments, exactly… 3 full practices under Hitch up until the St. Louis game.
      I’d like to see anyone change a team dynamic that fast, let alone with questionable snipers outside the top 6?
      Awesome comment Mr. Blah Blah…