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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 33.0: Another KoskiWin (7pm MST, SNW)

Mikko Koskinen has been unbeatable at home. He is a perfect 6-0, has allowed only five goals and he’s stopped 180 of 185 shots in six starts. A win tonight would tie him for the best home start in Oilers history with Bill Ranford.

Ranford won his first seven home games. Edmonton acquired Ranford, along with Geoff Courtnall and a second round pick from Boston for Andy Moog on March 8th, 1988. Battling Billy defeated Vancouver in his first home game on March 18th and beat St.Louis on April first.

He started the 1988/1989 season as Grant Fuhr’s backup and won home games the Islanders and Jets on October 7th and 9th, defeated the Blues on November 2nd, the Maple Leafs on November 19th, Vancouver on the 30th, before losing to the Calgary Flames on December 2nd. However, Ranford didn’t start that game. Fuhr did and was pulled after allowing four goals in 22 minutes. Ranford came in and the Oilers ended up losing 7-4, and because Ranford allowed the 5th goal, he was credited with the loss. Truly a ridiculous rule, since when he entered the game the Oilers were trailing 4-2 and they never tied the game at any point.

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Ranford got the loss so his official home record dropped to 7-1.

If we look at home starts to a career then Ranford won his first 11, but for the official record books of best home record to start a career, Koskinen can tie Ranford tonight with his seventh consecutive win.

Koskinen clearly loves playing at home. His aforementioned numbers are outstanding and his teammates are raving about his play.

“He has been remarkable, really. And not just for a few games. He’s been great every game. In Colorado he kept us in the game until we got going in the second period,” said Matt Benning.

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When players have confidence in their goalie, they are more likely to try a bit more of a risky play defensively. It is not different than an offensive player who is feeling it. They will try an extra saucer pass, or toe drag, because they are confident it will work, rather than just chip the puck deep.

But don’t mistake confidence in Koskinen for them playing loose defensively. In his last five home starts Koskinen has averaged 29 shots against. He’s only faced over 30 shots twice. In Colorado he had to bail out his team, but at home the team defence in front of him has been much better.

Koskinen is giving the Oilers a chance to win every game, and when needed he has won them a game. He is giving the team Starter-Like appearances and based on games played — he has eight starts to Talbot’s four under Ken Hitchcock — I think it is clear is he the starter moving forward for the Oilers.

One other fun tidbit for Koskinen. Since 1967 expansion only two goalies have registered three shutouts in their first six home starts. Koskinen and Dwayne Roloson did it with Tampa Bay in 2011.

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LINEUP…

Oilers

Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson
Khaira-RNH-Puljujarvi
Lucic-Brodziak-Kassian
Caggiula-Spooner-Rieder
Nurse-Larsson
Gravel-Jones
Garrison-Benning
Koskinen
Caleb Jones makes his NHL debut tonight. Jones shoots left, but he has played the right side all year in Bakersfield and he will slot in there tonight on the second pair with Kevin Gravel. Jones is an excellent skater, and he will be their second best skating Dman behind Darnell Nurse. Jones will add a lot of speed, and look for him to not be scared to get involved in the rush. Pairing him with Gravel, who has been quite steady the past few games, tells me Trent Yawney will be giving Jones the green light to jump up in the play.
I want to take a moment to discuss the two ridiculous backhand passes Leon Draisaitl has delivered the past two games. This cross-ice-saucer-pass to a streaking McDavid in Colorado was simply unreal. McDavid reactions tells you how great that pass was.

Then his pass from the corner, across the seam to McDavid, who sets up Alec Chiasson for the goal, was equally impressive.

Again, McDavid is pointing right at Draisaitl. We should be talking about those passes more. When a player makes a bad play it is discussed to death. Let’s do the same with great plays, and those two passes by Draisaitl are two of the best you will see all season. Being able to pass like that on his backhand is truly remarkable. The NHL is full of the best players in the world and there are maybe five guys in the league who can make those passes consistently. Maybe five.

Flyers

Van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Konecny
Raffl-Couturier-Voracek
Laughton-Patrick-Simmonds
Lindblom-Varone-Weise
Provorov-Gostisbehere
Hagg-MacDonald
Sanheim-GudasStolarz
The Flyers, despite sitting 25th in the NHL, have some dangerous weapons, but they can’t outscore their defensive problems. They are allowing 3.69 goals/game, only Chicago and Ottawa are worse. They allowed six goals in Calgary on Wednesday, including two in the final 70 seconds to force OT. Their goaltending hasn’t been good enough. They’ve had five different starters: Brian Elliot (13 starts), Calvin Pickard (8), Anthony Stolarz (7), Michal Neuvirth (2) and Alex Lyon (1). Elliot (.911) is the only one with a SV% above .889. As a group they have allowed 102 goals on 872 shots for a combined .883sv%.
Stolarz has a 3.80 GAA and .889 Sv%. The Oilers need to light him up and they have been much better against backups this season compared to previous seasons.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton has scored 3+ goals in nine of their 14 home games. That continues tonight as they win 4-1

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: RNH scores. He has eight goals in nine career games against the Flyers.

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NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Four fans are inspired by the Oilers in-house band and they too dress up like Mario and Luigi in Blue and Orange. The four diehards receive high fives walking through the concourse, and the band watches in envy wondering why those fans are revered, yet no one high fives them despite carrying drums and trombones.

MONTH OF GIVING

Thank you to Emil for his wonderful bid on the Hughes package and for all of you who helped out in the Pyramid of Giving for Adopt-A-Teen.

DAY 10, Package #1: McDavid and Hockey

  • A signed Connor McDavid jersey
  • Pair of seats, row 22, to the Oilers game vs. Panthers on January 10th.

Package #2:

  • $1000 GC to use at any Liquor Depot
  • Twi bottles of Flat Bourbon Tennessee Whiskey
  • Pair of seats, row 23, to Oilers game vs. Blues on December 18th

You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today. All proceeds will go to the M.E. Lazerte breakfast and lunch program

GDB BROUGHT TO YOU BY COLLIN BRUCE MORTGAGE TEAM

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We are paid by the banks on the size of the mortgage, not the interest rate, so we try to get you as low as rate as we can. Whether it is a purchase, renewal or refinance, contact us to see what we can do to help!

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    • abbeef

      Oiler’s fans we are allowed to cheer for both goalies. In fact as Hitchcock has pointed out many times since he got here we may have the best goalie duo in the league since Hitch’s arrival. This is a big reason for the record.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Draisaitl hit McDavid with that backhand sauce from a different area code. I quite literally couldn’t believe what I saw until the replay showed it in slow motion.

  • Hemmercules

    Those overtime passes that Drai makes are probably he nicest passes I have seen in my life. Perfect backhand saucers on the tape every single time. Sometimes over a couple sticks or through a guys legs too. I personally don’t think there is a better backhand pass in the league right now.

    Looking forward to seeing Jones on D tonight. Oilers win. 4-3 regulation.

  • Gravis82

    I have an iPhone se, and the two videos played 15seconds of non skipable e ads (which is longer than literally any other video I have ever seen) , then refused to play the actual video

    Use a different host

  • Himynameistaylor

    I wonder how sustainable Koskinen’s play is. I don’t think he’s a bonafide starter—yet but I also don’t think Talbots done yet.

    Situation reminds me of the days of Markannen/Conklin except I’d put Koskinen/Talbot higher on the talent spectrum.

      • abbeef

        Stole this from another poster on a different site:
        Some people aren’t being objective.

        Kosi had a worse SV% against the Avs, The only reason the Oilers won that game is because the Oilers scored more goals. Nobody was ragging on Kosi, but let’s rag on Talbot when he had a better SV% facing a compete onslaught and when challenged on it the defense is that Talbot has had a bad season.

        Sums up the anti Talbot after last night. On another note I hope Koskinen ties the record tonight.

        • Stallions #35

          Its evident some Oilers fan needs a whipping boy every year…and this year, it so happens to be Talbot. Which is unfortunate considering if it wasn’t for his stellar play a few seasons ago… we might have gone 12 years without playoffs?

        • Leichs

          Abbeef I get what you are saying but let me say this. Koskinen has been virtually a top 3 goalie in the league since his first game. Talbot has played mostly awful this year up until Hitch was hired and straightened out our defensive play. Kosk has earned the right to have a bad game with all the solid play he has given us this year. How many wins has Kosk stolen for us and how many games has he costed us? Now ask that same question about Talbs. No one is going to rag on anyone after a win, problem with Talbs has been that he has been in the net for more losses than wins. His freakin save % is .894 with the exact same team that Koskin plays behind. So yeah, when I see goals like that OT goal against the Jets go in it makes me smh knowing Kosk wouldnt allow that crap. Who the hell is going to rag on Kosk after a win with a 10-3 record lol

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Koskienen has been pretty solid, I hope his winning streak continues, the one thing that concerns me though is Larson and Nurse played a ton last night and now the second game in 24 hours, I wonder how much they will have left in the tank because I expect the Flyers to come out banging and try and keep the puck in play as possible to wear the Oilers down, I sure hope that doesnt work out for them.

    The Oil havent been bad at home so maybe that will work in the Oil’s favour, And the flyers D hasnt been the best either The Flames took the flyers D to the woodshed when they played them, so lets hope that the Oilers can do the same. Go Oil!

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      With Caleb Jones coming in to play D Hitch said in the media scrum that Jones has played with Gravel on D before in the NHL and that is why he has them paired up together for tonights game, I didnt know that, so maybe that pairing will not too bad. I have liked Gravels play more and more I see him play, he seems pretty steady in the back end

  • Dark Knight Returns

    Here we go. Here’s our opportunity: Mid game trade: Talbot for whatever Philly feels like leaving here. Maybe a 3rd round and their backup goalie.

    Cap relief, a nice pick, a goalie …. that would be a win.

    Do it Chia.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Oilers are in tough on what to do with Talbot, his trade value isn’t that strong right now unless he goes to a team that really really is in goalie trouble, he is in his last year of his contract and they need to know if Koskinen can play the majority of games if he take the number one spot and Koskinen contract is also up at the end of the year. If the Oilers annoit Koskinen as tehre guy going forward they still have to work out a contract for him and then figure out what to do with Talbot, cause I dont see Talbot wanting to be a back up here and not at 4 mil plus

  • Kepler62c

    Good to see you sat back and thought about what Ference had to say:

    “When a player makes a bad play it is discussed to death. Let’s do the same with great plays, and those two passes by Draisaitl are two of the best you will see all season.”

  • The Ghost of Alex Plante

    I really don’t get all the love the idea of trading Talbot is getting. Koskinen has been fantastic, but he’s only started 14 games. 14 isn’t all that much really. I’m totally on board with the idea of moving forward with Koskinen as the starter, he’s earned it, but my God people, he’s started 14 games!

    I’ve really been impressed with Koskinen so far, he’s proved all of his doubters wrong (including me) but 14 starts is an incredibly small sample size to be trading away the only other NHL caliber net-minder the team has. How many other goalies have gone on small sample size heaters? Anyone remember Anders Nilsson? Dustin Tokarski anyone? How about Andrew Hammond? Remember when Michael Leighton carried the Flyers all the way to the finals?

    I’m not saying that Koskinen is just a lousy goalie on a hot-streak, because I’m not certain if he is or isn’t, all I’m saying is trading away Talbot right now is a bad idea. If we trade Talbot, who’s the backup? Montoya? Yikes, does everyone forget how bad he was last year? His AHL numbers this year look terrifying. You all are railing on Talbot, but Montoya’s AHL numbers are worse than Talbot’s NHL stats! Talbot’s far from perfect, but realistically who else in the Oilers organization is better than him?

    • Odanada

      I am impressed by Koskinen’s play, but you are right: the sample size is small.
      The thing is, this is the big show and the players are all really smart. You may have a “move” or a “style” that works, but sooner or later players figure that out. They figured Talbot out and without any substantive growth in his style (coaching), he’s been “iffy” at best ever since.
      Koskinen is big, positions himself well, is mobile and has good reflexes – these are all very desirable traits. But sooner or later, they’ll start to figure him out too. I agree it’s hard to mortgage the farm on Koskinen until you get a bigger sample.
      In the meantime, he is playing lights out fantastic and since he is signed for only this season, I think you’ve got to play him as much as he can take. Roll with the big man.

    • jesse says yep

      I disagree, Koskinin has shown the ability to play 45-50 games a year and have tremendous numbers doing it in a very good hockey league. The KHL is not the NHL but Koskinin has shown the ability to dominate against some really good players over a long period of time. If he did that in the AHL teams would move him up without a second thought. He is a grown man that has already worked through the kinks of learning how to be a pro and now that he has shown that he has the skills to put up really great numbers in the NHL I have a decent level of confidence that it is sustainable. Not through the bank at him kind of confidence but enough to offer him a contract extension at the end of this season.

      • jesse says yep

        check that. for some reason i thought he had another year on his contract. in that case, extend him now for 2 years as cheap as possible. If Talbot rebounds then the Oil will have more leverage if they try and resign him.

      • Odanada

        I like his style and there’s no doubt in the world that he’ made the Oilers a better team.
        He’s a real find; good on whoever thought of him. There’s pluses and minuses to locking him down for a few years. Remember, Talbot looked great in 2016-17, but now? Not so much.

  • Dark Knight Returns

    Not to cause controversy but strictly statistically and mathematically speaking: if Talbot was un net…. we’d be 3-3 with 3 minutes to go on the game.
    #KossTime #TalbotDone