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GDB Game Notes: Canucks @ Oilers

The Oilers are back from the Christmas break on a three-game losing streak and tonight’s opponent was the team that got it started. For the second time in under two weeks, the Oilers will faceoff against the Vancouver Canucks, and this time they’d be best served to stay out of the penalty box. 

1. When these teams met up 11 days ago, the Canucks had an absolute field day with the man advantage. They popped off for three straight power play goals within the first 25 minutes of the hockey game and the Oilers went from having a pretty good start where they were able to grab a one-goal lead to a limping finish in a real hurry. Special teams matter and we’ll have to hope for better tonight.

2. Speaking of power play goals, the Oilers haven’t been getting as many as they’d like lately and it’s been costing them points in the standings. In December, the Oilers have nine goals on 44 chances (20%) which isn’t exactly terrible, but there have been too many games where their PP has been a complete non-factor. I’m thinking specifically of the loss against St. Louis when they went 0/5 with the man advantage which basically paved the way for the Blues to steal the night.

3. Just as concerning as the special teams play is the trend where the Oilers have been heavily outshot for six straight games in a row. On December 9th, a 1-0 shutout win against the Flames, the Oilers were mostly able to suffocate Calgary’s attack and limit them to only 24 shots, but the following six games have been quite the opposite. They’ve had a knack for bleeding chances and had it not been for some fine goaltending performances then who knows where the losing streak would be right now. Perhaps the boys were getting tired after playing so many games leading up the break or something, but there’s no way Ken Hitchcock is happy about some of the looks his team has been giving up in their own zone.

4. The Canucks sit at 17-18-4, only one point behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild card spot in the West. After going through a horrible stretch of losses (1-10-2) in November, the Canucks are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have really turned things around.

5. On the penalty kill, the Canucks have killed off 22 straight penalties over their last nine games and have been perfect on the PK in 21 of 39 games. When these two teams first met, the Oilers got only one power play opportunity while the Canucks had five (scored on three), and it will be interesting to see what role the special teams will play in tonight’s rematch.

6. Looking at the scoring leaders for both clubs, Connor McDavid has nine points (2G, 7A) in his last five games leading into the Christmas break while Elias Pettersson has three (1G, 2A) for the Canucks. I know some Canucks fans love to try and sell the idea that Pettersson is better than Connor, and don’t get me wrong he’s a damned fine player, but let’s not pretend it’s close at this point.

7. The Oilers are riding a four-game winning streak against the Canucks at Rogers Place. Let’s hope the streak continues because I’ll be in the building tonight and there’s nothing more annoying than happy Canucks fans. On the bright side, I have a sparkling 2-0 record when I’m in attendance so far this season.

8. The losses against Tampa Bay and Vancouver marked only the second time that Mikko Koskinen has lost back-to-back starts all season. The big Finn has been remarkably steady for the Oilers all season, but even he looked human against the Lightning and Canucks, finishing both games with sub-.900 save percentages.

9. I’ve really liked the way that Caleb Jones has played in the four games since being recalled. As the games have gone on, Hitchcock has shown more and more trust in the young defenceman and continues to reward him with increased playing time and responsibility. Jones’ TOI has increased in each of his four games, starting out at 11:59 in his debut against the Jets and climbing all the way up to 19:19 against Tampa Bay. Now, one could argue that he shouldn’t be playing this much so soon, but the Oilers don’t have all that many options to run with and Jones has formed a nice third (sometimes second) pairing with Kevin Gravel.

10. How could I not mention the white-hot heater that Alex Chiasson has been on so far this season? When you need a goal, Chiasson is there. For a guy that came in on a PTO with a chance to maybe add some veteran depth to the roster, he’s been a ridiculous find for Peter Chiasson so far and while we don’t know how long this 32% shooting percentage will last, I’m going to keep hoping that he’ll score on every third shot forever.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/27/2018 – 7:00 am MT

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Alright so I’m a little ticked off this morning and so this isn’t going to be very positive. This scenario has ALL the makings of a typical Oilers loss. They’re playing an opponent “inferior” to them and they’re coming off a bit of break. Who knows, maybe they’ll surprise me and win. I’m still gonna watch, but I won’t be surprised if they lose.

    AND ANOTHER THING! Anyone who believes that any other player who is “better” than Connor McDavid (except for Crosby of course) needs to get their ****ing brain lobotomized. Is Pettersson good? Yes. But he’s not McDavid. Canuck fans. When Elias Pettersson wins 2 Art Rosses (back 2 back), 2 Ted Lindsey’s (back 2 back) and a Hart trophy (the fact that he wasn’t nominated last year is embarassing and only goes to show media bias in these things), then you can start talking about him being “equal” to McDavid. Same goes for Matthews. Same goes for Eichel. Same goes for MacKinnon, Rantanen, and all those other plugs. Crosby > McDavid > everybody else

    Enjoy the game boys and I’ll see you for the recap

  • Oiler Al

    B Milk… please clean up this site.. here is a continuous pop-up … URL exclusiverewards16online/,,,they are posing as a bogus Rogers survey. offering free gift. I called Rogers and they are not part of this scam.
    PS: Oilers Nation is the only site that this comes on!!! Enjoy the site but fix this mess, its annoying, unless you are welcoming them.. stop. Its comi9ng via Oilers Nation ..ONLY1

    • The Voice In The Dark

      For my part, I only get the popups when I’m on my phone and using data. At home on my laptop, or using WiFi on my phone, I get no issues. My solution is to disable JavaScript on my phone before I visit any Nation sites. Hope that helps with the cleanup efforts.

  • MrBung

    This game will help show if their win streak was just a honeymoon period with a new coach or something more. Losing this game to the Canucks at home would be a gut punch this team will likely not have the mental toughness to recover. And a script playing out similar to last season.

  • KootenayDan

    I just want to see a good game. The Canucks are full marks for a very good rebuilding season. If the Oil survive the injuries on the backend things will look up.

  • Quoteright

    I would put this as a must win. The streak has to end and I hope they come out in fire!!!
    Maybe I will even hear the crowd getting into it, some cheering for the playoff race. Some lood Loooch and Nuuuuge chants.
    Da da Da da da
    Let’s go Oil ers!!!

  • VK63

    Jones can skate and actually has the capacity make outlet passes that find the tape of a fellow Oiler. *gasp*
    Yes its an indictment on the organization when “best available option” and “raw rookie” are synonymous but…. this is the Oilers we are talking about.
    Competence left the building a very very long time ago. Sadly, were it to return, it must swim through a moat of red wine, arrogance and 80’s leftovers who guard the gate like ferocious trolls at a secret drawbridge.
    Other than that.

    ITS FREAKING AWESOME.

  • ed from edmonton

    Last year the Oi had a good first 3 weeks of December and had gotten themselves close to playoff contention. Immediately after Christmas they lost a close game in the Peg followed by back to back 5-0 losses at home. They were done for the year after that. This year they are in a bit better spot but the next two games ate close to must wins if they want to stay in contention. The games vs the Jets will be a challenge. A defence mad up of as many AHLers (Garrison, Gravel, Jones) as NHLers will need to hold together some how.

  • Spydyr

    The Oiler historically have not been very good in turkey games. Hopefully the team shows up tonight. They need to start winning the games against teams below them more often.