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GDB Game Notes: Oilers @ Ducks

The Oilers won’t have very much time to think about their horrendous effort last night against the Kings as they’ll be back in action tonight in Anaheim. Here are your game day notes.

1. Last night’s loss to the Kings was easily the Oilers’ worst performance of the season. The basement-dwelling Kings made the Oilers look like an AHL team, holding them just 16 shots in a 4-0 victory. Despite being dead-last in the league in goals for, the Kings cruised to four goals on the Oilers. It honestly looked like a game straight out of 2012 when the Kings were dominant and the Oilers were tanking.

2. Ken Hitchcock had a pretty damning quote after the game last night. He said that the Oilers only dig deep and get motivated when the team gets embarrassed. We’ve seen big outings after lopsided losses to Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas, to name a few, and there’s a good chance we’ll see an Oilers club with a bruised ego come out hard against the Ducks tonight. As Hitch said, though, that isn’t good enough. The team needs to be motivated on a night in, night out basis. They’re in a position in which every game is important and they simply can’t afford to be dropping games to teams like the Kings because they feel like taking an optional day.

3. An amazing stat from last night: Edmonton’s bottom-six forwards managed to combine for just one shot on the Kings. Seven shots came from the Big Three of McDavid, RNH, and Draisaitl, eights shots came from defensemen, and JJ Khaira was the only non-Big Three forward who managed to get a shot on goal. I’m not really sure what the solution is. The depth just isn’t there.

4. Perhaps the most embarrassing part of last night’s game was Drew Doughty getting away with elbowing Connor McDavid in the face. Remember when the Oilers needed to acquire big, tough, scary players to stop this from happening? Well, they acquired big, tough, scary players who provide virtually nothing to the team, and it’s still happening. We can complain about reffing all we want and hooks and grabs and slashes on McDavid going unnoticed, but the reality is this whole deterrence thing players like Milan Lucic, Zack Kassian, and Brandon Manning bring isn’t worth the team being devoid of skill and depth.

5. The Western Conference being weak has allowed the Oilers to remain alive in the playoff race. As of right now, it looks like five teams (Calgary, Winnipeg, Nashville, Vegas, and San Jose) are solidly in the playoffs and two teams (Colorado and Dallas) are good bets to get in. That leaves Edmonton battling with Anaheim, Minnesota, and Vancouver for the final playoff spot. The Ducks are on a seven-game losing streak, the Wild are mediocre and are without Matt Dumba for a few months, and the Canucks are in a rebuilding mode. The field isn’t that strong and the Oilers really should be better than those three teams.

6. The Oilers are Ducks have met just once so far this season. It came back on American Thanksgiving when the Oilers gave up a last-minute goal to blow a 1-0 lead before losing in overtime. That game was a perfect example of the Hitchcock vs. Randy Carlyle style with both teams sitting back in defensive shells and executing a tight, dead-puck-era style of play. I imagine we’ll see a similar game tonight between these two clubs.

7. Like I said, the Ducks are currently riding a seven-game losing streak. Regression seems to have finally caught up with Anaheim as they were winning games despite boasting some of the worst underlying numbers in the league. Anaheim is allowing a whopping 61.12 shot attempts against per 60 minutes at even strength, which is second last in the league ahead of only the Ottawa Senators.

8. The Ducks are putrid offensively and rely on amazing goaltending to win games. John Gibson has been incredible this year. He owns a .925 save percentage and has had only three times in 35 starts has he posted a save percentage under .850 in a game. Even backup goalie Ryan Miller has been excellent for the Ducks as he owns a .922 save percentage in his 10 outings.

9. Anaheim needs incredible goaltending because they don’t have much going for them offensively. The team rank 28th in the league in goals for with 101 on the season and Pontus Aberg, who was claimed off waivers at the beginning of the season from the Oilers, is tied for the team lead with Ondrej Kase with 11 goals. The reality for the Ducks is they’ve gotten old. Ryan Getzlaf is still a good player, Ryan Kesler is a shell of his former self. He has just six points in 39 games playing through nagging injuries. Corey Perry, another staple of the past on the Ducks, has missed the whole season thus far due to injury.

10. The Ducks will get a big boost tonight as Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell are both expected to be activated from the Injured Reserve. Rakell, who was Anaheim’s leading scorer last year, has missed about a month of action, and Fowler, who is Anaheim’s best offensive defenceman, has been out of the lineup since November. Having both back will be a big boost to the team offensively. Still, even with those two key players in the mix, the Ducks don’t have much depth offensively.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/06/2019 – 11:00 am MST



  • Ratt McNuge

    The Oilers are a bad hockey team, and it’s a disgrace what Katz et al have done to the quality of the on-ice product even after being gifted the best player in the game. This team will not make the playoffs. Fire Peter Chiarelli immediately.

    • oil.99.97.11

      Katz is building his legacy as one of the worst owners in the history of pro sports. What’s sickening is he’ll make hundreds of millions doing it.

      The ‘business’ of the Oilers will always do well (just as the Leafs under Harold Ballard did) on account of a rabid fan base…from old ‘glory-days’ fans to long-term season ticket holders to 2nd-tier fans to just fans of great hockey and great hockey players (acquired by lottery or otherwise).

  • Odanada

    If they find the fire and come out strong and beat the Ducks, it doesn’t change that this is a pretty bad team. Take away 4-5 guys and it is AHL caliber.
    Chia has to go and it would appear that Nicholson has frozen up, or simply doesn’t have the jam to axe Chia. The Manning deal is proof that Chia is chucking darts like a hopeful half-wit. How is it BN can patiently watch this cowflop like a turnaround is just around the corner?
    A “culture” change is needed, but that requires a very strong manager at the top, setting the tone and making positive moves. Is that how anyone sees Nicholson? I sure don’t.
    While I always cheer for the Oil to win, I don’t see a win changing what’s wrong with this team.

    • Peplinski's Thunderbird

      Wasn’t the “culture” changed when noted cancer-in-the-room Taylor Hall was traded away? or was it when Eberle was shipped out because he wasn’t a “playoff performer” and lacked heart? wasn’t “culture” the motivating factor in throwing $40M at Lucic? If “culture” is so important, why isnt Matt Hendricks still an oiler? Any time you hear anyone in oilers management utter the word “culture” you can safely assume they don’t have the foggiest idea what they are doing, or what they are talking about.

  • Alfonso

    There’s nothing more disgusting in the world of pro sports than a team that quits on itself … and that’s what the hapless Oielrs did when they ignored the elbow to McGreedy last night … it just got lower & lower as they watched as Doughty (you know, the guy that Chuckie owns) flashed that toothless grin on the bench after the fact … there was nary a peep form these hapless Oilers … they just took a standing 8 count while saying “give, I give …”

  • madjam

    Connor may be a big part of problem , seeing as he is the Captain and not maybe not all that good at motivating the rest of team beyond his line mates . Draisaitl might be similar when not with Connor .

  • Johnny Zylon

    So Hitchcock finally rips the team. Today’s performance will say a lot about the Oilers integrity or lack thereof. If they sheet the bed today it’s time to trade the mall.

  • Chris_Cruise

    When I think of past Oil coaches it brings to mind the scene at the end of Jedi where Luke looks and sees the ghost versions of Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin.

    I imagine Connor looking out seeing Dallas, Todd, and soon to be added Hitch.

    Meanwhile we know Chia is just undercover Palpatine in his politician garb. Lmfao. I’m losing my mind here with this team.

    • DraiCup

      Rofl!
      Generelly I think in any sport the big time players have more of a say in the decision making process of a franchise than it gets communicated to the public. Lebron James is a good example of that.
      just watch this and skip to the 2:00 minute mark
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsihZPaIzYo
      think that might have anything to do with that signing? Funny how things turn out sometimes 😉

    • Sammy27

      Every summer management plans for next year by assuming a best case scenario: All players will bounce back to their best season ever, if young, will magically improve to play the best potential season ever. All players will play consistently for 82 games. Not one player will get injured, and if they do, we won’t replace them because they’ll be back earlier than the time required to heal.
      Ride it out until the trade deadline, see what you’ve got in the kids, then trade all of the extra parts for draft picks — and assume you’re not making the playoffs next year.

      • MrBung

        Excellent point. Chia has been really bad for that. This is a big reason this team is in the crapper and will like finish in bottom 3 or 5 in the league. With the best player on the planet. It’s criminal.

      • Spydyr

        Everyone responsible for the on ice product from the owner on down should be ashamed of themselves.

        The stink of failure has wafted from this organization for decade after decade.

      • Spydyr

        Well he did hire Lowe’s buddy Nicholson from hockey Canada after Lowe put his foot so far into his mouth he could no longer be publicly associated withe the team.Nicholson then hired Chiarelli and the proof is in the pudding there. Nicholson then did a audit and came up with “a plan”. No one knows what the audit showed or what the plan is.

        • Odanada

          I don’t think Nicholson knows what the plan is.
          Boy. I bet he misses those international jaunts with Hockey Canada footing the bill while he hobnobbed like a princeling.

  • Hemmertime83

    Shouldn’t player safety review that elbow? I get the refs missed it but that should still be fineable or even suspension. Primary contact to the head with an elbow to the star of the league. That should not be allowed

    • Hemmertime83

      Also it was the perfect time for crap head manning to make a positive image in Edmonton. We had lost. go after doughty all out. He didn’t. Get rid of em

    • Chris_Cruise

      Absolutely no review necessary.

      Yes it was cheap, and while I, like many, probably thought the rivalry between 97 & 8 was more honorable, clearly it’s not, and 97 learned that lesson last night.

      Not to mention the fact that Connor put himself in harms way by skating DIRECTLY behind Doughty. Even beer league’rs avoid that situation due to swinging arms, stick, elbows, and skates and we don’t even play contact. Move to the side, keep your space. Lesson learned.

      Sure it was cheap and uncalled for but if we’re being objective, it’s the NHL, that kind of crap happens all the time behind the play and worse. Connor knows he’s a marked man and he needs get the hell away from those situations for his own self preservation. It’s as much on him if we’re being fair. Doughty was just doing his job. Oilers players should have been doing the same damn thing to the Kings players but we haven’t grasped that gamesmanship.

  • Datsyukian

    So much for Jason Gregor’s contest on ON with a free pair of tickets to an Oilers game going to the fan who correctly guesses the first forward outside the McDraiNugeChia quartet to score in the next three (now two) games. I am laughing at myself now for picking Khaira to score in LA. My new bet is that none of these forwards will score in the remaining two games, and we’ll be lucky if we score 2 goals in each of these games.

  • Green Bastard

    This summer my Gramma had a mosquito on her arm and before it bit her, I swatted it, harder than that elbow. Seriously, I hope Connor’s neck is ok.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    And Miller the Oiler Killer will get the call and shut out the Oil once again.

    Katz is a recluse joke. Must be nice to hide inside in a basement worth more than everything I own and play with your toys. He is just weird. Him and Eugene Melnyk probably play Twister together for Money.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    No coach could fix this team. None from then or now. However a competent General Manager and a Owner who really cares would.

    Pete , I would have lost 50 jobs by now if screwed up 2% as much as you have. Go practice Law , just get out of the Hockey world please.

  • regw

    #orangeonice
    This team is PAID to play hockey, thus, play the uck!n# game. If you don’t care about the fan, then “own” “that” jersey on the ice! (or play the game you are paid for….)

  • Serious Gord

    The last seven looses stat is a bit deceiving. Two were otls; two were one goal games plus empty nets and most if the teams were playoff quality.

    Gotta think the ducks win tonight. If the oil come out flat it could be a blowout.

  • Shaun Doe

    Wonder if Chia will put in a claim for Nikita Scherbak projected as a top six winger with size (6’2″ 192lbs) and skills. Scouting says he tends to avoid the corners but positions himself well for offense.

    • Chris_Cruise

      Let’s go with 7-3…for 97’s sake. We gotta at least hope he stays in the hunt for top spot in league scoring. As for the blowout, we could only hope it might mean the final nail in the Chia coffin.