252
Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 44.0: Home Jekyll or Home Hyde? (7pm MST, SNW)

Outside of the obvious increase in overall talent, the one area that separates the top teams in the west from those battling for the wildcard spots is their records on home ice. Nashville is 15-7, Winnipeg 15-6-2, Vegas is 15-3-3, San Jose is 15-4-4 and Calgary is 13-4-4. Meanwhile, Minnesota is 10-7-3, Edmonton is 10-9-1, Anaheim is 10-6-8, Colorado is 9-6-5 and Vancouver is 9-9-1.

The Oilers have seven games before the All-Star break and subsequent bye week, and six of them are on home ice. They need to string together some wins at home and keep pace in the wildcard hunt and hope that the return of Oscar Klefbom in February can give them a needed boost to stick in the race.

But if they don’t take advantage of home ice then they will likely have to play catchup in February and March, and history suggests it is very difficult to make up ground late in the season due to the Bettman loser point.

The Oilers home record is the best example of their Jekyll and Hyde personality.

In their ten home wins they have allowed eleven goals. Yes, only eleven goals. They’ve allowed two goals four times, one goal three times and have three shutouts. They’ve scored 35 goal in their ten victories. Outscoring teams 35-11 is outstanding, but the issue is their other ten home games.

In those ten they are 0-9-1 and have looked lost defensively. They’ve allowed 7, 6, 6, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4 and 3 goals, for a total of 48 goals against, and they’ve scored 25 goals.

In ten games you allow eleven goals, but in the other ten you surrender 48. It seems impossible, but I double-checked my numbers and the Oilers have been that polar opposite defensively.

If they aren’t prepared to play smart defensively tonight the Panthers will expose them. The Panthers are 10th in the NHL averaging 3.15 goals/game. They can score. Their problem is they give up way too much. They are 28th in GA at 3.51/game. Edmonton can’t get sucked in to exchanging changes with the Panthers, because Florida will outscore them.

The Panthers are 9-11-2 on the road and in their 13 road losses they’ve allowed 64 goals and have surrendered 5+ goals seven times. Their road games mirror the Oilers home games.

Ken Hitchcock has reunited his first line for tonight, mainly because he wants Connor McDavid to go head-to-head against Aleksander Barkov. I won’t be surprised to see both centres play upwards of 24 minutes tonight.

LINEUP…

Oilers

Draisaitl– McDavid – Chiasson
Lucic – RNH – Puljujarvi
Rieder – Khaira – Kassian
Gambardella – Brodziak – Spooner

Jones – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Benning

Talbot

Alex Petrovic is out with a concussion and Matt Benning draws in, while Joseph Gambardella slots in for Ty Rattie. The Oilers have three injured D-men (Klefbom, Sekera and Petrovic) and Manning still isn’t in the lineup. So he is 10th on the depth chart and makes $2.25 million. My goodness the cap and asset management of that trade gets uglier by the moment.

“I think Koski (Koskinen) has hit a wall a bit, but I think he is starting to come out of it. I love his attitude, he isn’t afraid to look in the mirror and know what is wrong,” said Ken Hitchcock this morning on why Talbot is starting again. Talbot was excellent against Anaheim, and he got a mercy pull in San Jose.

Panthers

Huberdeau-Barkov-Malgin
Dadonov-McCann-Hoffman
Vatrano-Borgstrom-Brouwer
Haley-Lammikko-Sceviour

Yandle-Ekblad
Matheson-Pysyk
Kiselevich-Weegar

Reimer

Head coach Bob Boughner switched up his top line, moving Dadonov down with Hoffman and sliding Malgin up fro the third line. Last Tuesday Boughner benched Huberdeau, Hoffman and Yandle for the final 32 minutes of the game after the Panthers gave up shorthanded goals five minutes apart. After the game he said the trio was “out to lunch.”

When a coach benches some of the top players it sends a much stronger message than having your fourth line ride the pine.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Litter Box Cats:

Edmonton (20-20-3) has dropped eight of 10 games but is only a couple of points back of a wild-card spot. Despite their struggles, the Oilers are looking at a golden chance to make a push. Six of their next seven games are on home ice, and only two of their next eight opponents are currently in a playoff position.

Sure, the middling Oilers have no right to look down on any club, but the potential to get on a roll is right there — provided they find something that’s been in short supply this season.

”This road trip, we played two really good games and two bad games. We’ve got to find that consistency,” forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said.

Consistency has also eluded the Panthers (17-17-7), who have dropped three straight games and arrive in Edmonton after a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday to kick off a five-game road trip.

Well, the Panthers have been consistent in one area of late — falling behind. Florida has surrendered the first goal in seven consecutive contests, four times within the first two minutes.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have lost five consecutive home games getting outscored 25-13. It’s been ugly at home, but they buck the trend and pick up their first home win since December 14th. Oilers win 4-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Panthers are averaging the second most powerplay opportunities in the NHL at 3.6/game and their PP is deadly at 27% (4th best). They score a PP goal.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Lucic scores a goal in consecutive games for the first time since April 4th and 6th, 2017. Florida is one of six teams that Lucic has 10+ career goals against and after ending his 41-game drought he has some extra pep in his step and scores his first goal at home since March 5th, 2018.

GDB BROUGHT TO YOU BY COLLIN BRUCE MORTGAGE TEAM

Find out why so many people are using Dominion Lending Centres #1 broker in Canada.
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!

Recently by Jason Gregor:

Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/10/2019 – 12:30 pm MST

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Honest if I can quit smoking , put me in instead of Spooner , there just has to be a better option. Manning Benched, Petro Injured , Spooner in just to help pete save face , guess what Chia ? Too late.

    Go Oilers .

  • President & General Manager

    Manning is a guy who brings so much to the team. He’s been a leader in the press box since he came here. If he plays, great, if not, whatever, he still brings so much to the table that he doesn’t even really need to.

  • vetinari

    Think there are too many holes on this roster to limp into the playoffs… I still do not understand the Manning trade especially when you look at his career stats… he’s a tweener (NHL/AHL) and I don’t know what he offers to the lineup. I thought he might be a Russell replacement on defence if Chia had a trade lined up but even then, he’s be overpaid by about $1M per season. I hate it when Chia overpays for a player but now he’s moving out assets to take on other team’s overpaid players. Not good cap management.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    When comparing Oilers/opponents line-ups, I normally have a nauseous feeling past the 2nd (sometimes 1st) lines. Look at that 3rd line for Florida. Cheeze whiz… I actually think our 3rd line is day-and-night better. Weird.

  • percy

    Total change in the structure of this team is needed. Dri and Nuge have great value, time to trade them. In return a center and a few wingers that can put up points but play with an edge. The sooner the better. Just the beginning, Looch, Kass, Spooner next. Pool Party back to AHL until next season.

  • TKO

    If Oilers dont make the playoffs it will be a travesty, as they now sit in a good position, only a few points back and with games in hand against weak teams with poor winning records, and while there are holes in the team, there is enough experience and skill that the guys should be able to will a .75 winning record over these 6 home games and grab a wild card spot. If they dont, there will be just no words for the level of disbelief and anger the team would deserve. The coach was right, the problem with this team is between the ears and also the heart. If they are not able to take advantage of this 6 game stretch at home, it would be prudent to sell off assets and shoot for Hughes, as bad as that is. Without Chia. That Chia still has a job is an insult to alberta hockey fans.

  • TKB2677

    I wasn’t a fan of the Manning trade, it definitely doesn’t look good having him in the pressbox but right now, I don’t give a crap who dresse, who sits and how much they make. Just win the game.

  • JasonY

    Having $7.1M normally sitting in the pressbox should alone have Chiarelli fired or at least not allowed to make any trades till the end of the season. We have Manning ($2.25M) and Benning ($1.9M who would normally sit out if not for concussion)sitting in the pressbox, along with Spooner ($3.1M). Did I mention Lucic ($6M) would normally be sitting). All are also signed for next year. Chiarelli has vomitted and shaat all over this team for years to come. If Nicholson still believes in this guy, he should be fired too along with the Kevin “i know something about winning” Lowe and Craig “by eye” MacT

    • Datsyukian

      As I have said before, the most plausible explanation of why Manning has been put in the press box is that his appearance in the dressing room probably created a toxic atmosphere among players due to his past history with McDavid. Hitchcock must have found out (or was told about it by a veteran player) and took Manning – probably without much regret – out of the lineup.

  • A-co

    $2 million reider
    $6 million lucic
    $1.9 million kassian
    $3.1 million Spooner
    $2.25 million Manning
    $15.25 million right there
    At what Point do you take Pistol Petes credit card away and stop him from making any more purchases….

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    What is with Edmonton and the inconsistency? This year, as you mentioned, we can either stifle a teams offense or let everything through. It’s like the PK last season. The worst home PK in NHL history, but on the road we were PK gods. Like what the actual duck

  • bwar

    I wonder if the Oilers are going to try tonight? This has been a pathetic team to watch over the past few weeks. Win or lose I just want to watch a team that wants to win, a team that works hard and I haven’t felt the Oilers have been that team since before Christmas.

    • Darcy yaceyko

      And replace with who?? I highly doubt anybody that is any good will not come here. He would have to report to the the old boys club about hockey operations. It would be a one sided conversation as the boys no nothing about hockey.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Looking forward to tonight’s game, I am wondering which Oiler team will show up, lets see:

    1) Home game
    2)Against a weak team
    3) Must win game for the Oilers

    This all but guarantees a loss, prove me wrong boys, prove me wrong!

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Oilers lineup is too slow, weak and inconsistant to compete with the good teams. Too many forwards are in the line up that almost never provide any offence. Young fast teams like Colorado and Vancouver beat us to the puck and win most of the battles along the boards.
      Playing our skilled players with slow inferior wingers is just embarassig.

  • Stickhandler

    this will be a gut and heart test of 2 middling to bad teams that can never seem to reach their potential due to lack of heart and soul play, bad play and terrible mngt. I notice a lot of writers are doing their best to spin the sheep attitude back around to “hey, we aren’t that bad, they can do this”, i think due the great awakening that oil fans are experiencing. unfortunately oilers lose AGAIN tonight, strengthening the faithfuls’ resolve to cheer for YOUR CALGARY FLAMES!!!!!

    • Kool-Aid Man

      Sorry, Nice try but that’s never going happen. No matter how good Calgary is they still suck. It’s embedded in the DNA. Love the BoA when both teams are succeeding.

  • Hemmercules

    Good luck to them tonight. They need to score at least 4 goals a game to have a chance with the goaltending tandem they have. I hope they win and go on some sort of winning streak though. I won’t be watching until they are either in a playoff spot, or major changes have happened upstairs.

      • Hemmercules

        Sure those were two games but they needed 8 to beat san Jose and 5 to beat LA. Just saying, the goalies are awful. If they want to beat playoff teams they need probably at least 4. Hopefully next year they find someone decent. Dont want to drift into a Philly style goaltending pit.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      From TSN today:

      Sergei Bobrovsky will not be with the Columbus Blue Jackets when they take on the Nashville Predators over an unspecified incident, the team announced on Thursday morning.

      “There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

      Good goalie, but 7.5mil and not good in the room? Pass.

  • Prairiechicken

    Props to Hitch for keeping Manning in the presser even though this makes Pete look even more like a buffoon. I imagine there’s pressure (implicit or explicit) to getting him in there because of it … and is probably the reason Looch has never been scratched.
    Guess its is one of the benefits of a coach with as much street cred as Hitch who’s here only on a one year gig for now. He’s not worried about his GMs optics.

  • OldOilFan

    Too Tight?

    In the not-so-old days, when a team was playing poorly (i.e. below what it should be capable of) the players would arrange a day/night out together. No coaches. Players only.

    I have no stats regarding the success of this “intervention,” and McD doesn’t really seem the sort to arrange it himself, but I think it would be helpful. They look like a rattled bunch…which might partly explain why they do poorly on home ice no matter the opponent.

  • Alberta Ice

    Remember when haters had the Oilers out of the playoffs after the first two games of the year? Here we are in January, and the haters still have the Oilers out of the playoffs. Just 3 measly points back. Yep, this home stand better by Dr. Jekyll and a big win streak, or the Oilers will Hide from the playoffs.

  • Randaman

    “Talent wins games, but teamwork & intelligence win championships. We have some of the first one and none of the second. Please gut this management group before it’s too late. Oops, too late