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Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 49.0: Thar She Blows (7:30pm MT, SNW)

After falling to the Flames 5-2 on Hockey Night in Canada, the Edmonton Oilers are back in action less than 24 hours later with a Sunday Funday adventure against the Carolina Hurricanes. Can our boys finish off the weekend on a high note? We’re only a few hours from finding out.

I know that it hasn’t been 2006 for 13 years now and that holding a grudge for this long could be unhealthy, but I still can’t help but harbour some deep seeded hatred for the Carolina Hurricanes. Losing in game seven of the Cup final was the start of a horrible summer to be an Oilers and I’ll never forgive them for it. Even seeing their logo on the schedule is enough to trigger the rage that was born inside me oh so many years ago. It’s a deep-rooted resentment that I’m not sure I’ll ever let go, but I know for a fact that a win tonight will go a long way to help dampen those painful, Marc-Andre Bergeron-induced memories. I still remember leaving my buddy’s place all those years ago as the Hurricane’s Cup celebration was kicking off and vowed that I would curse them until they relocate or I drop dead, whichever comes first.

After last night’s debacle against the Flames, the Oilers need to hit the reset button and fast because it was not a great look to have Calgary dummying them up and down the ice in front of a national audience. It was tough to sit and watch as the Flames, more or less, had their way in all three zones without so much as a whiff of pushback coming from our side. Even when Connor got cut above the eye, I was hoping that maybe, just maybe someone would take it upon themselves to respond in kind by taking shots at the Flames’ skilled guys, but it just never happened. Instead, they watched as the best player in the world got mugged without consequence, and I don’t understand how anyone in an orange jersey allows that to happen. Do these guys not like each other or something? How else could you explain the lack of an ‘all for one’ team dynamic? All I know for sure is that they had better figure it out and fast because time is running out.

With tonight’s game being the second half of a back-to-back weekend, it’ll be incredibly important for all four lines to find ways to contribute rather than simply being placeholders on the ice until the big boys are rested enough to get back out there. These are the games when you need your depth guys to help carry some weight and give the team effective minutes that can help them win. If not, we’re going to see the likes of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge being forced to carry the load again and that’s a quick recipe for burning those guys out and if that happens then we’re going to really be in trouble. Those guys desperately need help to get this train back on the rails, and there’s no better time to make that happen then tonight against the Hurricanes. The way I see it, Carolina is a beatable team but that won’t happen if the Oilers can only muster up enough urgency to compete for 20 or so minutes as they did against Calgary. They need to put together a full 60 minutes and they need to have everyone on board.

With 34 games left on the season and a wildcard spot only two points away, there is still enough track left to make up ground and get back into a playoff spot but they’ll never get there if they keep playing half games or single periods and relying on a handful of guys to drag them along.

NUMBERS

OILERS HURRICANES
RECORD 23-22-3 22-20-5
WIN/LOSS STREAK L1 L2
LAST 10 GAMES 5-5-0 7-3-0
GOALS FOR 138 126
GOALS AGAINST 153 140
POWER PLAY 21.4 16.4
PENALTY KILL 77.3 79.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 28.8 35.9
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.1 28.2
TEAM SAVE% .904 .902
CORSI FOR% 48.33 55.14
PDO 99.47 97.59
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.73 6.18
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 46.2 56.06

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Chiasson
Khaira – RNH – Yamamoto
Lucic – Cave – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi

Nurse – Russell
Jones – Larsson
Manning – Benning

Talbot

Outside of assuming that Talbot will get the start tonight, I’m really curious to see how/if Hitchcock changes his lines. Personally, I thought that last night was one of Jesse Puljujarvi’s best games of the season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get bumped up into Yamamoto’s spot. That said, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the blender out in full force to try and give the team a whole new look, though I’m not sure how much that would change anything. At this point, no lineup info has been released but I’ll be sure to jump back in and update things as news comes out.

Hurricanes

Ferland – Aho – Teravainen
Svechnikov – McKegg – Williams
McGinn – Wallmark – Martinook
Foegele – Rask – Maenalanen

Slavin – Pesce
De Haan – Faulk
Van Riemsdyk – Hamilton

Mrazek

While the Hurricanes don’t score a heck of a lot, they spread the goals they do get around their lineup quite evenly. The Hurricanes have 14 players with 10 points or more whereas the Oilers only have nine, which is yet another spotlight on the offensive woes that are going down in Edmonton.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Canes Country:

A team that needed a hot run to finish the season needed a win at home against one of the league’s worst teams. It didn’t get it. The Canes’ blowout loss, coupled with the Penguins’ win, puts them nine points back of a wild card spot. There’s still over two months to play in the season, but the Canes would need some kind of finish, if not a miracle to keep the league’s longest-active playoff drought from hitting 10 years.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk


Game Day Prediction: Despite playing less than 24 hours ago, the Oilers hit the ground running with a solid Sunday effort that propels them to a 4-3 win. I’m thinking McDavid gets two goals but probably could have had four.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Unable to resist, Dougie Hamilton takes a quick hot lap around the Royal Alberta Museum for a little pre-game culture.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid blows my pre-game score prediction out of the water and pots five goals by himself. With 18,000 people chanting his name during his post-game interview, Connor McDavid flips his hair back, takes one quick look around the arena, and blows the roof off of the place when he offers to buy Arby’s Roast Beef n  Cheddars for everybody. Once again, he is the hero we needed. Gord bless Connor McDavid.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/20/2019 – 10:00 am MT

  • SRELIOFAN

    If we beat the Whalers tonight the Oilers will have won 3 of their last 4. That’s not too bad considering we still don’t have our best defenseman. If they can keep treading water and stay at or a bit above .500 until the all-star break, we’ll get Kelfbom and maybe Sekera back and hopefully go on a run. LET’S GO OIL! #postivesunday

  • Rufio Barcoli

    Chiarelli can’t come out flat tonight, he needs to be ready from the get go.
    Peter tries too many passes on the PP, and those wristers he tries from the blue line have to stop.
    If Chiarelli continues this type of play-Hitchcock needs to sit him in the press box for a game or two.

      • Rufio Barcoli

        You’re a Hall butt hurt groupie if you think Larsson needs Klefbom to look good.
        Larsson is the Oilers best defense man even with Klefbom in the line-up.
        Larsson plays against top opponents every game with a partner that doesn’t belong in the top 4 and some that should be in the NHL.
        The fact that you say “might” goes to prove how clueless you are.

        • camdog

          I could care less about Hall and was all for trading him. Hall haters love for Larsson is misplaced. Larsson is getting out played by Kris Russell right now. He’s too slow, he can’t even play with Nurse. The only d-man he can play with on this team is Klefbom. He looks bad when he plays with anybody else.

      • Rufio Barcoli

        #4 WoW!
        No wonder Katz doesn’t care about the product on the ice, it is apparent that he can, just like the media, sell whatever he wants to the mostly clueless fanbase.

  • Oilers_1978

    Oilers must win today and against the wings..

    Oilers with klef is very vulnerable..it will a battle to keep the playoff hope alive…

    They should and must against relatively easy opponents

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    According to one of the NHL media guys, McDavid, apparently, has told his teammates not to seek retribution for stuff that happens to him, ans instead focus on winning the game.

  • Leo Tard

    Hey bagged. I think you are being a bit hard on the team. The oil did have a tiny bit of pushback last night. Unfortunately it was time and time again thwarted by penalties, unforced error, and outright brutal errors. That penalty against Pool was a brutal call, and although there were bad calls both ways, the timing of that penalty ruined the game for our Oil. If the power play could have scored even once, we would have at least a point in the bank. We all hate losing, but we definitely lost to the better team last night. That said, there is still a chance to get some points tonight and your hatred toward the Canes is justified. Go Oilers!

    • slats-west

      Lucic said exact same thing after “ that’s hockey 100 times a year for the last 100 years” and it will continue to be a hockey play.

      The other to note those to refs have over 600+ games and never 1 playoff game!!! Brutal.

    • TDSM31

      Agree. I don’t know which game you were watching but it was far from complete domination from the Flames. Oil had their share of scoring chances and definitely had moments of sustained pressure.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      If you are complaining about the Poolparty call, you were listening too much to Randorf, who knows a little something about curling. Take your hand off your stick, and pull on the arm of the other guy to slow him down going for the puck? That’s a penalty every night. There were missed call both ways for sure, but how many do you need to call? The 1st Oilers goal was a direct result of Bennett being tripped at the blue line resultng in a turnover. No call and a goal.

      Complain about the calls if you like, but try a missed call that was actually brutal. As it was, the calls slowed down the game in both directions. According to Hitch, a 2-1 game is the kind the Oilers can win. I didn’t see anything resembling that type of game. FYI, Hitch also said that th Oilers gave back as much as the Flames did, including McDavid taking liberties.

  • slats-west

    The Flames have a 20 pt lead on Oilers some of the best D in NHL, balances scoring and the best road Goalie in NHL. Were we suppose to get a better result? Maybe.

    But what i think we have a problem with is no one stepping up for Connor when he’s the only Oiler who shows up every game and every shift. Not sure why. Manning could do a lot for his trade with fans if he did smack Hannafin and Anderson into oblivion or hit Johnny Shiney a few times.

    Cmon BE BETTER!

  • The Off Ice

    The anti-Chiarelli/ this team is joke narrative is getting to be a tad overdone. Yes, I get it we’re screwed. But because of this, the blogs are have devolved into a continual cycle of negativity and rumination. It’s not healthy to obsess on how bad things are. I feel as though Oilerdom should just embrace the suck. Just go with it.

    • Rufio Barcoli

      It’s the only thing that the media’s insiders and experts are allowed to focus and speak on.
      It’s quite sad.
      For weeks, maybe months, articles and reports have been mostly about Chiarelli.
      Not once do, or did, any of these experts and insiders mention the play of the players.
      Some of the Oilers players decision making and effort have been out to lunch on most nights, yet not once has there been an article discussing the players play/effort or lack there of.
      If you were to believe, and read into the crap they put out-one would come to the conclusion that Chiarelli is to blame for Oilers bad luck.
      It has to be bad luck that they are losing all these games, and not because of poor decision making and effort.

    • GK1980

      It is just a game. No matter how many tv’s you break or how much you yell and scare the dog, you have no direct effect on the outcome. Just watch the game unfold. No stress = longer lifespan.

    • rnj

      But when ON blogs about things that are looking up everyone complains. About how Sekera will never play again, Klefbom isn’t that good, can’t put lipstick on a turd. Maybe you’re the exception, but a bad response is what I’ve seen

  • Ratt McNuge

    It’s really hard to care about this team anymore. Do the playoffs even matter? This is a team that just doesn’t have what it takes. Watching the Flames beat up on us last night was a clear example of how this lineup that Chiarelli has assembled is just a bunch of castoffs outside of a small handful of great players. McDavid is fantastic and is having a Hart trophy season. The Oilers would be in last place without him. I’ll always cheer for the Oilers, and will be happy for McD if he gets them to the playoffs, but this is a depressing team to watch. So much potential squandered. It’s clear that upper management needs to be given their walking papers, but Katz will never fire any of the old boys club. Get some new management. People who know what it takes to win in today’s NHL. New blood is needed in this organization. You have the fans, Katz. You got your new rink. It’s payback time. Do the right thing and hire some people who will give the great fans in Edmonton a team they can be proud of.

    • President & General Manager

      OEG thought we were making considerable progress, but it seems from your recent comments that, in fact, we have gone backwards. OEG never realized that always missing the playoffs would trigger a firestorm of fan anger in the Alberta capital. What we didn’t consider was how our fans would feel about losing and that was wrong and we apologize for it.
      Let’s see… um… how about this? Katz is angry, Peter has a plan, Kevin’s planning another RWS, and more forensic audits coming down the pike.

    • Boy was our power play a hot mess and just generally disorganized all around. As for the defending of Conner, all of our games have been close. Refs are calling us tight already which makes Kass and Lucic even more useless.

  • slats-west

    So which kind of patented loss do we get tonight ?

    – the Talbot 2 minute early goal deflate team then behind 3 goals by period 3 and then push hard losing 4-1 EN
    – the poor D can’t snake a play, hemmed in our end for whole game down 34-12 shots by period #3 then Talbot breaks losing 4-0
    – the panthers beat Mcdavid into oblivion, refs no calls, Connor leaves the 2nd after stictches buy by then it’s 5-2 game over
    Or a 2-1 OT shootout loss and we play mediocre for whole game but Canes just suck and that 8% shooting percentage kills them.

    Seen this game before on Sunday a free a big loss on HNIC.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Tough game last night but that was the second best team in the league – they are better than us and they beat us.

    To me, heading in to last night’s game, the key was to get 4 points in the last 3 games before the break – need to grab two points tonight against the Canes and again on Tuesday against the Wings.

    Two winnable games.

    Big time reinforcement coming after the break with Klef – the #1 d-man who eats up 24 to 30 minutes per game, who will allow Jones to slot down in to the 3rd pairing and will knock Manning to the press-box. A couple wins prior to the break will keep the team in good position for a run down the stretch.

    Excited to see Aho and Svechnikov tonight.

    Looking for Jesse to build on a strong game from last night.

  • Garry T

    Just got through looking where The Canes are in the standings and their record since early December. We had better come out as a team playing hard and following our system. Their first line is pretty good and Ferland has always been a bit scary plus the guy can really shoot the puck.

  • KootenayDan

    Connor and Puljujarvi played a good game last night where was everyone else? oops sorry Nuge you too. I have to say the same we all know already, bad depth scoring a poor overall defense even with Klef and average goaltending at best dooms this team. We deserve to be where we are in the standings or worse. Even if this team makes the playoffs what is the point. The team needs new guidance from head office no point waiting to see if Chia can get the team to the dance.

  • Rama Lama

    There is only one player that shows up consistently………that would be Connor.

    I’m so sick and tired of watching Leon Draisaitl being treated the same as Connor by the coaching staff. He is NOTHING without Connor. He needs to drive the play once in a while instead of waiting for passes to come to him. He never seems to win any board battles on his own or back check past the centre line. For that matter Alex Chiasson lately looks ordinary as well……..both of these guys are waiting for Connor to do something.

    Like I have always said, our Stanley Cup is the draft……..no point getting all lathered up over the state of the Oilers.

    • jesse says yep

      Here is a look at Draisaityl’s draft class. Tell me again what a disappointment he is……

      Ekblad 356 GP 154 pts
      Reinhart 297 GP 184pts
      Draisaityl 317 GP 263 pts
      Sam bennet 241 GP 89
      Dal Colle 15GP 2pts
      Virtanen 189 GP 123pts
      Fleury 77GP 14pts
      Nylander 204 GP 138Pts
      Ehlers 276 GP 189pts
      Ritchie220 GP 203pts

      Larkin 291 GP 187pts

      Pastanak 303 GP 259 Pts

      • grumpyKoala

        None of these player have the same playcheck, its a cap leagle, gotta earh theses $ or you are an hinderence to your team

        Pastanak have a better pts game ratio
        Pastanak is 2 mill cheaper
        Pastanak do not play with the very best nhl player
        Pastanak can score on breakaway
        Pastanak can make a play around the boards
        Pastanak have a physical aspect to his game
        Pastanak is not a turnover machine
        I can still go on…

        • OriginalPouzar

          They don’t have the cap hit because they haven’t earned it.

          Pastrnak (correct spelling) does have a great contract – undeniable – you could probably go on because most of those are wrong:

          – Pastrnak plays on arguably the top line in the NHL with TWO elite players not one elite and a scrub

          – Pastrnak has 5 more hits that Drai – not more physical

          – Pastrnak has more turnovers than Drai

          Also, Pastrnak average one single second on the PK/game – Drai is an important penalty killer.

          To say Drai doesn’t backcheck is just making stuff up to perpetrate a narrative.