Only four days after getting shelled on home ice against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Oilers will be looking to redeem themselves against the San Jose Sharks in front of a hometown crowd that certainly deserves a win.
I don’t really know how else to start today’s GDB other than to say that the Oilers absolutely need to win to win this hockey game. It’s just that simple. They need to do whatever it takes to walk away from Rogers Place with two points and anything less than that would be unacceptable. I don’t care if the boys make a pact with Satan himself, they need to figure out whatever it takes to compete hard and keep it going for 60 minutes. Even with this ridiculous stretch of bad hockey we’ve been living through, the Oilers are somehow still in the mix for a Wild Card spot and the only thing that’s going to keep it that way is by adding wins to the board. The problem, of course, is that the Oilers have only won three of their last 10 games and that’s not exactly the kind of the record that warms up the bathing suit area if you know what I mean.
After securing two points against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, the Oilers are back within a field goal of the last playoff spot and it’s an opportunity they need to grab by the horns, and they need to do it now. Rather than letting their play take a step backwards after a win as we’ve watched many times over the past month or so, they need to figure out how to string some wins together here and be willing to put their balls on the line to make it happen. Outside of winning their first matchup of the season, the Oilers have not fared well against the Sharks at all and that’s something they’ll need to figure out in a real hurry because allowing SJ to put up another touchdown as they have in their last two meetings is a sure fire way of sending their slim playoff hopes swirling the porcelain and into the sewers below.
|LAST 10 GAMES||3-5-2||7-3-0|
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||47.02||55.33|
Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)
Draisaitl – McDavid – Rattie
Lucic – RNH – Chiasson
Khaira – Malone – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Manning – Gravel
I’m really interested to see what Hitchcock does with his line combinations today. Considering the Oilers won their last outing, I’m not expecting many changes but that doesn’t really mean anything with Hitchcock. He likes to switch things up regularly and I wonder how much of that we’ll see. Not to mention, who is starting in net? Talbot was great against the Wild and theoretically deserves another start but what about the guy they used signed to starter’s money for the next three seasons? While we don’t know the answers just yet, I’ll be sure to jump in and edit things when news comes out.
On Thursday night, Leon Draisaitl became the first German player to score 30+ goals in an NHL season. With 273 points in 232 games, Draisaitl already ranks fifth all-time among German players, trailing only Uwe Krupp (281), Christian Ehrhoff (339), Jochen Hecht (463) and Marco Sturm (487).
***UPDATED**** Brodziak and Gravel are in and Benning and Cave are out. Talbot gets the start.
Meier – Couture – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – LaBanc
Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson
Simek – Burns
Vlasic – Heed
Dillon – Braun
I don’t think I have to tell anyone here that the Oilers are going to need to be rock solid defensively if they’re going to pull this thing off. The Sharks have too many offensive weapons in their lineup to take shifts off, including Brent Burns who is only one of seven blueliners in NHL history to collect his 50th assist in 55 games or less. The good news is that Erik Karlsson won’t be in the lineup as he continues to recover from injury. Regardless, everyone single Oiler needs to be paying attention to their assignment and doing whatever it takes to execute their own game plan rather than chasing whatever the Sharks are doing.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
It may sound strange, but the Sharks don’t need to play at a particularly high level or win a ton of games this month. There are more critical things to do than win lots of games. Getting a dozen points in a dozen games isn’t particularly good (only seven of the league’s 31 teams average less than a point per game), but it’s likely good enough, given the modest records of the teams battling for the lower playoff spots.
The Sharks can tread water and still create the foundation for a playoff run. A better record is fine, but not necessary. A worse record, as long as its not a meltdown, is survivable. Using the roster wisely in February sets the team up for solid March and strong position for the playoffs.
Perhaps what matters most is what happens away from the ice. February is a critical month for Sharks management. Wilson effectively sets the Sharks roster for the rest of the season and playoffs. And he’ll either get a lengthy deal with the Sharks’ most important player or he won’t. Either way, there will be important news. Hopefully, the Sharks can check off these critical ‘to-do’ boxes.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Wanting to avenge Tuesday’s horrible loss at home, the Oilers hit the ice with all kinds of energy and enthusiasm and ride the wave to a 3-2 OT win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite falling apart in the third period on Tuesday night against the Blackhawks, Oilers fans still show up droves to support the team, cementing their place as the best fanbase in the league.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Leon Draisaitl scores again and even his most active haters start to realize that he’s not the actually the problem.
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!
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/9/2019 – 9:00 am MT