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Photo Credit: Academy Award winning Sharknado

GDB 55.0: Win it for the Wild Card race but mostly for the fans (5pm MT, SNW)

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.

NUMBERS

OILERS SHARKS
RECORD 24-25-5 32-16-7
WIN/LOSS STREAK W1 W4
LAST 10 GAMES 3-5-2 7-3-0
GOALS FOR 157 198
GOALS AGAINST 179 173
POWER PLAY 22.4 24.7
PENALTY KILL 75.1 82.6
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 28.8 34.4
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.3 28.7
TEAM SAVE% .901 .897
CORSI FOR% 48.01 55.32
PDO 99.37 98.62
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.77 8.75
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 47.02 55.33

Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Rattie
Lucic – RNH – Chiasson
Khaira – Malone – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Manning – Gravel

Talbot

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.

Sharks

Meier – Couture – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – LaBanc
Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson

Simek – Burns
Vlasic – Heed
Dillon – Braun

Jones

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…

From The Hockey Writers:

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.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

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.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/9/2019 – 9:00 am MT



    • TruthHurts98

      No the porous defense will get exposed again and the lack of forward depth will create the same outcome as always against a Cup contender. Then dumb A$$E$ like yourself will blame it all on the goalie. Brossoit has .940 save percentage. Let that sink in. He has a real defense in front of him and a far better goalie coach. Talbot will probably find himself in the running for a Vezina after shipped out for nothing by this idiotic franchise. Hart Trophy for Larsson. Insanity repeats itself here continually.

  • Ted

    Feeding Talbot to the Sharks is gonna do wonders for the confidence … NOT …that he’s mustered over the last win! … Riding the wave in Shark infested water can only last so long. Game day prediction is not a good one. Kosky plays by the third period!

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      I love the fact that they are using set plays on the PP with Leon as the trigger man. He has one helluva shot; accurate too. If he stays at his 54 game pace he ends with 48 or 49. In the last 10 games he’s .90 goals/game. My money is on 50+ for the big man and I am also willing to bet that Connor is making it his personal mission (silently) to get Leon there. If there is any doubt about how Connor thinks about Leon, watch Connor’s reaction when Leon won the passing challenge at the All-Star skills competition. These guys love playing together.

  • ed from edmonton

    Any early reviews of Sekera’s coming out party last night in the Bake? I see his box cars and +1 and he took a penalty. Can he keep up with the play and move better than last year?

      • Beer_League_Ringer

        I’m with you Alex. I will take Andre Sekera at 75% of his former self any day. He may never be our #1 guy again, but he sure was the only year we made the playoffs in the last 13. I predict that he comes back and plays solid for us. How can anyone not root for a guy like him? I cannot wait to have him back.

  • TruthHurts98

    Outside of of Connor, Nuge and Leon the rest of the forward roster makes any Oiler fan want to cry. Then looking at the Sharks roster that just beat Calgary with relative ease… Sure the Oiler’s will win! LMAO! Keep drinking the Good Ole Boy’s Koolaid and stay as far away from reality as you can. Another beet cast will be due probably after the 1st period.

    • Ted

      The Lames forwards haven’t been sharing there bottle of joy juice as of late … I guess having No Class wears on team after a while! … we More Smith please!

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Any post with the phrase “Koolaid” in it should just be ignored. There are literally 0 people here that are buying in to any false rhetoric. Does it make you feel special to assume that everyone else is naive? Hope is not foolish, neither is positivity, nor is trying to enjoy a hockey game as a fan. Are you a fan? If I say I am an Oilers fan does that mean I am stupid? Enjoy the game, Troll. I love hockey, so I know I will.

      • TruthHurts98

        If believe Bobby Nick then yes I think you are gullible. However many very intelligent people (including myself) can be accused of that very thing. I was a loyal fan for decades but hit a tipping point. Connor is my favorite player and I enjoy watching a few others, but this Oiler braintrust is spewing out plenty of hockey ignorant excrement. They have no chance at the playoffs this year and next. I love good hockey and outside of Connor, Leon, Nuge, Klef and Nurse there isn’t good hockey being played here. Just a fact. Do you enjoy watching them lose? Like I said the game would be over after the first period and got trashed for it. Truth hurts some people.

  • VvV

    Oh Baggedmilk the issue isn’t that the Oilers have lost so much of late, the issue will be that the San Jose Sharks are just a better hockey team, even if the Oilers show and and play well chances are they will not win this game.

  • Redbird62

    The Sharks save % is lower than the Oilers, but they allow fewer shots, and of course they are one of the higher scoring teams in the league. Burns and Karlsson are not great without the puck, but once they get it they are excellent at getting the team going the other way and keeping the pressure on in the other end. The Sharks allowed 6 goals in 4 consecutive games before clamping down to 2 goals against in each of the last 3. It took them a few games to adjust being without Karlsson that they realized against teams like Calgary and Winnipeg they shouldn’t get into a shoot out though they beat the Flames largely due to having much better goaltending than the Flames did in that game. Even without Karlsson, for the Oilers to win all they need to do is to play a solid, conservative keep them to the outside type of game, take no penalties, get outstanding goaltending and score on a few counter-attack opportunistic rushes from McDavid. Its so easy even a cavemen could do it . I mean they have done that at least 10 times this year, though not very often in the last 6 weeks.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The Oilers will need to come out and play right from the start and if they can put in the effort they did against the wild, they have a Chance, but they will be in tough with the sharks on a roll. The biggest thing will be to play defensive in their own end, they did well on that front against the wild, but they will need to do an even better job with the sharks. It will be interesting to see how the Oilers do and Talbot will need to play as well as he did in Minnesota for the Oilers to have a chance.. Let’s hope the effort comes though for a W but getting it wont be easy

  • BobbyCanuck

    Oilers will have to bring their A+ game, whereas the Sharks can beast us playing their B game.

    Maybe we should make a deal with Satan, could be good, after all he used to play for us

  • hagar

    OGDP, the oilers look solid, and for the first time viewer, they would think the oilers are as good or better than the sharks. Then talbot lets in two softies, and the team falls apart.
    I am cheering for an awesome performance from the team and talbot, but cam has a way of causing more harm than good on average. Its a powerful team they are playing tonight, the level of mental stability required to win this game is super duper high.
    Go oilers!! Go cam !!

  • McHitch

    Leon Draisaitl scores again and even his most active haters start to realize that he’s not actually the problem.

    Some fans will still suggest trading him because we can find a cheaper winger who can score. Lets trade 100 point 45 goal scorer in his prime(23) for a 6 million dollar winger who puts up 70 points.

    Please can everyone stop suggesting trading Drai. This convo is dead imo.

  • SRELIOFAN

    What’s the over/under on how long Hitch stays with those lines? My guess is 1 minute and 43 seconds.

    Also, it must be nice to cheer for a team who “can tread water and still create the foundation for a playoff run. A better record is fine, but not necessary” I wonder when/if a statement like that will ever be made about the Oilers.

    Nonetheless, I’ll always cheer for the.. Go Oilers!!!

  • SmyttysMulletsRevenge

    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.

    Its sad that this is even a discussion.

  • KootenayDan

    Saturday hockey just give us a good game to watch not frustration and gloom. Maybe the San Jose players can’t handle the cold anymore and take the boys lightly.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Terry, an organization cannot care about anyone. However, I guarantee you that no on likes being booed, and no one likes losing, no matter how much money is being made.

  • Alberta Ice

    The Minnesota game was a timely gift. The San Jose game will be the real test. A win will be huge deal for this team. They better bring their A game to make a statement of change of direction for rest of this year. How can you not be able to get up for this big game?

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I have to ask. Why take Cave out and put Brodziak back in? Cave only played 6 mins vs. MIN, but he won 75% of his draws, had a shot on net, and I thought he was flying. I get that Brodz is a vet, but I would’ve liked to see the kid get another chance.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    Can we all just pause to enjoy the Duck’s implosion this season? They are down 4-0 in Philly right now (1st intermission) and they’ve lost 6 in a row. I find this oddly satisfying.