Welcome, friends, to yet another Hockey Night in Canada edition of the GDB as we get ourselves set for tonight’s matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks.
You know, if you had told me that the Anaheim Ducks would plummet to the bottom half of the NHL standings during the 2018-19 season I would have been a pretty happy blogger. I would have found myself enjoying their failures in a way that only another Oilers fan would understand. The disdain we have for the Anaheim Ducks is as real as the air we breathe, and the idea of them free-falling towards the bottom of the NHL standings is simple pleasure we should have all been allowed to celebrate with joyful tears in our eyes. Instead, our boys are actually worse off than the Ducks are somehow and it’s a cold, dark hell that I don’t think anyone of us would have ever expected. Coming into today’s game, it’s going to take a hell of a run for either of these two teams to have much to play for outside of pride and offering the buying teams another chance to scout for trade bait ahead of Monday’s deadline.
Yeah, I know that the playoffs are still technically within reach but that’s a mighty tall hill to climb without a whole lot of time to get the job done. Though, I’ll admit that if the Oilers can pull out a win tonight then my tune may change tomorrow but that’s a story for another day. Call me pessimistic or whatever you want, but I’m having a hard time coming up with the belief that our boys can make up the ground they need with only three horses producing the bulk of the offence. Outside of jockeying for draft position, there’s not really a whole lot left to accomplish other than clearing out some salary by Monday’s deadline and seeing how many McPoints we’ll end up with at season’s end. Obviously, we’ll have to wait a couple of games to keep working on that second part as the NHL dished out a two-game suspension to Connor McDavid for his headshot on Nick Leddy, ruining the hockey weekend for Oilers fans everywhere.
Without Connor McDavid in the lineup, the Edmonton Oilers are obviously a very different hockey team and I say that as delicately as humanly possible. For a team that’s light on dudes that can score at the best of times, losing their captain for a pair of games due to suspension just might be the turd in the punchbowl that officially ruins the party. That said, the Oilers were able to raise their level of play when Connor was out against the Coyotes and they almost found a way to pull the thing off. Yes, I understand that
beating getting a point against the Coyotes is a very low bar to clear and that taking a moral victory out of a shootout loss is sad and weird, but we need to keep hope alive and that’s all I can come up with right now. Though, I should also add that the Ducks played and lost last night in Calgary, so if the Oilers are going to get some points in these two McDavid-less games then today’s contest against a tired Anaheim team would be a good place to start.
|LAST 10 GAMES||2-5-3||3-7-0|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
I honestly have no idea what to put up here for tonight’s line combos so I copied what the Oilers had when Connor was sick a few days ago against Arizona. I am 100% sure that these will change before tonight’s game starts but who knows what that will look like. I’m not going to lie to you guys, having Connor McDavid out of the lineup for the next two games really took the wind out of my sails.
Rakell – Getzlaf – Perry
Jones – Henrique – Terry
Shore – Grant – Silfverberg
Ritchie – Kesler – Rowney
Lindholm – Manson
Fowler – Del Zotto
Megna – Montour
Since firing head coach, Randy Carlyle, the Ducks have actually started to turn things around a little bit and it’s every flavour of annoying.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Patience and poise defined the Ducks’ play for the fifth consecutive game, following victories over the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Sunday and the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. There was a sense of purpose to the Ducks’ game Friday that was sadly lacking during Carlyle’s final days.
There was no sense of panic after Brodie scored on a perimeter shot that deflected off the knee of Megna and sailed past Miller at 1:22 of the second period. The Ducks withstood a brief surge in the Flames’ momentum and then pushed back and produced the tying goal with a gritty play.
Derek Grant slammed home a centering pass from Ducks teammate Carter Rowney to tie the score at 1-1 at 6:13 of the second. Rowney outhustled Calgary goalie Mike Smith to a loose puck behind the net and then fed a pass out front for Grant to shoot into the empty net.
“There are a lot of positives to carry over from this game to (Saturday),” Ducks center Adam Henrique said, referring to Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. “They (the Flames) have a good group and we stuck with them for most of the game.”
Game Day Prediction: Despite a close, rough game the Oilers walk away with a 3-2 OT win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ryan Kesler will give us yet another reason to appoint him with the most punchable face in the NHL award.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: I predicted that the Oilers will score three goals today and I’ll go even further by saying that only one of the goals will be scored by Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers will earn this win on the back of some secondary scoring, and they’ll do it for their captain. For realsies. I mean it this time.
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/23/2019 – 10:30 am MT