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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 68.0: Let’s try that again (5pm MT, CBC)

Welcome, citizens, 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 Toronto Maple Leafs.

With the way the last game between these two teams went, I don’t think you could blame anyone for being less than optimistic about the rematch. Then again, the Oilers have won four straight games since that loss so maybe getting shelled by the Leafs was exactly what the doctor ordered? Maybe granting Toronto a six-minute window where the Oilers allowed all the goals which completely dismantled their chances of winning happened by design? Maybe Hitch knew this would happen? Maybe that loss is the egg that’s holding this whole meatball together? Though, I’m guessing the answer is much simpler than that. When you run around like a chicken with your head cut off and your goalie can’t bail you out, you’ve got the makings of a long walk down the short path to a bad time.

If the Oilers are going to avenge the 6-2 loss from nine days ago then they’re going to need to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes that cost them the game, and they’re going to need Koskinen to be the wall he has been over this run. While the Oilers were able to get the start they wanted in Toronto, they completely fell apart in the second period at even strength and on the power play, creating a witch’s brew of sadness that completely ruined the night. And even though it’ll be nearly impossible for the Oilers to prevent Toronto from producing offensive chances, they need to do a better job of limiting the space the Leafs have to get creative. They need to be aggressive and limit the Leafs’ time and space. In Toronto, the boys got caught puck watching a lot and that’s a dangerous pass time when you’re going up against a squad that can score truckloads of goals if given the chance.

NUMBERS

OILERS LEAVES
RECORD 30-30-7 41-21-5
WIN/LOSS STREAK W4 L1
LAST 10 GAMES 6-2-2 5-3-2
GOALS FOR 190 241
GOALS AGAINST 218 191
POWER PLAY 21.2 22.4
PENALTY KILL 75.7 79.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 29.4 32.2
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.6 33.0
TEAM SAVE% .898 .914
CORSI FOR% 48.12 50.82
PDO 99.3 102.9
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.57 9.98
GOALS FOR% 45.91 57.05

Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

According to our friends at OddsShark, the total has gone OVER in 6 of Toronto’s last 7 games.

LINEUP…

Oilers

RNH-McDavid-Kassian
Gagner-Draisaitl-Chiasson
Lucic-Cave-Currie
Rieder-Khaira-Brodziak

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning

Koskinen

I just want to go ahead and give some props to Zack Kassian for the four-game heater is on and for his overall play in general. Since being moved up to the top line, Kassian has been a war machine and it’s been a lot of fun to watch him step up his game and find a home way up in the batting order.

Leafs

Hyman – Tavares – Marner
Johnsson – Matthews – Kapanen
Marleau – Nylander – Brown
Ennis – Gauthier – Moore

Reilly – Hainsey
Muzzin – Zaitsev
Dermott – Ozhiganov

Anderson

Remember when some Toronto media were talking about Auston Matthews scoring 60 goals when he started the season on an absolute heater? I’m not saying that Matthews isn’t a hell of a player, he certainly is, I’m just saying that it’s funny how the narrative has changed.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From TLN:

No. I can’t see how Babcock gets fired this summer, no matter how poorly the playoffs go. Toronto will play Boston, and that’s the context in which he has to be evaluated again if things go south. I don’t want to make excuses for this team a month ahead of the playoffs, but the Leafs (and Bruins for that matter) are in the somewhat unique position of being perhaps the 2nd best team in the entire league next to Tampa, and having to play the 3rd best in the opening round. Stack them in whatever order you want, but there’s a strong argument that those two are 2-3, especially given how weak the Western Conference has become.

With those points in mind, I don’t think Toronto has a front office that would overlook something like that. Someone like Dave Nonis or Brian Burke probably would, but I think this current group has a pretty firm grasp on how the league operates and which teams are among the true contenders. Turfing Babcock would be a panic move, and Dubas doesn’t really do panic, at least from what I can gather.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers get great goaltending from Mikko Koskinen, two goals from Leon Draisaitl, and slide into a 3-2 victory.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Despite being able to find cheap tickets on sites like StubHub, many Leafs fans will get gouged on their tickets by much smarter Oilers fans.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: After losing to the Oilers, a movement starts on social media to get Mike Babcock fired just like we saw in Ottawa after that loss. How ever will this team get past the first round of the playoffs if they can’t even beat the Edmonton Oilers?

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/9/2019 – 11:00 am MT



  • McHitch

    Oilers have points in 8 of their last 9 games.

    Tonight is the toughest matchup left, with an easy schedule the rest of the way.

    With a win tonight we are 5 back with a game in hand.

    Lets keep it rolling… lets go boys!!

  • KPUZ

    My God I hate the Leafs more than any other team. I also hate their annoying media and bandwagon fans. At least when Montreal comes here, their fans have some sort of reason, based on history, to be proud. Go Oilers and please shut their fans up!

  • Kevwan

    This 5:00 game time is a joke. It gives the Leafs the same actual start time that they play 3/4 of their games at. I know it’s done for television ratings back east but giving them that competitive advantage is wrong.

    I hope Stolarz can have a great game

    • rnj

      Leafs are competitive within 3 years of a rebuild. We’re at year 13. The Leafs have been garbage forever too, it’s not a trash the Oilers thing. I don’t get why some people here have a hard time with the idea that you can be honest about your team and someone else’s.

  • slats-west

    The Toronto media is a joke. Really you’re not even starting Game 1 of playoffs and you’ve already lost to Bruins and firing Babcock! Want a bunch of dorks. I would hate to play in this city.

  • MrBung

    One team is playoff level and one is not. This is not on the goaltender tonight.

    Cleaning up Chia’s mess will take a lot of work, luck, smart maneuvering and time. The Oil just don’t have the players to compete with a superior team like the Leafs. Sucks.

  • The Rookie

    I am interested to see if Kadri is shadowing McDavid, will Kassian be able to keep him in check, keep himself in check, or maybe turn the tides and get under Kadri’s skin. Penalties or lack their of on that match up will be the deciding factor today.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Kadri is returning from a concussion tonight. Kassian has been playing near-perfect hockey. My money is on Kadri being a non-factor if they have him shadow Connor.

    • Mark Lesser

      I saw an interview where Gretzky said it took him a while to figure out that when he was shadowed by steve kasper, he should shadow someone on the Bruins. He said it effectively turned it into a 4 on 3 out there for the Oilers. I don’t recall if McDavid has ever used this approach.

  • hagar

    It’s hard to keep points production high the entire season. You don’t see McDavid going on multi game pointless streaks because he is good even when he isn’t in top form. Mathews is good, but he is no where near mavdavid good.

  • Rufio Barcoli

    How can NHL be proud of its officials and officiating?
    It’s an absolute joke.

    The referee let’s two penalties go right under his nose.
    Then he calls the third one.
    Tells Draisailt he let the first two go but he called the third one.

    Why didn’t he call the first penalty?
    Isn’t entrapment a crime?

  • jesse says yep

    I would like to give the Oil a shout out for battling back to a .500 record! not perfect but shows that at least they are not giving up on the season. Many have said all they want is to cheer for a team that is battling, well they have it now, flaws aside.
    Lets go Oilers!

  • Oil9744

    I hope Lucic comes out and just steam rolls Kadri like he did to that jabroni who ran Russel in to the boards, even if he gets a suspension whatever, it would be the best thing he’s done all season! #letsgooilers !!!

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Nicolson needs to make sure that as soon as the season ends and he can get permission he starts inerviewing potential candidates, because if he thinks other teams will be after some of the names mentioned he is dreaming. Gillis and Nonis ought to be off the list, Keith should also not be in the contention for GM, Guerin needs more seasoning and the Oilers situation is too much of a mess for someone who is just honing their chops. This is going to take someone who can know how to wheel and deal and not justr for the sake of a trade, someone who knows numbers and the differance btwn good and bad contracts and not hand out NMC like they are candy. Whoever it is that comes in better be up to the challenge because its is going to take some serious work to upright the sinking ship. Nicolson can not let this drag on and on though either so he can have the Oilers fans thinking he doing this awesome vetting process, we need a GM before next season starts and then figure out how to get rid of the crap contracts and players no one else wants and finding guys to fill the roles of players who wont be back

    • Darcy yaceyko

      And who is gonna line up for an interview? Really?? Maybe some up and coming GM from the A maybe. What kind of questions are gonna be asked? I mean really this idiotic team has no clue or direction. Maybe have a look at Calgarys and Toronto’s and maybe vancouvers blueprint.

  • OldOilFan

    Good read. I know the GTA fans panic every time a Leaf player gets a pimple, but I never imagined them putting Babs on the hot seat, lol. (OTH, Babs hasn’t been out of the 1st round, so to speak. So maybe his job should be “under consideration” after all).

    Tonite’s game (this afternoon) is near-impossible to call. I’d love to see the Oil lay a whippin’ on T.O., or even squeak out a 1-goal win.