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Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 71.0: Wandering the desert (8pm MT, CBC)

Welcome, citizens, to the first GDB of what will be a very important weekend for the Edmonton Oilers as they look to gain some ground on another one of the teams they’re chasing in the NHL standings.

After Wednesday’s disheartening loss against New Jersey, tonight’s game against the Coyotes because all the more important. It’s no secret that the Oilers are running out of time to catch the teams ahead of them and the only way they’re going to make this thing work is if they keep closing out wins, which is why this weekend is so incredibly important. Obviously, the ideal scenario is that the boys can walk away from the weekend with four points in their pockets, but we have to fight the urge to get ahead of ourselves and take things one step at a time. Let’s start with a win tonight against the Coyotes and move forward from there.

Again, I can’t stress the importance of this game enough as the Oilers need to do whatever it takes to beat a team they’re chasing in the standings. I don’t care if they start some kind of pre-game prayer circle or find a volunteer that will sell their soul to Satan, there should be no stone unturned when it comes to preparation for tonight’s contest. Considering there’s a group of us that are already down in Vegas ahead of tomorrow night’s game, nothing would get us more primed for than seeing our boys pull out a big win tonight against the Coyotes. Needless to say, the ‘playoffs’ have already started for the Edmonton Oilers and every point is absolutely crucial.

Can the boys stay alive? We shall see.

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***If you’re in Vegas and would like to join us, you can swing by the Park MGM starting at 6pm and we’ve organized some drink and food deals for Oilers fans to show up wearing gear.****

NUMBERS

OILERS COYOTES
RECORD 31-32-7 36-30-5
WIN/LOSS STREAK L1 W2
LAST 10 GAMES 6-3-1 8-2-0
GOALS FOR 198 193
GOALS AGAINST 229 197
POWER PLAY 21.0 17.3
PENALTY KILL 75.1 85.1
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 29.6 30.5
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.7 30.1
TEAM SAVE% .898 .911
CORSI FOR% 48.22 48.57
PDO 99.1 98.8
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.33 7.02
GOALS FOR% 45.11 45.42
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Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

According to our friends at OddsShark, Edmonton is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing Arizona.

LINEUPS

Oilers

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

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Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning

Koskinen

Despite having their three best players in line for career-best seasons, the Edmonton Oilers haven’t been able to turn that into as many wins as it probably should have. I don’t know how many kicks to the shins we need to suffer through in one season, but I guess the count continues.

Coyotes

Galchenyuk – Cousins – Fischer
Panik – Dvorak – Keller
Grabner – Richardson – Hinostroza
Crouse – Kempe – Archibald

Ekman-Larsson – Hjalmarsson
Connauton – Goligoski
Demers – Oesterle

Kuemper

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One of the most painful realities about today’s game is that the Oilers are chasing the Coyotes in the standings despite Arizona not having a single player on their roster with more than 20 goals. They’re getting offence by committee and playing a sound defensive game and it’s driven them to one of the most impressive playoff runs that I’ve seen in a while. For a team that’s lost over 300 man-games to injury this season, the Coyotes are finding ways to win games anyway and that’s something that our Oilers haven’t been able to match.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Howlin’ Hockey:

The Coyotes have already overcome so much adversity this season, with Antti Raanta, Nick Schmaltz and Derek Stepan all still sidelined with various injuries.

The team has had over 300 man-games lost due to injury, well ahead of any other team in the NHL, and yet they are still battling their way towards the playoffs.

The team has adopted the mantra Scratchin’ and Clawin’ this season, showing that the team is determined to fight it out and claw their way up the standings, playing a particularly rugged style of game.

Tocchet fully deserves Jack Adams consideration for the work he has done, turning the Coyotes into a legitimate playoff team after they finish dead-last in the Western Conference last season, especially with all of the injuries the team has suffered through.

If the Coyotes can have a streak of performances as strong as they have recently, then they should find themselves holding onto their playoff spot quite comfortably.

But the team needs to put in the hard work and continue to pick up victories against tough opposition, with the true test of the team’s character coming in this final 12-game stretch.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: The Oilers hit the ground running and build themselves an early lead that will not be erased. Edmonton closes out a 4-2 win.

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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Folks that went on the Arizona trip with the team will wish that they came to Las Vegas with us instead.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: After spending most of the day drinking in Vegas with the Nation and crew, I will spend money that I don’t have on some kind of ridiculous tchotchke or knick knacks just for my Instagram.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/16/2019 – 12:00 pm MT

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