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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 29.0: Be Better… Much Better (8pm MT, SNW)

For the second time in as many nights, the Edmonton Oilers are squaring off against the Vancouver Canucks in another huge Pacific Division matchup. Only this time, I’m sure we’d all agree that we’d like a better effort.

I said it on Friday in the new episode of Oilersnation Radio and I said it in yesterday’s GDB but I think it bears repeating how much I love a good old fashioned home-and-home series. I don’t know how the NHL could make more weekends like this happen but I’d love to see the Oilers going up against more divisional rivals in a back-to-back setting like this. Could more mini-series happen without having to have 2000 games in your season like in baseball? Logistically, I’m sure there are issues but I’d still love to see it. I don’t know if last night’s game is going to add any more of an edge to the rematch, it was actually kind of mellow in terms of physicality, but you’d have to think that it can’t hurt at all. Imagine if we were closer to the playoffs and the Oilers had almost baseball-like series lined up against Western Conference teams with whom they were directly competing for points. It would be fantastic!

As for the rematch, the Oilers are going to need to be better in every single facet of their game from the crease on out if they’re looking to get back in the win column because they were absolutely owned by the Canucks last night at Rogers Place. From start to finish, our boys were outworked in all three zones and it made for a painful three hours that could have been better served by watching The Irishman or something. To say that last night’s result was disappointing would be a massive understatement, but we have to hope that the necessary lessons were learned, TipJustments were made, and that we’ll get a much stronger effort this evening. Maybe it’s the Kool-Aid speaking or the fact that we’re looking at meaningful games in December, but I believe that the Oilers will come into this third game in the season series with much more of a chip on their shoulder, angry about the way things went down on Hockey Night in Canada.

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If the Oilers play the way that they can then I know that we’re going to be alright, but if they play as disorganized and a half-step behind as they did 24 hours ago then we’re destined to watch the same movie over again, and I think that’s an evening I can safely say that we’d all like to avoid.

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THE NUMBERS

OILERS CANUCKS
RECORD 16-9-3 13-10-4
WIN/LOSS STREAK L2 W1
LAST 10 GAMES 5-4-1 4-5-1
GOALS FOR 88 90
GOALS AGAINST 82 81
POWER PLAY% 30.8 26.9
PENALTY KILL% 86.8 82.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 28.9 32.2
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 31.6 31.6
TEAM SAVE% .909 .906
CORSI FOR% 48.16 50.81
PDO 1.005 0.996
TEAM SHOOTING% 9.05 7.82
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 49.13 51.42

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

  • Edmonton are 6-3 SU in their last 9 games on the road. – From our friends at OddsShark.com

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Chiasson – Gagner – Neal
Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald
Granlund – Haas – P. Russell

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Nurse – Bear
Klefbom – Larsson
Jones – Benning

Koskinen

As much as I think Sam Gagner is filling in for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins admirably, it’s also clear to me how important RNH is to this team when he’s out of the lineup. With 564 NHL games already on his resume, Nuge has turned into a utility knife for this team over the years and I’ve noticed the absence of his silky-smooth puck larceny over the past three games, especially on special teams. In net, Mikko Koskinen will get his 14th start of the season as the big man looks to get his team back on track, or, at the very least, winning the back half of this home-and-home series.

The line combos posted above are the same ones from last night, and since I’m posting the GDB early this morning there hasn’t been any word yet about changes. If there are updates, I will be sure to bounce back it and make the edits.

***UPDATE***

Oh, I see…

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Canucks

Pearson – Horvat – Boeser
Miller – Pettersson – Goldobin
Leivo – Gaudette – Virtanen
Schaller – Graovac – MacEwan

Edler – Stecher
Hughes – Myers
Benn – Tanev

Demko

As we saw last night at Rogers Place, it’s unlikely that the Canucks will get as much offence from their bottom six again, but I wouldn’t have expected a bottom-six beatdown to happen the first time either. Needless to say, Edmonton is going to need a much better effort defensively if they’re going to flip the script after Saturday’s disappointing loss.

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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Canucksarmy:

The month of November has been harrowing for the Canucks. After starting the season 8-3-1 in October the Canucks went 5-7-3 in November. However, they closed out their six game road trip in Edmonton on a high note with a 5-2 win against the Pacific Division leading Oilers. The Canucks set the tone for the game right from the first period, outshooting the Oilers 17-7 and 38-29 total. They were struggling to get shots on goal during this road trip averaging 25.6 SOG compared to their season average of 32. Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson did a great job against the Oilers’ top line, holding Connor McDavid to two points and kept Leon Draisaitl off the score sheet entirely, even Loui Eriksson with his first goal of the year had more points than Draisaitl tonight. Tanner Pearson led the Canucks with a 4 point night and Horvat was right behind him with 3 points.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: After a tough loss last night in Edmonton, the Oilers bounce back with a much better performance and leave Vancouver with a 3-1 win.

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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Despite not earning it, the Canucks will have more power play opportunities than the Oilers.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Out of absolutely nowhere, the broadcast team will compare Vancouver’s core of players to the team that lost to the Rangers in the ’94 Stanley Cup. We’re all confused about why they’d bring up a 25-year-old loss, but we do appreciate seeing Mark Messier make so many Canucks fans sad. Gord knows it wouldn’t be the last time that happened in their history.

THE BLACKOUT COLLECTION

We’ve upgraded every aspect of this year’s gear and we cannot wait for you guys to check it out! The 2019 Blackout collection is now available only at NationGear.ca.