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Game Notes: Senators @ Oilers – Home Cooking

  1. The Edmonton Oilers open up a four-game homestand tonight against the rebuilding, 29th place @Ottawa Senators. The Sens have lost five games in a row, including the first three on their current five-game road trip, and they’ve been outscored 17-5 during their losing streak. They arrived early this morning into Edmonton after their 5-2 loss in Vancouver, while the Oilers had Monday off and a solid hour long practice yesterday.

Edmonton has a great opportunity to win their 18th game of the season tonight.

1. The Oilers are one of only two teams in the NHL who’ve yet to go three games without a victory. They’ve found ways to win before a losing streak can become a problem and I asked head coach Dave Tippett why that is. “When we lose a game, they talk about it and say, ‘We have to get right back at it.’ That is all coming from within the room. It isn’t coming from the coaching staff, that is coming from the guys who want to be a playoff team. I give the players full credit for that,” said Tippett.

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2. That is a different attitude from past years and I’ve long believed that desire has to come from the players. The coach can talk all he wants, but ultimately it is the players who have to perform and they’ve done a great job of finding ways to win. They dominated the third period in Vancouver on Sunday. All four lines were solid after Leon Draisaitl scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period. Their commitment to making the right play inside their blueline to get a puck out, or knocking down pucks in the neutral zone to avoid odd-man rushes, has been infinitely better this season and they are getting rewarded.

3. Edmonton has played 17 of their first 29 games on the road, and this four-game homestand presents a great opportunity to try and create a bit of separation in the Pacific division. Tonight, against the struggling Senators, looks more promising when you consider Draisaitl and Connor McDavid’s production on home ice so far this season.

4. McDavid has 10-19-29 in 12 home games while Draisaitl has 8-17-25. Both are averaging over two points/game when Dave Tippett gets last change. Even though they aren’t playing on the same line tonight due to injuries to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian, don’t be surprised to see them have big offensive games.

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5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skated on his own yesterday morning and you could see him later in this homestand. Zack Kassian was scheduled to skate this morning on his own, so he might be available for the final home game next Tuesday. Matt Benning is on the IR again, although Dave Tippett said this about Benning: “He passed that (concussion protocol test), but they (doctors) are monitoring him and don’t want to put him in a bad position. We will know a bit more today.”

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6. Here is the Oilers scoring last year compared to this season, and the Senators scoring, through 29 games.

TEAM TOP-5 FORWARDS REST OF FORWARDS DEFENCE
2018/19 57 (123) 13 (33) 10 (51)
EDMONTON 65 (154) 16 (38) 8 (52)
OTTAWA 47 (77) 18 (65) 6 (42)

7. Edmonton’s top-five forwards have more goals and points than all of the Senators forwards combined. Even without Nugent-Hopkins and Kassian Edmonton has a major advantage at the top of their lineup.

8. Through 29 games last season, Draisaitl had 15-18-33 while Connor McDavid had 15-25-40. This season McDavid has 19-32-51 and Draisaitl has 18-32-50. They’ve combined for 28 more points thus far. Both of them could crush their career highs set last season.

9. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his 15th goal last night in Vancouver. He is poised to surpass his previous career-best of 19 goals set in 2015/2016. Pageau turned 27 last month, and he is set to be a free agent this summer. The Senators will try to re-sign him, but if they can’t he will surely be moved at the deadline, and he should garner a solid return. He has played the majority of his time with Connor Brown and Nick Paul, and would be an ideal third line centre on a competitive team. If he continues to produce like this he could command upwards of $4 million on the free agent market.

10. Joel Persson was recalled yesterday while Caleb Jones was reassigned to Bakersfield. Jones played decent but struggled at times with his decision making with the puck. Persson produced 1-4-5 in six games with Bakersfield and looked quite good. He’ll return to Edmonton with more confidence. He was more assertive in his decisions, with and without the puck, in the AHL, so we’ll see if that continues here. I expect he will play with Kris Russell on the third pair tonight.

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11. It might only interest me, but I took a glance at the Oilers special teams last year compared to this point of the season. Last season the Oilers PP was 19.8% (18 goals on 91 chances) and their PK was an ugly 76.7%, allowing 21 goals on 90 kills. This year Edmonton’s PP is a ridiculous 32.5% (26 of 80) and their PK is at 87.1%, allowing 12 goals on 93 kills. They were -3 on special teams last year through 29 games and they are +14 this season.

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The Oilers have had 11 fewer powerplays and three more PK situations so far. It is odd that they are winning more games, but draw fewer penalties and are taking more.

MONTH OF GIVING…

A big thank you to Ryan and Sebastion for their generous bids on the Mr. Derk package, and to Sterling at Mr.Derk who agreed at the end of our show to donate two packages. Also thanks to Jack with his bid on the Oilers/Leafs tickets courtesy of Trilogy Rentals. Combined we raised $9,200 for Month of Giving yesterday.

Day Three:

Package #1:

  • Pub party for 10 at On The Rocks. Includes meals and beverages for all.
  • $400 GC from On The Rocks as well as a Crab Boil (for eight)
  • Pair of tickets (row 23) to the Oilers/Sabres game this Sunday.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Package #2: Tee It Up.

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  • 10 rounds of golf at the Ranch Golf and Country Club with a power cart for each round and use of driving range before every round.
  • One round of golf for three people with their Head Pro Shawn Piercey.
  • One round of golf for two with GM Murray McCourt and Kevin Karius from Global TV. This is a spirited match and usually involves some friendly “wagering.”

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out the Christmas Bureau and Brightfield Elementary breakfast program (A Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield initiative).

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