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Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 11.0: Kick ‘Em While They’re Down (7pm MT, SNW)

Greetings, Internet friends, and welcome to a Sunday Funday edition of the GDB that will help to get us all prepared for the first of nine matchups between the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.

Listen, I don’t want to throw blanket statements out there when it comes to NHL teams but the Ottawa Senators are horrible and this is 1000% a game that the Edmonton Oilers have to win. And I don’t care that the boys played beat the Leafs in a wild one last night or that they’re still, too often times, struggling to find their way, the Senators will probably be in the mix for dead last in the NHL when all is said and done and the Oilers need points. As far as I’m concerned, this as close to a ‘you have to have this’ hockey game as there is at this stage. The good news is that if the boys play the way they did last night against Toronto then winning this one should be well within reach. And I know that a bunch of you out there will say there’s still plenty of time left on the season but it can’t just be me that’s stressing out about points, can it? Can’t be. I mean, with 20% of the season already in the books when the final buzzer goes on this contest, the pressure is on to start stringing some wins together.

Coming into the first meeting of the season between these two teams, the Oilers are already on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, and if they’re going to claw their way back in it and maintain their spot, they’re going to need wins in situations like this one. No offence to the Senators or anything, but they’re on a seven-game losing streak and have been getting absolutely dummied over that span, and the Oilers need to make sure they’re joining in on the point parade and not upholding their reputation as slump busters. They can’t be the ones to let this losing streak end. They have to flex a killer instinct and step on the Sens’ heads while they’re drowning rather than doing what they always do and throw out a life preserver. I know that sounds harsh but I think we all know it’s true. Far too often over the years, the Oilers have allowed a struggling opponent to turn the tides and I feel like today’s game against Ottawa is a situation where they just cannot let that happen.

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RELATED ARTICLE:
GDB 13.0 Wrap Up: A Tale of Two Tenders, Oilers fall 6-4 in Calgary

Let’s get to the numbers.

THE NUMBERS

OILERS SENATORS
RECORD 4-6-0 1-6-1
WIN/LOSS STREAK W1 L7
LAST 10 GAMES 4-6-0 1-6-1
GOALS FOR 30 17
GOALS AGAINST 36 36
POWER PLAY% 21.6 11.8
PENALTY KILL% 71.0 75.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 31.6 31.3
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST 32.7 31.6
TEAM SAVE% .906 .873
CORSI FOR% 48.50 47.09
PDO 0.977 0.934
TEAM SHOOTING% 7.08 6.08
EXPECTED GOALS FOR% 53.34 45.44

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

LINEUPS…

Oilers ***UPDATED***

RNH-McDavid-Puljujarvi
Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
Neal-Turris-Kassian
Archibald-Haas-Chiasson

Nurse-Barrie
Jones-Larsson
Lagesson-Russell

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Skinner

As of this morning, we don’t know what the Oilers line combinations are going to look like or what’s the latest with Ethan Bear’s injury. Obviously, if he’s out for any length of time, the Oilers going to have a massive hole to fill on that right side which is another challenge that they just don’t need right now.

I also wonder if today will be the first time we see Troy Grosenick between the pipes as a means of giving Koskinen a much-deserved break? The Oilers activated him to the roster yesterday, so it would make sense for him to get in against the Sens if ever, but I wonder if the obvious play is the one we’ll actually see in action.

I’ll be sure to jump in and update the lines as soon as news comes out.

Senators

Tkachuk – Norris – Brown
Paul – White – Dadonov
Stutzle – Tierney – Batherson
Paquette – Chlapik – Watson

Chabot – Zaitsev
Reilly – Gudbranson
Coburn – Brown

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Murray

The Ottawa Senators have struggled mightily to score over this losing streak — they have 12 goals for over that time — and that’s a trend the Oilers will hope continues tonight. This is a team that’s only scored 17 goals all season and we can’t be the ones that help them get started.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Game Notes: Jets @ Oilers — Game 17

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Senschirp:

Baby steps, right? 7-1 loss. 5-1 loss. 4-1 loss. At this rate, the Ottawa Senators will be back this pesky losing streak snapped by some time next week. Everyone knew there were going to be some long nights this season but a seven-game losing streak right off the hop probably wasn’t how things were envisioned in the 112-page Master Plan. It’s hard to see it when you’re in the depths of a never-ending spiral of losses and nobody wants to hear it but the Ottawa Senators really haven’t been that bad. In fact, they are regularly outplaying and outshooting their opponents. It’s just so hard to win when you’re always chasing the game and when every mistake ends up in the back of your net. If they could just find four NHL defenceman and locate two NHL goalies they’d be in business.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Game Day Prediction: Oilers get the 3-2 win that they desperately needed.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid gets another multi-point game because he wants to and there’s nothing the Senators can do about it.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Because of his history with Matthew Tkachuk, Zack Kassian will have a flash of PTSD that causes him to punch his younger brother, Brady.

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