Is there anything better than an Oilers game to wrap up your Sunday Funday? I don’t think so. In fact, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing than spending my birthday here with all of you as we get set to watch the Edmonton Oilers take on the Anaheim Ducks.
I don’t know how closely you’ve been watching the standings lately, but the Anaheim Ducks have been absolutely horrible lately. Coming into tonight’s game, the Ducks are rocking a 1-6-3 record in their last 10 games and that is about as bad as it gets in this league, meaning the Oilers have a very real responsibility to extend their pain. I know the Ducks beat the Coyotes on Friday night, but I would love nothing more than to see our boys put them right back in the dumps. Not only does seeing the Anaheim Ducks lose make me happy, but seeing them fall out of the Pacific Division playoff race in such spectacular fashion is truly remarkable. Besides, watching Dallas Eakins’ face as his team loses in Edmonton again would be the birthday gift I didn’t know I wanted until I started putting this here GDB together, ya know?
Fresh off a 10-game losing streak, I don’t think the Anaheim Ducks will be anywhere close to a free square on the Bingo board some folks think they will and I believe the Oilers need to be at their best if they’re hoping to extend their winning streak. Basically what I’m trying to say is that the boys will need to be a hell of a lot tighter with their puck choices against the Ducks than they were against St. Louis because we almost let a three-goal lead slip away in the snap of a finger. I’m all for building an early lead — in fact, I’d demand it — but getting one doesn’t mean you’re allowed to pretend like the last two periods don’t matter. What I’m saying is that we’re going to need a full 60 minutes here, fellas, because the Pacific Division is way too tight to be giving up games you have to win because you’re sloppy with the basics. That can’t happen today.
Let’s see what the numbers say…
|LAST 10 GAMES||7-2-1||1-6-3|
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||52.13||48.64|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
Kane – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Hyman – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Brassard – RNH – Kassian
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Keith – Bouchard
Kulak – Barrie
As I’ve said repeatedly already in this GDB, the Oilers absolutely have to find a way to beat the Ducks and get these two points. Right from the jump, everyone in the lineup needs to be firing on all cylinders and not even give the opposition an ounce of hope that they’ll be able to compete. Anything less, at least to me, would be a real bummer.
Simon – Getzlaf – Mayhew
Grant – Zegras – Terry
Aston-Reese – Lundestrom – Carrick
Comtois – Steel – Lettieri
Fowler – Drysdale
Benoit – Sustr
Mahura – Shattenkirk
As much as it pains me to say it, I love watching the things Trevor Zegras can do with the puck and I sometimes fantasize that the Oilers had taken him at the 2019 Entry Draft until the thought ends up making me angry. With that out of the way, all I can really hope for is that the dude doesn’t burn us with some silly highlight-reel goal that we’ll all have to watch over and over again like the Michigan marker he picked up on Friday night.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
In the simplest terms, the Ducks have finally embarked upon a genuine rebuild. They’ve seemingly flirted with the idea over the past three seasons but have ultimately just stayed in the same position, collected their own draft picks, and have seemed to desire for any push up the standings to come from within. But now there can be no debate about how the Ducks management see this team. They’re rebuilding.
What that means in the short term is hardly arguable. The Ducks are worse today than they were yesterday. It’s impossible to trade two top-4 defensemen and walk away suggesting they’re a better team. Certainly, some would imagine that Manson has been terrible these past couple seasons, and Lindholm has fallen away this season. Those same people would also denigrate Deslauriers.
Game Day Prediction: Oilers pick up a huge 4-2 win against a team they need to beat more often than not.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon hits 50.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: The power play continues to roll, and the boys pick up two more goals with the man advantage.
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
With McDavid and Draisaitl chasing another huge season, I spent a big chunk of this week’s podcast talking about how much I love those two dudes. Not only that, the Oilers have played very well over the last couple of weeks and that means another opportunity for me to pump the team’s tires. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.