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GDB 11.0: Feeling the Pressure (8pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
3 months ago
How quickly things change. One month ago, every prognosticator around the NHL picked the Edmonton Oilers to make the playoffs and finish first or second in the Pacific Division. Many, including the Oilers players, coaches and management, felt they were a Stanley Cup contender.
However, an ugly 2-7-1 start has them sitting in 31st place in the NHL. They can’t score, they can’t defend, their goalies can’t make enough saves and they can’t play the final 40 minutes of games.
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Edmonton ranks 23rd in goals/game at 2.70. They led the league last season with 3.96 goals/game. They were fifth in 5×5 goals last season, but currently are 23rd. The forwards haven’t been close to good enough in the offensive zone. They have created the sixth-most high-danger chances, but they can’t finish. They aren’t doing their jobs (scoring) well enough.
Defensively they are a train wreck. Naturalstattrick has them ranked 3rd best in allowing high danger chances at 5×5, but I don’t believe that is close to telling the real story.
Here is how they rank in 13 defensive categories courtesy of SportLogiq.
They give up too many chances off the rush, far too many shots from the slot (ranked 30th), and they don’t protect the net very well as they sit 27th in rebound chances.
Their goalies have not been good enough. Yes, the Oilers give up too many chances off the rush, but they need to make more saves.
Kevin is correct, it isn’t all about goaltending, but the Oilers’ goalies sit 30th in 5×5 Sv% and dead last in overall Sv%. The San Jose Sharks allowed 20 goals in their last two games, and their goalies still have a slightly better Sv%. And it is important to note the Edmonton Oilers have produced the 6th most high-danger scoring chances, but sit 23rd in goals. Opposing goalies have made many key stops on high-danger chances. The Oilers need to lower their HD chances against, but the goalies must start stopping a few more high danger chances.
And they have been awful in the second and their periods. Here is their GF-GA by period:
1st period: 14-11
2nd period: 8-17
3rd period: 5-12.
Last season they outscored teams every period:
1st frame: 92-71
2nd frame: 128-101
3rd frame: 100-79
They were 5-5 in OT.
The Oilers have had decent starts this year. They’ve scored first six times but are only 2-3-1 when doing so. Last season they were 32-8-4 when scoring first.
They’ve managed a two-goal lead only two times this season.
They exploded for four goals in the first period v. Nashville and won 6-1 while giving up 43 shots.
They were up 2-0 at home to Winnipeg in the first six minutes but lost 3-2 in OT. Outshot the Jets 40-27 but couldn’t score.
The Oilers have had a lead for a total of 181:17 and 107 of those minutes came in victories over Nashville and Calgary. When they get a lead, they haven’t been able to hold it, outside of the Nashville and Calgary games.
The only positive for the Oilers is every group has underachieved, from players, to coaches to management. They’ve all underperformed and either they work their way out of it as a group, or changes will happen.
It is only game 11, but this seems like a rather big game for the Oilers. Lose tonight and the pressure ratchets up another notch. A victory over the 32nd-place San Jose Sharks on Thursday won’t do much to lower that needle. The Oilers have to win in Vancouver or Seattle on Saturday, or they will be 3-9-1 and heading full speed into the ditch.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

McDavid – Draisaitl – Hyman
Kane – RNH – Gagner
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Holloway – Hamblin – Lavoie
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Skinner
The Oilers recalled James Hamblin on an emergency basis after dressing 19 skaters on Saturday. He will centre the Oilers version of the “Kid line” with Holloway and Lavoie. The top lines need to be better and the bottom six needs to chip in with a goal.
Nurse and Ceci need to be better than they have recently.
Stuart Skinner has had stretches where he’s played well, but he needs to be more consistent.

Canucks

Mikheyev – Pettersson – Kuzmenko
Di Giuseppi – Miller – Boeser
Joshua – Suter – Garland
Höglander – Lafferty – Beauvillier
Hughes – Hronek
Soucy – Myers
Cole – Friedman
Demko
Demko has played very well in goal for the Canucks, while Quinn Hughes has been great on the blueline and Elias Pettersson is leading them offensively. It is a great mix when you have elite players contributing at forward, defence and in goal.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The struggle continues. Oilers lose 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The anger in Oilersnation amps up to levels similar to the fall of 2017 and 2018.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The bottom six scores a goal. Derek Ryan scores his first of the season.

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