GDB +12.0: Do or Die for the Edmonton Oilers (8pm MT, CBC)

11 months ago
The Oilers have been pushed to the brink of elimination after dropping Game 5 on Friday night, and now they’ll have to come up with a monster effort if they plan to keep their season alive. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the Game 5 loss was a tough one to swallow. After starting the game like a house on fire, the Oilers gave it all back in a span of only 90 seconds. Yeah, you could point a finger or two at the horrible call on Broberg that kicked off the Vegas comeback, but the reality is that the Oilers didn’t do themselves any favours either. Not only did they take too many penalties — giving Vegas seven looks with the man advantage is like taking a long walk down a short pier to unhappiness — but they also took their foot on the gas in the second period, allowing the Golden Knights to wrestle the lead away while also putting the boys in a hole that was simply too deep to overcome.
If the Oilers are going to stay alive and push this series to Game 7, the attention to detail and urgency has to get cranked up by everyone in a blue and orange jersey. I don’t know what it is about this series that has the Oilers following up on a fantastic effort with lacklustre execution, but that trend has proved costly twice already. And since it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the Oilers need to win two in a row if their playoff dreams will stay alive then they’ll need to figure out how to string something together here. Backs against the wall, the margin for error is zero and that means the Oilers will need to put together 60 minutes (not 58:30) of mistake-free hockey if they’re going to live to fight another day. We’ve seen them do it before — we were in this same position against the Kings last spring — and now it will be up to the boys to prove that they deserve to move on with their play on the ice.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%47.418.4
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.731.4
TEAM SAVE%.914.940
CORSI FOR%52.5548.52
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Kane – McDavid – Hyman
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Kostin – Bjugstad – Janmark
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
Based on the lines Bob Stauffer tweeted out from the morning skate, I wonder if we’re going to see the Oilers go 12-6 tonight? Of course, Klim Kostin was not on the ice so I simply replaced Shore’s spot in the rushes with Klim Shady but we don’t actually know if he’s playing yet. What we do know, however, is that the Oilers need to do a much better job of keeping the finer details of their game in check with the biggest one being the need to stay out of the box. The boys took seven penalties on Friday night, and I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that it’s pretty hard to win when you’re shorthanded for nearly a period.

Golden Knights

Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Howden – Stephenson – Stone
Smith – Karlsson – Amadio
Carrier – Roy – Kolesar
Martinez – Pietrangelo
McNabb – Theodore
Hague – Whitecloud
The Golden Knights have outscored the Oilers 12-7 at even strength and that’s not going to work if the Oilers are going to come back and win this series. As we’ve seen multiple times in multiple series, we can’t depend on the refs to give the boys opportunities with the man advantage, meaning that someone needs to figure out how to get the puck behind Hill when they’re not on the power play. If the Oilers can figure out how to get a goal or two at evens then I think we’re going to be alright, but if they can’t, the reality is that we’re playing with fire if the only time we can generate any offence is on the power play.


From an unhinged Alex Pietrangelo:
It is what it is, I’m not going to sit here and dwell on it. The league took care of it, so we’ll move on and use it as a day to get some rest and get ready for tomorrow. There have been a lot of shots both ways, I’ll just say that. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on, there’s some premeditated stuff coming at me but (the Department of Player Safety) didn’t really seem to care in the meeting. I’ll get up and take it. I’m not going to lay on the ice like we’ve been seeing. I’ll get up and play the game the way it needs to be played. At the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do, they’ve got a job to do, and we need to close it out tomorrow.
On if there’s extra motivation:
I’m sure the rest of the guys do too, right? I’m sure the guys had a little extra motivation last night. We’re a tight group in there, we’ve got each others’ backs. Sitting there watching the game, man, I was sweating. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s for sure. I love it, I love the emotion, it’s just tough when you are there watching and you can’t do anything about it. You appreciate the sport and how exciting it is when you sit back for a second and watch it from a different perspective. Oh man, oh yeah, I was excited, ask the guys. The guys that were watching with me thought I was crazy.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers know what needs to be done and they execute the game plan to the tune of a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl is back with yet another multi-point night. Oh, and the power play scores too.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: He’s had a few good looks in this series, but tonight is finally the night when Vinny Desharnais scores his first NHL goal.

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