GDB 20.0: Oilers looking for a successful Duck hunt (7pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
The road trip is over, and the Oilers’ free fall into the abyss was halted with a big win on Friday. Now the team will be looking to one win into two in their first matchup of the year against the Anaheim Ducks. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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We’re only 20 games into the season, and I’m almost at a loss for what to say. Obviously, the results we expected to happen on the ice haven’t come to fruition, and that means everyone and their dog has an opinion on what needs to be done to fix the problem. I’m not even talking about Oilers fans here, either. I’m talking about people who never watch this team chiming in with horrible advice and worse recommendations about who needs to go or what trade needs to be made, and it’s truly exhausting to watch. I get that’s how pro sports works — everyone loves to check out the car wreck on the way by — but it doesn’t make the scene feel any less painful.
Yet, despite the pain and feelings of dread, the Oilers handled their business in Washington on Friday afternoon with a lopsided win, and it was the kind of performance we’ve been waiting for all season. The Oilers attacked in waves for all 60 minutes, and the Caps struggled to handle the heat. Now, the goal will be to do it again against a miserable Anaheim Ducks team that comes into today’s contest on a five-game losing streak. At 3-7-0 in their last 10 games, the Ducks have fallen back to earth after a surprisingly successful start to their 2023-24 campaign, which signals to me that this is a game ripe for the picking. As we know all too well, confidence plays a major part in on-ice success, and from what I could gather as I was prepping for this article, the Ducks aren’t playing with much of it at all.
The Ducks have given up 22 goals while scoring only nine during this five-game losing streak, and I’d love nothing more than to see the Oilers get something done early and keep the Anaheim spiral going. We can’t be a life vest for these guys here. We can’t be the ones to help them up off the mat. If anything, this is the kind of game where the Oilers need to show that they still have a killer instinct and that they can still kick teams when they’re down instead of paving a path out of the darkness. I know I’m probably getting too philosophical here, but one of the most frustrating aspects of this season has been watching this team look like anyone other than themselves, and I’m hopeful that Friday’s win can act as the first step to getting back on the right track.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES4-6-03-7-0
POWER PLAY%25.021.9
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.529.2
TEAM SAVE%.896.895
CORSI FOR%55.6050.00
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Today’s game marks the Oilers’ first of four games against the Ducks and the first of two games in Edmonton. The next time these teams meet is on December 31st in Anaheim.
  • The last time these teams met was on April 5th, 2023, in Anaheim, where the Oilers won by a score of 3-1.
  • Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 39 career points (12G, 27A) against the Ducks, while Sam Gagner has appeared in a team leading 43 career games against Anaheim.
  • McDavid recorded his 38th 3+ assist game on Nov. 24 against the Capitals, tying Jari Kurri for 3rd most in Oilers history. McDavid trails Mark Messier (41) and Wayne Gretzky (143).
  • Zach Hyman recorded his team leading 9th and 10th goals of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes and added two assists on Friday against Washington, giving him back-to-back multi-point games. Hyman has now recorded five points (2G, 3A) in his last five games and 10 points (7G, 3A) in his previous 10.
  • Evan Bouchard recorded three shots for the second straight game against the Capitals, giving him 60 shots on the season, which is good for 3rd in the NHL among defencemen. Roman Josi ranks 1st with 71.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put up three points (1G, 2A) against Washington and now has seven points (1G, 6A) in his last five games.




RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Brown
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Erne – Hamblin – Janmark
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Why fix what ain’t broken, right? I mean, Friday’s game was easily the Oilers’ best of the year, and I would have been shocked if Knobby made many adjustments after an effort like that.


Killorn – Carlsson – Terry
Vatrano – McTavish – Strome
Jones – Henrique – Silfverberg
Groulx – Carrick – McGinn
Fowler – Lacombe
Mintyukov – Lyubushkin
Vaakanainen – Gudas
The Anaheim Ducks are struggling mightily right now, and the concern is that it’s the kind of skid that gives the Oilers the chance to be slump busters. We’ve seen our boys end a few slides just like this one over the years, but here on November 26th of 2023, the margin for error is too thin to mess around. I’m not saying that today’s contest is a ‘must-win’ situation for the Oilers in terms of their overall season, but I it just might be in the spiritual sense.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers’ power play continues to roll and powers the boys to a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: While the Oilers will earn their share of power plays, the referees will give the Ducks ample chances to climb back into the game with phantom calls and weak interpretations of the rule book.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ryan McLeod picks up his first goal of the season on a chance off the rush, and Connor Brown gets his first point of the season with an assist on the play.

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