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GDB 24.0: TOI Isn’t a Concern (6pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
2 months ago
Welcome to the game day coverage: Be sure to check out the latest Oilers game day odds from NHL betting site Betway.
Rookie Dylan Holloway has had a front-row seat to watch the NHL’s top-two offensive stars and it isn’t just their skill that amazes him. “Their ability to attack late in shifts with speed is incredible,” Holloway said. “Did you see McDavid on the overtime goal? He was over a minute into his shift, got the puck in the neutral zone and blew past the defender. It isn’t just their skill that is elite, it is their conditioning.”
Holloway enjoys working out. He’s always been in good shape, but this year he’s realized that to be great it is more than just speed and skill. You need elite cardio and conditioning and during our conversation, before the Oilers went on the road, he, without me asking him about it, brought up McDavid and Draisaitl’s conditioning and their ability to attack with speed late in shifts, even extended shifts. You can put Darnell Nurse in the same category, and that’s why them playing big minutes last night doesn’t mean they won’t have much left in the tank tonight.
McDavid has mentioned on many occasions how he feels better the more he plays. “I love being on the ice. I want to play more and the more I play the better I feel,” he said. The hard work in the off-season, when no one is watching, is what pushes great athletes to the peak of their sports. It is commonplace within most dressing rooms across professional sports that the best players are usually the hardest workers. They put in endless hours of work to become great.
McDavid has averaged 26:22/game in the last three games, followed by Nurse (26:11), Draisaitl (25:04), Cody Ceci (23:30), Zach Hyman (23:14), and Tyson Barrie (22:50). Brett Kulak and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are at 18:25 and 18:22 respectively, while Mattias Janmark (15:22) and Evan Bouchard (14:37) round out the top-10 skaters.
Injuries to Evander Kane, Kailer Yamamoto, Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod have increased the TOI/game for the Oilers’ top forwards, but I don’t think it will reduce their effectiveness tonight.
The Minnesota Wild sit 17th overall in points% and are tied for 21st in points. If Edmonton was facing Boston or another top team tonight, the TOI might be more of a factor, but the Wild don’t have a dominant line or dominant top defence pairing.
Kirill Kaprisov is a very dynamic player. He’s one of the most electrifying players in the game, but the Wild don’t have a dominant first line centre. Sam Steel, who was signed as a UFA after not being qualified by Anaheim, has fit in very well in Minnesota, but he’s not considered a #1 centre at this stage of his career.
Freddie Gaudreau is their second line centre and after a career-best 14 goals and 44 points last season he has 3-5-8 so far this year. He isn’t a major threat. Joel Eriksson-Ek is their most proven centre, and he’s an excellent third line centre who could easily play a second-line role, but he plays mainly with Marcus Foligno in a defensive role. But he does have 17 points. I expect he will get some minutes v. the McDavid line tonight.
The Wild are another team currently below the Oilers in the standings and playing the top-line big minutes against them makes sense with all the injuries. I don’t think the recent increase in minutes is going to negatively impact the top players.
That doesn’t mean I guarantee they win tonight either, just that I don’t think the minutes are limiting their ability to perform. They likely won’t practice as much in the coming weeks, as I expect the big minutes to remain during the upcoming four-game homestand.
The top players trained all summer to ensure they could perform at their best, even with a few more minutes. Nurse averages 24 minutes/game, McDavid (22:56) and Draisaitl (22:31) are used to playing big minutes. Giving them four or five more minutes for a few games won’t drain them.

GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Janmark – RNH – Puljujarvi
Benson – Shore – Ryan
Holloway – Malone – Hamblin
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Broberg – Bouchard
Campbell
Jack Campbell needs a solid performance. He needs to play like he did v. Tampa Bay when he kept the Oilers in the game early and gave them a chance to win. Starts haven’t been the Oilers’ forte all season, and Campbell has to be sharp early.
The Oilers have been fairly successful in back-to-back sets of games recently. They are 2-1 in the first game this year and 2-0 on the second night.
In 2021 they were 9-1 in game one and 7-3 in game two.
Last year they were -7-2-1 in game one and 3-7 in game two.
They are 18-4-1 in game one and 12-10 in game two of the past two seasons and start of this year.

Wild…

Kaprizov – Steel – Zuccarello
Petan – Gaudreau – Boldy
Greenway – Eriksson Ek – Foligno
Reaves – Dewar – Shaw
Middleton – Spurgeon
Goligoski – Dumba
Merrill – Addison
Fleury
The Wild have a unique mix of forwards. They have five guys who are between 6’2″ to 6’6″ and 201-225 pounds in Boldy, Eriksson-Ek, Foligno, Greenway, and Reaves, while Steel, Zuccarello, Petan, Dewar, and Shaw range from 5’8″-5’10” and 175-183 pounds.
They have some big heavy forwards, and then some small, skilled ones. The Oilers’ bottom six will have to try and grind it out with the huge bottom six of the Wild. It will be a tough matchup. The Wild are 22nd in goals/game, but 11th in goals against/game. Edmonton won’t get as many high-quality chances as they had last night.
The Wild don’t generate much, despite having lots of offensive zone possession. They will try to wear down the Oilers on the cycle and crash the net for rebounds.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: A low-event game compared to last night. The Wild have won six straight v. the Oilers and outscored Edmonton 30-13. It hasn’t been pretty for the Orange and Blue. These teams haven’t played many close games recently. Only two of the last 10 were one-goal games. One was a two-goal difference, while the other seven had 3+ goal differentials. The recent losing trend continues for the Oilers, and they lose 4-2. Actually, scratch that, I’m pulling a George Costanza and going against my initial thought and going with the opposite: Edmonton ends its losing skid with a 3-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Draisaitl scores his 11th goal in 18 career games v. the Wild.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Puljujarvi scores his first goal in 17 games.

MONTH OF GIVING…

Our 12th annual Month of Giving begins today. Every weekday from today through to Friday, December 23rd, we will be auctioning off a package on my TSN 1260 radio show with all the proceeds going to various charities including The Christmas Bureau, Santas Anonymous, Operation Friendship Senior Society, The Mayfield Rotary Club, Holiday Hamper Program, Adopt-A-Teen and more.
We have a new package (s) every day, and you can see all the packages for each week at Jasongregor.com so you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t miss out on a package. We will update the last two weeks of package later next week.
DAY One: A Furnace or AC Unit courtesy of Legacy Heating and Cooling
There are two items up for grabs, and the winning bid can choose which one they want.
This is what you receive with the furnace:
  • One installed Goodman GMVM 97% Energy Star High Efficiency Modulating Variable-Speed ECM Gas Furnace
  • Comes with permit and inspection fees
  • Ecobee Pro Thermostat or Google Nest Thermostat
  • Removal and disposal of old furnace
  • 10-year Parts/Labour – Lifetime Heat Exchanger on Furnace
Here is what you get with the AC Unit:
  • One installed Goodman GSX16 16 Seer Air Conditioner with Evaporator coil, pad/bracket and electrical connections.
  • Comes with permit and inspection fees
  • Ecobee Pro Thermostat or Google Nest Thermostat
  • UV Light Coil Purifier
  • 10-year Parts/Labour/Compressor on Air Conditioner
You can bid by listening to TSN 1260 and calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today in support of the Christmas Bureau.

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