GDB 25.0: The devil is in the details (2pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
Given the way the Oilers tend to perform in the daylight hours, it’s fair to wonder what to expect from this afternoon’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils. Yet, the team is riding a six-game winning streak and finding ways to cash in points even when it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, and that gives me plenty of hope that we’ll be talking about a seventh straight win when all is said and done. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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What a rollercoaster this season has been. In the span of two months, we’ve seen the Oilers work through the lowest of lows before eventually landing on this current six-game winning streak where they’re easily playing their best hockey of the year. It’s been a ride that none of us would have ever expected or predicted, and it’s hard to even come up with the words to accurately describe how the Oilers have looked so vastly different from the first dozen games to the next. With only 24 of 82 games under our belts, we’ve already had a season’s worth of storylines to talk about, and I can only imagine what’s yet to come. Outside of dinosaurs coming back from the dead and wiping us all out, would anything that could happen to this team really surprise you anymore?
As for the task at hand, the New Jersey Devils roll into town with a 6-4-0 record in their last 10 games, including a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames yesterday. Winners of their last three games, the Devils have done a much better job of keeping pucks out of their own net than they had been over the previous couple of weeks. Even so, New Jersey still ranks 25th overall in goals against thanks to inconsistent goaltending — the Oilers just got on the right side of even for GF/GA on Wednesday night against the Hurricanes — and that presents an opportunity for a red hot Edmonton team to filling the net. That’s not to say that scoring is going to be easy, Gord knows the Devils are a highly skilled team in their own right, but I know that if the boys keep playing the way that they are that they’ll have an excellent chance to pull out the victory.
Through this six-game heater, the Oilers have outscored the opposition by a sparkling 31-11 margin. From Stuart Skinner’s brilliance between the pipes — Stu has a 6-0-0 record with a .932 save%, 1.82 GAA, and one shutout — to the influx of goals from throughout the lineup, the boys are playing like a runaway train that will be hard for anyone to stop. Add in the fact that the Devils played yesterday in Calgary and you’ve got the makings of an opportunity that the Oilers must use to their advantage. Even though I know that teams aren’t always as tired on the second half of a back-to-back as we tend to think, there will be moments where the gas tank runs a little lower than normal and those small windows could be all we need to keep the good times rolling. At least, that’s what the biased Oilers fan in me thinks as I sat down to write this game day preview.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES7-3-06-4-0
POWER PLAY%27.434.2
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.732.2
TEAM SAVE%.897.900
CORSI FOR%53.3455.35
TEAM SHOOTING%10.3610.40
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • With the goal and assist he put up on Friday night, McDavid extended his personal point streak to eight games where he’s amassed an incredible 21 points (5G, 16A). Connor McDavid is back, and the NHL should be worried about it.
  • Evan Bouchard extended his point streak to 10 games with two goals and an assist against the Carolina Hurricanes and now has 15 points (4G, 11A) in that span. Bouchard is currently tied for 3rd place in the NHL in points among defencemen (27).
  • Worried how the Oilers will handle another matinee? I get it, and your feelings are valid. The Oilers have an all-time record of 63-83-23 in games that start at 3 pm (local time) or earlier.
  • The Devils’ power play is running at 34.2% and the Oilers would be wise to avoid penalties at all costs.
  • Today’s game will mark Edmonton’s first of two meetings this season and the lone matchup in Edmonton. The next time these teams will meet is on Dec. 21 in New Jersey. The last time these teams met was on November 21st, 2022, where the Devils won 5-2 in their home rink.



Oilers ***UPDATED***

RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Brown
Foegele – McLeod – Janmark
Gagner – Hamblin – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
The Oilers are playing their best hockey of the year, and the New Jersey Devils are going to be a sizeable challenge for them if the plan is to keep this heater going. Even though NJ played yesterday in Calgary, they’re going to be a handful, and the best thing the boys could do is get a quick start and avoid taking penalties. Needless to say, puck possession is going to be critical this afternoon as you don’t want to give the Devils’ best players any extra looks that they wouldn’t be earning for themselves.
Edit: Calvin Pickard gets the start


Haula – J.Hughes – Toffoli
Palat – Hischier – Bratt
Meier – Mercer – Holtz
McLeod – Lazar
Siegenthaler – Nemec
Bahl – Marino
L.Hughes – Miller
When I look at this Devils lineup, I see a team that can burn you for any mistake you make. In terms of skill, their top-six is as good as any in the league when they’re rolling, and that tells me the Oilers will need to be careful with their puck management and ensure that they’re not trying to force plays that aren’t there. Deadly in transition, the Devils don’t need much time or space to cash in on turnovers, and keeping it simple will be key for the Oilers if they’re going to convert on a seventh straight win.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers score four, the Devils get two, and our boys wrap up the weekend with a seventh consecutive victory.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid extends his point streak to nine games. How many points will he get? I will say a goal and an assist.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Vincent Desharnais picks up his second career goal with a seeing-eye wrister from the point that makes its way through traffic and beats the goaltender on the glove hand side.

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