GDB 33.0: Battle Royale (8pm MT, HNIC)

Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
As far as big games go, I can’t think of a bigger one for the Oilers than the first matchup of the season against the Los Angeles Kings. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL odds with online sportsbook Betway.
Over and above the animosity created by the two playoff series these two teams played the last two seasons, this is a massive game for the Oilers. Not only are the Kings a top-10 team in the league right now, but they’re also one that Edmonton is chasing in the Pacific Division standings, and finding a way to make up some ground is far more important than their recent playoff history. That said, I hope the Oilers can draw upon their success against the Kings and use it to their advantage for this first round of the season series. Sometimes, getting fired up to play a team (in a barn) that actively despises you is the best motivation you can ask for, you know?
Of course, the tricky part of collecting a fourth-straight win is that the Kings are a whole different animal to handle than the San Jose Sharks. As we all know, LA has had a much better start to the season than the Oilers through the first six weeks of the season, and that puts them well ahead of where we’re at in the playoff race. That’s not a problem we can solve today, but certainly one that we’ll be watching over these final 50 games. Yet, despite their 20-8-4 overall record that currently has them sitting in 3rd place in the Pacific Division, the Kings have been mostly mediocre at Crypto.com Arena. While LA sports a sparkling 13-2-1 on the road, they’re riding a mediocre 7-6-3 at home, and I’m hoping that presents an opportunity for our boys even though they’re no giants with their 7-9-0 record on the road.
Records aside, this is a big game for the Oilers and one they need to win. Last season, the Oilers and Kings split the four regular season games they played. LA won the first two, and Edmonton won the next two. The series was close in almost every way, including in goals for and against, where the Kings carried a slight 10-9 advantage over the four contests. As for the playoffs, we all know what happened and why our boys are enemy #1 down there. The Oilers knocked the Kings out of the playoffs in the first round the last two seasons in seven and six games respectively, and as a result, this is an opponent that will absolutely be fired up for this head-to-head. Hopefully, our boys will be just as jacked up for this game as LA will be.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES7-3-05-4-1
POWER PLAY%26.019.1
AVG. SHOTS/FOR34.134.2
TEAM SAVE%.902.916
CORSI FOR%55.7056.92
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Tonight’s game will mark the first of four games against the Kings this season and the first of two at Crypto.com Arena. The next time these teams meet is on February 10th in Los Angeles. The last time these teams met was on April 29th in Los Angeles during the first round of playoffs, where the Oilers wrapped up the series with a 5-4 win.
  • Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 35 career points (14G, 21A) against the Kings, while Sam Gagner leads the team with 42 career games against Los Angeles.
  • Under Kris Knoblauch, the Oilers have a 13-6-0 record, which ranks 1st in the NHL in goals for per game (4.05), 6th in power play (27.6%) and 6th in penalty kill (85.5%).
  • Zach Hyman registered his eighth multi-point effort this season in the last game against San Jose (1G, 1A). Hyman leads the Oilers with 20 goals, and has recorded 16 goals in his last 19 games.




RNH – McDavid – Hyman
McLeod – Draisaitl – Foegele
Kane – Ryan – Brown
Janmark – Hamblin – Lavoie
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Winners of three straight games, I wonder if Kris Knoblauch will make too many changes to a lineup that seems to be working.


Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Fiala – Danault – Moore
Laferriere – Dubois – Kaliyev
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Lewis
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence
We all know how spicy a game against the LA Kings can get after back-to-back playoff series, but I’m most interested in seeing how much of that carries over into this first round of the season series. Since these two teams are in drastically different positions in the standings, I wonder how much the Kings will try to get the Oilers off their game and focus on shenanigans rather than handling the task. Would it really be surprising, given the rat/line ratio on this team?


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: Once again, the Oilers make Drew Doughty sad after wrapping up the evening with a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: There will be at least one fight. Chin down, hands up, fellas.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Cody Ceci was temporarily given credit for RNH’s goal against the Sharks only to have it taken away, but on this night, the former Ottawa 67 finally gets his first.

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