GDB 54.0: The Biggest Sporting Event You’ll Watch Today (10:30 AM MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
7 months ago
We’ve got a big sports Sunday on tap, dear Internet friends, as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Montreal Canadiens for a second matinee in as many days before we all break for whatever Super Bowl plans we’ve got coming up later this afternoon. That’s good living, dontcha think?
Be sure to check out NHL lines site Betway for the latest Oilers game day odds!
Listen, I don’t care that the Oilers won yesterday in Ottawa, this matchup against the mostly horrible Montreal Canadiens is another one that the boys need to have. Coming into this game ranked 27th overall in the NHL, the Habs have struggled mightily through the first half of their 2022-23 season and I see no reason why this morning’s contest shouldn’t hand them another dose of that same hardship. And since they’re basically in the mix for Bedard, I personally feel that it’s mutually beneficial for both sides if the Oilers come away with two points.
Looking at the numbers to support my general bullishness, the Habs are sporting a goal differential of -54, are six games under .500 (10 if you’re counting OTL), and struggle to win at home with a record of 12-14-1, and if that’s not a recipe for success for our boys then I don’t know what is. Put another way, the Oilers have to see this game as another winnable one if they can come up with a reasonable effort. And while it’s nearly impossible to avoid the thoughts of a perfect, four-point weekend, we all know what can happen when you start counting your chickens too early, and it will be up to the Oilers to make sure they’re executing.
To make sure the Oilers walk away from this morning’s game with two big points and wrap up a perfect weekend, the most important thing I can think of is weathering the first 10 minutes until they have their legs back under them. If there’s one thing we know about back-to-back games it’s that it can take a shift or three or 10 to get the engines back up and running, making the start of this game an incredibly important detail. However, if they can get an early goal to set the tone as they did yesterday in Ottawa then it will be difficult for the low-scoring Canadiens to climb their way back.
At the other end of the ice, the Habs are in the exact same spot as they’re also playing their second game in as many days, and whichever team that’s ready to go could have a leg up in the early moments. If our boys can navigate the sluggishness that comes with an overnighter to another city and avoid making any costly errors, then I see no reason why we shouldn’t be celebrating a win ahead of whatever Super Bowl festivities you’ve got lined up for the day. On paper and on the ice, the Oilers are the better hockey team in this matchup, and ultimately, that should lead them to winning this hockey game.
Let’s see what the numbers say.


Last 10 Games8-0-24-5-1
POWER PLAY%31.515.4
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.127.9
TEAM SAVE%.918.910
CORSI FOR%50.8446.65
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kostin – RNH – Janmark
Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Holloway – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Broberg – Bouchard
Outside of having Skinner between the pipes, I really have no idea what to expect for today’s lineups given that Warren Foegele missed yesterday’s game and Klim Kostin left in the third period after a collision along the boards and did not return. Needless to say, having some bodies hit the shelf right now could be troublesome for our stretch drive while also kicking some of the cap issues down the road. It’s a weird time to be alive and trying to figure out the math of putting a roster together can be tough, ya know?


Pitlick – Suzuki – Anderson
Dadonov – Dach – Hoffman
Wideman – Devorak – Ylonen
Pezzetta – Belzile – Harvey-Pinard
Xhekaj – Savard
Matheson – Barron
Harris – Kovacevic
Being an Oilers fan my entire life, I actually appreciate the heartache Habs fans must be feeling these days after their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals a few years back was followed by nothing but disaster. That said, I also see the Habs as a team the Oilers should beat more often than not


From Habs Eyes on the Prize:
Holland’s plan seems to be to just overwhelm opponents offensively and not worry about any defensive issues. That strategy has panned out well enough as his slightly-below-average defensive team has a 30-18-5 record, but the regular season hasn’t been the issue for Edmonton, but rather early post-season exits.
One improvement has come in goal. Stuart Skinner was supposed to be just a backup to Jack Campbell, who signed a five-year deal with the Oilers that started this year, but Skinner has just returned to the team following an appearance at the All-Star Game after a strong start to his rookie campaign. Skinner is keeping opponents to under three goals per game, and when you consider that Connor McDavid helps the team score about two per night (he has 97 points in 53 games, with nearly a 20-point lead over teammate Leon Draisaitl in the Art Ross race), that performance should be enough for Edmonton to win the vast majority of games. Whether the netminder can maintain that play through his first NHL post-season — and whether his coach trusts a 24-year-old with those starts — is another matter.
You see Samuel Montembeault making a cameo in the list above, as his play is showing up in such metrics that take the quality of the shots faced into account. He earned his 11th win of the season yesterday to move above a personal .500 record, and now hands the crease over to his partner for the back-to-back.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers wrap up the weekend with a big 4-2 win, which sends the boys to their Super Bowl party in a celebratory state of mind.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Another day means another Connor McDavid goal will end up on the scoresheet as he works toward the first 50-goal season of his career.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Not only does the Oilers’ PK kill off everything the Habs throw their way, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will also pick up another shortie in the process.

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