GDB 58.0: Oilers look to sweep the season series vs. the Seattle Kraken (2pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
It’s Brunch for Ben day for us at Greta, the Oilers take on the Kraken as the first leg of their back-to-back weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited to get the festivities going. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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It’s no secret that the road has been anything but smooth for the Edmonton Oilers since coming back from the All-Star break. There have been missed assignments, avoidable mistakes, and a general sense of sloppiness that the team simply has to clean up. But the good news is that they look like they’re starting to return to form with a pair of clutch wins over the Kings and Blues.
That’s not to say that we’re getting ready to hang the Mission Accomplished banner — Gord knows this team can frustrate us with their inconsistencies from period to period or even shift to shift — but the NHL season is a slog, and it was only a matter of time before the boys had to battle adversity once more. February was the kind of month that saw its share of highs and lows and an Oilers team that really battled to find their game, but it also could have been so much worse.
At 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, the Oilers haven’t exactly looked like world-beaters right now, but they found a way through it without letting the damage get too bad. I also feel like things are starting to turn around for them too. Though not perfect by any means, Edmonton’s two most recent wins were the result of resilience, timely saves, and clutch goals, a trio of items that weren’t happening nearly enough during their most recent three-game losing streak.
Against the Kraken, a team the Oilers have already beaten three times this year, the boys will need to offer up more of the same since you know damned well how Seattle will be doing everything they can to avoid getting swept. The first three games have all been Edmonton Ws and Mostly importantly, the Oilers need to give 60 minutes worth of effort and avoid giving up early goals due to poor choices with the puck.
Outside of hoping that they don’t lose a fourth straight game to the Oilers, the Kraken come into this afternoon’s contest seven points out of a wildcard spot, which is probably close enough to believe they’re still in the mix even though we all know they’re highly unlikely to crack the postseason. And since they likely think they’re still in the fight, I expect the Kraken to be a dangerous opponent that’s highly motivated to pick up two points.
Given that Seattle made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last spring, missing out the very next year would be a major disappointment, and that makes them dangerous. Winners of their last two games, the Kraken just handled their business against the Penguins and Bruins respectively, and they’re playing the kind of hockey that could give the Oilers fits if they’re loose with the details.
Seattle picked up a crucial two points in Thursday’s shutout win over the Penguins as they try to keep pace in the Western Conference wildcard race while also figuring out what to do as next week’s trade deadline. Despite being 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, the Kraken have won three of their last four and have points in six of their past seven games.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES5-4-15-4-1
POWER PLAY%27.721.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.729.1
TEAM SAVE%.909.926
CORSI FOR%55.7451.32
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – RNH – Janmark
Foegele – McLeod – Perry
Holloway – Ryan – Brown
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
I was a little bit surprised to find out that Stuart Skinner was getting the start over Calvin Pickard, but I guess the plan is to double down and make sure you secure the divisional win. I just thought Knobby would have wanted Skinner between the pipes with Crosby and the Penguins in town tomorrow, but clearly, no one is asking for my opinion.


McCann – Beniers – Eberle
Schwartz – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand
Tolvanen – Gourde – Kartye
Tatar – Yamamoto – Tanev
Dunn – Larsson
Oleksiak – Borgen
Dumoulin – Schultz
Philipp Grubauer is the expected starter for the Kraken this afternoon, and he comes into this game having just picked up a 33-save shutout vs. the Penguins on Thursday night, his first since April 7, 2022. Looking back a couple of weeks, Grubauer has won his last four starts while also performing well in a relief performance against the Wild. The Oilers will be best served to make his life difficult if they plan to get a few pucks past him because the guy is playing well right now.


From Davey Jones’ Locker Room:
Burakovsky To Be A Game-Time Decision Versus Oilers
André Burakovsky made his first appearance on ice Friday morning at practice since exiting Monday’s game with injury. A full participant in drills and sporting a regular contact jersey, he seemed good to go for Saturday’s Pacific Division tilt.
Not so fast. Hakstol told reporters Friday that the winger is still classified as “day-to-day,” his availability to be decided prior to puck drop, however he did reveal that Burakovsky is dealing with a lower-body injury unrelated to any previous ailment suffered this season.
Hakstol is scheduled to speak before the game in lieu of a morning skate.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: No better way to kick off the weekend than with a fresh 4-2 win in the daylight hours, amirite?
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Two more assists on the pile for Connor McDavid? Yep. Check that one off right here and now.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Brett Kulak makes a well-timed pinch from the blue line and gets rewarded with his third goal of the season after Leon Draisaitl finds him with a perfect backdoor pass.

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