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GDB 7.0: The Oilers need to give a full 60 minutes against the Rangers (7pm MT, SN1)

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Photo credit:Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
5 months ago
The Oilers’ two most complete games this season have come on home ice. They didn’t win either game, losing 4-3 to Vancouver and 3-2 to Winnipeg in overtime, which illustrates how rough of a start they’ve had, but they played well enough in both games to win. They must be sharp defensively to have any chance of defeating the New York Rangers on Doug Weight and Charlie Huddy’s Hall of Fame induction night.
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The Rangers are 3-1 on the road and have outscored their opponents 15-8. The Rangers are winning with sound defence and a lethal power play. The Rangers’ PP is clicking at 30% (6 of 20), and they’ve allowed the fifth-fewest goals/game at 2.17. In their four victories they’ve allowed one goal against, while in their two defeats they gave up five goals to Columbus and four to Nashville. Igor Shesterkin was in goal for both of those losses, and he has a .897Sv% in the season because of two meh outings. He allowed one goal in each of his three other starts. I think he is starting tonight, but not 100%. We might see Jonathan Quick get the start. I still lean to Shesterkin starting, but here’s a quick look at Quick’s numbers just in case.
Quick stopped 18 of 19 shots in his only start so far, a victory in Seattle. He did play the final 26 minutes vs. Nashville and stopped all nine shots he faced. Quick’s last five seasons starting in 2019 have seen him post a Sv% of .888, .904, .898, .910 and .882. He is 37 years of age and on the back nine of his career, but his two seasons above .900Sv% were also the years the LA Kings didn’t allow many shots.
In 2019 the Kings were 14th in SA/game, then fifth in 2020, 23rd in 2021, 2nd in 2022 and fourth last year. Quick didn’t have good numbers last year with fewer shots, but fewer shots in 2020 and 2022 helped him. The Rangers are currently first in the NHL in shots allowed at 24.2/game. Edmonton is 18th at 30.2 and they are 14th in shots for/game at 31.3, while New York sits 23rd at 28.7. The Rangers have won with sound defence and a dominant power play.
Their five-on-five scoring mirrors the Oilers’. With Connor McDavid out of the lineup (he only has one 5×5 goal) tonight’s rosters each have a total of nine goals 5×5.
Kane-Draisaitl-Janmark is a new trio, but they have one goal.
Foegele-RNH-Hyman have six.
The third and fourth lines have zero.
The Rangers’ top line of Kreider-Zibanejad-Kakko has two.
Panarin-Chytil-Lafreniere has five.
Cuylle-Trocheck-Wheeler have one.
Goodrow-Bonino-Vesey have none.
The Oilers’ blue line had two 5×5 goals while the Rangers’ D corps has one.
The Oilers’ PP has seven goals and the Rangers have six.
Offensively the teams are close, but defensively the Rangers have a large advantage.
The Rangers are top 10 in all 13 of Sportlogiq’s defensive categories, and they are top five in eight of them. Edmonton ranks sixth in one (shot attempts allowed), but they are bottom five in goals against, slot shots, inner slot shots, cycle chances and rebound chances. They are bottom-10 in another three. You’ve witnessed the defensive train wreck. Can they slow the train down tonight?

ENTERTAINING GAMES…

The last four meetings between these two teams have been highly entertaining. The Oilers trailed 4-1 lead at home on November 5th, 2021, then scored three times to tie it, and gave up the lead again, before McDavid tied it with three minutes remaining with one of the best goals, if not the best, of his career.
Edmonton Oilers – New York Rangers – Nov 5, 2021, | NHL.com
Then Leon Draisaitl won it in overtime.
On November 26th, 2022, the Rangers led 3-0 at home after 40 minutes. The Oilers scored three goals in a span of 5:41 to tie the game in the first 10 minutes before Draisaitl scored the game winner with two minutes remaining.
This past February the Oilers built a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of the game and led 4-1 after the first period. The Rangers battled back to tie it in regulation and then won it in a seven-round shootout. There has been no shortage of entertainment between these two teams.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Kane – Draisaitl – Janmark
Foegele – RNH – Hyman
Holloway – McLeod – Brown
Erne – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Broberg
Kulak – Bouchard/Desharnais
Skinner
Skinner makes his third start of the season and his third home start. He played well v. Winnipeg, outside of the hesitation on the Jets’ shorthanded goal, and the Oilers need another solid performance from him. But more importantly they need to protect the front of the net with more vigor and determination.
Evan Bouchard will slide down with Brett Kulak and Philip Broberg will start with Mattias Ekholm. As I wrote in Game Notes prior the morning skate, this was a move they needed to make. Bouchard has been excellent offensively, but has struggled mightily defensively. He was mature in his press conference today. He didn’t shy away from how the start of the season has gone for him defensively.
“The offensive stuff is great, but it doesn’t mean much when the puck is going right back in your net and we are losing games,” said Bouchard. “It is something I have to clean up and be better.”
He added this.
“When guys are tipping pucks from in front of your net it is not usually a system thing. It is usually individual play. Getting used to a system isn’t an excuse you can use after six games,” said Bouchard.

Rangers…

Kreider – Zibanejad – Kakko
Panarin – Chytil – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Trocheck – Wheeler
Goodrow – Bonino – Vesey
Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider
Quick
The Oilers need to have their heads up when Trouba’s on the ice. He is the best open-ice hitter in the game and not afraid to take a healthy run at opposing forwards.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Skinners picks up his first win of the season with a 3-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Bouchard and Draisaitl connect for a PP goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Warren Scoegele does it again. He buries his fourth goal in seven games.

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