GDB 70.0: A massive divisional matchup with the Kraken (2pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
It’s Saturday morning, the Oilers have a huge Pacific Division matchup against the Seattle Kraken, and we’re off to the Pint Downtown to celebrate 15 years of this here website. Does it get any better than that? Not from where I’m bloggin.
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As we draw nearer to the end of the 2022-23 NHL season, the pressure to pick up points in each outing starts to ramp up exponentially and that is absolutely the case for today’s matinee against the Kraken. No matter how you slice it, this is a huge game. Not only does Seattle refuse to go away and die, but they’re actually fighting for a playoff spot well beyond the abilities I gave them credit for early on. Like a lot of people, I had Seattle written off before the season even started, so to see the Oilers squaring off against them in a matchup that is hugely important at this stage of the season is something I never expected. And with a four-point swing on the line, this is one the boys need to have.
Coming into the fourth and final installment of the season series, the Oilers are 2-1-0 against Seattle. In those first three games, the boys put up a spectacular 14 goals and won their two games as convincingly as one could hope for. The problem, of course, is that in the game the boys lost, they gave up five straight goals after building themselves a two-goal lead and blew the opportunity in spectacular fashion. Mistakes and shoddy goaltending sunk the ship, and that can’t happen again — these points are too important. If the Oilers play the way they did against Dallas on Thursday night then we’re going to be fine. Besides, we’re all heading to the Pint Downtown for the Nation’s 15th birthday party and the last thing any of us need today is a turd in the punchbowl in the form of an Oilers divisional loss. The good news is that I’ve been manifesting a win all week, and my body is ready to celebrate.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


Last 10 Games6-4-06-3-1
POWER PLAY%31.519.7
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.230.2
TEAM SAVE%.912.909
CORSI FOR%51.8352.17
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Kane – McDavid – Yamamoto
RNH – Draisaitl – Hyman
Kostin – Bjugstad – Foegele
Shore –  Ryan – Janmark
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
As of this morning, there hasn’t been any official word on what the Oilers’ line combinations will look like for this afternoon’s game against Seattle, so what I have listed is purely a guess based on the assumption that Zach Hyman will draw back in the lineup and that Ryan McLeod won’t be able to go. Again, I have no idea what’s coming in terms of pairings and forward groups, but it will be interesting to see where Jay Woodcroft’s head is at given the way his forward group has performed over the last two wins. Will we see many changes? Will he even want to jumble things up and risk ruining some of the chemistry that’s forming? We shall see.


Schwartz – Wennberg – Bjorkstrand
McCann – Beniers – Eberle
Tolvanen – Gourde – Froden
Tanev – Donato – Sprong
Dunn – Larsson
Oleksiak – Borgen
Megna – Schultz
When you go to the Kraken’s website and look at the player stats, the first thing that jumps off the page is how this team’s depth produces often and consistently. Seattle has 15 players with more than 22 points on the season whereas the Oilers have only eight, and while there’s no doubt that Edmonton’s top-end skill is better, the change they’ll have again today is keeping things dialed in lower in the lineup. A big part of this game is going to be about what happens when McDavid and Draisaitl are not on the ice, but if the bottom six can keep running the way they have been over the last month or so, then we should be in good shape. But if the boys get caught slipping at any point then Seattle’s depth scoring will absolutely come into play here.


From Sound of Hockey:
The next game for the Kraken is a big one, as Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the Edmonton Oilers visit Climate Pledge Arena Saturday. The intra-division matchup against the world’s best player always brings a heightened level of excitement, but now there are serious playoff implications on the line. Seattle officially trails the Oilers by just one point in the standings but holds a game in hand.
Getting back into the third spot in the Pacific would mean Seattle would take back an “automatic qualifier” spot that gets awarded to the top three teams in each division. Dropping out of the top three means Seattle is in the wild card conversation and fighting with teams in both the Pacific and Central for the final two spots in the postseason.
With the win against the Sharks, the Kraken have a four-point cushion over the Jets, who are in the last wild card spot, and a seven- and eight-point gap over Calgary and Nashville, two teams currently outside the bubble.
So, Seattle is still very much in the playoffs, but sitting in the top three in the division is a much more comfortable place than the wild card race, where there are so many more teams at play.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers know this is a big game and they give us the 4-2 result we all needed, wanted, and deserve.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: The Pint Downtown will be rocking this afternoon as more than 200 of us get together to watch the Oilers do their thing and for Leon Draisaitl to get another multi-point outing.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid found out we’re throwing our 15th-anniversary party today, and since he’s such a good guy, he wanted to do something special for the event. That’s why he’ll score a hat trick to bring himself to 60 goals on the year. BOLD!

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