GDB 71.0: Cooking at Home (7:30pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
There is something better about a home cooked meal. Whether it is mom’s famous spaghetti or dad’s prime rib, most of us have a meal that just tastes better at home. It might just be that we felt so comfortable at home that the food tasted better, but regardless of why we love that special homemade dish, it is hard to beat the feeling of going home.
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It took the Oilers longer than they’d have liked, but they finally seem to have found a comfort on home ice. The Oilers are looking to extend their longest home winning streak of the season to five games tonight vs. the 31st place San Jose Sharks.
Since the calendar turned to 2023, the Oilers have been solid on home ice going 9-2-4. They lost to Seattle on January 3rd, and the only other home regulation loss in 2023 was 3-2 to Boston. What has changed?
“I think it is more so just sticking and working at what the coaches have been preaching all year, just play a more consistent defensive game,” said Darnell Nurse. “I also think our starts have been better on home ice. Any time you can get on the front foot and make your opposition take more chances to find more offence, that is where we can counterpunch and build off a good start.”
Nurse is bang on regarding better starts. The Oilers have scored first in 11 of their last 15 home games. They only scored first in six of their first 15 games at home. Playing catchup isn’t ideal for any team, but the Oilers, whose forte is still offence, it can create some challenges. The Oilers’ offence is powerful enough to overcome a deficit, as they have the sixth-best points% in the NHL when trailing first (14-15-4), but only two teams (Boston and New Jersey) have won over half the games when allowing their first goal. It is not ideal to play catchup in today’s NHL.
Better starts have led to more wins and that must continue if the Oilers hope to catch LA or Vegas in the standings. All three teams have 12 games remaining and Vegas is six points ahead of Edmonton while LA is four ahead. Edmonton plays both of them twice, and those games will go a long way in determining who gets home ice advantage.
The San Jose Sharks are reeling. They are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games and have been outscored 46-21. They are playing out the string with many veterans on long-term contracts. They aren’t a young team with loads of young players still excited to be in the NHL, like Arizona. The Sharks’ season hasn’t gone how they wanted, and since the trade deadline, they’ve really hit the skids. You always want a good start, but a quick start tonight for the Oilers could lead to a rather easy game.
The Sharks don’t have a very energetic or physical lineup. If they get behind, they aren’t built to get “a pound of flesh” and could go rather quietly into the night. That being said, if they score first then they will be energized and will stick around.




Kane – McDavid – Hyman
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – Bjugstad – Janmark
Kostin – Shore – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Jack Campbell gets his first start since March 4th in Winnipeg. “He’s worked hard, stayed patient and worked on his game waiting for his chance. He is ready to go,” said Jay Woodcroft. Campbell said all the right things this morning and just wants to play well for his teammates. He doesn’t need to be great tonight, just steady. The Sharks don’t have many offensive threats.


Johnsson – Hertl – Barabanov
Kaut – Couture – Labanc
Gregor– Sturm – Zetterlund
Lindblom – Lorentz – Agozzino
Pouliot – Karlsson
Vlasic – Knyzhov
Ferrara – Benning
William Eklund was reassigned to San Jose Barracuda so his contract will slide for this season. He’ll play four years of pro, like Evan Bouchard did, on his entry-level deal. Erik Karlsson’s game has dropped off since the trade deadline. He looks like a player disappointed he wasn’t dealt, and the reality of the season is staring him and other veterans in the eye. They are still professionals and will show up and play hard, but we see it every year for some teams down the stretch. The final month can be ugly.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton’s offence keeps rolling to a 6-3 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers get goals from three different lines as contributions from throughout the lineup continues.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Noah Gregor scores his third goal in his last two games in Edmonton. (This is one prediction I really want to see happen. It has been a frustrating season for him.)

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