GDB 8.0: The Heritage Classic (5pm MT, Sportsnet)

Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
After months of preparation, eager anticipation, and selling feet pics to afford tickets, it’s finally time for the Battle of Alberta edition of the Heritage Classic.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL odds with online sportsbook Betway.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that the two teams playing at this year’s Heritage Classic would be limping into the game as clumsily as the Oilers and Flames are. Instead of a meaningful Battle of Alberta that we were all expecting, both clubs are coming into this afternoon’s contest riding four-game losing streaks on the back of being shut out in their last outing. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that both Albertan hockey teams are serving up doses of pain at high volumes, and it’s been painful for both franchises to watch. The good news is that someone has to win today, I suppose.
If the Oilers are going to be on the right side of the scoresheet for only the second time this season, there are countless areas where they need to improve. The list of things going wrong is as intense as the day is long, and since it’s highly unlikely that any help is coming, the only thing we can really hope for is that the boys in the room start figuring it out. The good news is that I still believe this lineup is good enough to crawl out of this early hole, provided that they can give us more than a few random bursts throughout the night. I’m tired of only having a handful of shifts to cheer about throughout these games, you know?
Yet, despite the heartache we’ve all suffered so far, I still believe our boys will turn it around. Though I am absolutely annoyed by the record after seven games, I still think the Oilers will right the ship. And today, at Commonwealth Stadium in front of the biggest crowd of the year, I believe the Edmonton Oilers will reign supreme. I mean, if the guys can’t get themselves jacked up for a Battle of Alberta on hockey’s biggest stage then we’ve got bigger problems here than a lack of third period goals. On the other hand, I believe the Oilers will use this game as an opportunity to turn things around, and that a win today will be the first step in putting this horrible start behind us. Dare to dream?
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%25.911.5
AVG. SHOTS/FOR31.031.9
TEAM SAVE%.886.878
CORSI FOR%56.6455.25
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Today’s game marks the 260th edition of the Battle of Alberta
  • This will be Edmonton’s first of four games against the Flames this season, and the first of two games in Edmonton. The next time these teams meet is on January 20th at the Saddledome.
  • Leon Draisaitl leads the team with 53 career points (10G, 43A) against the Flames and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has appeared in a team leading 51 career games against Calgary.




Draisaitl – McDavid – Foegele
Kane – RNH – Hyman
Holloway – McLeod – Brown
Erne – Janmark – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Broberg
Kulak – Bouchard
If we’re going by what happened at practice yesterday — and I pray to all Gords in the hopes that it’s true — Connor McDavid will be back in the lineup for what is oddly a pretty big important game to wrap up the month of October. Not only is this the Heritage Classic and first Battle of Alberta of the season, but it’s also a win that the Oilers absolutely need to have. At 1-5-1 the hole is already deep enough, and they need to find a way to grab two points from the equally awful Calgary Flames.


Ruzicka – Lindholm – Dube
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Huberdeau – Kadri – Coronato
Greer – Sharangovich – Duehr
Hanifin – Weegar
Solovyov – Tanev
Zadorov – Oesterle
The Flames stink and the only acceptable outcome for this game is for the Oilers to ensure that they continue to stink. That’s the note, that’s the hope, and that’s the only thing that will make us all happy. May the Hockey Gords make it so.


From Flamesnation.ca:
Jacob Markstrom is the projected starter for the Flames, backed up by Dan Vladar. The expected extras are Adam Ruzicka and Jordan Oesterle. Head coach Ryan Huska described Ruzicka as “still day-to-day” but didn’t completely rule him out, but he didn’t participate in line rushes on Saturday evening.
Man, the Flames are riding a tough stretch of hockey lately. While the shape of their game has been pretty solid this season – they win face-offs and have the puck a bunch – the details of their game have been utterly lacking through bad mistakes at bad times. Against St. Louis on Thursday evening, the Flames were pretty listless in addition to their iffy details.
There are 74 games left on the docket. The ship can be righted, and the playoffs are still a realistic proposition. But the longer the team dawdles around and experiences issues finding some consistency in their game, the less probable a post-season appearance becomes. The clock, as they say, is ticking.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers avenge Thursday’s disappointment with a decisive 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl continues his reign of terror over Jacob Markstrom, capping off the evening with a pair of goals from his office near the goal line.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Inspired by the streaker from 2003, a modern dummy will get themselves onto the field only to be promptly tacked by several large security guards.

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