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GDB 30.0: Getting Back to Work (6:30pm MT, SN360)

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Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
10 months ago
For the first time in nearly two weeks, we’re finally back for an Edmonton Oilers game day.
Were all of you as pumped to see that the matchup against the Blues was actually going to happen after having the last four games postponed as a result of COVID? Seeing as Omicron is spreading like wildfire, I wasn’t so sure that we’re be watching hockey tonight as both sides are dealing with some players on their COVID protocol lists, and it seems like the NHL doesn’t really want to have teams playing while extremely shorthanded. Thankfully, both teams are healthy enough to make it work, the game is still a go, and I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to watch the Oilers play for the first time in a couple of weeks. Frankly, I’m so happy that there’s an Oilers game coming up in a few hours that I’ve almost forgotten how important it is that they find a way to win it. One step at a time, I guess? They took the first game of the season series against the Blues, and now it was time to figure out the encore.
As for making that happen, the Oilers will need a repeat performance of what they were able to do against the Seattle Kraken in their last outing when they walked into that game with a shoot first and hit anything that moves mentality. I know Seattle is a bad team and the Oilers should beat them more often than not, but the way they outworked Seattle so handily is the lesson I hope the Oilers carry into round two of the season series against the Blues. These are two points that the Oilers certainly need as they look to keep their winning streak going while also chipping away at the points they left on the table during the six-game losing streak, and if they can muster another all-out effort against St. Louis then we should be in the mix when the final buzzer sounds. As always, the first step is for the boys to remember that the game starts at 6:30 pm to ensure that they’re not chasing after only a minute or two. Is it doable? Of course it is. Are we excited? Absolutely.
Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERSBLUES
RECORD18-11-017-9-5
WIN/LOSS STREAKW2L1
LAST 10 GAMES4-6-06-2-2
GOALS FOR101106
GOALS AGAINST9085
POWER PLAY%31.929.6
PENALTY KILL%83.082.9
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.032.4
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST32.931.9
TEAM SAVE%.910.929
CORSI FOR%51.0048.46
PDO0.9871.014
TEAM SHOOTING%7.758.49
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%50.4847.17
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Foegele – McDavid – Hyman
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Shore – Ryan – Sceviour
Benson – McLeod – Turris
Koekkoek – Barrie
Keith – Bouchard
Samorukov – Ceci
Smith
The good news is that Zach Hyman will be back in the lineup after missing some time with a shoulder issue — he’s a true Oiler now — and that will hopefully provide an offensive boost to Connor McDavid’s line which will surely be appreciated. The bad news is that the Oilers will also be without Darnell Nurse, William, Lagesson, and Zack Kassian who were all placed on COVID protocol over the break, meaning we’re going to need some guys to step up to fill the void.
***NOTE*** I already know the line combos are not correct as the Oilers haven’t put anything out yet so I’ve copied and pasted from the last practice they had. 

Blues

Saad – O’Reilly – Perron
Buchnevich – Thomas – Tarasenko
Brown – Bozak – Kyrou
Kostin – Sundqvist – Walker
Mikkola – Parayko
Krug – Faulk
Scandella – Perunovich
Binnington
The Blues will be without Robert Bortuzzo, Dakota Joshua, and James Neal (he was already on the IR) after they all tested entered COVID protocol on Boxing day, but should get a major boost in David Perron who is expected to return after missing the last month with injury.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From St. Louis Game Time:
A little rest can do a body good, it seems. Aside from the four newest members of the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol (one of whom was already on IR), the line-up looks pretty recovered and, if not returning tomorrow, are very close to returning.
If you’ve been following along with Korac, Tom Timmerman, or Jim Thomas today, you’ll notice lots of positive news coming out of today’s skate. As of today, the only two players who won’t be back tomorrow are Ville Husso and Brayden Schenn. Sundqvist is a game time decision, and if unable to go, the Blues will have to recall someone.
Assuming Sunny is fine to return, that means the Blues will have (of course, aside from the covid crew) only one forward out. They will have a healthy defense, and they will have healthy goaltending.
It’s an actual, bona fide miracle that, after the league’s had to suspend play for extra days and that half of the NHL is playing rosters full of AHL players tonight, that the Blues of all teams are the healthy ones.
I do use that term loosely, but the Blues would rather be down Schenn and Husso than both goaltenders and half of a lineup like Tampa Bay. Been there, done that.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers come back from their Christmas break with a bang and cash in a convincing 4-2 victory.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Both McDavid and Draisaitl channel their Olympic disappointment into a multi-point night.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Dmitri Samorukov scores his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

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