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GDB 82.0: Final Rehearsal (7pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
7 months ago
The 82-game regular season rehearsal comes to end tonight for the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks will fly back to Vancouver after the game, and then have exit interviews with their coaches and management on Saturday, before going their separate ways for the summer.
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers will prepare for the Los Angeles Kings and the first round of the playoffs, which begin on Monday.
Oilersnation knows better than any fan base in the past two decades how much better it is to be the Oilers today than the Canucks. Missing the playoffs is the worst for the players and their fans, and it is even more painful when you know it is coming. Edmonton fans had many years of knowing the post-season wasn’t going to happen, but suddenly the playoffs have become a regular occurrence.
The Oilers have made the playoffs three years in a row, but this year they will be looking for their first playoff series win since 2017. While making the playoffs is difficult — winning a round is a bigger challenge.
Here are the longest playoff series win droughts entering this year and the last year they won a playoff series.
24 seasons: Florida. Last series win in 1996.
16 seasons: Toronto, 2004.
15 seasons: Buffalo, 2007.
10 seasons: New Jersey, 2012.
9 seasons: Detroit, 2013.
7 seasons: LA, 2014.
6 seasons: Minnesota, 2015 and
5 seasons: Anaheim and Ottawa, 2017.
4 seasons: Edmonton and NYR, 2017.
3 seasons: Nashville, Pittsburgh, Washington (2018) and San Jose, 2019.
2 seasons: St. Louis (2019) and Arizona, Chicago, Columbus, Philadelphia and Vancouver, 2020.
1 season: Calgary, Dallas (2020), Montreal, Winnipeg, Vegas and NYI, 2021 and Seattle (never, first season this year.)
Tampa, Carolina, Boston and Colorado all won a round last season and are back in the dance this year. Interesting to note the Kings, Capitals and Blues haven’t won a playoff round since they won the Stanley Cup in 2014, 2018 and 2019 respectively. Chicago (2015) would also be on that list if it wasn’t for the expanded 2020 playoffs. Had COVID not arrived the Hawks wouldn’t have been one of the top-16 teams.
By the middle of May, eight teams will add another year to their drought, while the other eight will be one stop closer to their ultimate goal. Florida and Toronto fans are desperate for a series win, but the other 14 cities will also wake up Monday morning hoping their team can advance to the second round.
What is fascinating about this season is that as 28 teams play their final game of the season tonight (Carolina and LA are already done, while Seattle and Winnipeg have to play Sunday), we only know the opponents and locations of game one in ONE series.
We know Edmonton will host LA. That’s it.
Minnesota and St. Louis will face one another, but who gets home ice advantage will be determined tonight. Minnesota leads the Blues by two points, but St. Louis owns the tiebreaker. If the Blues defeat Vegas, then Minnesota needs at least one point v. Colorado to get home ice.
Colorado and Calgary will open up their series at home next week, but who they play is unknown. Nashville leads Dallas by one point. If the Predators pick up one point in Arizona tonight they will travel to Calgary, but if they lose in regulation and Dallas defeats Anaheim, then Dallas goes to Calgary and Nashville will be in Colorado.
None of the four East series are determined.
Florida could play Washington or Pittsburgh.
The New York Rangers will face whoever finishes higher between WSH or PIT.
Carolina will play either Tampa Bay or Boston.
Toronto will host whoever finishes higher between TB or BOS.
The intrigue tonight is if the Rangers defeat Washington then they will face Pittsburgh. The Rangers control, somewhat, who they face in round one.
Toronto hosts the Bruins. If they defeat Boston, then they will face Tampa in round one. If Boston wins and Tampa loses to NYI, in any fashion, then the Bruins will face Toronto. Again.
The only intrigue in the Oilers game will be what the forward lines will look like with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl getting the night off.

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Kane – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Hyman – Brassard – Yamamoto
Foegele – RNH – Ryan
Archibald – Shore – Kassian
Kulak – Ceci
Keith – Bouchard
Russell – Barrie
Koskinen
That is my best guess on the centre position. I don’t see why Woodcroft would change the RNH line for one game, or juggle all his top wingers. Kris Russell draws in for Philip Broberg and Mike Smith will be the backup for the second consecutive game.

Canucks…

Garland – Miller – Chiasson
Podkolzin – Pettersson – Boeser
Dickinson – Richardson – Highmore
Dries – Lammikko – Petan
Ekman-Larsson – Myers
Hughes – Schenn
Hunt – Dermott
Silovs
The Canucks’ lineup isn’t confirmed as they didn’t skate either this morning. Spencer Martin got the win last night, so maybe he goes back-to-back.
The one main motivator for the Oilers tonight is they could set a new franchise record for most home games with a point. They are 13-0-1 and tied the franchise record of 14 games with their victory last night.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers players are motivated to win without McDavid and Draisaitl. They win a low-event, low-scoring affair 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME-DAY-PREDICTION: Someone overreacts to an error, in what likely will be a low-intensity game and writes on social media, “You can’t win in the playoffs making those type of plays.”
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many Oilers forwards have ended double-digit game goal droughts recently. The longest goal droughts now are Brassard (12), Shore (8), Archibald (7) and Foegele and RNH (5), which aren’t abnormal at all. Brassard and RNH score tonight.

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