GDB 78.0: Oilers look to keep rolling against the Arizona Coyotes (7pm MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
23 days ago
It is a strange time in Oilersnation. Even the most ardent fun-sponge has very little to complain about. The Edmonton Oilers are a good team. They have the best record in the NHL over the past 152 days.
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The Edmonton Oilers have been much better than any Pacific Division team for quite some time. They are a legit Stanley Cup contender. They check all the boxes. They have elite forwards. They play good team defence, especially lately at 5×5. They have a good power play. Their penalty kill is okay. They are getting consistent goaltending. They have experience. They have size throughout their lineup and shouldn’t be physically overwhelmed. And they are a fast team.
According to the NHL’s Edge statistics, the Oilers are the second-fastest team in the NHL.
The Oilers just need to keep doing what they are doing. They aren’t perfect. They won’t dominate every game. They would like to avoid performances like they had in Dallas, but even good teams will have off nights. It is more important how they respond after a bad game. In the playoffs, you need to avoid slumps. In the last decade only one Stanley Cup winner, Colorado in 2022, lost fewer than six games. Seven of them lost between 7-10 games. There will be losses along the way, and if the Oilers can rebound from a loss in the playoffs like they have the past few months, they should have a long playoff run.
These final five games will be about staying the course. These players believe they can win, and they should. They have the all the necessary ingredients and playoff success will be about playing up to those capabilities.
Tonight’s motivation should be about finishing first. A win tonight puts them one step closer to that.




RNH– Draisaitl – Hyman
Kane – Henrique – Foegele
Holloway – McLeod – Perry
Janmark – Carrick/Ryan – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Stecher
Kulak – Desharnais
Cody Ceci will get the night off as he hasn’t skated the past two days. He has a nagging injury and they want to get him some rest, but they also want to get Troy Stecher back in the lineup. I won’t be surprised to see Ceci in tomorrow against Vancouver. Connor McDavid did skate today, but he won’t play tonight. He listed himself as day-to-day and will decide tomorrow if he plays v. the Canucks. He pushed himself pretty hard today and was on the ice for close to an hour. He is also confident this injury won’t linger. He plans on taking all the time he needs before returning, but did say he hates sitting out.


Keller – Kerfoot – Schmaltz
Crouse – Cooley – Guenther
Maccelli – McBain – Doan
O’Brien – Jenik – Carcone
Moser – Durzi
Valimaki – Kesselring
Kolyachonok – Brown
Karel Vejmelka will get the start. The Coyotes have been rotating their goalies for the past 15 games. Connor Ingram is 4-4 while Vejmelka is 4-3. They have similar Sv% and GAA.
Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Dylan Guenther and Logan Cooley have been leading the way offensively in the last 20 games for the Coyotes, while rookie Josh Doan has 3-3-6 in his eight NHL games.
Edmonton has been very stingy defensively lately, especially at home limiting the opposition to two goals or fewer in nine of their last 11 games.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers officially clinch home ice advantage for at least round one and improve to 27-4-2 at home under Knoblauch with a 5-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Mattias Ekholm continues his offensive hot streak and sets a career high with his 45th point.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: For the third time in his career, Ryan McLeod has consecutive multi-point games. (He had three consecutive two-point games earlier this season).

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