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GDB 9.0: Battle Boys Part 2 (8pm MT, HNIC)

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
27 days ago
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Is there anything better than a Saturday night Battle of Alberta? No. No, there is not.
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the first round of the Battle of Alberta didn’t exactly go our way. Despite the excitement that was bubbling over in the building, the Oilers struggled to get themselves going and basically gave the Flames a 20+ minute head start that they used to build a three-goal lead before we even knew what happened. The boys were flat, the giveaways were plentiful, and they honestly looked anything but ready to play. Put another way, I don’t know if I’ve seen this team make that many mistakes in such a short amount of time. Needless to say, spotting Calgary a field goal-sized lead isn’t the smartest strategy you will ever encounter, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the Oilers cannot let that happen again tonight in round two.
Heading into the Saddledome, the first order of business for the Oilers will be to get through the first period without soiling themselves or spotting Calgary an easy lead. If they can navigate the first couple of minutes without giving up a terrible goal then they’re going to be fine, but as we’ve seen countless times over the years, understanding that the game starts at 8 pm can be a struggle. I don’t know what needs to happen for the Oilers to start games the same way they end them, but if I could find a magic genie that would grant me a single wish then that would be it. If a genie won’t work then maybe the boys need to start listening to some Death Metal before the game to angry up the blood a little bit. My quest for solutions aside, I believe that the boys already know what they need to do to avenge the loss from Oct. 15th, but as always, the tricky part will be making sure they execute.
Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERSFLAMES
RECORD5-3-05-1-0
WIN/LOSS STREAKW3W2
Last 10 Games5-3-05-1-0
GOALS FOR3122
GOALS AGAINST2617
POWER PLAY%34.530.4
PENALTY KILL%75.084.6
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.936.7
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST34.127.8
TEAM SAVE%.928.921
CORSI FOR%53.4052.42
PDO1.0021.006
TEAM SHOOTING%7.508.50
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%51.2151.21
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Shore – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Murray – Bouchard
Niemelainen
Campbell
Heading into round 2 of the Battle of Alberta, the most obvious note I could ever give is that the Oilers need to be ready to go right from the opening puck drop. Full stop. When these two teams last met on Oct. 15th, the Oilers spotted Calgary with four goals in the span of a period and change, and that’s just not good enough against a very good hockey team like the Flames. The margin for error is just too small in this league to be coughing up chance after chance, and if the Oilers have any shot of redemption then it’s going to have to start with the opening draw. As for the line combos, what’s listed above is a carry over from Thursday’s game in Chicago so don’t put too much stock into what’s listed just yet.

Flames

Huberdeau – Lindholm – Toffoli
Dube – Kadri – Mangiapane
Coleman – Backlund – Lewis
Lucic – Rooney – Ritchie
Ruzicka
Weegar – Tanev
Hanifin – Andersson
Zadorov – Stone
Mackey
Markstrom
I hate to say it but the Flames are a damned good hockey team, and it’s going to take a full team effort from the Oilers if they’re going to respond with a win. The Flames aren’t one of those teams that you can luck your way into a win even when the team is playing poorly, and the challenge ahead for the Oilers is finding a way to compete for a full 60 minutes.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Flamesnation.ca:
I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, folks, but the Calgary Flames are playing the Edmonton Oilers in a hockey game on Saturday night. It’s the second such clash between these two teams in the month of October, coming on the heels of a pretty contentious playoff Battle of Alberta in the spring.
Heading into such a big game, of course Calgary’s goaltending is a big topic of conversation. More specifically, which goaltender should start against the Oilers: backup Dan Vladar or starter Jacob Markstrom?
Based on how the Flames have juggled their goaltending lately, the Edmonton game feels like a Jacob Markstrom start. Sure, head coach Darryl Sutter is aiming to get Vladar a start per week, but that’s a projected average most likely, not a strict rule. Getting Markstrom back to his Vezina Trophy contender levels of play and swagger is the important part, especially with Vladar showing last season that he can be really good even if used sparingly.
Markstrom needs reps to get his game going, and a big test against Edmonton could be huge for his game and his confidence.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: Oilers even the season series with a spicy 4-2 win at the Crumbledome.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: I will be at the Saddledome and promise to put back no less than five beers in an effort to support our Calgary friends in landing a new arena and getting out of that dump.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Brett Kulak picks up his first goal of the season with a seeing-eye wrister from the point.

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