(photoshop: @NewfieMikey)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot delivery in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game. 
The Oilers will play their eighth game in 13 nights tonight in Minnesota, fresh off a crushing 6-5 loss in Philadelphia last night. Sometimes the schedule maker is not your friend. Some Oilers could be skating on fumes, while Wild players should be very fresh playing only their fifth game in 13 nights.
The Oilers will have to play poised and smart, which wasn’t the case last night.
The Flyers came back from a two-goal deficit twice last night. It was the first time in their franchise history they accomplished that, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That’s how ugly the Oilers performance was.
Jonas Gustavsson was not good, he was an adventure to say the least, but he wasn’t alone. The Oilers made three horrendous decisions/plays which led directly to three Flyers’ goals.
Advertisement
Ad
 
Matt Hendricks came storming out of the penalty box and inexplicably skated all the way deep into the slot, when the Oilers weren’t in any danger. Had he just stayed high he would have likely been able to get in the shooting lane and block the shot or force the D-man to dump it into the corner.
 
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in complete control of the puck behind the net, but makes a bad pass and the puck ends up on Voracek’s stick and he finds Giroux. With that much time and no one pressuring him, RNH has to make a better play. That was the Flyers third goal in 72 seconds.
 
Raffl enters the zone on a one-on-two. Klefbom was way to passive. He can’t let Raffl get around him that easily with under two minutes to play. Yes, Gustavsson didn’t help his D-man by making himself look as small as possible in net, but Klefbom has to make a stronger play against Raffl.
Advertisement
Ad
Those were a lack of awareness and intensity and the Oilers must eliminate those egregious plays or they will be out of the playoff race again.
Sadly, these types of decisions are not new for this group. We saw similar 10-bell mistakes in losses to Arizona and Toronto two weeks ago. Individual errors are killing this team, and if they don’t eliminate them tonight, they will have no chance against the Wild.

LINEUP

Oilers

The Oilers didn’t skate this morning so we won’t know the complete lineup until later. I’d guess Pitlick and Slepyshev will play because they are fresh. 
Dillon Simpson only played 7:47 yesterday while the top-four defenders played more than 20 minutes each: Larsson 20:08, Klefbom 22:12, Russell 23:30 and Sekera 26:42. If they play that much again tonight it will a struggle, so I could see Simpson getting a bit more ice to give them some rest, while Matt Benning (13:22) could play more as well.
Advertisement
Ad
Talbot will start and he’ll need to be great in a duel versus Devan Dubnyk.
Wild


Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • McDavid was annoyed by something Brandon Manning said during the game last night. He felt Manning suggested their collision was on purpose, and in his post-game scrum McDavid called him classless. Manning fired back in the Flyers room saying he never said anything like that, and there were three players involved in the collision, and McDavid was equally classless swearing at him after the Oilers PP goal.
    I don’t care what was said. It was just words and if players say things on the ice to try and get under the oppositions skin, as long as it isn’t racist or homophobic, I’m fine with it. The NHL doesn’t have enough animosity anymore and if McDavid and Manning have a running feud for many years, awesome. The NHL needs more of it, and I’m not going to rip either player for speaking out. I applaud them and hope we see some more rivalries pop up across the league. It is great McDavid shows this kind of fire, and hopefully it spreads to the rest of the group.
    Advertisement
    Ad
  • Dubnyk has a ridiculous .949 sv%, but I think we need to look deeper than simply saying the Oilers ruined him, or made a huge mistake trading him. Yes, MacTavish didn’t give him the best mental support with his infamous “If you have to ask the question” statement, but Dubnyk openly admitted he had to improve his own game. His worst adversity happened after he left Edmonton. He went to Nashville and then to Montreal and he was in the AHL at the end of the season. Pierre Lebrun penned a great article on Dubnyk and how he has battled back.
    We don’t always have to blame someone. It is very likely Dubnyk wouldn’t be having the success he’s having if he hadn’t crossed paths with Sean Burke. No one can say with certainty he would be this good had he stayed here. In all likelihood he wouldn’t be, because he wouldn’t have met Burke.
    It is great to see him playing so well. I always enjoyed speaking with Dubnyk. He was funny, witty and always willing to discuss the ups and downs of his position. He is a Vezina trophy candidate again, and no one should assume Carey Price will automatically win.
  • Come watch the game at the Ice Palace in WEM tonight. I’ll be doing my show live there. The Nation will be setting up shop with all sorts of prizes. First RND will be set up on the floor of the Ice Palace serving drinks and there will be some massive Big Screen TVs to watch the game. If your better half likes shopping, this is the day for you to tag along and while they shop you can cheer, yell or facepalm while watching the Oilers battle the Wild.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Oilers played last night against the Philadelphia Flyers and lost 6-5 and are now nursing a three-game losing streak. Overall, they have been pretty successful so far this season with a 14-10-4 record good for 32 points and first place in the Pacific division. Connor McDavid is off to an extremely fun start with 36 (11-25=36) points in 28 games so far this season.  Leon Draisaitl is second on the team for most points with 22 (11-11=22) in 28 games. The Wild will also want to keep an eye on Jordan Eberle, who has 20 points in 24 career games vs Minnesota. Cam Talbot has been the most successful netminder in recent Oilers memory and is sporting a .911 SV% and 2.44 GAA, while back up Jonas Gustavsson is a tick better with a .923 SV% and 2.2 GAA.

MONTH OF GIVING

Advertisement
Ad
Thank you to Arnold and Ryan for their bids yesterday and to Auto City Edmonton and Quest for their prizes. Also, a huge shout out to those who joined our Pyramid of fundraising. We raised $5,400 for the Holiday Hamper in 26 minutes. That was awesome.
Today’s items:
Package #1
  • West Edmonton Mall Family Multi Play Pass
    An entire year pass for a family of four to visit the attractions at WEM including Galaxyland, Ice Palace, World Waterpark, Marine Life, Santa Maria, Eds Rec Room, Dragons Tale and Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf. 
Package #2
  • You and a friend will skate with the Oilers Alumni and other former NHLers at Rogers Place. Smitty, Strudwick, Debrusk, Pisani, Bishai, Gage, MacTavish , Buchberger and others from around town. You will play an hour with them and then have beers and pizza in the dressing room after. You can pick a date in either January, February or March.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out Operation Friendship Seniors Society and Santas Anonymous.
Advertisement
Ad

TONIGHT

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)
GAME DAY PREDICTION: After a high-scoring affair last night, I see a low-scoring tilt tonight. Oilers are tired and lose 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers score a PP goal. They are 8 of 17 in their past five games.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of you show up at WEM for the viewing party. A loyal Nation reader wins the signed RNH stick and proceeds to grab a beer can and step on it, creating a makeshift puck. Baggedmilk comes running over, grabs two garbage cans to be used as a net. He then asks the winner to shoot on him. The shooter gladly obliges and fires a quick snapshot. Moments later BM is down in the fetal position. He got Bagged!
Recently by Jason Gregor:    
Advertisement
Ad
  • GDB 29.0: Flying in Philly
  • Searching for consistency
  • GDB 28.0: Buffalo Beat Up
  • Monday Musings: The Library
  • Who Are You with Oscar Klefbom
  • GDB 25.0: Avoid self destructing