The Oilers come out of the break with a game against their provincial (used to be) rival, the Calgary Flames. Calgary is ahead by 7 points, with 2 games in hand, which means they’re basically out of reach for the Oilers.
OILERS GOALS, BY DISCIPLINE
- 5×5 GOALS FOR: 61
- 5X5 GOALS AGAINST:90
- 4X4 GOALS FOR: 4
- 4X4 GOALS AGAINST: 4
- EMPTY NET GOALS FOR: 4
- EMPTY NET GOALS AGAINST: 8
- POWERPLAY GOALS FOR: 25
- POWERPLAY GOALS AGAINST: 25 (when Oilers are shorthanded)
- SHORTHANDED GOALS FOR: 1
- SHORTHANDED GOALS AGAINST: 8 (when Oilers are on powerplay)
What a mess. The powerplay is a net 17 because they’ve given up so many shorthanded goals, and their 5×5 is simply horrible. What can a team, halfway through the season, do about a 61-90 GF-GA gap at 5×5? Well, I’d suggest work like buggers improving that number in the second half!
WE ARE HERE! Let’s wipe the slate clean and make the second half 90-61! They have enough talent to score the 90, I’ll say that much about this bunch. The goaltending seems to be returning to something resembling normal, so that leaves playing without the puck.
Martin Marincin hasn’t reached first callup status (I think Taylor Fedun would be the selection if healthy) but this is his second recall and that must mean he’s doing enough good work to be considered a reasonable option for next season.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, F’S
Look at that beautiful blue bubble representing David Perron. Coach Dallas Eakins will play him with Nuge and Hall tonight, second game in a row. It looks like that trio works, even through you’d think foot speed would be an issue. Perron’s a player I love to watch, he skates upright like Ken Hodge or Claude LaRose of my youth, and he’s such an exceptional player with the puck. I continue to be amazed by St. Louis undervaluing him—they’re smart cookies—and with Perron on a 78, 33-31-64 pace there’ s a good chance that blue bubble makes him Oilers MVP for 2013-14.
A few other bubble notes:
- Ryan Smyth! I’d sign him for another year. 4line mind, PK, but what a warrior.
- Boyd Gordon is Henri Charrière.
- The top 6 forwards (Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Nuge, Gagner, Yakupov) not named Perron are all being used in the same general way.
- Perron’s playing tough minutes, less than 50% OZ starts, big blue bubble. Lordy.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, D’S
Notice Justin Schultz getting the soft parade and wonderful zone starts and yet not acquiring a blue bubble? Not good, people. The tough minutes are going to the much-maligned Jeff Petry and Andrew Ference, while Phil Larsen is also along for the ride. Nick Schultz is wearing a bad color against soft comp, Belov a little better in a spot where he should thrive.
Looking at this graph, the only guys I’m liking are Petry and Ference.
Both of these graphs are a little aged, as both the Vollman and Behind the net sites are lagging. Extra Skater is brilliantly updated, I’ll post their numbers tomorrow for the GDT.
I HATE THIS
The Oilers are doing the ‘break him down and build it back up‘ deal with Yakupov, it’s a hateful deal. One more indication he isn’t like the others, and really too bad in my opinion.
Huh. I guess Dreger must talk with Nonis. Who knew?
POSSIBLE LINES AND PAIRINGS
- Ference-J Schultz
- N Scultz-Marincin*
- Dubnyk starts
We’ll see, I don’t really know where they’ll put Horak and Marincin, but have flushed Gazdic and Potter for fun.
The Oilers have placed Ryan Jones on IR to make room for Horak, and will have to make another move to get Marincin on the roster. Because of this, I’m less certain Marincin actually plays tonight, he might be here for midnight and the 3-for-1 trade that brings in Christian Ehrhoff.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
TSN 1260, this is the only show between now and next Thursday, hope you can tune in at 10. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports. We’ll talk Taylor Hall Olympics, Leafs struggling and Christmas presents.
- Guy Flaming from Pipeline Show. World Juniors and draft eligibles, specifically Reinhart and Ekblad.
- Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey. Bruce will tell us exactly what we can expect from the Oilers tonight. NO doubt about what they’ll look like, Bruce has it covered.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp on TSN1260. The boys are back, and a big game this weekend against the Calgary Hitmen. We’ll talk about the team and I’ll ask why they’re better than expected.
10 this morning, @Lowetide_ on twitter and 10-1260 via text.