GDB 07: BE AWARE OF SHARKS

Jason Gregor
January 31 2013 12:42PM

Last Tuesday the Oilers played the role of the seal as the San Jose Sharks devoured them 6-1. The feeding frenzy was over in 20 minutes. The Oilers were bloodied, Devan Dubnyk was given a seat at the end of the bench and most fans numbed their pain by crushing a few extra Rexall Place heroin beers.

It was the worst first period imaginable for a home-opener, and tonight the Oilers will be looking for redemption against the undefeated, 6-0, Sharks.

Despite playing back-to-back for the first time this year, I doubt fatigue plays a factor. The Oilers are young, they are riding a two-game winning streak, and last night's game was far from high-energy. The Oilers will want to play a much better game, and with that embarrassing first period still fresh in their minds, I expect they will be ready to compete.

The Oilers need to play well to even stay in the game. The Sharks are first or second in almost every NHL category it seems:

  • They are the only remaining undefeated team.
  • Second in goals for with 4.67.
  • Second in goals against at 1.67.
  • First in PP efficiency at 35.3%.
  • 2nd in F0% at 58.2%.
  • NHL-best 5-0 when they score first.
  • Have the top-two leading scorers, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each with 14 points.

The Oilers are 4-2, and despite struggling to score 5-on-5, and turning over too many pucks at the offensive blueline, they've only allowed 10 ES goals.

Edmonton has played 371:53 of hockey this year. If you exclude that awful first period v. San Jose, 5.4% of their total ice time, in the remaining 94.6% of their minutes played they have allowed only nine goals. And the team's SV% is .948 and their goals against is 1.76.

When you add in those 20 minutes, their SV% drops to .919 and their goals against almost doubles to 2.50. It is amazing how one bad period can alter their defensive statistics, especially because they've only played six games.

For the majority of this season the Oilers have had great goaltending, and their defensive zone coverage has improved immensely from last season.

The key tonight is to avoid turnovers in the neutral zone or at the offensive blueline, and ensure they don't leave Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture wide open in the scoring lanes.

LINEUP...???

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Horcoff-Petrell
Hartikainen-Belanger-Paajarvi

Shane Doan crushed Shawn Horcoff late in the 3rd period last night. It happened after the whistle and it was from behind. Horcoff stayed down for a minute, but then skated off with the trainer at his side. He stayed on the bench, but didn't take another shift. He likely won't dress, and that will be a big hole to fill.

**UDPATE***

Anton Lander has been recalled and he will dress, but to make room for him Magnus Paajarvi has been sent to OKC. Lander will likely play between Hartikainen and Hordichuk, with Belanger between Smyth and Petrell.  Petrell blocked a shot late in the game and is a game-time decision, so if he can't go the Oilers will dress seven D-men.

Smid-Petry
N.Schultz- J.Schultz
Fistric-Whitney

Corey Potter struggled last night, and while he wasn't the only one, he doesn't have the luxury of the forwards, who don't have anyone currently pushing them for icetime. When Krueger re-inserted Potter into the lineup he said, "I don't want guys sitting out too long. Corey coming in is not a reflection of how Mark played." If that was the real reason, then I'd assume he'll do the same with Fistric and put him in tonight.

The Sharks have the 2nd biggest forward group in the NHL, so Krueger should want a more physical D-man in as well.

Dubnyk

I'd stick with the hot goalie. Dubnyk was great again last night, and you know he'd love some redemption against the Sharks.

QUICK HITS

  •  I feel sorry for the diehard Phoenix fans, but it is obvious that team will never flourish or break even. Jamison doesn't have any money, and he is now out as the potential new owner. The NHL should just cut their losses. They have a 10-year TV deal signed, so I don't see how relocating would impact their TV numbers.
     
  • I'm not surprised by Dubnyk's play. I felt he took a big step in the 2nd half of last season. The key for him now is to remain consistent. If the does, the Oilers chances of being in the playoff hunt in late March increase drastically.
     
  • My Nationdraft just went down the drain. Jason Spezza is having back surgery and will be out close to two months. Good luck to everyone else. &*(*$%!!!!
     

GAME DAY PREDICTION: After last night's boring game v. Phoenix the Sharks and Oilers will put on a dazzling display of up-tempo hockey. It will be more enjoyable to watch, but the Oilers will lose 4-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Marleau and Thornton combine for four points, but Hall and Eberle match that with four of their own. It will be the most exciting game thus far.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Early in the second period Sam Gagner and Scott Gomez exchange slashes in front of the net. Words are exchanged and Gomez shocks everyone by shedding his mitts for his first regular season fight since February of 2000. (Gomez fought Tom Poti in 2010 playoffs). Gagner is pumped to be fighting a guy smaller than him, and he gives Gomez the business. After the game, Gagner tweets to Ryan Whitney, "I wonder if Gomez prefers ice cream sandwiches or a right from Samwise."

If you don't get the icecream sandwich joke check out Gagner and Whitney's twitter timelines from last night..

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 HOFFFF
January 31 2013, 08:14PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Oilers win 5-3 with Yakupov scoring three goals which I am preemptively coining "a Yak-Trick"

Then skates full speed to center ice again, slides on his ass and pretends to paddle with his stick. The 'Kayak' is born.

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#52 Sanaa Montana
January 31 2013, 08:29PM
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The Tatar son of Jacob's GW goal celebrations and the goals them selves will be known as "Sour Cherry on Top."

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#53 G Money
January 31 2013, 08:46PM
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Still think that if Yak scores a yak-trick that Edmonton needs to change its call sign from YEG to YAK.

YAK CITY B*TCH.

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#54 Mark-LW
January 31 2013, 08:56PM
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Anyone know of any good haunts in central Toronto for watching Oilers games, ex pats etc..?

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#55 Locksmithluke
January 31 2013, 09:06PM
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I'm with Bell and they're showing the Calgary/Colorado game!!?? Anyone know where I can watch the game?

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#56 Terran
January 31 2013, 09:10PM
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OK, I'm confused. Game should be on at 9:30 C (ie-now), but sportsnet is showing it doesn't start til 10:30, yet the sportsnet crew on the CGY-COL game are talking about the EDM-SJ game being on the "companion" channel right now-which I also have, and isn't showing anything!

When and where can I watch the damn game, Sportsnet!?

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#57 Sanaa Montana
January 31 2013, 09:28PM
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Dear NHL,

Please fire that goof with the referee position. If that was worthy of a penalty call then your worth is not much above it. What a #@$%in' joke.!..

Thank You

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#58 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
January 31 2013, 09:30PM
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Games is on Sportsnet Oilers, btw.

326 if you have Shaw

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#59 Thumby
January 31 2013, 09:36PM
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Telus channel 678

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#60 Thumby
January 31 2013, 09:38PM
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Almost threw my remote at the red on the yak call ... Seriously bs!

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#61 Terran
January 31 2013, 09:38PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Games is on Sportsnet Oilers, btw.

326 if you have Shaw

Mine isn't showing it! I'm in SK with SaskTel Max. ARGH!

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#62 Marcus
January 31 2013, 09:39PM
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I'm in SK, using Sasktel Max. Sportsnet Oilers is blank right now.

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#63 Harlie
January 31 2013, 09:46PM
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hahaha Calgary

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#64 vetinari
January 31 2013, 10:03PM
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Two turnovers=two goals against

Could we try not to throw soft, high risk passes at our blue line?

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#65 vetinari
January 31 2013, 10:09PM
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FFFIIISSSTTTsqueeee

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#66 vetinari
January 31 2013, 10:09PM
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FFFIIISSSTTTsqueeee

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#67 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 10:18PM
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Hmmm. Interesting. Neil Young has SJS season tickets.

(living in BC so forced to watch the Sharks feed)

edit: sharks feed haha

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#68 Gunk
January 31 2013, 10:19PM
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Discruntled Flames fan here... Guess I gotta root for my other AB team now. At least you guys have a little thing called "HOPE"!

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#69 Johe
January 31 2013, 10:33PM
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Gunk wrote:

Discruntled Flames fan here... Guess I gotta root for my other AB team now. At least you guys have a little thing called "HOPE"!

GET OUT!!!

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#70 Oilertown
January 31 2013, 10:38PM
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@Gunk

Can we say fairweather fan. Never understand how ppl can call themselves a fan and as soon as their team starts losing jump onto another teams bandwagon. That's not a fan.

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#71 Oilertown
January 31 2013, 10:40PM
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Suck it up like all us true Oiler fans have with our team through all the sh!tty years.

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#72 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 10:47PM
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@Gunk

Even though you are a stinky vile flamer, I feel your pain. We've been there.

Don't worry man, in 10 years I'm sure the Flames' only woe will be losing every single year to the Oilers in the playoffs.

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#73 Poolanov
January 31 2013, 10:51PM
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Best we've played all year.

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#74 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 10:51PM
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Man, I am REALLY liking this pushback by the Oilers. Last year they would have folded immediately after getting scored on twice in 40 seconds. I like what i'm seeing!

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#75 Mikey
January 31 2013, 10:58PM
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The oilers had a little bit of a shaky first period. But they have played very well considering how good SJ is.

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#76 The Soup Fascist
January 31 2013, 11:02PM
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That call on Petry was a big load of brown bananas.

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#77 Oilertown
January 31 2013, 11:03PM
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Sad penalty by Petry barely touched him and Handzus acted like he was hit by a mack truck into the boards.

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#78 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 11:12PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

That call on Petry was a big load of brown bananas.

http://joyreactor.com/post/409383

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#79 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 11:16PM
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HAHAHAHA I like how the young stars line dumped it in and then went for a change with 3 seconds left.

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#80 @Oilanderp
January 31 2013, 11:24PM
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Not a bad penalty by Gags... saved an empty net wraparound goal.

Still, it was his fault he didn't get it out of the zone in the first place.

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#81 Lofty
January 31 2013, 11:26PM
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Will take the point no matter what happens in the shootout.

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#82 Poolanov
January 31 2013, 11:31PM
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WHY HOPKINS??????????????????????

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#83 Shaun Doe
January 31 2013, 11:33PM
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Well bit of a let down leaving without the W but a points a point at least. Wonder why Kreuger went Hopkins ahead of Eberle? Not questioning Hopkins as a shooter, just the order.

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#84 Yep
January 31 2013, 11:35PM
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Man, you cant miss the net in the shootout... especially two in a row.

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#85 Dog Train
January 31 2013, 11:35PM
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Solid effort tonight. I think we are trying to be too cute at times and are looking for the perfect play but a point tonight is far from the worst result. The Oilers are using lots of statistics and video work to determine their shootout shooters so I'm not going to complain about who the send out. It's a crapshoot at the best of times and Nuge had Niemi beat but simply missed the shot. A win in Colorado would make this a tremendous road trip. GO OILERS GO!!

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#86 Yep
January 31 2013, 11:37PM
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Dog Train wrote:

Solid effort tonight. I think we are trying to be too cute at times and are looking for the perfect play but a point tonight is far from the worst result. The Oilers are using lots of statistics and video work to determine their shootout shooters so I'm not going to complain about who the send out. It's a crapshoot at the best of times and Nuge had Niemi beat but simply missed the shot. A win in Colorado would make this a tremendous road trip. GO OILERS GO!!

The cute little passes on the D zone in the third and OT almost cost them the game on several occasions.

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#87 Rocket
January 31 2013, 11:38PM
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Yep wrote:

Man, you cant miss the net in the shootout... especially two in a row.

Yep

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#88 Pucker
February 01 2013, 01:15AM
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Good to see some optimism tonight. I was disappointed. I think they very well could have won but if you think back to last year, they wouldn't have been close and this game wouldn't have gone to a shootout.

Kudos to the Oilers. We're way ahead of last year. things are looking up!!

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#89 The Oilers Shot Clock
February 01 2013, 03:20AM
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We're going to be a better Road team than a Home team this year arent we?

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#90 michael
February 01 2013, 06:46AM
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Just woke up.Fell asleep in the second. Hey a point in San Jose after the beat down they put on us is a huge win. Getting it 2-2 was an achievemnet. The fact that Kreuger reconized the moment and took a time out didn't hurt either. got their game back on track and it paid off. Good to see Hall pot one. The top 2 lines continue to produce. The PK was good again.The PP not so much. I am pleased with the effort. Onto Colorado and a "day game". Which usually means loss for the Oilers. they don't play well in afternoon tilts.

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#91 Oilcruzer
February 01 2013, 07:25AM
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MAC962 wrote:

Just bought Shaw centre ice package..

is it worth the 49 bucks...anyone else get it ?

I'm in BC so I will be. No longer free on Shaw as of today. Toyed with going with NHL GameCenter. That is a sweet system because u can watch remotely on an IPad or phone It also let's u choose the home or away broadcast.

Either package @ $50 is a great deal.

Lander played well. See him full time next year.

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#92 Second Line
February 01 2013, 08:15AM
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Maybe it is early but the second line is -3-4-4 . Should the Oilers shake up the second line ? Of course I am not a Gagner fan but maybe move Hemsky ? Any ideas or am I out to lunch here.

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#93 Rob...
February 01 2013, 08:46AM
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It was awesome to see a game where the refs seemed to suck equally for both teams.

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#94 Walter Sobchak
February 01 2013, 10:21AM
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Well, one thing for sure, when that first line figures out how to score 5x5 and RNH gets going......look out, that line dominated at times last night.

On a different note, how about those Flames, wow! I can't believe we lost to that team. That my friends is what he Oilers looked like just before the big thud.

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#95 geoilersgist
February 01 2013, 10:34AM
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Rob... wrote:

It was awesome to see a game where the refs seemed to suck equally for both teams.

At least this time the refs sucking didn't mean the whistle was blowing every two minutes

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#96 Old Retired Guy
February 01 2013, 01:48PM
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Really like the depth this team is building.....Tonight it was Dubnyk and Hall that carried the load...In Colorado it will be some other combo...

I know it has been a stated goal of the Oilers management to get in place a development system that creates depth both on the big club and in the farm system, using what they refer to as the Detroit Red Wings system.....

A system that recognizes that some guys just take longer to develop than others...our farm system is deeper than it looks on D with Klefbom, Gernat, Marincin, Musil, Tuebert, Fedun, and others, all of whom may take 2 or 3 more years to be NHL ready ( and may just be solid 5-6 type of guys). And same in goal with Bunz and Roy and others. And in forwards...where guys like Pajarvi and Lander and others will be exceptional third and fourth liners in a year or two.....

Point being that it takes organization depth to win championships and that we are no longer in panic mode and that we seem to be very committed to the "Build from Within" model...which takes time and dedication....

Depth is looking really, really good.

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