Oilers Gameday @ Anaheim: The Stoppable Force Against The Movable Object

Oilers Gameday @ Anaheim: The Stoppable Force Against The Movable Object

NHL

Oilers Gameday @ Anaheim: The Stoppable Force Against The Movable Object

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The Oilers are back in action tonight as they take on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Ducks less than 24 hours after disappearing in-game against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Ducks haven’t won in 7 games, and the Oilers are 2-7-1 in their last 10, so someone has to win despite each team’s efforts to the contrary.

Get your remote hand ready to switch to the Golden Globes when you get bored.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Put some pucks in the net, any way they can. Like carry the puck in a closed glove and throw it in the net, because that’s better than what happened on Saturday.
  • Play some actual defence and maybe don’t leave the slot wide open. Or do. Whatever.

Anaheim

  • The Ducks need to win this game, and doing so would almost certainly drive one of the last nails in to coffin of the Oilers. Despite being only 4 points up on the Oil, a regulation win would almost put the last wildcard spot out of reach (and it’s only game 42).

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • It’s getting hard to keep track, but it’s pretty certain that Kris Russell will draw back in tonight, (hopefully) leaving Brandon Manning on the outside, looking in.

Anaheim

  • Maybe it’s because he’s an ex-Oiler, but Andrew Cogliano is always kind of fun to watch. Sometimes I think about what it would have been like if the Oilers hadn’t traded him away for picks and pucks, but here we are.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Rieder – RNH – Chiasson
Lucic – Khaira – Puljujarvi
Spooner – Brodziak – Rattie

Jones – Larsson
Russell – Nurse
Petrovic – Benning

Talbot

Anaheim

Sherwood – Getzlaf – Sprong
Ritchie – Henrique – Kase
Cogliano – Kesler – Silfverberg
Aberg – Rowney – Gibbons

Lindholm – Montour
Larsson – Manson
Mahura – Welinski

Gibson

Notes

Last year, almost to the day, I wrote this in a pregame article for a game against the Kings:

So…. there’s not much left to say. The Decade of Darkness is long past, and Connor McDavid is an Oiler and everything should be fine but it’s not. The most frustrating thing about it is that the writing was on the wall once Taylor Hall was traded. It got a little clearer when Eberle was traded for Cap Space (and Ryan Strome), and it was made explicit when no one did anything to help shore up the defence with Sekera out for the first part of the season.

This team was supposed to be better, and it isn’t and it’s getting tiresome. Saying the same things over and over again isn’t fun. Knowing that the team is going to make panic decisions at the deadline doesn’t inspire confidence.

The absolute saddest thing about this is that NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The Oilers are still floundering outside of a playoff spot, with almost the same record they had last year at this time.

It should be statistically impossible for a team to miss the playoffs 11/12 years in a league where more than 50% of the teams make it every year. Instead, the Oilers are stuck with 41 points in 41 games in a league where it’s almost certain a team will need 95 points to get in to the postseason.

A little math, okay?

With 41 points in 41 games, the Oilers are sitting at 0.500 (except that they’ve lost 3 more games than they’ve won; dumb Bettman points). Getting in to the playoffs with 95 points means that they need to get 54 points in their remaining 42 games.

This means that the Oilers can do no worse than 24-11-6 over those games, and each game they play against a divisional rival must be a regulation win. That means that against the Pacific they need to go 16-0, and then find a way to win another 8 games. Given that they haven’t managed more than 19 wins in their first 41, this seems highly unlikely

Until now they’ve played at an 82 point pace. It’s nearly impossible to reasonable expect them to play at a 108 point pace over the last 41.

To pour salt in it, they’ve got less than a 50% chance of picking in the top 5

 

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