GDB 47.0: Spoiler?

Jonathan Willis
April 26 2013 05:21PM

The Oilers are in something of an interesting position tonight. If they win, they can put a serious crimp in the Minnesota Wild’s playoff ambitions, playing the role of late-season spoiler. However, they can only do so by damaging their draft position.

The Stakes

The three-team playoff race in the West is most likely to end with the Blue Jackets falling just short. With a win tonight, the Wild could guarantee themselves a playoff berth. However, should the Oilers win in regulation, the Wild’s playoff chances drop from 90.4 percent down to 71.3 percent, while the Blue Jackets’ chances jump from 30.8 percent to 44.3 percent.

Yesterday, we considered the Oilers’ draft position needs; four of the teams the Oilers are in competition with for the second overall spot were in action. Unfortunately for the Oilers, all four lost; only Carolina (overtime loss to the New York Rangers) picked up a point. The relevant standings are as follow:

A win would slide the Oilers from fifth down to seventh in the pre-lottery draft rankings, which would undo part of the one and only benefit from all of their recent losing.

Memory Lane

It isn’t exactly the same situation, but the dilemma reminds me a little of the one the Oilers faced in 2006-07. The team had spectacularly collapsed following the trade deadline move of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders; in the 20 games leading up to the final contest of the year they failed to managed even one regulation win – they had two shootout victories and 18 regulation losses over that span.

But they managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit at the midway point of the game, scoring the next three goals and winning the contest on Patrick Thoresen’s third period tip-in. The win gave the Oilers 71 points, tying them with Chicago. The Oilers had the tie-breaker, though, so entering the draft lottery they held the sixth overall pick while Chicago had the fifth selection and the final one with a chance at first overall.

Chicago won the draft lottery, and ended up picking Patrick Kane first overall. The Oilers still ended up with a pretty good player – Sam Gagner – in the sixth overall spot, but it was a pivotal moment in the history of both franchises.

The Lineup

Via the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, here are the lines for tonight’s game:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Nail Yakupov
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
  • Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander
  • Ryan Smyth – Jerred Smithson – Mike Brown
  • Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
  • Mark Fistric – Justin Schultz
  • Nikolai Khabibulin

Quick Hits

  • Jason Gregor was supposed to write this piece. Apparently, he’s “too busy” with “raising money to fight Alzheimers” to fulfill his blog-writing responsibilities. I'll let the readers decide where that rates on the jerk scale.

  • Jason was nice enough to pass along this encouraging statistic: “Backstrom is a perfect 17-0 at home vs. Oilers with a 1.34 GAA, a .948 save pct., and four shutouts. Wow.” He didn’t finish that comment with ‘have fun explaining why anybody should expect anything other than another humiliating Oilers loss’ but I think that was implied.
  • Taylor Hall would seem to have some chance at an extra $2 million in bonus money if he has a strong finish to the season.
  • The Justin Schultz/Nick Schultz pairing has gone minus-6 against the Wild this season; no other player on the team is worse than minus-3. Maybe it’s a good thing Krueger is splitting them up.
  • This might be the last game Nikolai Khabibulin ever plays for the Oilers, with Devan Dubnyk set to start tomorrow and Khabibulin’s contract expiring this summer.

Predictions

Game day prediction: The Oilers will lose a dull and one-sided game, falling by a 3-1 score.

Obvious game day prediction: The Oilers goal will be scored by Nail Yakupov, and after the game he’ll disappointedly say, “I don’t care about the goal, I just want to win.”

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: The Oilers’ second pairing will have a surprisingly good night, as Corey Potter plays well and Nick Schultz is much-improved when separated from Justin Schultz. Potter will pick up an assist on the Yakupov goal.

Recently around the Nation Network

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#51 Truth
April 26 2013, 01:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I hope this game cements Khabi's retirement plans. I hate to watch the Oilers lose (so I won't) but they have to lose this one and the next. There is a legitimate shot at obtaining an excellent center for free.

Avatar
#52 Pucker - B class
April 26 2013, 01:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I'd like to see jSchultz and Petry switched.

Justin/Smid Fister/Petry

I find the listed Justin/Fister kind of scary . . . unless the intent is to tank.

Avatar
#53 Jasmine
April 26 2013, 01:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

And Oilers fans prove why players won't sign in Edmonton by cheering for losses prior to game 1 of the season. Some Oilers fans are the worst in NHL history.

Avatar
#54 Dallylamma
April 26 2013, 01:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

With Zach Parise being the big money forward with the Wild now is there a possibility the they might listen to offers for Mikko Koivu?

And if they did, what would the Oilers need to offer?

Avatar
#55 bumboclate
April 26 2013, 02:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Plz oil do the right thing and get us Barkov!

Avatar
#56 Ducey
April 26 2013, 02:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Where's Your Towel wrote:

Forget (more) tanking. There's a slim chance we finish ahead of Calgary.

Making the playoffs this year was pretty unlikely all along. I just wanted to beat Calgary for a change.

Please.

I REFUSE TO "CHEER" FOR MORE LOSING.

Well, if we get to pick 4th and they pick 7th or something it increases our odds of beating them for the next decade.

Avatar
#57 TrentonL
April 26 2013, 02:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

That is the second Thoresen reference here on ON in 2 days (Lowetide 4th line article). I'm going to take that as a sign he returns to the Oilers for next season....

Avatar
#58 Sall
April 26 2013, 02:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

By winning this game we could end up with the 8th pick.

Avatar
#59 **
April 26 2013, 02:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The not so obvious game prediction is not nearly outrageous enough.

one has to feel bad for Columbus having their playoff hopes pinned on the losing Oilers.

Avatar
#60 Butters
April 26 2013, 02:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Sorry Columbus, we would like to help but we are unable to do so. RK will have the Oilers in a defensive shell during the warmup. We will be lucky to get one tonght.

Avatar
#61 Oiler Al
April 26 2013, 03:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Can't think of one sorry ass'ed reason the Oilers would want to start winning now... they havnt in the last 10 games.

Have no fear.. look at the track record between these two teams in MInny... not pretty!

MacT get your draft shoes on or is it a tie. [ Tambelini might lend you his lucky one, he's worn over the past three years. ]

Avatar
#62 HugThePost
April 26 2013, 03:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If they win the last 2, nobody involved on the team will sit around this summer and savour it. The only memory from this season will be the totality of all of the suck that happened. From all of Tambo's inept moves (and lack thereof), Lowe's buffoonery at the MacT coronation, and of course the Disaster on Ice that was the 2013 Oilers.

Does anyone think winning that last game in Calgary was any great feat when it bumped us out of lottery land and allowed Chicago to finish 5th, win the lottery and draft Kane? That meaningless win changed the course of the recent history of both teams. We got the defensive sieve named Gagner that year.

Great move to have Khabby in net tonight and inserting Jones and Belanger.

Just lose 2 more, give MacT the high draft pick, and let's start all over again this summer, and hopefully us oiler fans can be let off of this awful ride of gloomy misery soon.

Avatar
#63 madjam
April 26 2013, 03:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Did Oilers do the right thing by making the young stars first line to begin with ? Seems to me that's putting them in over their heads , as results appear to bear out . I guess that's how thin rest of squad is in their eyes . 5 on 5 , offensively and especially defencesively the youngsters are low in comparison to other teams first lines. It'll get better no doubt , but this year the experiment just never bared the fruit expected. ,

Avatar
#64 Ducey
April 26 2013, 04:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Time Travelling Sean wrote:

It'll screw up Minny's season though, what if they missed the playoffs cause of us?

Who cares about Minny?

Will that small feeling of being a spoiler still make you feel warm and fuzzy in 3 years when you see Barkov skating around for Calgary?

Avatar
#65 Rama Lama
April 26 2013, 05:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Harlie wrote:

Boo hoo...the poor poor hockey players and their hurt feelings. How can I look myself in the mirror for calling these guys out and their pathetic efforts?

Your right, I guess it's the fans fault why the Oilers suck. Not the players or Lowe's fault. Not their fault at all. It's all on us fans.

Seriously, are these guys your heros or something?

Please be advised that Jasmine is really Kevin Lowe..........wasting time pretending to do something for the Oilers.

Kevin.......I mean Jasmine has ruined this once proud franchise.

Avatar
#66 Alsker
April 26 2013, 06:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Just got home..WTF...im excited but not sure if Im happy, damn draft positioning.

Avatar
#67 Alsker
April 26 2013, 06:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@striatic

Well, yes, been a long time since we have looked down at them, youre right, well worth it.

Avatar
#68 keilan
April 26 2013, 07:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Should have sat Brown in the press-box. Bunch of heartless stiffs decided to show up tonight. Still 40 minutes to fold like a cheap suit.

Avatar
#69 Kinger_Oil
April 26 2013, 07:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Fellow OIL Fans: This team is half a season away from being done for a generation. Hall, Ebs, Shultz, Nuge et al if the team sucks next year(and a big part of it is on them to be better), after game 40: the "core" will have checked out, and there is no turning back: bye-bye rebuild and return to glory, hello 10 year perma-build

Avatar
#70 keilan
April 26 2013, 07:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

4 zip -- I'm really starting to hate this group. Laughing stock of the NHL, Rather play for their jobs now instead of showing up most nights.

Listen to the comments following the game if they go on to win! How they never quit yada yada.....

Avatar
#71 Serious Gord
April 26 2013, 07:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If you had a choice between dubnyk or khabi - if you were guaranteed that khabi would be healthly - who would you play?

I'd go with khabi.

That is not to say that we should have kept khabi nor that we should keep him but that health aside I - and I suspect you - would take a forty year old geezer over dubnyk.

We need to be looking for a better netminder.

Avatar
#72 keilan
April 26 2013, 07:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
michael wrote:

4-0 Oiler haters.Minny is getting rolled.Love to see them out of the playoffs. 129 million dollars of see ya next year.

Having them out of the playoffs doesn't help us draft day but you keep cheering

Avatar
#73 Alsker
April 26 2013, 07:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

5 goals on 10 shots in Minny, no, way to much solvent today. Out shot 2.5:1, rofl, poor DSF probably cant find a stat to make us look bad when you remind him of the scoreboard!!!

Avatar
#74 keilan
April 26 2013, 07:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Serious Gord wrote:

If you had a choice between dubnyk or khabi - if you were guaranteed that khabi would be healthly - who would you play?

I'd go with khabi.

That is not to say that we should have kept khabi nor that we should keep him but that health aside I - and I suspect you - would take a forty year old geezer over dubnyk.

We need to be looking for a better netminder.

one game hypothetical - take the Russian.

Our needs hardly begin in goal - the list is long

Avatar
#75 Alsker
April 26 2013, 07:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The way the pucks going in, should we dare to dream and Belanger actually nets one. When you wish upon a star...

Avatar
#76 DSF
April 26 2013, 07:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Dead Cat Bounce

Happens all the time.

The Cleveland Browns win the odd football game.

Here's an excerpt from their beat writer.

Does it sound familiar?

"Browns fans have endured 14 years of disappointing football. But each year our hopes are raised by even the smallest positive sign because we want it. We need it. We love Browns football. If we haven't turned our backs yet, we aren't going to.

Last year the Browns won only five games but five of the games we lost were by a touchdown or less. I know it's a stretch, but if we'd taken those games, we'd have been division champs.

With the 2013 draft right here in front of us, all Cleveland fans need to get high on hope is for a few key positions to be filled. Give us a solid pass rusher and a shut-down cornerback and we'll be happy."

And the beat goes on.

Avatar
#77 DSF
April 26 2013, 07:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
dougtheslug wrote:

I can't resist. Hey DSF, Yak has now tied Huberdeau for rookie goal scoring and rookie points. Have a nice day.

Wow!

Based on tonight's game, I'd offer Khabibulin and Potter 5 year contract extensions too.

Avatar
#78 Walter Sobchak
April 26 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
dougtheslug wrote:

I can't resist. Hey DSF, Yak has now tied Huberdeau for rookie goal scoring and rookie points. Have a nice day.

He should be leading rookie scoring, they robbed him of a point on Hall's first goal!

Avatar
#79 DSF
April 26 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
John Chambers wrote:

Guess what? Jonas Brodin is -4 after two periods. Just saying'.

Guess what?

In a larger sample size, Justin Schultz is -19 and Brodin is +2.

But you should never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Avatar
#80 DSF
April 26 2013, 08:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Darrell wrote:

Man up - Minny blew it dude .....

Blew what?

Did they have a bad game, sure.

Will Backstrom have a .400 SV% going forward?

No.

Will the Oilers win games when they are outshot by a 2-1 margin?

No.

Enjoy the Dead Cat Bounce while you can.

It doesn't mean a thing.

Avatar
#81 DSF
April 26 2013, 08:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
darrell wrote:

Six bounces you clown!

That...and another 7 wins a season...will get you a playoff spot.

Avatar
#82 NewAgeSys
April 26 2013, 08:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I know we dont need to rub it in completely but could the coach wake the hell up, Boogard destroyed us for years and this team is our enemy,keep setting Nail up like we were,what happened?Are we supposed to feel sorry for them Ralph? Keep throwing a decent game at them .

This is why we had such a non-competative year, we dont know when to keep the pedal down.

Seriously we are in a position to carry the momentum and end this game fast before they get bitter and realise what we did to them and someoen gets hurt.Open it back up Ralph,get this one over with.

Lets not act like snowflakes,lets at least pretend we like to goddam win,ok?

Avatar
#83 Darrell
April 26 2013, 08:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
DSF wrote:

That...and another 7 wins a season...will get you a playoff spot.

We have admitted defeat - your turn lost sheep ....

Avatar
#84 DSF
April 26 2013, 08:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Darrell wrote:

We have admitted defeat - your turn lost sheep ....

If you've admitted defeat it might be wise to be humble as opposed to being obnoxious.

The Oilers are a very bad hockey team and one win based on ridiculous percentages doesn't change that at all.

Shots on goal are currently 37-16.

A team that gets outshot by that margin will lose 99 games out of 100.

This just happens to be the 1 percent.

Avatar
#85 NewAgeSys
April 26 2013, 08:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well played Ralph, you come out and call the dogs off,you ruin your goalies shutout, you destroy the killer instinct you had going, you derail the teams momentum, you put the game into a slower lower gear and give the Wild time to stew about being turfed from the playoffs,and set us up for a war.

Well played Ralph,well played.

Jones earned his bones tonight by grabbing that beast. Someone should have chopped him down with their stick immediatly, we need to hurt those big men immediatly,hurt them not deter them.

Avatar
#86 keilan
April 26 2013, 08:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Get Gagner off the ice, yak going for the hat-trick and he handles the puck like it's a grenade.

Can't wait till he's gone --f'n plays like a little boy

Avatar
#87 DSF
April 26 2013, 08:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The Oilers offensive juggernaut had a 5-3 for a full 2 minutes.

They got ZERO shots on goal.

Avatar
#88 keilan
April 26 2013, 08:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
DSF wrote:

The Oilers offensive juggernaut had a 5-3 for a full 2 minutes.

They got ZERO shots on goal.

Would have been terrific to get the kid the puck but other than Hall I didn't see anyone else trying. Gagner only interested about Gagner and I'm sick of see him.

This Oiler team hasn't played for each other for so long why would I expect it tonight.

Avatar
#89 The Worrier
April 26 2013, 08:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

The way the Oilers played tonight shows they could make some serious noise if they make the playoffs.

They finally have found the veteran goalie that they have needed. They have offensive Defense men in Schultz and Potter. They have depth on D in the press box in Whitney and they have some grit in Eager and Hordichuk in the minors.

You move Yakupov up from the 4th line to the first and he knows how to light the lamp.

This team is solid. Lookout Chicago.

Avatar
#90 keilan
April 26 2013, 08:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I don't get you guys. Who cares about Minny, most of you are acting like this was a good thing tonight. Tonight didn't matter other then moving us down in the draft.

Keep celebrating boyz!

Avatar
#91 keilan
April 26 2013, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Minny clinches against Colorado and we draft further down the line.

Get your licks in to what end?

Avatar
#92 Oilersman
April 26 2013, 09:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Wow. Amazing, we're outscored in the 3rd again.

Avatar
#93 DSF
April 26 2013, 09:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Calgary losing tonight means the Flames pick before the Oilers.

Good work boys.

Avatar
#94 Darrell
April 26 2013, 09:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
keilan wrote:

Minny clinches against Colorado and we draft further down the line.

Get your licks in to what end?

Stick around and you will understand ....

Avatar
#95 keilan
April 26 2013, 09:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
DSF wrote:

Calgary losing tonight means the Flames pick before the Oilers.

Good work boys.

Flames are looking for a tough skilled centre as well, beauty win guys.

Avatar
#96 clyde
April 26 2013, 09:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
striatic wrote:

a win puts Edmonton ahead of Calgary going into the last game of the season.

draft positioning is important, but finishing ahead of Calgary is more important.

I'm sure Calgary is ok finishing lower this year in a tank situation with 3 firsts.

Avatar
#97 Rocket
April 26 2013, 09:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
keilan wrote:

Flames are looking for a tough skilled centre as well, beauty win guys.

Yeah I know what you mean. On the one hand, it really was nice to steal Minny's lunch money in their own barn. And although Yak got himself in the Calder conversation, The Oilers did not have to win this one.

Too little too late. MacT already has a plan (I assume) for the offseason so trying to impress him doesn't work this late in the season.

Tough to tell players to not play to win but this was not an advantages win. Oh well....

Avatar
#98 Rocket
April 26 2013, 09:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Oilersman wrote:

Wow. Amazing, we're outscored in the 3rd again.

I can't even remember when The Oilers actually outscored an opponent this season. That miracle win against the Kings?

Seriously I don't know. Maybe it really has been that long.

Avatar
#99 madjam
April 26 2013, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
clyde wrote:

I'm sure Calgary is ok finishing lower this year in a tank situation with 3 firsts.

I remember a club that had three fairly recently , and waisted 2 of them on A.Plante and R.Nash . I think that was the year they took Gagner first ?

Avatar
#100 clyde
April 26 2013, 10:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
madjam wrote:

I remember a club that had three fairly recently , and waisted 2 of them on A.Plante and R.Nash . I think that was the year they took Gagner first ?

Or perhaps they get another Getzlaf, Perry and Weber? Strong draft year but who knows.

Comments are closed for this article.