Happy Thanksgiving weekend, Nation! I hope you were all able to spend a wonderful weekend with your friends and family, but now it’s time to get back to business as the Edmonton Oilers get set to take on the Chicago Blackhawks for their first meeting of the season.

If I told you during the summer that the Oilers would come roaring out of the gates to the tune of a 5-0 record would you have ever believed me? No. The answer is no. Don’t even lie about it — it’s a no. In fact, I’d probably even bet that a sizeable chunk of the people reading this right now would have been more likely to wager that the Oilers would have dropped their first five games way before they’d ever win them. I mean, how many people wrote this team off before they even played a game? I’m not just talking about Oilers fans here, I’m talking about hockey people at large. Now, it’s stating the obvious that this ridiculous heater won’t go on forever, but I think we should all take a minute to enjoy the ride while it’s happening. This is the best start that the Oilers have had since the 1985-86 season, which in itself is impressive, but I know that things can change in a hurry. That’s why these first five wins have been so important, and I can’t begin to express how pumped we should all be to already have 10 points tucked away in the bank.

These are the early days of the 2019-20 NHL season and teams are still working out the kinks, so to have the Oilers finding different ways to win while also working through the holes their own game has been impressive. Right now, there are some very good teams spinning their wheels while our boys have found a way to win in spite of their mistakes and that’s giving them a nice head start in the standings. That said, five wins don’t mean jack shit in the grande scheme of things and the Oilers have to find a way to keep the ball rolling against a Blackhawks team that has struggled through their first three games. If the Oilers are going to keep this train rolling all season long, then they’re going to have to find ways to kick teams when they’re down and Chicago would certainly qualify right now. Their special teams suck, their goaltending has been subpar, and they’re not at all looking like the team that used to beat up on the Oilers anymore, making this another winnable game in my opinion.

Now, imagine the Oilers turning this five-game winning streak into six? Talk about giving us all a reason to be thankful, amirite?


RECORD 5-0-0 0-2-1
LAST 10 GAMES 5-0-0 0-2-1
POWER PLAY 41.2 33.3
PENALTY KILL 94.1 60.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR 25.8 30.0
TEAM SAVE% .909 .887
CORSI FOR% 47.87 42.91
PDO 1.031 .996
TEAM SHOOTING% 13.04 6.67
GOALS FOR% 52.17 45.45

Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)



Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Jurco – Nuge – Neal
Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald
Nygard – Granlund – Chiasson

Nurse – Bear
Klefbom – Persson
Russell – Benning


Clearly, Dave Tippett liked what he saw in New York because he’s going with the exact same combinations tonight in Chicago, including Mike Smith getting the start in net. Hard to argue, no? Let’s do that hockey.


DeBrincat – Toews – Caggiula
Shaw – Strome – Kane
Saad – Kampf – Kubalik
Smith – Carpenter – Nylander

Keith – Murphy
Maatta – Seabrook
Koekkoek – Gustafsson


Isn’t it weird to see Drake Caggiula up on the first line? Meanwhile, Ryan Spooner just finished binge watching season 3 of Big Mouth somewhere.


From Blackhawk Up:

This offseason was a huge wake-up call for the Chicago Blackhawks. Stan Bowman was probably the busiest man of the offseason, as he is currently trying to cool off the hot seat he made for himself. He made various roster upgrades via trade, free agency, and the NHL draft and the team is in a much better position.

Brent Seabrook and some of the other defensemen are often still out of position and they have been working in this system for about a year, so that should say a lot right there.

Things are going to get better as time goes on. The Blackhawks just have to get through this initial learning curve. Also, this team is still not running at full strength. A few players are still out with injuries or just getting back to in-game action. Connor Murphy played in his first game of the season, after missing the season opener in Prague.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The heater continues. Oilers win it 3-2 in Chicago.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Drake Caggiula scores because of course he does.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Chicago Blackhawks get into a pre-game fistfight after a deep-dish pizza-related argument breaks out in the dressing room. Jonathan Toews argues that deep-dish pizza is more like lasagna than pizza, and Patrick Kane isn’t having it.


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