Game Day Blog 18/82: Welcome to the Thunderdome, Vegas, Golden Knights @ Oilers

They’re hereeeeeeeee.

Welcome, Vegas, to our Rog Mahal. This is the first, historic meeting between the NHL’s newest franchise and the 2016-17 Pacific Division runner ups. I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of us had this one circled on our calendar at the beginning of the year as point night for the Oil. Guaranteed win game. Connor with like a million points.

It’s November 14th, and they’re seven points ahead of us.

Sorry, Luke Skywalker. It is.

Four point night coming to Oil Country and we’re undefeated against Pacific Division teams at home this year. Let the rivalry begin, baby. Let’s GO.

Tonight’s Opponent: Vegas Golden Knights (not ‘Las Vegas’)

Oh I’d be willing to bet it’s not the first time a few of your players have seen snow this year. Right, Jimmy Neal?

Their Record: Jesus Christ… 10-5-1, 21 points.

It’s been almost 20 years since the last expansion, and for those of us that remember Minnesota and Columbus, I recall them getting their shit kicked in literally every time that they played. They were awful. Horrendous. Miserably terrible teams built with the spare parts and donated players like Sean O’Donnell and Filip Kuba and Dallas Drake. The two Oilers taken by Columbus and Minnesota respectively were Bert Robertsson and Jimmy Dowd. Then these Golden Knights come along and make a trillion trades to pass on all the good players and take Griffin “first and second round pick” Reinhart and we think hey, much of the same. This team should STINK.

And yet, they don’t? They’re one goaltending injury away from calling up Greg Goldberg and they’re still whipping teams. Their current netminder, Maxime Lagace, who played four games for Griffin Reinhart’s current team last year, the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, and who’s just three years removed from playing almost a full season for Bakersvegas back when they were in the Coast League, is now ONE win away from tying the Golden Knights franchise single season wins record (3).

Our Record: 6-9(nice)-2, 14 points.

Still seven points ahead of 31st place Arizona.

What do they have? I’ve been waiting for them to crawl back down to our planet since opening night. On paper, that roster is extremely mediocre, and that’s with Marc-Andre Fleury in goal and Malcolm Subban backing him up. Maxime Lagace never had a GAA under 3.00 in four QMJHL seasons and he just casually strolls on into the best league in the world with a, oh, hold up. Wait. He’s rocking a 3.58 GAA and a 0.876 SV% and a 2-4-1 record?

Somebody tell Moose to get Connor on the phone because he’s got to see this. If there was ever an opportunity to ignite every single offensive bone we had via last season, here’s our shot. Vegas comes into tonight’s game losers of five of their last seven, and Lagace gave up four or more goals in four of those appearances.

And even if this beer league backup was nowhere near the National Hockey League, I still believe the Golden Knights were due to plummet back down to Earth. They had a chance to draft a long-term, semi-competitive hockey team at the expansion draft, and they were so, sooooo close. Like @Autokev’s wife, they took a lot of D. They did, however, forget to draft most of the good ones. Some of the defensemen they drafted include: Griffin Reinhart (AHL); Jason Garrison (AHL); Deryk Engelland (cement truck), and; Clayton Stoner, the big neanderthal who can’t skate or shoot or pass or do anything productive but who is banned from hunting for three years after he decapitated a grizzly bear. These were just a few of their choices. So what’s Gerry Gallant’s plan for Connor McDavid?

That’s a BOLD strategy cotton let’s see if it pays off for ’em. Up front, David Perron is leading the team in scoring (of course he is) and Brad Hunt has seven points in nine games (of course he does). Brad Hunt would be leading all Oilers defensemen in points by two, and he’s played in a little under half of his teams games.

Their mascot is the only thing creepier than Hunter.

What do we have? Home sweet home (the Oilers are 3-6-0 at home). It’s great to be back. I haven’t been to the Rog since I left that unequivocal diarrhea of a hockey game against Carolina back on October 17th. But, it’s reading week, and your boy wants to go see those white gloves get taken to the shed by Connor and the McBoys. Also I need to go see my pal in action. It’s been way too long. Wouldn’t be a minute in life’s history without Jesse randomly sticking out his tongue because reasons:

If the Pool Party gets on the board during the first or second period and you’re at the game, feel free to join me at the Mott’s Caesar House for a mess of celebratory cocktails. And if Jesse scores in the third period after they stop selling the sauce then well, I’ve always needed a reason to hit up the Pint on a Tuesday.

Cam starts again. Iceman vs. Lagace. What a match up.

We’ll wait, I guess. Not sure who would draw out by you’d think it’d be Pakarinen or Malone. Jokinen probably a healthy again since Khaira scored, unless Malone comes out.

Did you know? The Oilers have not lost their opening game against any expansion team since March 9, 1994, when (wait for it) the Florida Panthers beat the fellas 5-3 at the Concrete Jungle. OF COURSE. I STILL don’t have my jerseys.

Prediction: Jesse scores in the first and I impulse buy his jersey from the Oilers store. Connor gets Maxime Lagace hahaha is this a dream? Tell me this is a dream? That’s so unfair. And Gallant doesn’t want to game plan for Connor. We all know what Connor can do to Engelland after watching it go down against Calgary for multiple years, and now we’re blessed with his presence against our mutant once again. AND we get to line match. This could be a fast, fun, up-tempo blowout at the Mahal. Let’s do it.

6-1 Oilers. Connor gets four.