After blowing a 2-goal lead on Saturday against Washington, and subsequently losing 5-2, the Oilers are back in action tonight at Rogers Place hosting Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Normally, this would be a pretty big deal, but both teams are coming off pretty big defeats and there’s also Game 7 of the World Series on (and who doesn’t want to see Clayton Kershaw come into the game in relief and finally get that ring?), so maybe this game won’t be as important.
In any case, the Oilers are struggling and the Penguins are probably going to come out flying, so unless the home team gets its business together really quickly tonight, this could end poorly.
Keys to the Game
- Score early and for the love of god don’t let the Penguins score a late 1st period goal.
- Hope that Todd McLellan’s new power play units are good in game and not just in practice.
- Get going early and don’t let up. The Oilers haven’t really figured out how to play with a lead, nor how to get a lead, so it can’t be that hard.
- Get traffic in front of the net and throw pucks that way. Seems to work for everyone else.
Players to Watch
- Connor. He’s real good.
- I think watching what happens on defence tonight will be pretty important. There’s been some line-juggling of late, and I wonder if that will help or hinder.
- Darnell Nurse has been moved to the top pair, so we’ll get a chance to see if he’s got the chops to be up there. If not, there will be questions about the blueline that can’t be answered with “well, Sekera’s hurt”.
- Obviously Sidney Crosby. He’s the best in the world, and it shows.
- Phil Kessel is a joy to watch on the ice, but his off-ice antics are second to none.
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Kailer Yamamoto
Drake Caggiula – Ryan Strome – Anton Slepyshev
Jussi Jokinen – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Yohann Auvitu – Kris Russell
Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Tom Kuhnhackl – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Jake Guentzel – Riley Sheahan – Phil Kessel
Josh Archibald – Greg McKegg – Ryan Reaves
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Chad Ruhwedel
Ian Cole – Zach Trotman.
The Penguins are sitting 4th in the Metropolitan Division (behind the powerhouse New Jersey Devils), while the Oilers are ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes in the Pacific. Poor play aside, history is not looking favourably on the Oilers in this one.
Oilers are 3-9-2 in their last 14 vs. Penguins. All 3 wins in OT or SO. Last regulation win was 3-1 on Jan 10/06 at Pittsburgh.
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) November 1, 2017
At their current rates, the Pens are on pace for ~95 points while the Oilers are on track for a measly 57. To make the playoffs the Oilers have to play at something like a 115 point pace the rest of the way.
What does it all mean?
I don’t know, but OilersNerdAlert does.
Puck drops at 6:30MT.