Oilers Gameday at Calgary: "Battle" of Alberta

Oilers Gameday at Calgary: "Battle" of Alberta

Oilers

Oilers Gameday at Calgary: "Battle" of Alberta

The Oilers are back in action tonight at Rexall Rogers Place the Saddledome, where the Flames playoff hopes hang in the balance. A loss to the Oilers tonight and the Flames will almost certainly find themselves on the outside, looking in.

Matthew Tkachuk is expected to miss tonight’s tilt with a concussion, and while that might mean that no one gets caught by an errant knee, it also means that one of the more entertaining players to watch is out.

(At some point this might turn into a Flames pregame. Sorry.)

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Score first. Score often. Keep the puck with Connor or Leon because there’s not much else to hope for.
  • Stay out of the box and try not to force the Flames to take penalties either. The penalty kill is still real bad, and the power play isn’t much better.

Calgary

  • Force the Oilers to take penalties. It’s a strategy that has worked for most other teams in the league this season.
  • Honestly, keep the Oilers to the perimeter. They can’t seem to get too many pucks through from the outside, so it’s easy to defend.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the lone remaining first-rounder from the Tambo years, is starting at left wing tonight. He seems to play well with Connor McDavid, and has perhaps found a new home on the top line.

Calgary

  • TJ Brodie seems to be one of the sparks for the Flames. When he’s on, the Flames are on and when he’s not the team responds in kind. The stakes are high in this game, and if Calgary wants to find success, they’re going to need Brodie to really step up.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Pontus Aberg

Milan Lucic – Leon Draisaitl – Mike Cammalleri

Anton Slepyshev – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi

Drake Caggiula – Jujhar Khaira – Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson

Kris Russell – Ethan Bear

Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Calgary

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Micheal Ferland

Sam Bennet – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik

Chris Stewart – Mark Jankowski – Garnet hathaway

Troy Brouwer – Matt Stajan – Curtis Lazar

Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie – Travis Hamonic

Brett Kulak – Michael Stone

Mike Smith

 

Notes

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We’re at the point in the season where people are looking at decision of previous management teams and trying to decide which decision could have been made differently to better the team. In this case, the only answer is “most decisions”, but the most interesting discussion right now surrounds Connor McDavid’s ELC, and whether it’s been wasted (spoiler: yes).

With bonuses, McDavid can make up to $3.75m this year and is arguably the best player in the league. His output for that cost is unreal. Next year, when his salary cap hit goes up to $12.5m the Oilers might find themselves in a world of trouble. With ~$60m tied up in 13 players, the Oilers are going to have to figure out how to add skill and speed without adding a bunch of money.

If only there were some elite wingers on value contracts somewhere….

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