After taking a hiatus in Minnesota on Monday night (insert joke about how the team played but there was no pregame post here) the Oilers are back in action tonight as they host the *ahem* Pacific Division Champion Vegas Golden Knights.
The Oilers were on the ice Monday in Minnesota, though whether they played actual hockey remains to be seen. *checks highlights, sees Parise sprung on a breakaway* Nope. They sure didn’t.
Maybe tonight will be better.
Keys to the Game
- It’d be good if more players than just Connor McDavid seemed to want to win. Maybe?
- For real though, if they could just hold a lead things would be a lot different.
- They need to get a couple goals early and then play the Oilers into a corner. For whatever reason, Edmonton is practically incapable of protecting a lead so if a team can capitalize, they’ll find success.
(Yes, this is copied and pasted from last game, and it was true then and it’s true now.)
Players to Watch
- Look for Dillon Simpson to get in the lineup tonight, with the mysterious season-ending injury to Andrej Sekera. Maybe he’ll have what it takes to crack the lineup in the fall.
- William Karlsson has scored 43 goals this season, which is exactly what people expected when the season started. He’s been otherworldly and is pretty fun to watch.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Ty Rattie
Jujhar Khaira – Leon Draisaitl – Jesse Puljujarvi
Milan Lucic – Ryan Strome – Drake Caggiula
Anton Slepyshev – Mike Cammalleri – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell – Ethan Bear
Yohann Auvitu – Dillon Simpson
Tomas Tatar – William Karlsson – Alex Tuch
Brandon Pirri – Cody Eakin – James Neal
Will Carrier – Oscar Lindberg – Ryan Reaves
Ryan Carpenter – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Tomas Nosek
Brayden McNabb – Nate Schmidt
Deryk Engelland – Shea Theodore
Colin Miller – Jon Merrill
This has been a dismal season. The Oilers overperformed last year and are seriously underperforming this year, which is frustrating in itself. The penalty kill has been a mess, the power play isn’t great, and secondary scoring, especially from some prominent players, has all but disappeared. In 10 game segments, it looks even worse.
When did this go wrong? Well, it could have been one of the ‘big’ trades, or one of the big contracts. Maybe it was riding Cam Talbot’s success for 73 starts last season (plus playoffs). Maybe it’s a distinct lack of depth at centre and a lack of secondary scoring. Maybe it’s a defence corps with, at best, two top 4 players.
It’s really, really hard to say.
What shouldn’t be hard to say is this: changes need to be made if this team is going to be competitive next season. There’s no good reason for the reigning Art Ross Trophy (and the likely repeat) winner to be playing on a team that only has 74 points after 80 games.
While this team isn’t as bad as their record suggests, it’s probably not as good as last year’s edition. The mean is somewhere in between, and they’d better figure it out sooner than later.