This is us. The Edmonton Oilers are 7-11-2 on the season and sit six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. To make matters worse, the Oilers are eight points behind the Calgary Flames, who hold the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. It’s getting late early folks, the Edmonton Oilers are on life support.
Things don’t get any easier for the club either. After starting their road trip with a tough loss in Dallas on Saturday, the Oilers get the red-hot St. Louis Blues tonight. The Blues, who are 7-3-0 in their last ten, are also getting defender Jay Bouwmeester back in the lineup for this contest. That’s not a good sign for Edmonton, as the Blues ran them off the ice last Thursday without one of their better players.
Cam Talbot and Jake Allen, the goaltenders last week, will rematch tonight.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Make a save! I’m a fan of Cam Talbot’s, but he simply hasn’t been good enough this season and it is costing the Oilers. Edmonton did enough to win on Saturday, but their goaltender sunk them with another poor outing. If Edmonton is to even have a chance in this game, Talbot needs to play his game. If not, we could be focused on the Red Wings before the first intermission.
St. Louis: Play your transition game. The Oilers are simply too slow to handle the Blues’ puck movement, something we saw last Thursday night. If the Blues come out and quickly move the puck, they’ll have ample opportunity to test Edmonton’s weak defensive and goaltending groups and should come away with two points tonight.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: No one really stands out from the Oilers side, so I’ll say Connor McDavid. Even though he had three points on Saturday, McDavid drew the ire of certain ‘astute sribezzzz’ and had a lot of the blame put on his shoulders. The captain usually responds in a big way, and you can see how frustrated he is right now. That usually means something amazing is about to happen compliments number 97.
St. Louis: Brayden Schenn, finally free from Philadelphia, has come to St. Louis and completely dominated on the club’s top-line. With Schenn at pivot, the Blues have arguably the best line in hockey right now. The most impressive part? Schenn is doing a majority of his damage at five-on-five, and that just isn’t easy. He was fun to watch in last week’s meeting, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on him again tonight.
Good news for the Oilers in that Andrej Sekera is on the trip with the team. The bad news? He won’t play tonight and isn’t expected to be available until December at the earliest. Anton Slepyshev is close too according to Todd McLellan, but he won’t be in the lineup tonight. A return tomorrow in Detroit seems possible, however. Connor McDavid missed practice yesterday but took morning skate today and will play in this contest.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Drake Caggiula
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Leon Draisaitl
Michael Cammalleri – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi
Jujhar Khaira – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Kris Russell – Eric Gryba
As mentioned above, the Blues are getting Jay Bouwmeester back from injury tonight. He’s expected to skate with Colton Parayko on the Blues’ second pairing defensively. For a team in the Blues’ position, this is a huge addition. They are firmly in control right now and get one of their best players back.
St. Louis Blues Lines:
Jaden Schwartz – Brayden Schenn – Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Sobotka – Paul Stastny – Alex Steen
Dmitrij Jaskin – Oskar Sundqvist – Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Chris Thorburn
Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester – Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn – Robert Bortuzzo
Tonight will be Edmonton’s first US National TV broadcast of the season, as this game will air live on NBCSN. Prior to playing all 13 playoff games on the network last year, Edmonton had appeared just once on the NBC networks since the 2007-08 season. That one game was against Los Angeles late last season.
This is the second of three meetings between the Oilers and Blues this season. The third and final matchup will take place on December 21st at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The Blues 4-1 victory last Thursday night in Edmonton snapped a four game winning streak in the head-to-head series by the Oilers.
It’ll be tough for Edmonton to combat the Blues’ offense tonight, as St. Louis has two of the best offensive producers in the NHL. Jaden Schwartz and the aforementioned Schenn both have 26 points on the season and enter this game in the top five in league scoring. Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 25 points.
The Oilers are bleeding out right now and playing in an arena that they have struggled mightily in over the years. The Blues are hot right now, one of the best teams in the league and just dominated the Oilers five days ago in Edmonton. This is a tall task for Edmonton tonight.
Blues take it 5-2 on the strength of goals from Steen, Schenn, Tarasenko and a pair from Stastny. Edmonton gets markers from Caggiula and Cammalleri in response, but it isn’t nearly enough.
Just win, baby. God knows this team and fanbase needs something to smile about for one night at least.