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The Sports Daily > The Oilers Rig
Oilers Gameday @ Detroit: No More Curbstomps

The Oilers are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings, a team that beat them 4-0 earlier this season.

Usually this is where I’d give you a rundown of the last game and talk about a couple things that went well and maybe make a bad pun about a player on the other team.

Usually.

Instead, I want you all to press play and then close your eyes until the sound stops.

It was 8-3, but the game was lost in the first 8 minutes.

Not good enough, gentlemen. Not good enough.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Just. Win. Baby. That’s it. There’s no other key. If the Oilers want to have a sniff at the postseason, it has to start on this road trip. I can’t believe this is a thing that we’re talking about in November of 2017, the third year of Connor McDavid’s ELC.

Detroit

  • Score early and often and force the Oilers to play catch up. Seemed to work last time these teams met, and also last night for the Blues.
  • Play the matchup game and take away McDavid’s room out there.
  • Get Dylan Larkin to fight someone.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • No one. Not a single person on that team is worth watching after last night’s debacle.

Detroit

  • Dylan Larkin is real fast and good and I like watching him play.
  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Henrik Zetterberg (I think it’s the beard) so I’m going to enjoy watching him score 8 goals tonight, because of course he will.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton (first person to email megan@theoilersrig.com with the meaning of the numbers gets an Oilers Rig tshirt)

9.0 – 15.9 – 15.0

11.1 – 17.4  – 13.3

0.0 – 8.1 – 7.7

10.0 – 8.3 – 0.0

25 – 14

4 – 23

2 – 27

3.19

 

Detroit

Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Anthony Mantha

Tomas Tatar – Dylan Larkin – Justin Abdelkader

Darren Helm – Frans Nielsen – Luke Glendening

David Booth – Andreas Athanasiou – Scott Wilson

Danny DeKeyser – Mike Green

Xavier Ouellet – Trevor Daley

Niklas Kronwall – Nick Jensen

Jimmy Howard

Notes

There’s been a LOT of grumbling out there on Oiler twitter, and it feels so familiar yet unwelcome. We spent so long commiserating about our garbage team that we didn’t really know what to do when they got good (through overperformance and luck) last season. So this season, when expectations were sky high and they haven’t done much (save for the 3-0 season opening win over the Flames and the 8-2 drubbing of Vegas) to meet those marks, we’re starting to see fans slide back into their familiar positions.

I think what’s happening now is that people who were perhaps more optimistic than I at the start of the season are realizing that the Oilers might be in a spot of trouble. They have the best player in a generation locked up forever, but he’s especially cheap this year and that should have been reason enough to load up and go for it.

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Instead, what we’re seeing is a team that’s struggling to find its identity, which is really strange because we heard a lot over training camp about how well they’d come together as a group (which is weird because they talked a lot about that during the playoffs. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire maybe?) Sure, luck isn’t on their side this year, but as the worst villain in the best Batman film once said “you make your own luck”. These are professional athletes and it’s high time the excuses stopped. Teams are figuring out how to match Connor’s line so that he’s got less room out there, and they also know that the rest of the team can’t score so there’s really no danger. It’s also abundantly clear that there are deficiencies on the blue line, and it’s not looking too hard to exploit those.

At some point they’ll go on a bit of a run. I just hope it starts tonight rather than in January.

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