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The Sports Daily > The Oilers Rig
Oilers Gameday vs Lightning: Something Something Just Win Baby

After another inexplicable prolonged break, the Oilers are back in action tonight hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning who sit atop the NHL with 75 points in 52 games. They could legitimately lose every remaining game in OT and still make the playoffs. the Oilers, on the other hand, can’t. (I mean, they CAN lose and will lose, but in terms of the standings they can’t lose, though I suppose it would be better to say “shouldn’t”. It’s all very muddy because English is a dumb language.)

With 48 points in 50 games the Oilers are like Jack Pearson when his wife stepped out to get a snack from the vending machine – still there, but something is seriously wrong. It cannot be overstated enough that the Oilers are now into must-win territory…with 32 games left.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Get the first goal and hold on to the lead. It’s amazing how many times the Oilers are down in the first 5 minutes and can’t come back to win.
  • Seriously. Score first and then score again and keep scoring.
  • Don’t take penalties because that penalty kill is gross. The Oilers PK has been so bad that this season is slipping through their fingers like the football through Tom Brady’s stupid hands on a 3rd and 5 trick play. At least with the Super Bowl, though, at the end of it all we got what we wanted.

Tampa Bay

  • Score first and often
  • Force the Oilers to take penalties (it’s not hard), and then score on the power play. It’s literally foolproof.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Connor? I don’t even know anymore. He’s great to watch, but there’s going to come a time when seeing him carry the team on his back isn’t fun anymore, and then he’ll throw a water bottle and someone on the bench in a nice suit will get wet and then 18 months later he’ll be on his way out and the Oilers will get like… the ghost of Jamie Oleksiak and a Shooter Tutor in return. (I’d have said Marc Staal, but he’ll already be an Oiler once RNH gets traded in the offseason.)

Tampa Bay

  • The Lightning have lots of players who are good and fun to watch and they’ll probably skate circles around the Oilers, so keep an eye on Kucherov, Stamkos and Victor Hedman (and then think of what could have been).

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Mike Cammalleri – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic – Jujhar Khaira – Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon – Ryan Strome – Drake Caggiula

Anton Slepyshev – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning

Darnell Nurse – Brandon Davidson

Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell

Cam Talbot

Tampa Bay

Chris Kunitz – Steven Stamkos – Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov – Brayden Point – Tyler Johnson

Allex Killorn – Matthew Peca – Yanni Gource

Slater Koekkoek – Cory Conacher – Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman – Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergahev – Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn – Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevsky

Notes

I’ve long wanted the Oilers to either be in or out of the playoffs by April 1st so there’s no last-week-of-the-season stress.  We’re all in agreement that this season is over, right?

Nope.

I guess if you’re getting paid to be optimistic about the team, you’ve gotta carry some water, but that’s a whole water truck. A water truck that doesn’t remember that Stamkos was out for months and came back right around the time the Lightning stopped sucking. But like…correlation =/= causation, or whatever.

Eat at Arby’s.

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