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The Sports Daily > The Oilers Rig
Oilers Gameday vs Los Angeles: *Insert Dave Lozo Sigh Here*

The Oilers are back in action tonight to take on the Kings at Rogers Place. After an incredibly lacklustre New Years Eve outing against the Jets, this is the time of the season when the Oilers need to bounce back if they want a chance at the playoffs. (If that reads like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon, that’s because it’s been said about 20 times already this season.)

To get there, they’re going to have to play at a 110 point pace. That means 29 regulation wins in the next 43 games, without conceding any points to divisional rivals.

Woof.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Put some pucks in the net, any way they can. Like carry the puck in a closed glove and throw it in the net, because that’s better than what happened on Sunday.
  • Play some actual defence and maybe don’t leave the slot wide open. Or do. Whatever.

Los Angeles

  • Play better than the Oilers which is absolutely not hard to do and generally yields good results.
  • Force the Oilers to take some penalties because that PK is awful

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Not a single one of them, except maybe Nuge since he’s had a good year and we should enjoy that because next year he’s going to look mighty fine as a member of the New York Rangers while the corpse of Marc Staal will look about right on the Oilers blueline not making an outlet pass to Lucic who can’t skate fast enough to do anything anyway.

Los Angeles

  • Drew Doughty. There are a lot of opinions about him, but it’s always kind of fun to watch him antagonize others and see fans of whoever he’s playing get mad about it.
  • Jussi Jokinen plays in LA. He’s going to score against the Oilers because of course he is.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi

Mike Cammalleri – Leon Draisaitl – Drake Caggiula

Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ryan Strome

Yohann Auvitu – Mark Letestu – Anton Slepyshev

Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera – Brandon Davidson

Cam Talbot

 

Los Angeles

Tanner Pearson – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown

Marian Gaborik – Adrian Kempe – Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Trevor Lewis

Alex Iafallo – Torrey Mitchell – Jussi Jokinen

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty

Kurtis MacDermid – Alec Martinez

Derek Forbort – Kevin Grabel

Jonathan Quick

Notes

So…. there’s not much left to say. The Decade of Darkness is long past, and Connor McDavid is an Oiler and everything should be fine but it’s not. The most frustrating thing about it is that the writing was on the wall once Taylor Hall was traded. It got a little clearer when Eberle was traded for Cap Space (and Ryan Strome), and it was made explicit when no one did anything to help shore up the defence with Sekera out for the first part of the season.

This is the most annoying thing, for real. Looking at personnel decisions being made since the trade for Griffin Reinhart, there’s not a lot to show for the changes. Want proof?

You know who fits the bill for that left wing. It’s not even a question anymore.

This team was supposed to be better, and it isn’t and it’s getting tiresome. Saying the same things over and over again isn’t fun. Knowing that the team is going to make panic decisions at the deadline doesn’t inspire confidence.

Let’s not pretend that this is a playoff team. It isn’t. And it shouldn’t be, and people should lose their jobs because of it.

Also: Taylor Hall is  killing it in New Jersey.

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