The Oilers’ 5 game homestand continues tonight with a visit from the New York Rangers, who played in Calgary last night and should lose but probably won’t.
These teams are both on the outside looking in, and the Oilers are looking at a year in which their best month has a record of 7-5-1.
This season truly can’t be finished soon enough.
Keys to the Game
- Score first. Score often. Keep the puck with Connor or Leon because there’s not much else to hope for.
- Stay out of the box and try not to force the Rangers to take penalties either. The home penalty kill is still real bad, and the power play isn’t much better.
- Force the Oilers to take penalties. It’s a strategy that has worked for most other teams in the league this season.
- Honestly, keep the Oilers to the perimeter. They can’t seem to get too many pucks through from the outside, so it’s easy to defend.
Players to Watch
- Pontus Aberg scored his first point as an Oiler in his first game. There’s upside to that acquisition, so hopefully management gets a chance to see what he’s capable of over this last stretch.
Rick Nash Ryan McDonagh
Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Anton Slepyshev
Mike Cammalleri – Leon Draisaitl – Ty Rattie
Pontus Aberg – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi
Drake Caggiula – Jujhar Khaira – Iiro Pakarinen
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell (?)
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Andrej Sekera – Ethan Bear
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Pavel Buchnevich
Jimmy Vesey – Vladislav Namestnikov – Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Spooner – Kevin Hayes – Jesper Fast
Paul Carey – Peter Holland – Cody McLeod
Brady Skjei – Neal Pionk
Marc Staal – Rob O’Gara
John Gilmour – Anthony DeAngelo
Hebron Lundqvist (?)
There’s an infinitesimal chance the Oilers make the playoffs, but that involves winning every game in regulation, and that doesn’t seem likely.
Instead, it’s time to look to the future, and folks, it isn’t pretty. After Tuesday’s game where Matt Benning took a cross check into the boards from Evander Kane, and no one other than Benning jumped to defend him, there seems to be a consensus that certain players get a lot more latitude with respect to ice time vs production.
It’s uncertain whether or not anything will change with regards to deployment, but with the season all but lost it can’t hurt to mix things up a little bit.
There are 6 million reasons why some players will never be healthy-scratched. By the same token there are 31 reasons why they should.