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Oilers Gameday @ Washington: Stop the Slide

After playing what might have been the best game of the season (despite the godawful PK) and losing (because of the godawful PK), the Oilers are in Washington tonight to face off against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

It’s the second half of a back to back, plus Laurent Brossoit gets the start. We asked fans what they thought:

The fans have spoken.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Someone in the bottom 6 needs to do something. Anything, really. The 6 guys at the bottom of the rotation are not contributing to the offence, and it’s showing.
  • Stay out of the box. The Oilers PK was awful yesterday, and hasn’t had much good about it all season long. If they want to win, they’re going to have to keep Washington’s PP neutralized.

Washington

  • Force the Oilers to take penalties (see above). Getting the PK units out there will go a long way to getting the Oilers to make mistakes.
  • Get lots of pucks on net. Laurent Brossoit is getting his first start in eleventy billion games, and might be a little rusty.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • I… I don’t even know anymore. This is a team without an identity at the moment, and the hardest part is looking around the league to see that a bunch of recent Oilers are having great seasons with their new clubs.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is back up and he’s a delight and I hope that the Oilers don’t somehow manage to kill his love of hockey before he gets run out of town.

Washington

  • Watch Braden Holtby. He’s what the Oilers need in net, but a real good goalie is hard to come by. (As are, apparently, good defencemen and good wingers)

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jesse Puljujarvi

Jussi Jokinen – Ryan Strome – Iiro Pakarinen

Brad Malone – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson

Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning

Kris Russell – Eric Gryba

Laurent Brossoit

Washington

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Devante Smith-Pelley

Chandler Stephenson – Nicklas Backstrom – T(imothy) J(imothy) Oshie

Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson

Brett Connolly – Jay Beagle – Alex Chiasson

Christian Djoos – John Carlson

Dmitri Orlov – Taylor Chorney

Brooks Orpik – Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby

Notes

The Oilers are not doing the things that fans (and management) had hoped. At the beginning of the season, some people had the Oilers winning the Pacific, and others had them as Stanley Cup favourites. Now, though, things are looking a little bleak.

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I’m not suggesting that the Oilers are dead in the water, but at some point the guys in the bottom 6 have to start contributing on a regular basis. There’s been a lot made of whether or not Drai and Connor should be split up and while the idea makes sense on the surface, the Oilers simply do not have the depth on the wing to do so. It hasn’t always been this way, and probably shouldn’t.

In the same vein, Oscar Klefbom has had a bad campaign so far, and is quite obviously not playing the way he’s capable of. He’s already been scapegoated by everyone’s favourite office supply and it feels like it’s a matter of time before people legitimately start calling for him to be traded. It would be peak Oilers to trade Klef after part of a bad year, so let’s set the date at January 14th.

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