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The Sports Daily > The Oilers Rig
Oilers Gameday

The Oilers (17-17-2) are back in action in their first game after Christmas, taking on the Jets (20-11-6) in Winnipeg. Hopefully the turkey comas will have passed by puck drop.

Saturday’s game against the Habs saw the Oilers come out hard and really take charge, handily winning 4-1. Winnipeg’s last game was a 5-2 loss in Brooklyn.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Come out flying and don’t let up. When they score first, the Oilers have a lot more success.
  • Keep pucks to the perimeter. This is kind of a no-brainer.

Winnipeg

  • Force Connor to pass the puck. It’s easier to stop him when he doesn’t have the puck and that also forces the other players to step up.
  • Get lots of pucks on Cam Talbot, and force the Oilers defenders to play in tight.

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Connor, obviously.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been the second best Oiler this season, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch him play this year.

Winnipeg

  • Patrik Laine is pretty good and still young enough to be playing in this year’s World Junior tournament. Which is crazy. Imagine he and Jesse Puljujarvi on Team Finland.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Drake Caggiula

Jujhar Khaira – Leon Draisaitl – Ryan Strome

Mike Cammalleri – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell

Brandon Davidson – Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Winnipeg

Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers – Bryan Little – Patrik Laine

Andrew Copp – Adam Lowry – Brandon Tanev

Mathieu Perrault – Matt Hendriks – Joel Armia

Josh Morrissey – Jacob Trouba

Dmitry Kulikov – Tyler Myers

Ben Chiarot – Tucker Poolman

Connor Hellebuyck

 

Notes

The Oilers seem to be back on track after a lengthy slump. Oscar Klefbom is still out and that’s a bit concerning, but hopefully the return of Sekera and the re-addition of Brandon Davidson is enough to keep the demons at bay while he recuperates.

It’s not quite doom and gloom in Oiler land, but they still have quite a lengthy climb. With just 36 points in 36 games, the Oilers will have to play at a ~106 point pace to hit 96 points on the season. (That means they need at least 60 points in their remaining 46 games. To achieve that they’ll have to win two games for every loss.)

The next ten games for the Oil are important, as they are all against Western Conference teams. This stretch matters because regulation wins against divisional and conference opponents will give them an advantage in the playoff picture.

Here’s hoping it all works out.

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