After dropping Saturday night’s game 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks, the Oilers look to bounce back against the Winnipeg Jets. A win today would bring the Oilers win total to 2, matching that of Pacific Division powerhouse – the Vegas Golden Knights. (No, really….) Today’s game marks the first in a 3 game, 9(!) day homestand, one which *should* bring the Oilers some success.
After only 2 games, the Oilers have shown flashes of brilliance (most of the game against Calgary) and mediocrity (most of Saturday in Vancouver). After getting the lead early off Kris Russell, the Oilers gave up the next goal (also off Kris Russell) and couldn’t seem to find their rhythm after that. They spent far too much time in the penalty box and had Eric Gryba out for far too many minutes (read: more than zero was too many), and despite having one of the best scoring tandems in the league couldn’t manage to get another past Jakob Markstrom (who isn’t even that good!). The Oilers lost to the Canucks, the same Canucks I made fun of for not having a real NHL roster in the last preseason game and who decided to sit Brock Boeser in favour of someone. I don’t even know. As my dad would say “that’s why they play it on a slippery sheet of ice”.
Keys to the Game
- Score more than the other guys. Seems simple, but it didn’t work out so well on Saturday. Connor Hellebuyck gets the start, so maybe getting in his head early will help.
- Be like Jamie Benn and stay out of the box.
- Score early. Cam Talbot, the Oilers hero from last year, was chased from the net on Saturday, so he’ll be looking for a solid game to get his rhythm back.
- Force the Oilers to take penalties. It worked for Vancouver.
Players to Watch
- Is there really any point in saying anyone other than Connor? He wasn’t great on Saturday, but he’s still head and shoulders better than everyone else.
- Kailer Yamamoto is drawing into the lineup for his second game this season, and hopefully he can replicate some of the success he found in the preseason.
- Connor Hellebuyck has been give the reins in net, taking today’s start away from Steve Mason. Hellebuyck notably didn’t speak to the media today, prompting the ire of some of Edmonton’s MSM guys. (Part of me hopes he plays lights out, just to spite those guys.)
Hellebuyck waves off the media. Doesn’t want to talk on game day. Interesting tactic for a backup. 0-4 career vs Oilers
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) October 9, 2017
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Anton Slepyshev
Jussi Jokinen – Ryan Strome – Zack Kassian
Iiro Pakarinen – Mark Letestu – Kailer Yamamoto
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell – Matt Benning
Darnell Nurse – Eric Gryba
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault – Bryan Little – Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Nicolas Petan
Chris Tanev – Andrew Copp – Marko Dano
Josh Morrissey – Dustin Byfuglien
Dmitry Kulikov – Jacob Trouba
Tobias Enstrom – Tyler Myers
The Oilers will bounce back and win tonight, 4-2. Kris Russell will be responsible for zero goals for or against.
Also, the season is young, so it’s probably not a good idea to worry too much, but considering that the Oilers lost to the Canucks, it’s maybe time to think about some roster changes. We’ll have a couple posts up in the next few days that might provide some options in that regard.