After an inexplicably long early season break, the Oilers hit the ice tonight, hosting Craig Anderson and the Senators. The Oil are stumbling into tonight’s contest with a 1-2 record (a win against Calgary and losses against both Winnipeg and Vancouver) without winger Leon Draisaitl, who is experiencing ‘concussion-type symptoms’ and hasn’t practiced this week.
Just for accuracy, I listened again and he said “concussion-type symptoms.” https://t.co/6IfyOR9Hj5
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) October 14, 2017
Keys to the Game
- The Oilers need to get their whole game going, not just the bits and pieces that have worked well thus far. The absence of Draisaitl could be a problem for them, though, so hopefully the 2nd and 3rd lines can contribute offensively to make up for what’s lacking on the top line.
- If the Senators can make the Oilers pay for their lack of depth on both wings (and up the middle) AND expose the Oilers defence (see below) then this should be an easy game for Ottawa, even coming off a game in Calgary last night.
Players to Watch
- Yohan Auvitu is making his Oilers debut tonight, drawing in alongside Eric Gryba in place of Matthew Benning. Auvitu should give that bottom pair some stability (and perhaps cover up some of the mistakes that Gryba makes on a nightly basis).
- Everyone’s favourite ex-Canuck Alex Burrows is in the lineup for Ottawa today, and it’ll be interesting to see what he does to raise the ire of Oilers and their fans.
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Kailer Yamamoto
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Zack Kassian
Jussi Jokinen – Ryan Strome – Anton Slepyshev
Jujhar Khaira – Mark Letestu – Iiro Pakarinen
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Eric Gryba – Yohann Auvitu
Zack Smith – Kyle Turris – Ryan Dzingel
Bobby Ryan – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Tom Pyatt – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Mike Hoffman
Nate Thompson – Logan Brown – Alexandre Burrows
Dion Phaneuf – Chris Wideman
Mark Bobowiecki – Thomas Cabot
Fredrik Claesson – Cody Ceci
How the Oilers respond to the 4 days off will be interesting. If this team has truly turned the corner, having that many days between games will be no problem. However, the lack of real depth down the right side is a concern, and while Yamamoto impressed in the preseason, he’s yet unproven and having him up on the top line could be an experiment that fails spectacularly. If he builds chemistry on that line with Draisaitl out, however, it could open up the door for some different line combinations going forward.