The Edmonton Oilers snapped their losing streak on Thursday night by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime. Today, they’ll have another difficult test on the road as the Oil get set to take the ice in the city of brotherly love to battle the Flyers. This game should be filled with emotion, as Connor McDavid and Brandon Manning could be renewing their rivalry this afternoon.
The Oilers thought they were getting Leon Draisaitl back for this game, but the big German said yesterday that he is still recovering and won’t be available. Draisaitl did practice with the team yesterday and appears closer, perhaps close enough to play on Tuesday night when the Oilers play the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Cam Talbot will start for the Oilers, while Brian Elliot gets the nod for the Flyers.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Just as they did on Thursday, the Oilers must pay attention to the details in this hockey game. The Flyers are a young team that makes a lot of mistakes, but they are also a fast and dynamic team that will make you pay when you commit errors. The Oilers have to stay sharp in this hockey game and play the same smart style they did in Chicago.
Philadelphia: The young Flyers need to use their speed to generate a quick transition game today. The Oilers are a slower group, so the Flyers will have the advantage today in that regard. If Philly’s young forwards can create some space to wheel, they should be able to generate a number of chances on the Edmonton net.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Quietly, Brad Malone has come up from Bakersfield and played two really solid games for the Oilers. He’s turned the heat up on both Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen, and in my mind has earned a longer look on the NHL roster. Malone came close to scoring his first goal on a few occasions Thursday, and one has to think he won’t be waiting much longer for a goal if he keeps playing the way he has. I’ll be interested to see if the urgency is there again today.
Philadelphia: Edmonton fans will get their first look at Nolan Patrick in the NHL today, and that alone is worth watching. The second overall pick in June’s entry draft has emerged as a strong contributor to the Flyers in just his first two and a half weeks. He looks comfortable out there, and can take over a game with his size and skill combination. I’l be watching him closely today.
As mentioned above, the Oilers will be without Leon Draisaitl again today as he continues to battle back from a concussion. It also sounds like Drake Caggiula, who is close to a return, will miss this afternoon’s tilt. I wouldn’t be surprised if both are back on Tuesday against the Penguins. Because it is an afternoon game, we won’t hear any lineup notes until warm-up time. I’d be surprised if Matt Benning jumped back into the lineup after the strong defensive effort on Thursday.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Kailer Yamamoto
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ryan Strome
Jussi Jokinen – Brad Malone – Zack Kassian
Iiro Pakarinen – Mark Letestu – Anton Slepyshev
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Yohann Auvitu – Eric Gryba
The Flyers have an awfully young group of forwards led by Patrick, but Travis Konecny also stands out in this group. You’ll notice a number of new faces in the Flyer lineup in addition to the familiar faces that the club boasts, especially on the defensive side of things. Wayne Simmonds is expected to play after getting hurt on Tuesday night, while Travis Sanheim remains in the lineup.
Philadelphia Flyers Lines:
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal – Valtteri Filppula – Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise – Nolan Patrick – Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier – Scott Laughton – Michael Raffl
Andrew MacDonald – Ivan Provorov
Shayne Gostisbehere – Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim – Radko Gudas
The Oilers and Flyers split the season series last year, with the home team winning each contest. Edmonton has won four of the last five meetings between these sides, sweeping the two game set in 2015-16 and winning their matchup in March of 2015. Jonas Gustavsson was the losing goaltender in Edmonton’s last loss to the Flyers, which came in Philadelphia last December.
This is the first of two meetings between the teams, who will conclude their season series on December 6th in Edmonton. The Oilers are 0-2-0 against the east so far this season, having dropped home games to Carolina and Ottawa. The Flyers, meanwhile, are 1-3-1 against the west on the year, losing twice to Nashville and once to LA in regulation time. The Flyers also dropped an OT decision in Anaheim and defeated San Jose in their season opener.
The Oilers had their best PK night of the year on Thursday, going five-for-five in the victory over the Hawks. The group, which was the league’s worst going into that game, also killed off a five-on-three early in the second period. Edmonton’s game winning goal in the tilt came on the powerplay.
This game truly is a combination of things the Oilers struggle with. The club had a hard time with eastern opponents last year and has struggled in that regard again this season. On top of that, the Oilers have almost always struggled in afternoon games. Last year was no exception to that rule.
Edmonton will look lethargic early in this contest, falling behind 1-0 on a goal by Giroux. In the second period, the Oilers will respond as the second line continues their good play. Milan Lucic wins a battle on the boards and finds Ryan Strome in the slot, who rifles home his second goal of the season to tie the game at one.
Edmonton’s powerplay comes up big in the third when Oscar Klefbom’s point shot hits Radko Gudas and goes into the net, giving Edmonton their first regulation time lead in exactly two weeks. The Flyers push hard to tie, but Cam Talbot stands his ground and Brad Malone seals it by scoring his first as an Oiler into the empty net.
The Oilers 3-1 victory will bring them to 3-4-0, calming many in Oil Country. After getting on the board Thursday night, Edmonton starts to fly again in the city where Rocky’s legacy began.
Are these Oilers actually gonna fly now? Today will be a strong test.