After a 6-3 win on Friday against the New Jersey Devils, the Oilers (4-7-1) take the ice this afternoon against the Red Wings (6-7-1). Both teams are off to a rocky start this year, with the Oilers certainly being the more surprising struggling team.
Friday night saw a bit of an offensive explosion, with Milan Lucic (0.5ppg) and Ryan Strome (0.42ppg) scoring after some pretty lackluster prior efforts. Scoring by committee is better than relying on the top line, and that secondary scoring is going to be important going forward.
If the Oilers want to make the playoffs, now is a good time to start winning some games. You know, American Thanksgiving and all.
Keys to the Game
- Play like they did Friday. The Oilers dominated possession (from what I saw, anyway. I’m not looking for numbers), moved the puck pretty well (with a few notable exceptions), and finally got their offence going. It was good to see.
- Stay out of the box. They played incredibly disciplined hockey last game, and it made a difference in how the Oilers held momentum.
- Force the Oilers to take penalties to interrupt the flow of the game.
- Get lots of pucks on net; eventually something will go in.
Players to Watch
- Connor. Despite getting three assists the other night, he was pretty unnoticeable out there. He still does great things, though, and he’s an Oiler for the foreseeable future.
- Look for Kailer Yamamoto to make his return to the lineup in place of Anton Slepyshev. He’s played well, but it’s obvious he’s a little outclassed out there. Maybe today’s the day he makes the breakthrough.
- Dylan Larkin is one of the fastest skaters in the league, and the line with him, Athanasiou and Mantha is fun to watch. They’ll give the Oilers a run for their money.
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Kailer Yamamoto
Drake Caggiula – Ryan Strome – Jussi Jokinen
Iiro Pakarinen – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Kris Russell – Eric Gryba
Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Tomas Tatar
Andreas Athanasiou – Dylan Larkin – Anthony Mantha
Darren Helm – Frans Nielsen – Justin Abdelkader
Scott Wilson – Luke Glendening – Martin Frk
Jonathan Ericsson – Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall – Mike Green
Xavier Ouellet – Nick Jensen
The win on Friday was a good start, and a win today would start righting the course. The Oilers are historically bad in afternoon games, though, and the Red Wings are starting to come together and play better hockey, so who knows what’s going to happen.