After Thursday night’s embarrassing 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Oilers look to reset this afternoon in Dallas against Jamie Benn and the Stars.
Seems like an easy enough task, but there are three things to consider when trying to decide whether or not the Oilers are going down.
- Afternoon game on the road
- Ex-Oiler in the lineup for the opposition
- Jamie Benn only likes it when other people go down, so…..
(Yes I know the featured image is of an Oilers team of old, but it’s the ONLY picture I could find where Jamie Benn wasn’t on his feet.)
Keys to the Game
- Just win baby. There are only so many ways to say this, and after only 19 games it’s already getting tired.
- The Oilers are getting killed on special teams, so maybe today should be the day that they stop letting opponents score on the an advantage.
- Get the Oilers scrambling – this makes them draw penalties and their PK is awful.
- Keep Connor McDavid to the outside. It was interesting to watch him against St Louis, as he became more frustrated with not having open ice to wheel in.
Players to Watch
- Iiro Pakarinen has been moved up to the second line. This is an experiment that could fail miserably, especially considering that Jesse Puljujarvi has played well since his call-up.
- Someday, Zack Kassian will score a goal. It might not be as an Oiler, but he’ll score at least one more goal in his career.
- Tyler Seguin is really good.
- Ex-Oiler Tyler Pitlick will probably score a hat trick against the Oilers, because that’s the way it goes.
- Jamie Benn is also good to watch because he never, ever goes down. Ever.
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Iiro Pakarinen
Mike Cammalleri – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi
Drake Caggiula – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Yohann Auvitu – Kris Russell
Mattias Janmark – Jamie Benn – Alex Radulov
Gemel Smith – Tyler Seguin – Devin Shore
Remi Elie – Martin Hanzal – Jason Spezza
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Tyler Pitlick
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Stephen Johns
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Yesterday, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said that he’s disappointed in the performance of the team thus far this season.
#Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: “I’m disappointed. General disappointment – there’s your headline.”
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 17, 2017
While unwittingly giving himself a GREAT nickname, Chiarelli spoke a truth that many fans have been thinking for months. After a disappointing 7-10-3 start, it’s no wonder that management is disappointed. On paper the Oilers are a better team than what they’ve shown, but all that matters are the results on the ice and in the standings. With only 16 points in 19 games, the Oilers are playing below the expectations of just about anyone, except perhaps The Athletic (where there was a preseason piece about the Oilers that claimed they weren’t as good as last year. Turns out that might actually be true).
They’re not out of the playoff picture just yet, despite being 14th in the West, but this 5-game road trip could ultimately spell the end of postseason hopes if they can’t put together a string of wins.
— Oilers Nerd Alert (@OilersNerdAlert) November 17, 2017
It’s becoming a lot more common to see doom and gloom pieces and commentary about the team, and it’s starting to look like Peter Chiarelli’s prediction of 85 points last season just might come true. There are a bunch of things going wrong, but the most obvious problems are a lack of scoring and a defence corps that (at times) can’t seem to fight its way out of a paper bag.
With all the early season talk of the Oilers really bonding as a team during the off-season, this road trip might be just the thing to prove that. If not, expect to see some personnel changes at all levels of the organization.