The Oilers are back in action tonight to take on the Kings at Rogers Place. After an incredibly lacklustre New Years Eve outing against the Jets, this is the time of the season when the Oilers need to bounce back if they want a chance at the playoffs. (If that reads like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon, that’s because it’s been said about 20 times already this season.)
To get there, they’re going to have to play at a 110 point pace. That means 29 regulation wins in the next 43 games, without conceding any points to divisional rivals.
Keys to the Game
- Put some pucks in the net, any way they can. Like carry the puck in a closed glove and throw it in the net, because that’s better than what happened on Sunday.
- Play some actual defence and maybe don’t leave the slot wide open. Or do. Whatever.
- Play better than the Oilers which is absolutely not hard to do and generally yields good results.
- Force the Oilers to take some penalties because that PK is awful
Players to Watch
- Not a single one of them, except maybe Nuge since he’s had a good year and we should enjoy that because next year he’s going to look mighty fine as a member of the New York Rangers while the corpse of Marc Staal will look about right on the Oilers blueline not making an outlet pass to Lucic who can’t skate fast enough to do anything anyway.
- Drew Doughty. There are a lot of opinions about him, but it’s always kind of fun to watch him antagonize others and see fans of whoever he’s playing get mad about it.
- Jussi Jokinen plays in LA. He’s going to score against the Oilers because of course he is.
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi
Mike Cammalleri – Leon Draisaitl – Drake Caggiula
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ryan Strome
Yohann Auvitu – Mark Letestu – Anton Slepyshev
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Brandon Davidson
Tanner Pearson – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Marian Gaborik – Adrian Kempe – Tyler Toffoli
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Trevor Lewis
Alex Iafallo – Torrey Mitchell – Jussi Jokinen
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Kurtis MacDermid – Alec Martinez
Derek Forbort – Kevin Grabel
So…. there’s not much left to say. The Decade of Darkness is long past, and Connor McDavid is an Oiler and everything should be fine but it’s not. The most frustrating thing about it is that the writing was on the wall once Taylor Hall was traded. It got a little clearer when Eberle was traded for Cap Space (and Ryan Strome), and it was made explicit when no one did anything to help shore up the defence with Sekera out for the first part of the season.
This is the most annoying thing, for real. Looking at personnel decisions being made since the trade for Griffin Reinhart, there’s not a lot to show for the changes. Want proof?
You know who fits the bill for that left wing. It’s not even a question anymore.
This team was supposed to be better, and it isn’t and it’s getting tiresome. Saying the same things over and over again isn’t fun. Knowing that the team is going to make panic decisions at the deadline doesn’t inspire confidence.
Let’s not pretend that this is a playoff team. It isn’t. And it shouldn’t be, and people should lose their jobs because of it.
Also: Taylor Hall is killing it in New Jersey.