The Oilers take to the ice this afternoon in Dallas, where they’ll meet Jamie Benn and the Stars. The Oil are fresh off a shootout win (!) against the Ducks while the Stars most recently defeated the New Jersey Devils in regulation.
It’s hard not to overstate the importance of this 5-game road trip. At 18-20-3, the Oilers are in a pretty precarious position with respect to the postseason. A win this afternoon and again tomorrow in Chicago will go a long way towards righting the ship that is this season.
Whether that ship will be named the Titanic remains to be seen, but if Jamie Benn has anything to do with it the Oilers will be the team to go down today.
Keys to the Game
- Score first. it’s a lot easier to win a game when you’re playing from in front, plus it gives you a bit of leeway to make a mistake or two.
- Score on the power play. The Oilers are 2 for 30 in their last 10 games and that’s not great.
- Get out in front and do it quick. If the Stars get up 2-0 early, the Oilers will have trouble bouncing back.
- Again force the Oilers to take penalties. Their PK on the road is better than it is at home, but they’re still struggling to capitalize.
Players to Watch
- Connor. He’s good and last game he was back doing Connor things, so maybe he will do more of those.
- Tyler Seguin. He’s, well, really good. It’s almost incomprehensible that he was traded out of Boston but then again it’s not considering who made that trade. Watching him play is interesting though, and maybe today he’ll have something to prove.
- Jamie Benn. He’ll buck the trend and score from his knees tonight.
Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi
Drake Caggiula – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Mike Cammalleri
Jujhar Khaira – Leon Draisaitl – Ryan Strome
Anton Slepyshev – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Oscar Klefbom – Brandon Davidson
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Alexander Radulov
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie – Martin Hanzal – Devin Shore
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Greg Pateryn
Marc Methot – Stephen Johns
With a shootout win on Thursday, the Oilers started the slow climb out of the pit. If they want to make an actual dent, they’ll have to win 4 of the 5 on this road trip (all against western teams) without giving up a single point.
That’s a tall order, one that the team might not be able to fill.