After another inexplicable prolonged break, the Oilers are back in action tonight hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning who sit atop the NHL with 75 points in 52 games. They could legitimately lose every remaining game in OT and still make the playoffs. the Oilers, on the other hand, can’t. (I mean, they CAN lose and will lose, but in terms of the standings they can’t lose, though I suppose it would be better to say “shouldn’t”. It’s all very muddy because English is a dumb language.)
With 48 points in 50 games the Oilers are like Jack Pearson when his wife stepped out to get a snack from the vending machine – still there, but something is seriously wrong. It cannot be overstated enough that the Oilers are now into must-win territory…with 32 games left.
Keys to the Game
- Get the first goal and hold on to the lead. It’s amazing how many times the Oilers are down in the first 5 minutes and can’t come back to win.
- Seriously. Score first and then score again and keep scoring.
- Don’t take penalties because that penalty kill is gross. The Oilers PK has been so bad that this season is slipping through their fingers like the football through Tom Brady’s stupid hands on a 3rd and 5 trick play. At least with the Super Bowl, though, at the end of it all we got what we wanted.
- Score first and often
- Force the Oilers to take penalties (it’s not hard), and then score on the power play. It’s literally foolproof.
Players to Watch
- Connor? I don’t even know anymore. He’s great to watch, but there’s going to come a time when seeing him carry the team on his back isn’t fun anymore, and then he’ll throw a water bottle and someone on the bench in a nice suit will get wet and then 18 months later he’ll be on his way out and the Oilers will get like… the ghost of Jamie Oleksiak and a Shooter Tutor in return. (I’d have said Marc Staal, but he’ll already be an Oiler once RNH gets traded in the offseason.)
- The Lightning have lots of players who are good and fun to watch and they’ll probably skate circles around the Oilers, so keep an eye on Kucherov, Stamkos and Victor Hedman (and then think of what could have been).
Mike Cammalleri – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Jujhar Khaira – Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Maroon – Ryan Strome – Drake Caggiula
Anton Slepyshev – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Darnell Nurse – Brandon Davidson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Chris Kunitz – Steven Stamkos – Nikita Kucherov
Vladislav Namestnikov – Brayden Point – Tyler Johnson
Allex Killorn – Matthew Peca – Yanni Gource
Slater Koekkoek – Cory Conacher – Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman – Jake Dotchin
Mikhail Sergahev – Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn – Andrej Sustr
I’ve long wanted the Oilers to either be in or out of the playoffs by April 1st so there’s no last-week-of-the-season stress. We’re all in agreement that this season is over, right?
I guess if you’re getting paid to be optimistic about the team, you’ve gotta carry some water, but that’s a whole water truck. A water truck that doesn’t remember that Stamkos was out for months and came back right around the time the Lightning stopped sucking. But like…correlation =/= causation, or whatever.
Eat at Arby’s.