So Monday’s result was a surprise. Connor McDavid put the team on his back and scored 5 points in the Oilers’ 6-2 win over the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
I don’t think the Oilers played a particularly good game, and they did face off against a tired team playing the 8th of an 8-game road trip, but it was some kind of magic to see Connor McDavid do the things he’s so good at. (And how great would it have been had he scored that 5th goal?)
Tonight, the Oilers are in LA to take on the Kings in the first of 3 California games that could keep playoff hopes alive or sink the team altogether.
Aren’t sports fun?
Keys to the Game
- I’d say do more of the same from Monday, but what I really mean is that more people than just Connor need to be driving play. (Not for nothing… Milan Lucic had zero points in a game where the Oilers had 6 goals because all the goals came from the top line. That’s not balanced scoring.)
- Stay out of the box. The PK is still bad.
- Score first. Being scored on first is the single biggest determining factor in an Oilers loss.
- Play heavy hockey better than the Oilers do. It’s not hard to do anything better than the Oilers, but if the Kings’ tough guys can outskate Lucic, things won’t be challenging at all.
Players to Watch
- Obviously Connor McDavid. He might still be tired after carrying the res of them around last game, but it’s not impossible to think that he’s got some magic up his sleeve.
- Keep an eye on Dustin Brown. He’s dirty and likes to catch guys with their heads down.
- Andy Andreoff? Mike Amadio? Jonny Brodzinski? Are they even real? It honestly doesn’t matter; they’ll probably score 5 goals tonight and Jonathan Quick will make a million saves and the long march to April will begin anew.
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
Alex Iafallo – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Adrian Kempe – Dustin Brown
Kyle Cliffors – Torrey Mitchell – Trevor Lewis
Andy Andreoff – Mike Amadio – Jonny Brodzinski
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Paul Ladue
Kevin Gravel – Christian Folin
With their win on Monday, the Oilers’ playoff chances jumped from about 2.5% to 3%. So there’s a chance, but it is a slim one.
To get to the 95 point threshold that SHOULD get them into the playoffs, the Oilers need to get 45 points in 31 games, and they need to do it without giving up any points to Western Conference teams ahead of them.
The math is rudimentary but the easiest path is this: go 21-7-3 in the remaining games, winning all 18 against the WC teams ahead of them, and only giving up points to like… Florida and Boston and the Islanders.
If this seems like a tall order, that’s because it is. They’ve only won 22 games thus far (in 51 games) and now are expected to win 21 of 31? Yikes.
As it stands right now, the Oilers might manage another 30 points on the year which is, by all accounts, bad. This team is a dumpster fire, regardless of what certain local columnists might think.
(Image courtesy @IneffectiveMath)