Even though the season has been more or less over since mid-November, the Oilers are back in action tonight as they host the sort-of surging Arizona Coyotes, a team that could potentially overtake the Oilers when the dust finally settles.
In their last 10, the Oilers are 4-6-0, while Arizona is 7-2-1 and seems to be hitting its stride. The first 15 games of the year, where the Coyotes couldn’t buy a win, may have sunk their chances but it sure feels like this team is the real Arizona club.
Keys to the Game
- Score first and don’t let the Coyotes back into the game. it’s been pretty commonplace over the last little while for the Oilers to get up by a couple goals and then let their opponent back into the game.
- Score first and don’t let the Oilers back into the game. It’s been a lot of ‘too little, too late’ for the Oilers recently, and getting the jump on them seems to be the way to a win. That or forcing the Oilers to take penalties.
Players to Watch
- At some point, Milan Lucic has to score. He hasn’t scored a goal since December 23 (29 games) and only has 5 secondary assists in that time. After scoring 26 points in his first 36 games, Lucic has all but disappeared. With only 31 points in 65 games, Lucic is scoring 0.48 points per game, which is not good enough for what it is he was brought in to do. It’s remarkable that he doesn’t have more points by virtue of being on the same ice surface as Connor McDavid, but if Lucic doesn’t find his scoring touch soon, it’s possible (though unlikely) that he’ll end up in the press box.
- Jakob Chychrunis a pretty dynamic defenceman, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s in the number 1 spot somewhere. For a kid coming off a major injury, and only being in his draft +2 year, he’s making an impact.
Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Mike Cammalleri – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Pontus Aberg
Jesse Puljujarvi – Ryan Strome – Anton Slepyshev
Iiro Pakarinen – Jujhar Khaira – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Oscar Klefbom – Matt Benning
Andrej Sekera – Ethan Bear
Brendan Perlini – Derek Stepan – Clayton Keller
Max Domi – Christian Dvorak – Christian Fischer
Richard Panik – Freddie Hamilton – Josh Archibald
Jordan Martinook – Brad Richardson – Nick Cousins
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Kevin Connauton – Andrew Campbell
The Oilers aren’t making the playoffs, so they need to start thinking about what’s going to make a difference in the offseason. They’ll have good lottery odds this year, and so maybe they’ll walk away with that number 1 pick. Who knows.
At this point, it’s time to start looking at tee times and campground availability instead of potential playoff dates.