The Oilers are back in action tonight, hosting Jordan Eberle and the New York Islanders for the first time since the trade for Cap Space.
We all remember Eberle for a lot of things but perhaps nothing more notable than his first NHL goal, for which he got a lot of mileage and escaped a lot of criticism.
That’s quite a goal. Maybe he’ll score another one. (Also, it’s prudent to point out that JIM VANDERMEER WAS ON THE PENALTY KILL so no wonder that team was junk.)
Keys to the Game
- Score first. Score often. Keep the puck with Connor or Leon because there’s not much else to hope for.
- Stay out of the box and try not to force the Islanders to take penalties either. The home penalty kill is still real bad, and the power play isn’t much better.
- Force the Oilers to take penalties. It’s a strategy that has worked for most other teams in the league this season.
- Honestly, keep the Oilers to the perimeter. They can’t seem to get too many pucks through from the outside, so it’s easy to defend.
Players to Watch
- After finally scoring a goal (for the first time in 1178 games), look for Milan Lucic to make his presence felt. That 29-game goalless drought was long, and perhaps he’ll finally regain some of the offence he’s had in previous, non-Oiler seasons.
- Jordan Eberle is making his return to Edmonton, after the trade that sent him East. For 7 years, Eberle was a significant piece of the Oilers offence. A down year last year and a poor showing in the playoffs suggested that Eberle was disposable, but this Oiler team could really use his scoring touch this year.
That he’s playing with probably Calder winner Mat Barzal adds a little insult to injury.
Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Mike Cammalleri – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Pontus Aberg
Jesse Puljujarvi – Ryan Strome – Anton Slepyshev
Drake Caggiula – Jujhar Khaira – Iiro Pakarinen
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Kris Russell
Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Mat Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Andrew Ladd – Brock Nelson – Tanner Fritz
Chris Wagner – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Ryan Pulock
Adam Pelech – Brandon Davidson
The Oilers’ season is all but done. There is THE SLIMMEST chance that they make the playoffs, providing they win every game outright and only Arizona and Vancouver win any games in the West from now until the end of the season. (In reality, the Oilers have ~0% chance of making it. It’s not exacly zero, but it’s pretty much exactly zero.)
Because of this, the best case scenario is that some of the younger guys get a chance to get more ice time and showcase what they can do. Elliotte Friedman suggested that the Oilers are trying to showcase Oscar Klefbom for a trade, because they haven’t shut him down yet despite his being obviously hurt.
Only 15 more games until the next reset. It can’t come soon enough.