The Oilers are back in action tonight as they host the Minnesota Wild. On a 2-game win streak, the Oilers look to extend their winning ways by keeping Eric Staal’s shots out of the net.
Former Oiler Devan Dubnyk is expected to be in net for the Wild, so let’s call it a loss (you know, with the whole ex-Oiler thing and all).
There are 14 more games after this one. Only 14 more.
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 Wild 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
- Connor McDavid has scored 16 goals in his last 18 games, and is the sole reason why the Oilers aren’t 31st in the league. Even when they’re down, he does crazy good things, like this shootout goal on Thursday…
(h/t to OilersNation for the video because it was inexplicably absent from the actual team’s actual twitter account.)
- Eric Staal has scored 16 goals in his last 18 games, and has experienced something of a resurgence in Minnesota this year. It’s been fun to watch, and a reminder that even good players go through slumps and sometimes find success on other teams and we should be happy for them and not take to tearing them down at every opportunity.
- Matt Cullen is still in the NHL which is remarkable because I swear my dad told me he remembers seeing Cullen play in the ’72 Summit Series.
Milan Lucic – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Drake Caggiula – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Pontus Aberg
Anton Slepyshev – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi
Iiro Pakarinen – Jujhar Khaira – Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell – Ethan Bear
Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning
Jason Zucker – Eric Staal – Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise – Mikko Koivu – Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter – Joel Eriksson Ek – Tyler Ennis
Daniel Winnik – Matt Cullen – Marcus Foligno
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Gustav Olofsson – Nate Prosse
Oscar Klefbom is out for tonight and next game, because he underwent a minor procedure. No details have been made available, but it lends a lot of credence to the theory that he’s been nursing some kind of injury. While it’s unclear what the issue is, seems like a good time to shut him down for the season and let him get healthy.