Oilers Gameday @ Tampa: Into the Homestretch

Oilers Gameday @ Tampa: Into the Homestretch

Oilers

Oilers Gameday @ Tampa: Into the Homestretch

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The Oilers are back in actino today, as they face the Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning. After yesterday’s 4-2 victory against the Panthers, the Oilers are looking to maintain their momentum on this road trip.

The season is all but over, and the players are essentially out there for each other (and next season), but there are still some bright spots. Connor McDavid is probably going to finish the season with 100+ points, despite playing on a mediocre (at best) team and it’s rare that he doesn’t do something spectacular in a game.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • 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 Lightning to take penalties either. The penalty kill is still real bad, and the power play isn’t much better.

Tampa Bay

  • 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

Edmonton

  • Ty Rattie had a great game yesterday, and was the team’s player of the game. In a postgame interview, he made a point of saying that he was willing to do whatever it takes to stay up with the NHL club. If what he showed yesterday is any indication, he’ll be up here for the rest of the season.

Tampa Bay

  • Nikita Kucherov is likely going to be a Hart trophy finalist, and has been playing lights out for most of the year. He’s one of the better players in the league, and is sometimes overlooked because he has other very skilled teammates around him but he’s definitely been worthy of that MVP discussion.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic – Leon Draisaitl – Jesse Puljujarvi
Drake Caggiula – Ryan Strome – Anton Slepyshev
Iiro Pakarinen – Jujhar Khaira – Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Ethan Bear
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell

Cam Talbot

Tampa Bay 

JT Miller – Steven Stamkos – Nikita Kucherov

Yanni Gourde – Brayden Point – Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Adam Erne

Chris Kunitz – Cory Conacher – Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman – Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev – Anton Stralman

Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Notes

One of the bigger disappointments this season has been Milan Lucic. He has 5 years left on his contract, and he is at the point where he’s well into his decline. There’s no chance of a trade or a buyout (thanks Peter), and his production is more than likely going to keep dropping.

For perspective, Jonathan Willis mentioned this yesterday:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The numbers aren’t great, and one can only hope that his deployment next season is more suited to his actual ability rather than his past skill.

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