The Oilers are back in action at 2pm MT this afternoon (thanks for nothing, America) as they face off against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Ducks.
Afternoon games are the worst, and the Oilers haven’t had a ton of success with them in the last few seasons. Maybe, playing against a middling Ducks team, they’ll turn that around a bit.
Coming off a win (!) against San Jose on Tuesday, the Oilers look to build on the momentum of a new coach. While Ken Hitchcock might not be the permanent solution, it seems that his initial messaging to the team worked.
(He’s also the only coach in Oilers history with a 1.000 win percentage, so that’s something.)
Keys to the Game
- Do the same things as on Tuesday, except try not to let Anaheim get a goal in the first minute. It’s super frustrating to be barely settled in to watch, and the Oilers are already down a goal.
- Give Koskinen a chance to make saves and allow him to see the puck. Mostly they need to keep the net front clear, because he gives up WILD rebounds.
- Lots of pucks on net, especially screened shots. The Oilers have a propensity to try to block lots of shots, and that often means the goalie can’t see what’s coming.
Players to Watch
- Newly acquired defenceman Chris Wideman won’t be in the lineup today (he might be lost in an Uber somewhere), but look for him to make his Oilers debut soon.
- Coach Hitchcock has said that he believes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins can, in fact, drive his own line, so I hope we get to see some offensive fireworks from that second combination.
- Fortunately we don’t have to watch Corey Perry play.
- Andrew Cogliano is always a player to watch, and sometimes I think about what could have been had he not been traded away for a bag of pucks and a broken stick.
Caggiula – McDavid – Draisaitl
Spooner – Nuge – Chiasson
Lucic – Brodziak – Kassian
Khaira – Marody – Rattie
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Benning
Rakell – Getzlaf – Kase
Aberg – Henrique – Silfverberg
Cogliano – Kesler – Sherwood
Ritchie – Kossila – Gibbons
Larsson – Manson
Mahura – Montour
Pettersson – Welinski
It’s too early to say how much of an impact Hitch is going to have on this roster, but if his past success in the first year with a new team is any indication, they’ll be just fine.
(ed note: There was a tweet that showed how many fewer goals against Hitch’s teams allowed in his first year, but *someone* forgot to bookmark it, so it’s been lost forever.)
(ed note, part 2: Ryan Ellis (@rrfellis) sent *someone* the tweet, and now here it is!)