Oilers Gameday @ Vancouver: Wildcard Race.......?

Oilers Gameday @ Vancouver: Wildcard Race.......?

NHL

Oilers Gameday @ Vancouver: Wildcard Race.......?

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The Oilers are back in action (as are we) after a 7-2 thumping of the *squints* Buffalo Sabres. Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored two goals in that outing, so everything is apparently fine.

If the Oilers were better than a .500 team, this next part of their schedule would be seen as a cakewalk. But with time being a flat circle and all, every game is must-win.

Keys to the Game

Edmonton

  • Do whatever happened on Monday night to score 7 goals. Sure it was against Buffalo, but having guys like Lucic and Kassian finally score should (in theory) help with the lack of secondary scoring. Right?

Vancouver

  • Handcuff the Oilers in their own zone. They still really struggle with the breakout when Connor isn’t on the ice, and since he can’t play all 60 minutes….

Players to Watch

Edmonton

  • Connor does magical things.
  • Maybe watch Zack Kassian. It’s possible that those two goals last game were the spark he needs to get going again.

Vancouver

  • Unfortunately Elias Pettersson is out of the lineup, so you’ll just have to watch Brock Boeser and that wicked flow.

Projected Lineups

Edmonton

Draisaitl – McDavid – Chiasson
Lucic – RNH – Yamamoto
Rieder – Brodziak – Kassian
Khaira – Cave – Puljujarvi

Nurse – Russell
Jones – Larsson
Manning – Benning

Koskinen

Vancouver

Baertschi – Horvat – Boeser
Roussel – Sutter – Virtanen
Schaller – Granlund – Leivo
Eriksson – Beagle – Motte

Edler – Tanev
Hutton – Stetcher
Pouliot – Gudbranson

Markstrom

Notes

The Oilers are apparently all-in on making the playoffs, at least according to the internet (and Ryan Rishaug). As great as it would be to see them make the playoffs, it is still a pretty long shot. They’re sitting at 47 points after 46 games (which puts them at an 84 point pace), and will need to get 45 points in 36 games in order to make the playoffs (assuming that 92 points will get you in).

The possibility exists, sure, but on the days they get good goaltending, they don’t really get a lot of offence, and vice versa. In order for the team to be competitive, they’re going to need to beat teams ahead of them in the standings without giving up points, and not allow teams behind them to gain any ground.

It’s a tall order.

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