The Oilers are back in action tonight as they host the San Jose Sharks, a team that has outscored Edmonton 14-6 in their last two meetings. Those Oiler losses were emblematic of the team’s problems this season, and a -8 goal differential was actually favourable to the boys in blue.
As it stands right now, the Oilers are 2 points out of a playoff spot but they have played at an 80 point pace, which will not be enough to actually make the playoffs.
Keys to the Game
- Don’t let San Jose score on the first shot, or in the first 3 minutes, or at all.
- For real though, the Oilers need to tighten up defensively in the first 5 minutes of the game, or they’re going to find themselves down 2-0 before the first TV timeout.
- Lots of pucks to the net, and lots of traffic in front. It’s no secret that the Oilers are pretty weak defensively and seem to get caught flat-footed. It’s an easy flaw to expose.
Players to Watch
- Connor McDavid, obviously
- Leon Draisaitl is on a bit of a heater lately, so look for him to try to work his magic.
- Even without Erik Karlsson in the lineup, the Sharks have a lot of weapons but Joe Thornton is at the top of the list, if only because he has the potential to score 4 goals every game.
Draisaitl – McDavid – Rattie
Lucic – RNH – Chiasson
Khaira – Malone – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Manning – Gravel
Meier – Couture – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – LaBanc
Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson
Simek – Burns
Vlasic – Heed
Dillon – Braun
The Oilers are in a precarious position, and need to win about 8 games in a row in order to get themselves out of the spot they’re in.
If only they had two of the top-10 scorers in the league on the roster.