The Edmonton Oilers worked their asses off in the final 20 minutes of regulation time on Tuesday night. They played a really strong overtime period as well, but were only able to come away with a single point against the Arizona Coyotes.
Now, the Oil have only two games separating them from trade deadline on Monday. Currently, they are seven points out of a playoff spot and rapidly fading. They could be just three points out come Monday, or they could be completely out of it by deadline time. Tonight will go a long way towards determining their fate.
Mikko Koskinen played very well on Tuesday and will get the nod against his former club, while the Islanders are expected to counter with Robin Lehner.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: For the love of all things holy, please show up for a full 60 minutes. The Oilers tilted the ice in a major way in both the third period and overtime against the Coyotes, but slept through the second period and paid for it. The Oilers aren’t good enough to take periods off, it is why they are 1-8-3 in their last 12 games. Do yourself a favor and play a full game tonight. You might be shocked at the result.
New York: To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the Islanders on Saturday night. I thought Edmonton was the better team, but the Isles got the bounces and their PK was better. Sometimes, that’s enough. It wasn’t last night, as the Isles simply didn’t show up in Calgary. New York needs to get back to basics tonight and bring their physical style to the table.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: At this point, there really isn’t anyone outside of the big three to pay attention to for the Oilers. Connor McDavid is back in action tonight, so that’ll be a welcomed addition. He’s due for a highlight moment, so I’ll say to keep an eye on him. You were going to do that anyway, though.
New York: The curse of the ex-Oiler will live on at Rogers Place. It’s been a trying season for Jordan Eberle, but I suspect he scores a goal in his second trip back to Edmonton. The pending free agent is likely making his final trip back as an Islander, so expect him to make it worthwhile.
After missing Tuesday’s game with the flu, McDavid skated this morning and is expected to be in the lineup. Both Jesse Puljujarvi and Jujhar Khaira remain on IR and won’t be available, while best guess has Brad Malone out as the healthy scratch. Expect the same defensive group as Tuesday.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Tobias Rieder – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Sam Gagner
Milan Lucic – Colby Cave – Alex Chiasson
Ty Rattie – Kyle Brodziak – Josh Currie
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning
The Islanders are on the verge of getting two big veterans back into the lineup. Both Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey recently completed conditioning stints with AHL Bridgeport and are now up with the big club. Both are listed as day-to-day.
New York Islanders Lines:
Anders Lee – Brock Nelson – Jordan Eberle
Tom Kuhnhackl – Mathew Barzal – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Valtteri Filppula – Leo Komarov
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews – Scott Mayfield
This is the second and final meeting between the sides on the season. The Islanders beat Edmonton 5-2 on Saturday night in Brooklyn in a game I thought the Oil actually played well in. The sides have split the first two games at Rogers Place against each other.
The good news for the Oilers? The Islanders played last night in Calgary, meaning they are in the second half of a back-to-back. The bad news? The Isles are 9-0-0 in this situation on the season. No, that isn’t a typo. The Isles are unbeatable when they should be prime for the picking.
New York enters tonight with 76 points, good for top spot in the Metropolitan division. They currently sit three points up on Washington for the divisional crown, and would get the first Wild Card seed in the opening round of the playoffs. The Oilers are currently seven points behind Colorado for the final playoff spot with one game in hand.