Well, that sucked. The Edmonton Oilers played a great first twenty minutes in Toronto last night, took a one goal lead and looked like they might even take two points. Then it happened. The Oilers got absolutely trucked in the final forty minutes and came away with no points. Instead, it was a 6-2 loss that set Twitter ablaze once again. Fun times.
Tonight the Oil finish off an Ontario back-to-back in Ottawa when they battle the Senators for the first time this season. Since the 2017 playoffs ended, both of these teams have been absolute tire fires led by horrible ownership and incompetent management. Tonight is gonna be one pig of a hockey game.
Mikko Koskinen is back in for the Oil. He was pulled last night after a horrible effort in the second period and will be looking to bounce back. Craig Anderson is confirmed in the Senator goal.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Stick with it, keep the effort level high and play for each other. When the Oilers are paying attention to detail and working hard, they can compete with teams. When they get frustrated and shocked, like last night, they get absolutely shelled. The Senators don’t have nearly the same firepower as the Leafs, but if you don’t show up they will beat you.
Ottawa: I watch hockey more than anything else, but honestly I haven’t watched a single Senator game all season long. Look, it’s bad enough I have to deal with the Oilers 82 times, I don’t want that chore too. At least they are a team, right?
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Swing and a miss on McDavid last night, who may have played his worst game of the season against the Leafs. I’ll go with Josh Currie tonight, I enjoy watching him play like every shift is his last. He’s easy to root for and has quickly won the hearts of fans.
Ottawa: Here’s one thing I do know about Ottawa, Thomas Chabot is the real deal. The rookie defender has emerged as the next star for the Senators and is a joy to watch. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him tonight, and I suggest that you do the same. As long as the Sens pay him, he’ll be the next face of that franchise, if he isn’t already.
Kyle Brodziak will be scratched in this one, continuing what has been a real disappointing return to Edmonton. Sam Gagner will slide back to center, while Ty Rattie returns to the lineup. Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi (IR) will both miss tonight’s game as well.
Defensively, we are expecting Kevin Gravel and Alex Petrovic to both sit again.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Tobias Rieder – Leon Draisaitl – Alex Chiasson
Brad Malone – Sam Gagner – Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic – Colby Cave – Josh Currie
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Kris Russell
Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning
So, this team is different from the last time we saw them. The Senators dealt Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel within the last week and are currently enduring their own death march. Oiler fans will get their first look at Anthony Duclair as a Senator, along with rookie Brady Tkachuk.
Ottawa Senators Lines:
Brady Tkachuk – Colin White – Anthony Duclair
Zack Smith – JG Pageau – Bobby Ryan
Drake Batherson – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Magnus Paajarvi – Oscar Lindberg – Brian Gibbons
Thomas Chabot – Dylan DeMelo
Mark Borowiecki – Cody Ceci
Ben Harpur – Christian Jaros
The Oilers haven’t had a lot of success in recent years, but one place they have had success in is Ottawa. Edmonton has won five of its last seven trips to Canada’s capital, including last season’s affair. Overall, however, Edmonton has just one win in their last four against the Sens.
The sides split the season series a year ago, with both games being blowouts. The Senators crushed Edmonton 6-1 at Rogers Place on 10/14/17 before the Oil returned the favor with a 6-2 drubbing last March.
The good news for the Oilers? The powerplay has been a lot better this season. Currently they are tenth in the NHL with a 22.2% success rate. The bad news? The penalty kill still sucks and kills momentum most nights. Edmonton ranks 29th in the NHL, killing off just 75.1% of infractions.
I saw a lot of Oiler fans counting these two points last night, saying things like “At least we’ll beat up Ottawa tomorrow night!”. Not so fast, my friends. Yes, the Senators are terrible in almost every way imaginable, but are the Oilers THAT much better? Outside of a few key players, I don’t think so.
Either way, I do expect Edmonton wins tonight but it won’t be easy. 5-4 Oilers in overtime with Andrej Sekera cashing in the winner.