So…..it’s been a minute, hasn’t it?
Our own Alex Thomas is in Edmonton for the weekend and left his laptop behind so for today’s pregame, you’re stuck with me. And it’s been an entire year since I last wrote about the Oilers.
The Oilers are back in action tonight at home, hosting the Nashville Predators. After two disappointing efforts in a row, tonight is a good opportunity for the mighty Oil to get back to the things that have made them appear to be a playoff contender this season.
Keys To The Game
Edmonton: Don’t let up when they get ahead. On Thursday night they were up 2-0 after about 5 minutes, and then managed to fall apart completely and lose 6-3 to the Sharks. While they’ve been able to outscore their bad goaltending most nights, Thursday night wasn’t that night at all. It was disappointing to see, despite some bright spots from a few players, namely Ethan Bear.
Nashville: Step on the Oilers’ throats and don’t let up. Deppending on that happens in net, the Preds could find themselves up early, or down by 3 trying to get back in the game before the end of the first. Whatever the case may be, the Preds will find success if they are able to force the Oilers to the perimeter of the ice and get lots of pucks on the Oilers net; goaltending is enough of a question mark that something will probably go in.
Players to Watch
Tyler Benson will be making his second NHL start tonight, and while he was fine in his debut, it stands to reason he’ll be a little more settled tonight. Playing in front of friends and family, and with the first game jitters out of the way, he’ll be looking to make a bigger impact.
Matt Duchene is always good to watch. He’s very skilled and is an obvious first-line player, but one can’t help but wonder if he’s never quite met his potential. (To be fair he’s also worth watching on zone entries because he might be 3 feet offside and then the NHL as we know it will change forever.)
Gagner – McDavid – Kassian
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Benson – Haas – Chiasson
Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Bear
Jones – Benning
Duchene – Johansen – Granlund
Forsberg – Turris – Smith
Grimaldi – Bonino – Arvidsson
Trenin – Sissons – Blackwell
Josi – Fabbro
Tinordi – Ekholm
Hamhuis – Weber
There’s nothing like doing one of these and learning that Dan Hamhuis (!) is still in the NHL.
(There’s also nothing like finishing a piece under the wire; it’s 4:59pm and puck drop is 5:00.)