The Oilers are back in action tonight as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, overtime winners of Saturday night’s game. The Oilers are 2-5-1 against Toronto this year, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for what might be coming in the playoffs. (Barring a catastrophic collapse, the Oilers will make the playoffs. Second time in 15 years.)
Keys to the Game
- Don’t let Toronto 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 goaltending is suspect at best, and it seems like it’s been pretty easy to capitalize on that flaw.
- Shut down the top line. Beyond McDavid and Draisaitl (and apparently Puljujarvi tonight), there’s not a lot of offence happening for the Oilers.
Players to Watch
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl make a dangerous duo, and other than the Leafs, no one has been able to stop them this season.
- Mike Smith. He’s been playing pretty well of late but sometimes he likes to go for a wander with the puck and that can be a terrifying thing to see.
- Auston Matthews. I know there’s lots of people who don’t think Matthews is that great, but he’s pretty good.
Draisaitl – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Turris – RNH – Yamamoto
Ennis – Haas – Kassian
Shore– Khaira – Archibald
Nurse – Barrie
Lagesson – Larsson
Russell – Bear
Hyman – Matthews – Marner
Galchenyuk – Tavares – Nylander
Thornton – Kerfoot – Spezza
Mikheyev – Engvall – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian
The Oilers are in a much better position this season than they have been in the past, but there are still some things that should be concerning to fans. First of all, they are an injury away from complete catastrophe, and it’s very clear that they are a one-line team on most nights.
The trade deadline is coming up (2 weeks from today, actually), and since the Canadian government relaxed the quarantine rules, there are some interesting options out there, one of which will send the fan base into a frenzy. I, for one, can’t wait.