The Edmonton Oilers held a 2-0 lead through forty minutes on Monday night in Montreal. For the second time in less than two weeks, however, the Oilers coughed the lead up and fell in overtime, dropping a 3-2 decision to the surging Canadiens. This afternoon, the Oilers have a chance to get back into the win column as they head to Ottawa.
The Oilers and the Senators will meet for the eighth of nine times this season at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Oilers are 2-0-0 in Ottawa this season, and 7-0-0 overall against the Senators. This opens a back-to-back set for both teams, who conclude the season series tomorrow night.
Marcus Hogberg gets the go for the Senators, while Mikko Koskinen gets the start for the Oilers.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Play the full sixty minutes, damnit! The Oilers have made a nasty habit of only playing 20-40 good minutes lately. They really haven’t put a full good game together in about a month. The Senators may not be the most talented team, but they work hard and will make you pay if you take them lightly. The Oilers need to settle in, be ready to go, and play a full sixty minutes to get back in the win column and feel good about their game again.
Ottawa: Get an early jump. For whatever reason, the Oilers really haven’t been ready to play in each of their last five games. They’ve gotten some solid bounces and had the lead in a few of those games, but overall the only really decent first period they had was against Calgary last Friday night. Be ready to go and come out firing, you may just catch the Oilers trying to ease into the game and build an early lead.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Kyle Turris returns to the lineup this afternoon at center after his previous few appearances came on the wing. Turris struggled mightily at center earlier this season, constantly bleeding chances and goals against. As the deadline approaches, the Oilers need to know if Turris can do the job he was hired to do at center. This will be a good test for him against a Senators team that does not quit.
Ottawa: Evgenii Dadonov has been a real bright spot for Ottawa in the season series so far. In seven prior meetings, Dadonov has scored four goals and has five total points. He’s been a thorn in Edmonton’s side, and always seems to find time and space in the offensive zone. He’s also done well to create some turnovers that have led to chances in this series as well. Edmonton can’t seem to figure him out, for whatever reason.
Gaetan Haas will come out and be scratched this afternoon, while Turris returns. Patrick Russell remains a healthy scratch up front, while defenseman William Lagesson will remain out. Mike Smith backs up Koskinen, while Alex Stalock is a healthy scratch. Tyler Ennis, James Neal and Evan Bouchard are among the notables on the taxi squad still.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi
Dominik Kahun – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
Josh Archibald – Kyle Turris – Zack Kassian
Devin Shore – Jujhar Khaira – Alex Chiasson
Darnell Nurse – Tyson Barrie
Kris Russell – Adam Larsson
Caleb Jones – Ethan Bear
The Senators won’t have veteran defenseman Erik Gudbranson in the lineup today, as he is with his family following the birth of his first child. Colin White (upper body), Auston Watson (hand), Michael Haley (groin) and Joey Daccord (lower body) are all on IR and not available. Matt Murray is listed as day-to-day.
Ottawa Senators Lines:
Brady Tkachuk – Josh Norris – Nick Paul
Tim Stutzle – Chris Tierney – Drake Batherson
Ryan Dzingel – Clark Bishop – Connor Brown
Alex Formenton – Artem Anisimov – Evgenii Dadonov
Thomas Chabot – Nikita Zaitsev
Mike Reilly – Artem Zub
Braydon Coburn – Josh Brown
“It’s a tough task to go 9-0 or even to go .500 against these teams and it’s going to be a really good test,” Kailer Yamamoto said in the lead up to today’s game. “We’ve been able to play our game, get pucks in and get shots on net to free up Davo and Drat. Those are big, key things.”
The Oilers have filled the net at will against the Senators this season, especially on home ice. The Oilers are averaging over five goals per game against the Senators when the sides meet in Alberta. When they battle in Ontario? Edmonton is averaging just three goals per game in their two prior visits. Both, however, were Edmonton wins.
Darnell Nurse blasted home his 13th goal of the season on Monday night. As a result, he now leads the NHL in goals scored by a defenseman. To make the mark even more impressive, he’s the first Oiler in more than a decade to eclipse the dozen mark. The last to do it? Sheldon Souray during the 2008-09 season. That year, ‘Big Sexy’ had 23 goals and was tied for the team lead with Ales Hemsky.