Oilers Gameday: November 9th at Detroit

Oilers Gameday: November 9th at Detroit

Oilers

Oilers Gameday: November 9th at Detroit

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The Oilers begin a 5 game road trip in the Motor City, taking on an upstart Red Wings squad. Detroit has surprised early with a 6-5-2 record, coming off 2 wins against the Sabres and the Golden Knights, while Edmonton look to continue their winning ways, sitting at 9-1-0.

 

For those that haven’t had a chance to catch any Red Wings action things are quite different, as some young talents have worked their way into impact roles already. Now into year 3 or “the Yzerplan”, the scorched earth rebuild enacted after current Oilers GM Holland left the organization for his current role, the Wings are past the point of tanking and are earnestly focused on pushing for a playoff berth (a lofty goal, but the goal nonetheless).

 

Although Mike Smith is expected to return at some point during the road trip it seems as though Skinner will be in net for the Oilers, while Detroit is likely to start Nedeljkovic who is splitting starts with the veteran Griess.

 

 

KEYS TO THE GAME

 

Edmonton: Play tight. The Oilers are a far superior team, and with the strong effort we’re growing accustomed to it will be extremely difficult for the Wings to keep pace. Last game against the Rangers far too much was given away easily, including turnovers during breakout attempts and goalie adventures beyond the crease.

 

 

Detroit: Survive. The Wings match up quite poorly on paper, of particular concern are the defensive results being below average at even strength, as well as what is among the league’s worst penalty kill. The Oilers power play has been prolific through 10 games, so perhaps the recipe involves taking as few penalties as possible and getting incredible goaltending. If they can weather the offensive storm and hang around long enough to score a timely goal or two they have a shot.

 

 

LINEUPS

 

Edmonton: The 4th line will see a new face due to the Shore injury (4-6 weeks).

 

Draisaitl – McDavid – Puljujarvi

Hyman – RNH – Kassian

Foegele – Ryan – Yamamoto

Benson – Turris – Sceviour

Nurse – Barrie

Keith – Ceci

Koekkoek – Bouchard

Skinner

Koskinen

 

Detroit: The top line, centred by Larkin, has been strong, leading the Wings offensively. The top 2 defence pairings take on most of the responsibilities, while the 3rd pair gets defensive usage.

 

Bertuzzi – Larkin – Raymond

Zadina – Suter – Fabbri

Namestnikov – Stepehens – Gagner

Erne – Rasmussen – Smith

Leddy – Hronek

Dekeyser – Seider

Staal – Lindstrom

Nedeljkovic

Griess

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

 

Edmonton: Coach Tippett seems likely to experiment a bit with the lineup, perhaps due to less matchup control on the road. Up front that starts with switching Kassian and Yamamoto, a move that could get both Yamamoto and the third line contributing a bit more offensively. Together with fellow Spokane native Derek Ryan, and Foegele, the unit certainly takes on a crafty and responsible likeness. So far Ryan has played well, but 3C might be an area the Oilers try to upgrade, perhaps internally if things trend well for Holloway or McLeod over the next month or two.

 

Meanwhile on defence we’ll see to what extent Tippett is convinced with the notion of Bouchard as the team’s 2nd best defenceman, depending on how much more Barrie is used than usual, as both will usually get shifts alongside Nurse. To this point Tippet has stuck to starting Barrie in more offensive situations while the Keith-Ceci pairing taking on more defensive usage.

 

Goalies are always front and centre, but given his history of streaky play it will be crucial for Stuart Skinner to have a strong performance in his debut this season. Things have gone about as well as they could for Skinner in the AHL the past season or so, meaning he’s earned this look at the NHL level.

 

Detroit: Optimism is waxing in Detroit, in large part thanks to the play of both Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. Raymond has great stick skills with and without the puck, and has been anything but a passenger on the dynamic 1st line. At this point, Detroit fans are taking the opinion Raymond should’ve gone as high as 1st overall in his draft class, and for now it’s hard to blame them as Raymond has outpaced Lafreniere, Byfield, and Stutzle early into their NHL careers (still too early to say, but a proposition worth pondering).

 

Many have said similar things about last year’s SHL Defenceman of the Year, Mo Seider. Already, the former 6th overall pick is producing offensively as well as handling regular minutes in all situations. The outline of a strong defensive player is there, with size, skating skills, strong passing abilities, and an uncanny talent for reverse hits, but to see such a profound and immediate impact offensively does nothing but fuel Norris level upside for Drasaitl’s Olympic teammate. Needless to say if either or both of these players are still available in your fantasy leagues you should grab them, yesterday.

 

 

GAME NOTES

 

Both teams allow a lot of shots against, so this should be a high event affair (as usual when it comes to the Oil). Early on, Detroit has been significantly better at home, with a 3-1-2 record vs a 3-4-0 recording the road.

 

Former Oiler Sam Gagner has found a home in Detroit, playing a key role including time on the pk, and will play his 900th NHL game tonight.

 

The Oilers are a much stronger faceoff team than the Wings are, and thus should win a lot of draws tonight.

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