G18: Oilers vs Golden Knights - Just Show Up On Time
Allowing the first goal isn't the only issue for the Edmonton Oilers... it's how they are allowing it. Too often we are seeing situations where the team is down by a goal early and highly lucky that it is only a goal.
There are massive issues on defense. This was known throughout the entire summer. I felt that the systems Woodcroft utilized last season would be solid enough that the Oilers would do well enough through committee and then let their forward core take over to transition the puck up the ice. That has not been the case at least on a consistent basis.
Here is the lineup we will be expecting to see tonight:
I don't think this is the coaching staff believing Janmark is a top six winger and will stay there for the season. Last game Janmark was solid and was trying to make things happen at every moment he was on the ice. Edmonton needs far more of that from the rest of it's players. For much of the second period the Oilers were pissed at the Kings (rightfully so after that knee on knee from Edler) and they were creating chances. Being fast isn't enough in the NHL anymore and teams are really starting to counter how the Oilers want to play. They need to change things up.
I am very happy that Woodcroft has finally split up Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl. I don't know what it is; Draisaitl is an elite player and Hyman is a very good player but for some reason the two just do not work together. Last season in 345 minutes together at 5 on 5 the duo was outscored 18-20 at 5 on 5. Leon without Hyman outscored his opponents 49-37. This season Hyman and Draisaitl have played 128 minutes together and have been outscored 5-10 at 5 on 5. Leon without Hyman has gone 8-5 and Hyman without Leon has gone 10-8. Something just does not work with the two of them together.
Yamamoto is still banged up and will not play tonight. We still don't have real confirmation on what is going on but I wonder if there are some concussion related issues going on there.
Stuart Skinner once again gets the start. Even though the Oilers lost with him in net against the Kings he was excellent. The team just could not score.
Evan Bouchard needs to be smarter on when he decides to shoot the puck. He had something like 10 scoring opportunities in the first period alone against the Kings but 8 of those were blocked and not just because the Kings were playing a great trap game. Bouchard skates well enough and is confident with the puck. He needs to be moving and find ways to fire the puck through or simply don't take that shot.
Darnell Nurse... just needs to all around be better. Also someone needs to teach him that if he is going to try and block a shot... maybe actually block it.
A win tonight against a dominant Golden Knights team would be a step in the right direction for putting things back on track. A loss tonight and the Oilers are officially only a .500 team after the first 18 games of the season. If Edmonton wants to even be in the conversation for a contending team they need to start playing like they deserve that as opposed to expecting that they deserve it.