Things are not going to be any easier for the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Ryan Nugent Hopkins is out of the lineup, as is Zack Kassian who sustained a back injury in the last game against Vancouver, as it Mike Smith who was also apparently injured on the second goal Vancouver scored, as is Kris Russell who will be out as his wife is having a baby.
Edmonton has yet to lose three games in a row this season but a loss tonight would mean just that. The Oilers have been brutal over their past two games. First a 4-1 loss where Mikko Koskinen stood on his head as the forwards failed to generate much in the way of high danger chances, then last night where Mike Smith played like he had hit his head... as the Oilers in front failed to generate much in the way of high danger chances.
First let's talk about Mike Smith... who was not at his best last night. I've harped on the play of Mike Smith who has struggled and been one of the worst goalies this year at 5 on 5. Now Smith is out injured because of something that occurred on the second goal of the game. The fault lies both with Smith for refusing to leave the game as well as his coach for not recognizing the need to pull his goalie. One issue that has continued this season is Tippett's blind faith in a goaltender he is familiar with.
These past few games have once again brought the cracks in the Edmonton Oilers roster out on display. Holland has yet to call up any players like Benson or Yamamoto to see if they can imbue some skill into the lineup, and Jesse Puljujarvi, unsurprisingly did not sign a new deal and is ineligible to play for the remainder of this season.
- This is not an official lineup, no words on the forwards as Tippett said they would try a couple things in practice before the game. Benning is back in the lineup.
Pearson – Horvat – Boeser
Miller – Pettersson – Goldobin
Leivo – Gaudette – Virtanen
Schaller – Graovac – MacEwan
Edler – Stecher
Hughes – Myers
Benn – Tanev
3 KEYS TO VICTORY
1.) Underdogs - With RNH and Kassian out of the lineup tonight, the Oilers top 6 has become even more shallow. Whoever does slot into the spot with McDavid and Draisaitl needs to use their adrenaline and excitement and put in a strong performance, even if it is for one game.
2.) Goalie Difference - Edmonton is icing who should be their actual starter tonight, meanwhile Vancouver is icing their own backup Demko, who has appeared in 10 games this season. Demko has been solid but is not as good as Markstrom. Chalk this as one advantage Edmonton should have this season.
3.) Special Teams- In a rare turn, Edmonton was not the better team on special teams last game. First the team allowed a powerplay goal by the Canucks, with the second goal occuring on the Oilers own powerplay. Chalk that up as a unfortunate turn of events and know that Edmonton should be better tonight.
FILM OF THE DAY
Last game was awful and now we are onto the sequel. Let's keep things simple on a late Sunday game and show a clip from the best sequel of all time.