GD4: Canadiens @ Oilers: Time For A Wakeup Call
In just a couple of hours, the Edmonton Oilers will be looking for a much more complete effort against the Montreal Canadiens. The team had a full day of rest and were back at it this morning to skate. Assistant Coach Jim Playfair spent extra time working with the defense today which shouldn't surprise anyone. The Oilers biggest issue last season was their goals against at 5 on 5... something that has been arguably worse in this start.
Before getting to the lineup, let's talk about the changes. Both Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones have been scratched tonight, with Lagesson and Russell slotting in. The lineup as a whole is weaker with these new two players in the lineup and Bear and Jones out. That being said I can respect Tippett for making this decision now.
Bear and Jones haven't been good enough and Tippett has singled both players out on more than one occasion in this short start. I don't see this is a long term thing but both young players need to understand that if they want the spots they have in the lineup than they need to prove it.
I do however have a big issue with not using this opportunity to slot in Evan Bouchard. Tonight the Oilers will be running four left shots instead of slotting Bouchard onto the third pairing. If Bear slotting out doesn't get Bouchard into the lineup I am not sure what will.
OILERS LINE COMBINATIONS
- Dell was claimed by the Devils so for now Koskinen remains the only goalie
CANADIENS LINE COMBINATIONS
4 THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1.) Allen Starts: Despite the clinic he put on against Edmonton in the last game, the Habs will not be starting Price, instead giving Allen his first game of the season. Edmonton's game plan absolutely needs to be to get on him early and don't let him ease into his game.
2.) New Pairings: Koekkoek has been the Oilers best defender in these few games and is rewarded by earning a spot on the right side next to Darnell Nurse. I don't see this being a long term stick but it will be interesting to see how 4K plays.
3.) Angry Connor: Usually when McDavid has a bad or quiet game, the following game is a sight to behold. We already witnessed this once this season in the second game against Vancouver where the captain scored a hat trick. It might be too much to ask him to do that every time but look for that top line to be much better.
4.) Another New Look Third Line: It's been a bit of a revolving door on the LW on the third line next to Turris and Puljujarvi. Ennis and Archibald have gotten a shot and tonight it it Joakim Nygard's turn. Hopefully Nygard's speed and ability to forecheck will be the missing cog that can give this line some controlled zone time in the offensive end.
THE OILERS WIN IF.....
They can figure out how to play a closer checking game and not allow the Habs to control 5 on 5 play again.
THE CANADIENS WIN IF.....
Allen robs the Oilers early and controls rebounds back to his own team.