That’s right! Who really cares that it’s Connor v. Crosby? The story of the night will be Leon Draisaitl matching up against Evgeni Malkin! And what a matchup it will be! Size, speed, skill, graceful skating, and amazing playmaking! We’re in for a treat!
Those videos are so childish, I know. But I can’t stop busting a gut making them. If I laugh as much making them, someone out there surely has to be laughing half as much watching them and the world is a better place when people are laughing, wouldn’t you agree? Back to the game tonight though.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The entire hockey world will be watching this one and not for Draisaitl/Malkin. This is the future of the NHL lining up against the present, right? I’d like to say past but Crosby isn’t even 30 years old is he? He could very well play another 10 years.
When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to watch was Gretzky’s Oilers/Kings player Mario Lemieux’s Penguins. Well, we may very well get another decade of Crosby’s Penguins versus McDavid’s Oilers. It’s a good time to be a hockey fan.
I’d have to ask some of the more vintage fans out there but could there be parallels drawn to the first time Wayne Gretzky met Brian Trottier tonight? Some have likened the meeting to Gretzky and Lemieux but for whatever reason, I don’t see it that way. How do you see it?
The game tonight could very well be one of the most entertaining games of the year so far. Both teams should be lined up in order to have three scoring lines firing at any one moment. The Penguins’ powerplay (6th OV) is clipping along at a 24% rate (Edmonton has the 9th OV PP in the league) and the Oilers’ PK sits very comfortably in the four spot overall (89.5%). Pittsburgh’s PK is ranked in the middle of the pack at 16th OV.
I believe that the Penguins have too much for Edmonton but if the Oilers defense can continue to play as well as it has and Cam Talbot doesn’t decide that tonight is the game that’ll be off. I think that the Oilers could take it by capitalizing on the powerplay.
I haven’t heard if the Pens are starting MA Fleury or Matt Murray but that will play a factor in it as well. I’d much rather the Oilers be lining up across from Fleury to be honest. I like the fact that he’s completely unpredictable and could come unhinged at any moment. Perfect for a team full of hungry beasts like the Oilers.
Another deciding factor could be the defenses on both teams.
For the Oilers, they are going to be seeing wave after wave of grit and ultimate skill coming at them. The pairing that Andrej Sekera has been on has been struggling lately. Whether he’s been paired with the dinged up, Kris Russell, or the rookie, Matt Benning; things have not played out well for them. That’s a pairing I’d keep a close eye on because we know that Larsson/Klefbom are going to be solid and bodies be hitting the floor when the Gryba/Nurse pairing is on the ice.
As for the Pens, Dumoulin and Letang have been firing on all cylinders. What a pair that is eh? Letang is godly on the back end and he’s got to be due for a Norris soon. Brian Dumoulin (a throw-in in the Jordan Staal trade) had marinated for nearly 200 games in the AHL before finding his spot permanently on the Pens blue line. So if you’re still sore about Griffin Reinhart taking his sweet time getting to the NHL, relax.
Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley are very good at moving the puck but I reckon this pairing, as well as, the Pens’ third pairing of Justin Schultz and Ian Cole, could be ripe for the picking if the Oilers’ forecheck is gold. If it isn’t and the boys appear tired, the Penguins will eat them alive.
What do you think? Edmonton has surprised the Blues and Capitals already this year. Teams that were supposed to handle the Oilers with ease but were thwarted by an Edmonton hockey club that has improved exponentially. Can the Oilers surprise again and swat the Penguins to the side, gaining more ground on the Habs and Rangers?
I’m going to say that it’ll be an entertaining game with all the offense out there but that Pittsburgh takes this one. I hope the Oilers win it but I reckon the gritty Penguins from Pennsylvania will have it.
Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!!