TALE OF THE TAPE:
Game: Edmonton Oilers (29-38-7, 65 pts. 6-4 in their last 10) vs Colorado Avalanche (37-31-4, 78 pts. 6-4 in their last 10)
Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Time: 7:30 PM MT
Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet West – Radio: 630 CHED
Edmonton Oilers Preview:
74 down, 8 to go.
After shutting-out the Vancouver Canucks 2-0 Friday night, the Oilers look to take advantage of a team that will be without Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Eric Gelinas tonight.
Like the Oilers, the Avs are currently getting hit with the injury bug which is less than ideal for a team competing in a tight race for the playoffs with the Minnesota Wild. Tonight, the Oilers have a chance to stall their efforts, and their playoff hopes.
While Todd McLellan and the coaching staff haven’t been talking to the players about playing spoiler, Zack Kassian realizes the opportunity ahead.
“If we’re not making the playoffs, we might as well take down teams trying to make the playoffs,” said Oilers winger Zack Kassian. “It’s one of those things where this time of the year it’s tough to find things to get motivated for, but at the top of the list is ‘be the spoiler’ and take that dream from other teams.”
Both Jordan Oesterle and Griffin Reinhart received high-praise from Todd McLellan after last Friday’s game that saw them play over 22 minutes each and blocked 11 shots combined.
Reinhart has looked consistently good in the six games since his recall from the Bakersfield Condors, which is exactly what McLellan and co. wanted from him.
Oesterle has been a pleasant surprise since his recall on Mar. 9. In his nine games with Edmonton this season, he has four assists. His play has been really solid and he has played with confidence. Who knows what the Oilers have here, but early indications show that he has some potential to play in the NHL.
Laurent Brossoit gets his fourth start of the season, and it’s a good night for him to get the green light. With the Avalanches two top scorers in Duchene and MacKinnon being out of the lineup the Avs will look to other guys to finish on the ice.
The Oilers are going to need to play a tight game in front of the Bross, and limit the shots he sees.
“We’d like to play tighter,” said McLellan. “When you’re talking about the Vancouver game, I think we addressed that after. We were sluggish, we weren’t sharp, we were sloppy, we found a way to win and Talbs had a large part in that. We’d like to play better in front of LB tonight than we did the other night and it’s as simple as that.”
McLellan hasn’t forgotten that Brossoit is still a young goaltender, saying “sometimes inexperience and understanding who the shooters are and how they score” is part of the challenge facing LB.
I think at this point in time he will certainly be battling for the backup position next season, but may benefit from more AHL experience. With Talbot securing the starting role for at least the next year or two, LB has the ability to take time and develop properly.
Let’s see what the boys can do tonight..
Quotes from oilers.nhl.com.
Predictions for tonight:
- Oilers win 3-2.
- Griffin Reinhart scores his first NHL goal.
- Leon Draisaitl scores the other two goals.
Last games predictions and results:
- Oilers beat the Canucks 3-0.
- Former Canuck Zack Kassian scores.
- CAM TALBOT SHUTOUT!!!!!
Well not bad! Cam Talbot and the Oilers shutout the Canucks 2-0, but Kassian didn’t get a goal despite some chances.
2/3 ain’t too bad.
There were no updates on forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and Nathan MacKinnon (knee), and defenseman Eric Gelinas (elbow) on Saturday. Colorado recalled forward Mikko Rantanen from San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Duchene missed a 4-3 shootout win against the Calgary Flames on Friday, and Gelinas and MacKinnon left that game. Coach Patrick Roy said Gelinas was out indefinitely and MacKinnon would be re-evaluated Saturday. Captain Gabriel Landeskog will return after a three-game suspension. Goalie Semyon Varlamov is expected to make his sixth straight start; he has won four of his past five games.
Line Combos and Starting Goalies:
Oilers (Laurent Brossoit):
Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Iiro Pakarinen
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Jordan Eberle
Lauri Korpikoski – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Andrej Sekera – Mark Fayne
Jordan Oesterle – Griffin Reinhart
Darnell Nurse – Adam Clendening
EDM Injuries: Oscar Klefbom (leg infection), Andrew Ference (hip), Eric Gryba (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Brandon Davidson (knee), Adam Pardy (hand).
Colorado Avalanche (Calvin Pickard):
Avs Lines tentative due to injuries.
Mikkel Boedker –
Nathan MacKinnon – Blake Comeau
Mikhail Grigorenko – John Mitchell – Jarome Iginla
Shawn Matthias – Carl Soderberg – Andreas Martinsen
Cody McLeod – Jack Skille – Andrew Bodnarchuk
Francois Beauchemin – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Tyson Barrie
Eric Gelinas – Chris Bigras
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