TALE OF THE TAPE:
Game: Edmonton Oilers (22-34-7, 51 pts) vs New York Islanders (33-19-7, 73 pts)
Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton
Time: 7:30 PM MT
Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet One – Radio: 630 CHED
Edmonton Oilers Preview:
After falling to the hands of the Islanders 8-1 in Brooklyn on Feb. 7, the Oilers just haven’t quite looked the same.
The loss was dejecting, frustrating and downright disappointing. Since then, the Oilers have gone a measly 1-6-2 and have looked like a different team. The losing has taken it’s toll and the Oilers core group realizes it may not be together at the start of next year.
As tough as it may be to see happen, the truth is that the Oilers will likely have to do a deal involving Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle.
Peter Chiarelli’s comments yesterday noted that he wants to see the Oilers three centers – RNH, Draisaitl and McDavid – all playing together at once for an extended period. This is something the Oilers have not had the luxury of seeing this year.
Moving forward, there is an obvious need for this team to play with more fire and more passion in the game. We got a good look at that during the Oilers last two games in California against some really good Los Angeles and Anaheim teams.
Despite coming out on the short end of the stick, the Oilers managed to keep the games close to the end. That’s something we saw from the Oilers earlier in the year when they had put some real nice games together.
For the players, from now until the end of the year it is all about proving to the management team that they want to be Edmonton Oilers.
I’ve been told that Jordan Eberle has a desire to stay in Edmonton, and there is a chance he could moving forward. Now, he has to prove on the ice that he does by continuing to play at an elite level alongside Connor McDavid and Benoit Pouliot.
No nights off, no plays off.
That mentality needs to become embedded in the Oilers, and in their style of play. Starting tonight, the Oilers need to change the pace and change the attitude of the way they play night in and night out. Otherwise, the team will continue to be a laughing stock in the NHL.
The Oilers have a bit of a new look now that they have moved on from Justin Schultz, Teddy Purcell and Anders Nilsson. Expect a post from me later tonight analyzing those deals.
Predictions for tonight:
- Oilers win 4-2, breaking the curse the Islanders left on us in Brooklyn.
- Connor McHatTrick.
- The Oilers make a trade while the game is on.
New York Islanders Preview:
Defenseman Ryan Pulock likely will make his NHL debut. Pulock had seven goals and 24 points in 51 games with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. “There’s a good chance Ryan will play tomorrow,” coach Jack Capuano said after practice Saturday. Defenseman Calvin de Haan (lower body) remains out, so Marek Zidlicky or Brian Strait likely will be a healthy scratch to make room for Pulock. New York has won the first three games of a season-long seven-game road trip. Goalie Jaroslav Halak started each of those games and allowed two goals; he hasn’t started four straight since Jan. 14-25. – nhl.com
Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:
Oilers (Cam Talbot):
Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot – Connor McDavid – Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Lauri Korpikoski
Jujhar Khaira – Anton Lander – Nail Yakupov
Andrej Sekera – Mark Fayne
Jordan Oesterle – Brandon Davidson
Darnell Nurse- Adam Clendening
EDM Injuries: Oscar Klefbom (undisclosed), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand), Eric Gryba (knee).
Scratched: Iiro Pakarinen
New York Islanders (Jaroslav Halak):
Josh Bailey – John Tavares – Ryan Strome
Nikolai Kulemin – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee – Brock Nelson – Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Eric Boulton
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Brian Strait – Ryan Pulock
Thomas Hickey – Travis Hamonic
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