Oilers vs Kings Preview – A fix for the power play blues?

Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty, left, is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall during third period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday February 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.


TALE OF THE TAPE:

Game: Edmonton Oilers (15-18-3) vs LA Kings (22-11-2)

Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta

Time: 7:00 PM MT

Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet Oilers – Radio: 630 CHED


Edmonton Oilers Preview:

Going into tonight’s game, the Oilers power play has been three for 30 during the month of December. Tonight, the Oilers look to fix that.

Earlier in the week, the Oilers recalled Brad Hunt from the Bakersfield Condors but due to travel restrictions he was unable to dress for the matchup against the Flames Sunday night. Now, he slides into the 3rd pairing alongside Eric Gryba, replacing Nikita Nikitin.

Hunt is also expected to play the point on the Oilers first powerplay unit this evening. Being the offensive defenceman he is, Hunt leads all Condors players with 23 points in 26 games.

“That’s what I’ve done down there in the AHL,” said Hunt. “It’s just one of those things I’m fortunate to have, a hard shot, and that’s what they want me to do, put pucks on the net. Hopefully the boys can bang them in.”

Anton Lander will also see power play minutes tonight, as he gets a shot on the Oilers first PP unit as well. This season has been the opposite of what I expected from Lander. After scoring 20 points in 38 games last year, Lander has just two in 36 this season.

Despite the drastic drop in point totals, Lander’s faceoff percentage has jumped 5% from last year now increasing to 55% total. On top of that, his play away from the puck has been much better this year. He has the skill to put up offensive numbers, it’s just about him finding his rhythm once again.

This is the third meeting between these two teams and with the Kings winning the prior two games 3-2 and 4-3, look for the Oilers to come out strong tonight. The line of Hall, Purcell and Draisaitl have combined for eight points in the two other games this year.

If the Oilers want to come out on top tonight, the Oilers other nine forwards need to pick up their game against the top team in the Pacific Division.

Cam Talbot gets the start for a second game in a row.

The Otherside:

It’s the third of a four-game road trip for Los Angeles and its second game in as many nights following a 5-0 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Forward Jeff Carter did not play because of an apparent hand injury and is day-to-day. It is unknown if he’ll be able to play Tuesday. Goaltender Jhonas Enroth could get his first start since Dec. 19; Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for the shutout in Vancouver. Forward Tyler Toffoli, who had a hat trick Monday, has five goals during a three-game point streak. The Kings have increased their lead atop the Pacific Division to nine points. “We’re in a pretty good position, and if we want to be there, we have to push the other teams back, and obviously no better way to do it than beat them,” center Anze Kopitar said.


Line Combos and Starting Goalies c/o Left Wing Lock:


Oilers (Cam Talbot):

Taylor Hall – Leon Draisaitl – Teddy Purcell
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Lauri Korpikoski
Luke Gazdic – Anton Lander – Iiro Pakarinen

Darnell Nurse – Andrej Sekera
Justin Schultz – Mark Fayne
Eric Gryba – Eric Gryba

LA Kings (Jonathan Quick):

Milan Lucic – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Nick Shore – Marian Gaborik
Trevor Lewis – Andy Andreoff – Dustin Brown
Michael Mersch – Jordan Weal – Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Derek Forbort – Jamie McBain

Any ideas on how to improve my game previews? Send me an email at zjlaing@gmail.com.


Zach Laing Written by: