Two consecutive wins is usually not a big deal, but if the Oilers can win tonight many in Oilersnation will be tempted to follow in the footsteps of the enthusiastic Frank “the Tank.” Wins haven’t been plentiful in Edmonton for the previous eight seasons, so I can understand why people get excited when one is actually achieved. People were honking their horns on Wayne Gretzky drive after Monday’s win, so it is clear the citizens of Oilersnation needed a win, and are hoping for another.
The players and coaches won’t look past the Capitals, but if the Oilers can pick up a win tonight, they could skate into the weekend on a three-game winning streak with the struggling Carolina Hurricanes in town on Friday.
The Oilers have played very well their past two games and will try to build on that tonight. The Capitals are 3-0-2 in their first five and they haven’t played since Saturday. They are rested and they have played with much more energy and emotion under Barry Trotz thus far.
Alex Ovechkin has five goals in five games and he’s re-ignited the physical aspect of his game. Ovechkin plays best when he is emotionally and physically involved, and he has responded well to Trotz.
Tonight we get the luxury of watching the two best left wingers in the NHL. Taylor Hall has four goals and he’s become the clear-cut emotional leader of the team. It should be very entertaining to watch him and Ovechkin go head-to-head.
No reason to switch up the lines. You can expect to see Hall/RNH/Eberle battle the Backstrom/Ovechkin line a lot tonight. Gordon’s trio will face them at times, as well, but Eakins will go power vs. power tonight.
Draisaitl and Arcobello’s lines need to chip in. Perron, Pouliot, Yakupov and Purcell need to be better than Washington’s second and third lines.
Fayne and Marincin were excellent on Monday. Fayne is the Oilers best D-man in his own zone, and it isn’t close. He gets excellent body position, has a good stick and he is strong enough he can battle with any size forwards. He also makes excellent outlet passes. His pass that sprung Hall for a breakaway and the subsequent penalty shot was a thing of beauty. I’d like to see him and Marincin play a few more minutes.
It was refreshing to see the Oilers blueliners shoot the puck more on Monday. Nikitin and Schultz got the memo that shooting is important, and hopefully they don’t need another reminder in a week or two.
He has played two solid games and he will need to be very good against, a big, fast, skilled and determined Capitals team.
The Capitals have been excellent at moving the puck quickly out of their zone. They have an excellent puck transporter on each pairing, and Trotz has instilled a “get the puck out of our zone as quick as possible.”
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Old school is one of my favourite movies and Frank is an absolute beauty. If the Oilers win I could see Wanye or a few other of the loyal Nation readers calling for a streaking party, however, I don’t see it happening against the Caps. They are a very improved team. Oilers lose 4-3 in OT in an entertaining affair.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The fans belt out O Canada with extra emotion to honour the slain solider who lost his life in Ottawa earlier today.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: David Perron picks up his first penalty and his first goal of the season. Perron celebrates with a enthusiastic double fist pump, but during his second fist pump he accidentally raps Benoit Pouliot in the face. The inadvertent shot seems to wake up Pouliot and later in the game he also scores his first goal of the season.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
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