The Edmonton Oilers march into Vancouver tonight fresh from their most complete game in years. We talked, argued, fought, name called, ignored, ranted, rambled, used the silent treatment, got pissy at each other, and generally had a blast all summer talking about what this team might do opening night 2017-18. I don’t recall suggesting the Oilers would snap off that kind of complete effort October 4th, did you? Is something happening here?
- In practice yesterday, Zack Kassian took some shifts with the Nuge line (via Bob Stauffer) and Iiro Pakarinen slotted in on the Letestu trio as well. This could mean anything, but something to monitor.
- Todd McLellan, like most NHL coaches, usually stays the course after a win. Cam Talbot should be well rested, the group played well in Game One, it could be a few games before Yohann Auvitu gets to see the ice.
- Oilers 2016 third-round selection Filip Berglund is emerging as a bona fide prospect in the SHL this season. He is averaging 16:11 a night, and is 6gp, 1-3-4. Early days but a big step forward for Berglund.
- Kailer Yamamoto is the only Oilers rookie skater this season (so far). He is one of 45 so far in the NHL. Yamamoto played 6:33 in his debut, the lowest TOI total of the 45 men. Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins led in that department, with a cool 22 minutes. All information via NHL.com.
- The Oilers are doing well across all categories (one game alert). Connor McDavid leads the league in goals (a tie); Zack Kassian is tied for No. 8 in PIMs; Oscar Klefbom is tied for third in shots and Cam Talbot leads the league (tie) in save percentage.
- Anton Slepyshev had five shots on goal last night in the Condors opener, a 4-1 loss to the Stockton Heat. Every chance he gets called back up soon. AHL boxscore is here, Ethan Bear scored the only Bakersfield goal. It was the first of his pro career.
- There’s a worry among some in Oilersnation that this team will look past the Canucks, be unprepared for them. I’ll counter with the last time these two teams met, right at the end of preseason. The Canucks could win tonight, on merit. Although Vancouver is in a mini-rebuild, there’s a bunch of actual NHL players on the other side. I suspect the team will be prepared, perhaps fans are the ones looking past the opponent.
- The Oilers were 4-0-1 in their five games against the Canucks a year ago and are 7-0-3 in their last 10. Edmonton didn’t have a great outing in their last pre-season matchup but it’s reasonable to expect a better effort tonight.
- Two of the five games against the Canucks were decided by one goal last season while the Oilers were more lopsided. Last season’s matchups played out with scores of (2-0 EDM, 3-2 VAN, 2-0 EDM, 3-2 EDM, 5-2 EDM)
- The Canucks will be without Brendan Gaunce with a hip problem and Cole Cassels with an arm injury.
Source: NHL.com, Official NHL Website, 10/07/2017, 12:00pm MST