The Edmonton Oilers reach Game Four of the season with a 1-2-0 record and (likely) without Leon Draisaitl. Added to the loss of Andrej Sekera, there’s more hell than a little bit when it comes to injured players on the roster. This, of course, is in stark contrast to one year ago when the entire roster was relatively healthy.
Any team with Connor McDavid is worth watching and has a chance to win. Add in a healthy and impressive Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers have (incredibly) a fine depth chart at centre even without the fantastic Draisaitl. The wingers? Well, that has yet to sort itself out but we’re going to see some young RW’s in feature roles this evening. Will someone emerge from the pack?
THE OILERS, BY NUMBERS
One of the major items I’m following this year is the Edmonton Oilers with and without Connor McDavid. How are they doing with him and without at 5×5?
- 2016-17 McDavid Corsi for 5×5: 53.07 (1332 for-1178 against)
- 2016-17 Oilers w/o 97 Corsi for 5×5: 48.38 (2,331 for -2,487 against)
McDavid not only has a far better possession number than the rest of the roster, he can also close business like no one on the planet. The Oilers with 97 a year ago lagged badly. Although we are in the early days, what are the indicators?
- 2017-18 McDavid Corsi for 5×5: 63.41 (78-45)
- 2017-18 Oilers w/o 97 Corsi for 5×5: 52.43 (97-88)
- Source: Natural Stat Trick
McDavid is off to another world in the early days of this season and the team without 97 is also up markedly. I can’t stress enough, these are early days, but the team is doing well in possession and shot metrics despite the 1-2-0 record.
Watching Leon Draisaitl play hockey is an absolute pleasure. When the big man sets that canoe paddle in the faceoff circle, he sets the tone for the ensuing engagement: It’s going to be a battle, you’re going to do a day’s work and chances are you’re going to be uncomfortable doing it. Edmonton will not have Leon in the lineup tonight and that’s going to be a massive loss on all levels. As entertainment, Leon is awesome. As a hockey player, he’s a frigging rock. Get well soon, Leon!
***UPDATE*** Todd McLellan confirms that Leon Draisaitl is suffering from “concussion-like symptoms.”
It’s a big ask — goalies have their ups and downs like any player — but the Oilers could use one of Cam Talbot’s patented stone-cold-thief performances this evening. The Senators have snipers galore (Hoffman is a freak) and the Oilers could outplay Ottawa and still lose on shooting accuracy alone. The young season is off to a slightly unexpected start. Getting a stellar goalie performance would be an outstanding outcome this evening.
Maroon – McDavid – Yamamoto
Lucic – Nugent-Hopkins – Kassian
Jokinen – Strome – Slepyshev
Khaira – Letestu – Pakarinen
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Auvitu – Gryba
At the time of posting, the Oilers haven’t released any lineup combos aside from Auvitu being in and Talbot getting the start. We’ll update the lines as news comes out.
Smith – Turris – Dzingel
Ryan – Brassard – Stone
Pyatt – Pageau – Hoffman
Thompson – Brown – Burrows
Phaneuf – Wideman
Browiecki – Chabot
Claesson – Ceci
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Looking at the schedule, the first road trip of the season had the potential to be a daunting one for the Ottawa Senators.
Not only because they were facing a couple quality teams during the three game swing, but also because they had to do it without two of their regulars on the blueline. With both Erik Karlsson and Johnny Oduya out for the first two games of the trip, the Senators were in a pretty tough spot.
But the team responded in a big way. They finally ended up on the right end of a shootout in Vancouver on Tuesday and followed that up with a sound trouncing of the Flames last night in Calgary.
The Senators look to cap off the road trip with another solid effort against Connor McDavid and the high-flying Edmonton Oilers.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Senators are on fire in the first period, scoring twice and seeing a third marker disallowed because Mark Borowiecki scored it with a headbutt. The Oilers are reeling after one period and fans are lined up at the bathrooms for all kinds of reasons.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers find their legs in the second period but Craig Anderson is doing his voodoo that he do. Eric Gryba scores, but so does Mike Hoffman and Oilers nation spends the second intermission trading away most of the roster.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The third period is all Oilers, with Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom scoring goals. Ottawa fades, the Oilers win 4-3 and it’s a rollicking “Whiskey in the Jar” night for Edmonton!