Leon Draisaitl makes a difference. We’ve been talking for a long time about LD as the next player who can push the river on his own line, but his extreme value to the McDavid line is once again obvious early in the 2017-18 season. A year from now, with Kailer Yamamoto turning 20, perhaps there will be another solution. For now, it’s a solid bet to assume the song will remain the same tonight in Edmonton.
- Leon Draisaitl ranks No. 4 among all forwards in 5×5/60 scoring per game (five games or more).
- Lots of questions surrounding Kailer Yamamoto and his possible return to Spokane. I think he’s earned at least one more game, but if the club gets on a roll it could be awhile.
- Darnell Nurse is getting a lot of attention for his step forward this year, and it was timely for the organization. It looks like Matt Benning is coming around as well, good news for Todd McLellan.
- Fingers crossed for the Milan Lucic—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Ryan Strome line. If that trio can score consistently 5×5, this Oilers team will have solved a major issue.
- Imperative someone emerges from the bottom 6F and scores soon. My money is on Zack Kassian, with Anton Slepyshev a close second.
- Cam Talbot is No. 16 among NHL starters with a .922 even-strength save percentage. He ranks No. 26 among the same group of goalies against the opposition’s power play. In six career games against the Capitals, Talbot is sporting a 926 save%.
- In 14 career games against Edmonton, Alex Ovechkin has lit them up to the tune of 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points.
- I kept wondering why Oscar Klefbom’s shots lacked the power of last year, and felt he was a tad late to some plays. Jason Gregor’s reporting got us the answer: some bumps and bruises. He’s still playing a ton.
- Tyler Benson is back in Vancouver and playing for the Giants. He had six shots on goal and a late tally in his first WHL game of the season last night.
- The only Oilers prospect I can find who hasn’t played a league game this season? John Marino. He’ll get his season underway with Harvard tomorrow afternoon.
- Despite a difficult month, there are some good things happening for the Oilers. There have been some difficult games in the early schedule and now they’re through. Also, teams like Anaheim, San Jose and Calgary are still within range.
- Concerns include a very strong start for the Los Angeles Kings and a Vancouver Canucks club who are finding some traction. I expect the Vegas Golden Knights will eventually fade but that might not come until later than expected.
- Milan Lucic will be playing in his 32nd career game against the Capitals. Over the course of the first 31GP, he has seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points.
GAME DAY QUESTIONS
- Would you run with the same lines, pairings and goalie as the Thursday game?
- What can we expect from Washington’s power play versus Edmonton’s penalty kill?
- If NHL teams begin running enforcers out against Edmonton, will we see Luke Gazdic back in Edmonton?
- Zack Kassian is only one point away from 100 for his career and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is one goal away from 100 in his career. Can either player hit their respective century mark tonight?
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Game Page, 10/28/2017, 12:00pm