This fall for Edmonton Oilers fans has been a lot about frustration. Coming to grips with the fact general manager Peter Chiarelli has assessed this as a ‘growth year’ is difficult when the weather is fine, borderline impossible when the cold winds blow. The team itself has had tremendous difficulty in areas that had previously been strengths (goal, power play) and the penalty killing is ‘expansion team’ level so far this year.
Even with all the bad news, there are some interesting things to talk about with this team. If the Oilers can get back into the Pacific Division race, and find a scoring winger for the Nuge line, we may see a more mature offence than the one that ripped up the charts one year ago.
OILERS 5X5 SCORING (FORWARDS) 2017-18
Anything over 2.00/60 is good and having five men over that plateau is excellent. The McDavid line is always soaring above the crowd, but that second (Nuge) line is showing some positive arrows. We talk of three scoring lines—unicorns!—but being able to roll out two consistent scoring lines would be very beneficial for this team.
One quick note: Despite the disastrous start for the third and fourth lines, there are signs of life. The offensive output (explosion?) from Friday night has names like Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula on the board, plus Ryan Strome nearing established career levels. Oilers need more, but there are some good signs.
THE OTHER SIDE
To this point, Detroit has lost the first of their four road games on this trip and will want to get themselves back in the win column. They lost to Ottawa 3-1 on Thursday night, and are coming off two days to rest before today’s matinee affair in Edmonton. Prior to the loss against the Senators, Detroit was on a two-game winning streak but are 3-6-1 in their last 10 contests. Last season, the Oilers were a perfect 2-0 against Detroit, a feat they would love to repeat this year.
Scratches: Johan Franzen (concussion) is on IR and Danny DeKeyser (ankle) is listed as day-to-day.
At the time of posting, the Oilers hadn’t released their lineups yet, but we know that Slepyshev probably won’t be available for today’s contest which makes it seem likely that Yamamoto will play in his ninth NHL game. We’ll update the lineups as they come out.
Nyquist – Zetterberg – Tatar
Athanasiou – Larkin – Mantha
Helm – Nielsen – Abdelkader
Wilson – Glendening – Frk
Ericsson – Daley
Kronwall – Green
Ouellet – Jensen
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Detroit went .500 this week, but they need to play more consistently at a higher level if they want to collect more W‘s. Keeping the lines consistent has helped, especially when it comes to the Kid Line as they’ve been the best part of this team since they’ve been playing together. Blashill has kept his promise to give them more minutes at important times of the game and it’s payed off in the form of points for them and penalties killed. If they can keep that line together going forward, I will be happy.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The game begins with a sleepy feel, but the visitors cash on a power play midway through the first (Anthony Mantha). Edmonton is outshot 12-3 in the period, fans walking past the sushi in search of stronger stuff after One.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The second period sees Edmonton find its legs and push hard, but a shorthanded goal by Detroit late in the frame has the home side down by a pair after 40. Oilers get 18 shots to Detroit’s six, fans walk past the easily available fare and go on a deep dive for a Curve Burger.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The third period will be remembered for some time, as the Oilers hold an impromptu “turn back the clock” afternoon, scoring five goals in 20 minutes and flattening the winged wheel. McDavid with four points, Oilers win, first star Curve Burger.
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Game Page, 11/05/2017 – 9:30am MST