The Oilers were shut out for the eighth time this season last night in Calgary. Only Montreal has been blanked more this season (ten times). The Oilers had some good chances, but Mike Smith made some great stops on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome. The Oilers do lead the league in putting up goose eggs on home ice with five, and Oilers fans are frustrated enough. They don’t need to sit for 60 minutes and not cheer once, other than when they are urged to cheer for a coffee cup, donut or race car to win whatever promotion is being shown on the big screen.
Oilersnation understands the playoffs aren’t happening, but at least give them something to cheer about when they show up at the game.
Pontus Aberg won’t get a better hockey opportunity in his life than what he’s had the past few games skating alongside Connor McDavid. He needs to show something soon or he might never get a chance again. He has good speed, but he needs to do more than have good speed to play with McDavid. He picked up an assist in his first game as an Oiler but is pointless in his last six. At some point he needs to get on the scoresheet playing alongside McDavid. A proven veteran will get a longer look, but for Aberg he has to start creating something, or getting in a dangerous scoring position, if he hopes to stay on McDavid’s right wing.
I liked RNH and McDavid last night. They created many really good chances, and while neither finished it was a good sign. I expect the’ll continue to create.
The powerplay is still a trainwreck and it needs to improve, without question. I understand the frustration from many to see Milan Lucic still on the top unit despite not having a PP point in 33 games. The coaches are being very loyal to him, but at some point, he needs to reward them or be taken off the top unit. He was taken off for a few games, but he’s been put back on it and there hasn’t been any change. At some point something has to give.
The one positive for the Oilers lately is they’ve started to cut down the quality chances against. It has only been three games, but they’ve only allowed three goals in the last three games. It is an area of their game they need to improve next season, so hopefully, they can build off of it. Last year their team defence was solid, but this year it has been a disaster for the most part.
Oscar Klefbom will play tonight and will have a procedure done soon to “clean up” his shoulder. When that occurs he will be out for the season, but the rehab from this mysterious procedure will supposedly not have him miss the 2018/2019 training camp. Keep in mind the Oilers open the regular season in Sweden next year and Klefbom is very excited about getting to play a regular season game in his home country. I don’t understand the secrecy over a shoulder procedure. Everyone knows he has a shoulder injury, so why not say what the procedure is? The opponents know he has a shoulder problem, and none have targeted it.
I assume they know what the issue is and Klefbom is comfortable playing with some discomfort until he can have surgery. He wants to keep playing until he can get in for surgery, which I understand. If it doesn’t impact his off-season training too much, I understand why he wants to keep playing, but if he ends up not being able to start training until August, then I question their plan. We’ll wait and see what exactly unfolds.
Demolo has seven points in his last six games, all assists, and he is getting more PP time as of late. He is starting to play a bit more lately, up to 15 min/game, and they feel his decisions with the puck have really improved. They would like him to shoot more, however. He only has 56 shots all season. They have been very careful of not giving him too many minutes or responsibilities but like his progress.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
A win tonight will allow San Jose to stay ahead of the teams chasing it in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles is currently holding onto the third spot, but is just one point behind after a shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes last night. Meanwhile, Anaheim is three points back, but the Ducks are also on the outside looking in. At this point, falling out of the Pacific also means falling out of the playoff picture altogether, something the Sharks cannot afford to do.
As for the Oilers, mathematically they are still in the playoff race, but realistically, their season ends on April 7. The Oilers are playing for pride at this point and they have plenty of firepower to make a win against any team in the league a possibility. They’re also angry and frustrated after a heavy game in Calgary last night that ended in a 1-0 loss.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers playing second game in as many nights and Sharks are hungry for a win. Oilers lose 4-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get two PP opportunities. In their first 35 home games they have had two or fewer PPs 17 times.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Baggedmilk is disgruntled as he prepares another “#BeetCast.” He decides to spice it up and adds some hot sauce and mayo to his beets and really enjoys the flavour combination. He likes his new “Hot Beets.”
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