For the second time in as many nights, the Edmonton Oilers will be facing off against a Pacific Division rival to try and secure a four-point swing in the standings. Can it be done? We’re only a few short hours from finding out.
After running all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first ever season, is anyone really that surprised that the Golden Knights have crashed back to earth this year? I mean, c’mon… All season long, I kept thinking that each and every loss was going to be the one that sent Vegas spiralling towards the bottom of the standings but it just never happened. Remember when the Oilers absolutely pummelled the Golden Knights 8-2 at home last November? I was convinced that that was going to be game to send our boys shooting skyward and the Knights crashing back down to the bitter, dark hell we ended up in. Instead, they just kept finding ways to win and ended up only a few Ws away from writing one of the best sports stories of all time. Fast forward to this season and the Golden Knights have come back down to earth, and look much more like the team I expected them to be last year.
Looking back at last season, Edmonton was one of the few teams to actually have some consistent success against Vegas (3-1 record), managing to outscore the eventual runner-ups by a combined score of 16-11 over four games. Outside of that one game, a 4-1 road loss in mid-February, the Oilers were able to put up all kinds of offence against the Golden Knights and I’m hoping that a little bit of that touch has been able to carry over. They spread the goals around, Connor did his thing, and we went home happy 75% of the time. All in all, the series against Vegas was one of the few overall bright spots that we had last year so I ended up clutching to those three wins more than I probably should have or is totally reasonable. With the way last night’s game in Calgary ended, the boys need to do something to brighten the mood around here because that loss was every shade of disappointing. I’m thinking actually playing for the full 60 minutes would be a good start.
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||52.03||56.86|
Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)
Caggiula – McDavid – Draisaitl
Spooner – Nuge – Rattie
Lucic – Marody – Chiasson
Khaira – Brodziak – Kassian
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Benning
Gravel – Russell
After last night’s game in Calgary, there hasn’t been any indication just yet about what the line combinations are going to look like tonight so I’ve kept things the same until news comes out. For now, what we know for sure is that Cam Talbot will get the start but that’s about it. But I’ll keep checking for news on the bus ride home and update things as news comes out.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Underwhelming. That’s the one word that sums up the Vegas Golden Knights 2018-19 campaign thus far. The team isn’t buying into Gerard Gallant’s hard-working, three-zone style of play.
Vegas has struggled in all facets of the game, defending, scoring and goaltending have been average to subpar to start the year. And to make matters worse, the NHL’s newest team is banged up and filled with injuries. The club is missing Erik Haula and Paul Stastny to long-term ailments.
Luckily the Golden Knights have a lot of things working in their favor as of late. Vegas defeated the Anaheim Ducks in a 5-0 rout at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday night. The victory stopped a two-game skid and improved the overall team record to 8-10-1. Sure that record isn’t impressive in the slightest. However, nearly the entire Pacific division currently sits in a similar position.
Game Day Prediction: Back-to-back games? No problem. The Oilers handled the Golden Knights last season and they do it again this year, starting with a big 4-3 win tonight.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: I am soooooo hungover after last night’s Nation Road Trip game in Calgary and will definitely eat two-four bags of beef jerky to try and get over it.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: After landing in Edmonton early, the Golden Knights get their morning skate out of the way and spend the rest of the day at the Grand Villa Casino to try and make themselves feel more at home. They enjoy steak sandwiches and tip decently well.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/18/2018 – 12:00 pm MT