The Oilers rallied with three third period goals to complete the 5-3 comeback last night in Boston, and now they’re looking to keep the good times rolling as they take on the Buffalo Sabres in the second half of their back-to-back set.
Last night’s win over the Bruins was an emotional rollercoaster. The Oilers had to come back and tie the game three separate times before finally wrestling the lead away and putting two big points up on the board. They were resilient, they scored goals at even strength, and they didn’t let one loss turn into two, which is the result we all hoped for when we turned on the TV. A win on the road against an eastern contender? What’s not to like? Sure, you could argue that it wasn’t the prettiest win that you’ve ever seen — frankly, I was yelling at my TV more than a few times in the second period — but the important thing is that they found a way to beat a strong hockey club and stop the bleeding. The question for tonight’s game against the Sabres is: What do the boys have left in the tank?
Even though Buffalo has fallen off a cliff after starting the season on a mini heater — they’re coming into this thing on a five-game losing streak — this is a team that can ruin our night if the Oilers don’t give them their best. If Tuesday’s loss in Detroit is going to be a one-off lesson learned, we’re going to need everyone on board right from the jump without needing a period or more before they realize the game has started. Instead of playing down to their competition or even being a slump buster, I want to see the Oilers shoot a hole in Buffalo’s dinghy to prolong the suffering that’s going on there right now. If coming back against the Bruins is going to be like passing a test along the road to the playoffs then so too should be beating down a struggling Sabres team that’s given up 22 goals over their last five games played. Here’s hoping for a little killer instinct.
Let’s see what the numbers say…
|LAST 10 GAMES||8-2-0||3-5-2|
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||49.52||48.97|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
Hyman – McDavid – Puljujarvi
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Perlini – McLeod – Foegele
Benson – Ryan – Sceviour
Nurse – Bouchard
Keith – Ceci
Russell – Barrie
With the Oilers playing the second half of their back-to-back set, I assume we’ll see a least a change or two in the lineup, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens as we draw nearer to puck drop. Will Cody Ceci even be able to play? What we do know is that Stuart Skinner will get his second start of the season, and it will be intriguing to see how he follows up on what was mostly a strong start (gaff notwithstanding) against the Red Wings.
Skinner – Thompson – Asplund
Caggiula – Cozens – Hinostroza
Girgensons – Eakin – Okposo
Bjork – Ruotsalainen – Hayden
Dahlin – Pysyk
Bryson – Miller
Butcher – Hagg
Looking through the Sabres’ stats page, the first thing I noticed was that they’re getting goals from throughout their lineup, and while their top-end scoring is nowhere close to what we’ve got running here, they do have some guys that can burn the Oilers if they make mistakes. It’s not that we should necessarily be worried about getting into some kind of firefight or anything, but I’m still hoping for the best because I’d rather not watch the Oilers be the ones that let the Sabres back in the win column.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
For the first time since Jan. 2, 2020, the Sabres will face McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers on Friday at KeyBank Center. McDavid, 25, keeps getting better.
The dynamic center amassed a stunning 33 goals and 105 points in just 56 games last season. Entering Edmonton’s game Thursday against the Boston Bruins, his 23 points in 11 contests tied him for first in the NHL with teammate Leon Draisaitl.
What puts McDavid on such a higher level than other players? Granato said his acceleration and the way in which his lower body connects to his hands.
“It’s almost like they’re connected and yet they’re fluid and loose,” he said. “Sometimes you get going so hard skating, your upper body is little bit more tense. Him, he has, it’s almost like there’s a separation of fluidity between the two. … It’s fun to watch for everybody, except when you play against him. You hope that’s not the case.
“But … the dynamic speed and the ability to change gear is what happened (on Saturday’s goal). You think you got it. His speed is one thing but when he can hit another gear, because you’re always trying to gauge speed and try to match it. The moment you match it, he hits another gear, and you see that in a lot of highlights of his.”
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite giving up the first two goals, the Oilers come roaring back to secure a 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Drake Caggiula gets a point against his former club because the ex-Oilers curse is real and you all know it to be true.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gets his first goal of the season but does not add an assist. The goal was overdue and the boys will be pumped.
Looking to up your fantasy hockey game? DailyFaceoff has the tools you need for both daily and season-long fantasy leagues, including a lineup optimizer, daily projections, and a whole lot more. Sign up for the DailyFaceoff tools here.