I don’t know that there’s anything in the Oilers universe that I love quite like an 11 AM start to kick off my Sunday, and that’s why I’m excited to be getting us all set for this morning’s matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Now that our playoff spot is locked up and all that’s left to do before the big dance is wrap up these last four games, I’ll still be looking for the Oilers to finish up strong and ensure that they’ve got home ice heading into the playoffs. The good news is they can do exactly that with a win this morning against the Blue Jackets, so even though we know we’re going to the postseason, we’ve still got some items left on our to-do list to check off. Not only do I want to see the Oilers give themselves the Rogers Place bump, but we’ve also got a captain that’s battling with Jonathan Huberdeau over what would be his fourth Art Ross Trophy. I know McDavid says that the personal awards don’t matter to him anymore — I love that he and Leon talk that way, ya know — but I also think he’s too competitive of a guy to not want another piece of hardware for the trophy case.
Standing in the way of yet another five-game winning streak for Jay Woodcroft is a Columbus Blue Jackets team that struggling to do anything right at the moment. Not only are they coming into this morning’s game on a four-game losing streak and 3-8-4 overall since the trade deadline, but they’re also missing some key pieces up front and on defence, making this a winnable game for our heroes. Even with the injuries and general sadness of a losing streak — the Blue Jackets have been outscored 13-8 over that stretch — this won’t be a cakewalk for the Oilers and they’d best be ready to go from the opening faceoff since we all know how playing down to the competition goes. That said, Edmonton hasn’t lost to Columbus since March of 2018 and it’s a streak that I’d love to see continue this morning. Besides, is there any better way to kick off your Sunday Funday than a matinee win? Of course not. Now, let’s get these points.
Let’s see what the numbers say…
|LAST 10 GAMES||8-1-1||3-5-2|
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||52.23||45.04|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
Kane – McDavid – Yamamoto
McLeod – Draisaitl – Hyman
Foegele – RNH – Ryan
McLeod – Shore – Kassian
Russell – Ceci
Keith – Bouchard
Kulak – Barrie
Seeing as the game started so early, we didn’t get much information on what the line combos will look like so what I’ve got above is simply a guess at the trios and d-pairings based on Friday night’s game against Colorado. What we know right now is that Darnell Nurse won’t play and that the defensive crew will need to step up to fill those minutes in his absence, and it will be interesting to see who Woodcroft leans on the most or how he spreads the minutes around.
Nyquist – Roslovic – Voracek
Johnson – Sillinger – Danforth
Robinson – Kuraly – Bjorkstrand
Bemstrom – Gaunce – Meyer
Bean – Peeke
Gavrikov – Blankenburg
Carlsson – Bayreuther
When the Blue Jackets lost to Ottawa on Friday night, they were missing nine of their starters, including Werenski, Laine, and Jenner. I don’t care what team you are or how good your depth is, losing nine of your regulars is a big problem and one the Oilers need to exploit.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Columbus was without nine of their own Friday night, including their biggest stars – Zach Werenski and Patrik Laine. They were once again missing their captain, Boone Jenner as well. Adam Boqvist was also ruled out from sustaining a lower body injury in practice on Thursday.
Seven of the nine team members were out due to injury and Alexandre Texier was still on his indefinite LOA, which should run through the end of the season. Also absent was defenseman Dean Kukan, who was a healthy scratch.
The Jackets played their hearts out, but missing so much firepower took its toll as they went silent for the last two-and-a-half periods of regulation as well as overtime and shootouts on their way to a defeat.
ROSLOVIC STILL HOT
With the aforementioned goal, Roslovic now has ten points in the past six games with eight of those points being goals. The only thing that would have made it sweeter is if Jack was able to score on his shootout opportunity.
Roslovic has been up and down with his scoring this year, but there is no denying that he has been very hot as of late. He seems to have found his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff as well, as he has seen his minutes increase over the past couple of months.
Game Day Prediction: Nothing gets your Sunday started quite like a 4-2 brunch win for the boys!
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid gets yet another multi-point game. Jay Woodcroft gets yet another five-game winning streak.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Evander Kane follows up his hat trick with another multi-goal game.
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
How can you not be excited about what’s going on with the Edmonton Oilers right now? With Clinchmas upon us, I dove into what’s working, what I’m excited about, and how Jay Woodcroft has turned this team around in a way I didn’t think was possible. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.