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GDB 57.0: Oilers should beat the Blues but need to give a full 60 minutes (6:30pm MT, SNW)

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Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
Tonight is a game the Edmonton Oilers should win. And I expect they will.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL odds with online sportsbook Betway.
The St. Louis Blues lost 4-2 in Winnipeg last night, then had the extra-long bus ride (if you know, you know) before arriving in Edmonton early this morning. The Blues won’t be a pushover by any stretch, but Edmonton is a better team, and I expect they will be looking to build on their performance vs. Los Angeles two nights ago.
They played a solid game. They limited the Kings’ chances, especially in the first period, and then their penalty kill changed the momentum with two huge kills, including 24 seconds of 5-on-3. The Oilers’ penalty kill has been very good under Kris Knoblauch, except for a seven-game debacle. It looks like they’ve found their stride again when on the PK.
In their first 33 games the Oilers’ penalty killers allowed only 11 goals on 105 kills for a stellar 89.5%. Then for seven games they couldn’t kill a penalty to save their collective life. They allowed 11 goals on 22 kills over seven games. It was stunning to see, but they’ve steadied the ship and in their last three games they’ve allowed one goal on 10 kills.
The key for the PK tonight will be avoiding taking eight penalties like they did a few weeks ago in St. Louis. But I wouldn’t be too concerned about their penalty kill. It had a slight hiccup, but overall, it is good.
You could say the same thing about the Oilers’ overall team defence. It has been strong since Knoblauch and Paul Coffey arrived, but they got away from what worked when returning from the bye week and All-Star break. They want to build off the LA game, as that looked much more like the games they played in December and January. They didn’t give up much. They were patient, they didn’t take many unnecessary chances. They limited their giveaways and waited patiently for opportunities.
The Oilers have more high-end skill than St. Louis. The chances will come, especially because the Blues aren’t a great defensive team.
The Blues are in the bottom tier in 10 of 13 defensive categories, while the Oilers, even with their bad start to the season, are top-five in seven categories, including now fourth best in high danger chances against. If the Oilers play to their standards this is a game they should dominate.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kane – RNH – Janmark
Foegele – McLeod – Perry
Holloway – Ryan – Brown
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Skinner
The Oilers had an optional skate this morning, but I see no reason to change the lineup after Monday’s victory. The lines will change eventually, as some players get hot or cold, and possibly due to matchups, but I expect Knoblauch to run the same lines tonight.

Blues

Buchnevich – Thomas – Kyrou
Bolduc – Schenn – Neighbours
Saad – Hayes – Toropchenko
Alexandrov – Sundqvist – Walker
Leddy – Parayko
Krug – Faulk
Scandella – Tucker
Binnington
Former Edmonton Oil King Jake Neighbours had a really strong game earlier this month in St. Louis. He will be fired up playing in the rink where he had loads of success with the Oil Kings.
Justin Faulk is back in the Blues lineup and gives them some more experience and offensive punch in their top four. However, I do think the Oilers can expose him if they can force him to defend for longer stretches.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers end the homestand with consecutive victories. They win big tonight 6-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid has another two-point game.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: It happens tonight. Connor Brown scores his first goal of the season. And the crowd gives him a massive ovation.

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