Two teams that have dominated the headlines over the last week for, shall I say, off-ice reasons will meet this afternoon in Edmonton to play some ice hockey.
With eight games left on their schedule, the Oilers have two of the league’s top-five leading scorers, but sit six points back of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They’re expecting a win tonight against the Sens, who are coming off a poor 5-1 trouncing against the Flames with multiple players injured or sick.
Some healthy bodies should be back into the lineup tonight, including Thomas Chabot and Colin White. However, Cody Ceci remains doubtful, and many players (including Chris Tierney) are still battling the flu. Here’s what we’re expecting tonight given this information:
Duclair - White - Boedker
Balcers - Gibbons - Paajarvi
Smith - Lindberg - Ryan
Chabot - DeMelo
Wolanin - Jaros
Borowiecki - Brannstrom
Disgruntled Oilers forward is out for the year with a hip injury, but otherwise, the Oilers are relatively healthy. Here’s what we expect from them, with Mikko Koskinen in net:
Lucic - Draisaitl - Chiasson
Gambardella - Brodziak - Currie
Rieder - Cave - Gagner
Klefbom - Larsson
Nurse - Russell
Sekera - Benning
Extras: Puljujarvi (inj.)
- The Kings (60 points), Wings (62 points), and Devils (63 points) are the only semi-realistic candidates that the Sens can catch. The Oilers are 6-4-0 in their last-10 — the best record among Western Conference wild card teams other than the Dallas Stars, but still have five teams ahead of them.
- The Oilers’ version of Max Veronneau and Rudolfs Balcers are playing on their third line. Like Veronneau, Joseph Gambardella is coming off of his first week in the NHL and picked up his first point (an assist) in a win against Matt Duchene’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Josh Currie’s been up for 15 games, with 5 points (2G, 3A) in those contests.
- Like Belleville, Bakersfield has had a wild second half, and they currently lead their Pacific Division by eight points. Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody, their top two scorers, are currently still playing there.
- On Ottawa’s end, the team returned Filip Chlapik and Vitaly Abramov to Belleville yesterday, but the duo weren’t able to dress in the BSens’ 2-0 loss to Providence. Erik Brannstrom is still up in Ottawa given Ceci’s injury, and some uncertainty with the health of Borowiecki. He was a positive player in terms of shot metrics against Calgary.
- While Anthony Duclair has impressed on the scoresheet, he only played more than Mikkel Boedker at 5-on-5. Duclair’s the type of player that should be playing a ton so that the Sens can see if he’s worth retaining — especially more than older, impending free agents in Gibbons, Lindberg, and Paajarvi.
- Remember: this is a 4:00pm EST start, with the game on the Sportsnet series of channels in Canada.
|Penalty Kill %||79.1||23rd||80.7||16th|
|Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted)||44.32||31st||49.02||18th|
|Fenwick (5v5, SVA)||44.93||31st||49.03||19th|
|Goals||Brady Tkachuk||19||Jeff Skinner||37|
|Assists||Chris Tierney / Thomas Chabot||37||Jack Eichel||49|
|Points||Thomas Chabot||50||Jack Eichel||75|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||187||Jack Eichel||278|
|TOI/GP||Thomas Chabot||24:07||Rasmus Ristolainen||24:42|