Game Day

Oilers Gameday – @ Ottawa

The Edmonton Oilers will face off against the Ottawa Senators to wrap up their four game road trip while hoping to improve on a 2-1-0 record. The Oilers are fresh off an overtime win against Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils and they will face an Ottawa Senators team that will be looking to end a four-game winless streak.

Defenceman Brandon Davidson is available to return, but will likely sit this one out as the Oilers keep a winning roster together tonight.

Oiler fans will have to be on more pins and needles as backup Jonas Gustavsson draws in for just his fifth start of the year. Mike Condon will man the crease for the Senators.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

Edmonton: The Oilers will have to face some fatigue after firing 43 shots against Cory Schneider in last night’s victory. While they may be slightly tired, the Oilers need to play a similar game to take advantage of a struggling Senators team. Without Cam Talbot in the net to save the day, the Oilers will need to give Jonas Gustavsson plenty of run support.

Ottawa: Find some offence. The Senators have focused on a defensive approach under new head coach Guy Boucher, but that has also resulted in a lack of offence. The Sens were shut out by the Capitals in their last game and only have six goals during their four-game losing streak.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Edmonton: Matt Benning. Benning scored his first NHL goal last night in New Jersey and has found an offensive touch since returning to the lineup after a few healthy scratches. Benning has points in four of his last five games scoring 5GP 1-3-4. He’s played strong two-way hockey and could be breaking out offensively finally.

Ottawa: Bobby Ryan. Ryan returns from injury to face off against the Oilers. While Bobby Ryan is not worth his ghastly contract, he has had a certain amount of success against the Orange and Blue dating back to his time with Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks. Ryan has 22 points in 25 games against the Oilers in his career.

THE LINES:

The Oilers will run with the same lineup that dominated the New Jersey Devils in all facets of the game, while the Senators will bring Bobby Ryan back into the lineup in favour of d-man Fredrik Claesson.

EDMONTON OILERS LINES

Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot – Drake Caggiula – Jordan Eberle
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Anton Lander

Andrej Sekera – Matt Benning
Kris Russell – Adam Larsson
Oscar Klefbom – Eric Gryba

Jonas Gustavsson

OTTAWA SENATORS LINES

Ryan Dzingel – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Zack Smith – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Mike Hoffman – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Tom Pyatt
Chris Kelly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Neil

Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman

Mike Condon

GAME NOTES:

While the McDavid line gets all the headlines, I have been thoroughly impressed with the Looch-Nuge-Kass line. They were dominant along the boards and controlled the play almost every time they stepped on the ice. They are bound to start producing.

Jordan Eberle’s struggles are starting to get ridiculous. The last ten games, Eberle has produced only three assists. He may never score again….

Former Edmonton Oil King Curtis Lazar is having a rough season. Lazar has not produced a single point in 18 games. I floated an idea of swapping Yakupov for Lazar and people told me I was crazy and that it was not a fair deal….but I digress.

Tonight’s start marks Jonas Gustavsson’s first start since December 8 in a 6-5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

PREDICTION:

After being stymied by Craig Anderson during an emotional battle in the first matchup of the season, the Oilers keep up their strong play from last night’s game to a 4-2 win.

The Oilers get two goals from Lucic, one from Draisaitl on the power play and one from Andrej Sekera. Matt Benning chips in two assists.

Gustavsson gets the win as he only faces 24 shots all game.

 

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