|1-3-0, 0.5 p/g
||Ranks||4-1-0, 1.6 p/g|
|Western Conf: T-13th||Eastern Conf: 1st|
5:00 p.m. MDT | CBC - HNIC
The Oilers are struggling to put together a complete performance and after 8 years, the fans are finally getting upset. Devan Dubnyk gave the Oilers a solid start against Montreal, but the defense, especially Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz suffered from breakdowns and the Oilers couldn't finish.
Suomi: Jesse Joensuu is getting close to his return from a back injury and could draw in tonight. The rumors about who he draws in for are addressed below.
The Oilers are saying:
"NHL is a give-and-go league, and Yakupov, certainly against the Habs, wasn't doing that."
--Jim Matheson, on the possibilities of Nail Yakupov being scratched for Jesse Joensuu.
If talent were an issue, scratching Nail Yakupov would make sense. If effort were an issue, scratching Nail Yakupov would make sense. If injuries were an issue, scratching Nail Yakupov would make sense. Throughout all of the struggles of this team in the last 8 seasons, no one has suggested scratching any of the wunderkind except Pat Quinn in regards to Sam Gagner. But Quinn was crazy, and so it follows.
Yakupov is playing hard, and doing what he can to break the game open. If the Oilers want more from him, put him in a different position or move him around the lineup. Yakupov has the same number of shots as Jordan Eberle in half-of-an-hour less TOI, the same number of goals, and they're both the same -3, but no one is calling for Eberle to dress in a suit. When Taylor Hall was trying zone entries 1 on 3 three games ago, no one suggested that the press box was the right thing for him and it's not the right thing for Yakupov.
The Opponent is saying:
"I’m not going to start to single individuals out, four games into the season, but we all know we have to be better."
-- Randy Carlyle on the Leafs' performance to date.
The Leafs are surrendering 35 shots per game a season after giving up 32 shots per game. Randy Carlyle can complain about Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner until he's red in the head, but the team and system is heavily flawed. If they're bleeding shots against, the Oilers open up on them tonight and get untracked.
Key matchup: The Oilers 4-on-5 pairing of Andrew Ference and Nick Schultz have to be better. In fact, I'm not sure why they're a pairing while short-handed at all. If they get stuck on extended shifts against Kessel, Lupul and Kadri, they're going to be buried.
Expected Lines & Pairings:
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Ales Hemsky
Jesse Joensuu - Boyd Gordon - Nail Yakupov
Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Mike Brown
Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz - Anton Belov
Scratches: Denis Grebeshkov - Ryan Hamilton - Brandon Davidson
The Maple Leafs expected lineup based on recent practices and updates:
James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
David Broll - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
Josh Leivo - Dave Bolland - Mason Raymond
Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - Colton Orr
Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Cody Franson - Morgan Rielly
Paul Ranger - Jake Gardiner
If the Oilers lose this one, the angst meter will tick just a bit higher, so here's something to kill the pain: Fentanyl Blues, By Izzy and Chris: