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Edmonton Oilers @ New York Islanders - Game 8 Preview

Can the Oilers find life on Long Island?

Bruce Bennett




1-5-1, 0.429 p/g
Ranks 2-2-2, 1.0 p/g
Western Conf: 15th Eastern Conf: T-7th
28th P/G T-17th
19th ST 9th
15th ES 24th
30th Goal 19th

5:00 p.m. MDT | Sportsnet
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The opposing view: Lighthouse Hockey

Top Story:

At some point the Oilers need to find a win, any way they can. Long Island would be a good place to start - the Islanders have been weak at even strength and that's where the Oilers will have to do their thing because the Islanders penalty kill is the best in the league right now and the Oilers have been terrible a man down. Stay out of the penalty box and win the game at even strength - the goaltending situation will sort itself out.

Small Sample Size Brilliance: The NHL leaders in PDO thus far are quite funny:

Player On Ice Sh % On Ice Sv % PDO
Dustin Penner 22.22 1000 1222
Teddy Purcell 16.67 1000 1167
Frans Nielsen 24.14 912 1153
Mike Brown 14.29 1000 1143
Luke Gazdic 14.29 1000 1143
Mikael Samuelsson 14.29 1000 1143
Joe Thornton 18.18 960 1142
Nathan MacKinnon 20 941 1141
Justin Fontaine 13.79 1000 1138
P.A. Parenteau 17.65 960 1136

The Oilers are saying:

"To have done the job so far and everything's going all right for us and it's a fanned shot and it goes right to the most dangerous guy on the ice, the hockey gods aren't lined up for us right now. We'll do an exorcism and see if they give us more leeway."

--Dallas Eakins on the Oilers against the Penguins.

Not everything was going right for the Oilers, but when everything has gone wrong, it's probably best to avoid blaming a team that stayed in it against Pittsburgh.

The Opponent is saying:

"Obviously Grabs' speed is his biggest asset. I don't think there's anyone in the League who can really back off defensemen like he can. He can create space. He's obviously been playing well. When he plays aggressive with his speed, I find that's when he's really making it tough on the other team."

--John Tavares, talking about the lineup change that put Michael Grabner on his line.

Given the troubles the Oilers defense has had in transition, Grabner is probably going to get some excellent chances this evening.

Key matchup: The Oilers third line against the Islanders third line and third pairing. There is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of mismatches tonight and it all starts with Gordon's line.

Expected Lines & Pairings:

Taylor Hall - Mark Arcobello - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov
Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Will Acton - Mike Brown

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Anton Belov - Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz - Andrew Ference

Devan Dubnyk

Scratches: Luke Gazdic, Phillip Larsen

The Islanders expected lineup based on recent practices and updates:

Michael Grabner - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen
Matt Moulson - Peter Regin - Cal Clutterbuck
Eric Boulton - Casey Cizikas - Matt Martin

Travis Hamonic - Andy MacDonald
Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey
Matt Carkner - Brian Strait

Evgeni Nabokov

If the Oilers lose this one, the entire team will want to be: