I am pretty sure that hockey fans across North America were thrilled to discover that there is just one game on the NHL schedule this evening, the Lightning versus the Oilers. With only one game being played there is nothing to distract from what is sure to be another gem from the team wearing blue and orange. And this is important because the Oilers aren't a team that you can truly appreciate until you see them play. We can write about their exploits on the the ice, but until you sit back and really watch a game, letting the sheer beauty of it wash over you, you can never really say that you've experienced the Oilers. Tonight is the night for that.
How To Tune In
As always the Sportsnet has the game; tonight you can find it on Sportsnet West.
What To Watch For From The Oilers
Defence and goaltending has been an ongoing issue for the Oilers through the early part of this season. Finally on Friday night the situation started to look a little less bleak. The Corsi events still show a game that was tilted slightly in the opposition's favour at even strength, but for a change the Oilers got the saves they needed to keep them in the game. With Steven Stamkos on the opposition bench tonight they will need a repeat performance from all involved when the puck is in their end of the rink. Stamkos has had a great start to the year with five goals in five games, if the Oilers can't contain him, or at least keep him from running wild, it could be a long evening for the home team.
What To Watch For From The Lightning
Over at Raw Charge they think that special teams could be a factor tonight:
The Lightning power play took a hit against the Canucks on Saturday (kudos to Vancouver's penalty kill) but the club is still ranked 4th in the NHL with a power play efficiency of just under 30%. While that's pretty darn impressive, the numbers will dissipate as the season progresses (...or so it should). The Lightning penalty kill is also an effective 89.5%, good for sixth overall in the NHL. Edmonton, on the other hand, is 14th in the league at the moment on the power play with a 20% efficiency and the penalty kill unit... leaves something to be desired. They're 25th overall in the league, killing off just over 73% of opponents power plays. To summarize, if the Oilers play sloppy and go to the penalty kill, the likelihood is that this is over.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Be sure to check out our StoryStream for all of the Oilers/Lightning game day coverage you could ever want.