Monkey off the back. Check.
So now it's time to start winning I guess. That's how it works right? I know with losses that after a few it starts to feel like you're rolling down an incredibly large hill, losing more and more games, picking up speed along the way, losing even more, until finally, mercifully, you reach the bottom of the hill and the season comes to an end in April. But I'm less familiar with this concept of winning. I'm going to just assume that it works he exact same way. I hope you enjoy another Oilers win this evening. I know that I will.
How To Tune In
Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet 1 will be carrying the game this evening. Things get going at 7:30 MT, and with the Senators/Leafs game postponed in the wake of the shootings in Ottawa today this will be the only game played in Canada this evening, so expect the national anthem to be a good one.
What To Watch For With The Oilers
This is game seven of Draisaitl Watch 2014 and things aren't looking good for the young man. He's clearly got some amazing skills but he simply is not ready to play in the NHL; if you didn't read it, Jonathan Willis had a great piece about this at Oilers Nation yesterday. But even though he shouldn't be in the NHL a week from now when the Oilers host the Predators I expect that he will be. I thought this in July and I think the same today. The Oilers are going to look at who's available within the organization to replace him and then what a replacement will cost in a trade and decide neither works for them, and they will keep him here rather than doing what's best for his development as a player.
What To Watch For With The Capitals
Under new coach Barry Trotz the Capitals are looking good again. One reason for that is their play at even strength. From Jaspers' Rink:
Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are once again forces at five-a-side, Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky are anchoring a surprisingly effective second line with a cool 55.9% CF percentage, Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner are humming along... hell, even Brooks Orpik is on the right side of 50% in standard possession metrics. These are the salad days of Caps' five-on-five play (at least post-Bruce Boudreau), even if that shot percentage is likely going to drop some over time.
Having a defensive system (complete with effective controlled breakouts!) and the personnel to execute it has helped possession numbers, primarily via shot volume reduction. This was the blueprint, and what they've built so far looks like a solid foundation.
Projected Line Combinations
Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Teddy Purcell - Leon Draisaitl - David Perron
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu
Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin - Justin Schultz
Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson - Andre Burakovsky - Jay Beagle
Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward
Liam O'Brien - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Michael Latta
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt - Mike Green
Be sure to check out our StoryStream for all of the Oilers/Capitals game day coverage you can handle.