The Oilers seven game home stand comes to an end tonight. It's been a good run for the home team, they've skated off the ice victorious in four of the six games played so far. And after the ugly start to the season that preceded this extended engagement on home ice, the wins have been a welcome change for the fans, the players, and likely a few people in the front office as well. This home stand wraps up in the exact same way that it got started, with a visit from the Vancouver Canucks, a team that the Oilers have already lost to twice this season, hopefully the third time is the charm.
How To Tune In
It's Saturday night, so CBC at 8PM same as always.
What To Watch For With The Oilers
At practice yesterday the Oilers swapped Leon Draisaitl and Mark Arcobello. That put Draisaitl between Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov; Arcobello was skating with David Perron and Teddy Purcell. Things have been going well for the top line so far, and the fourth line has been doing it's job as well, but in between things haven't been good enough. Secondary scoring has been non existent with this team so far; the Oilers middle six has scored a whopping six even strength goals this year.
When the Oilers head back out on the road after tonight, it will be tougher for the coaches to get favourable match-ups and if they have only one line scoring goals then those road trips are going to be very painful and seem very, very long. We'll have to see if the Oilers go with these lines tonight in an attempt to shake things up and get more players contributing throughout the lineup.
What To Watch For With The Cancuks
So far this season, outside of the second line which has been particularly strong at even strength production, the Canucks have been a below average team in 5v5 production, statistically speaking (Team 5v5 GF -3). However, a lot of this stems from the Dallas and Colorado games, which threw off the small sample size. The good news is that the team as a whole has generally been winning the shot attempt battle. They did an excellent job of taking away time and space and suppressing quality attempts against a quick Canadiens team until late in the game. Where the bottom six struggled early on, they have certainly better hockey as of late. Brad Richardson in particular has been a hot hand. But Matthias, Dorsett and Kassian have all played fairly well during the Canucks current three game win streak.