When tonight's game versus the New Jersey Devils comes to an end the Oilers will be twenty games into their 2014/15 campaign and they won't yet have beaten a team from their own conference. That's a quarter of the season in the books and not a single win over a team from the Western Conference. The last eight years have seen the Oilers reach new low after new low, but even with that in mind this just isn't the kind of thing you really every expect to happen.
As for the game this evening, the Oilers play host to the Devils in their one and only trip to Edmonton this season. The Devils currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, in large part because they don't take enough shots and they don't score enough goals. In the Devils first two games of the season they scored six and five goals in what were both wins. Since then they have failed to score more than three goals in any single games and have scored just 35 times total in the 17 games. Two goals a night won't win you a lot of games. Why did I pick the Devils to score five tonight?
How To Tune In
Puck drop is at 7:30PM. Sportsnet West will be the channel to turn to if you have little else to do on a Friday night.
What To Watch For From The Oilers
Martin Marincin finally got around to trimming his sideburns and is back in the Oilers lineup for the first time since the Oilers played in Buffalo two weeks ago, back when Buffalo was still a city and not just a snow drift. To say that I've been confused by the Oilers use of Marincin this season would be an understatement. His numbers haven't been great but opting to bench him instead of simply adjusting his role and hoping to jump start him that way, especially when Nikita Nikitin is struggling to even stay on his feet on most shifts, is something I can't quite wrap my head around. Hopefully he doesn't turn the puck over in the first ten minutes and ends up playing some real minutes tonight.
What To Watch For From The Devils
The neutral zone is key; stop flinging and losing pucks through it. I understand that there are times where the skaters must dump it in. I understand that there are times where defending players must just chip it out for a clearance. I understand those concepts are necessary in games. But the Devils have been doing way too much of both. It's undercut their offense, it's allowed the opposition to keep attacking and ringing up shots on net, and it's why this Devils team has been worse than the Oilers when it comes to possession. Seriously.
Worse than the Oilers? Hahaha. These guys must be the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.
Projected Line Combinations
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell
David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Steve Pinizzotto
Nikita Nikitin - Jeff Petry
Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz
Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne
New Jersey Devils
Michael Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr
Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - Martin Havlat
Tuomo Ruutu - Jacob Josefson - Michael Ryder
Dainius Zubrus - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Damon Severson
Eric Gelinas - Marek Zidicky
Adam Larsson - Seth Helgeson
His name's Nikita Nikitin. And where do we begin? We're stuck with him drawing in Until we're notifying next of kin. #FreeMarincin— Loxy (@loxyisme) November 21, 2014