The Oilers open their home season tonight at Rexall Place against the powerhouse St. Louis Blues. The Oilers are winless in their first three games - for the first time since last year - and look get back on track after a disappointing effort in Dallas. Whatever Taylor Hall was suffering from on Tuesday, it could not have been more physically draining than watching the Stars throw 87 pucks towards Anders Nilsson. It can't get any worse tonight, right?
How To Watch
Puck drop: 7:30PM MST
TV: Sportsnet Oilers
Radio: 630 CHED
What To Watch For
The Oilers were overwhelmed by the Blues' ability to minimize time and space in all three zones last week. If they can't make sound puck plays in the face of this pressure tonight, it could be another horror show for the Oilers faithful. They do get free scarves though, so temper your sympathies accordingly. Taylor Hall has yet to exert his usual influence over an NHL game this season, and he's too good for that to continue. I think he'll get on the scoresheet soon. Probably not tonight, because he's on a line with Matt Hendricks, but still. Soon. Griffin Reinhart draws back in for Brandon Davidson on the third pairing, and Nail Yakupov will flank Connor McDavid for the second consecutive game. Given that they've been on the ice for both of the Oilers real goals this season, this is good news.
The Opposing View
From St. Louis Game Time:
One positive trend is the Blues routinely beating the Oilers. The Blues have won 7 straight against them, and outscored them by a combined 30-11. You have to think that an improved Oilers squad, an injured Blues team, and the added bonus of home ice and a fired-up home opener crowd all give Edmonton hope that they can turn that pattern around. If the Blues can score early, maybe they can deflate those dreams. At the very least, let's not put one in our own net and spot them a lead, OK boys?
Projected Line Combinations
From Jack Michaels:
|Taylor Hall||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Matt Hendricks|
|Benoit Pouliot||Connor McDavid||Nail Yakupov|
|Lauri Korpikoski||Anton Lander||Teddy Purcell|
|Luke Gazdic||Mark Letestu||Anton Slepyshev|
|Oscar Klefbom||Justin Schultz|
|Andrej Sekera||Mark Fayne|
|Griffin Reinhart||Eric Gryba|