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Game Thread: Oilers vs Canadiens - A Home Game That Looks Like An Away Game

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The Oilers host the Canadiens de Montréal tonight. And that means there will be a lot fewer Oilers jerseys in the stands than usual.

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes there are games that you just know can get away from a team. Tonight’s game versus the Canadiens is that type of game. The Oilers have suffered a few injuries in recent games and as a result will be dressing seven defenceman tonight. And will be starting their backup goalie, who has played pretty well this season but also gave up six goals on 17 shots the last time he played. And then there is the oppositions, a team that is among the league’s best and just recently had a nine game winning streak snapped. Yeah, this game could be a little bit ugly for the home team, which, for the record, is the Oilers, no matter what it looks like in the stands.

How To Watch

Puck drop: 7:00PM MST
TV: Sportsnet and Sportsnet 360
Radio: 630 CHED

What To Watch For

Leon Draisaitl makes his return to the Oilers lineup tonight. We last saw him in an Oilers jersey in early January, before he went back to the WHL and helped lead the Kelowna Rockets to a Memorial Cup berth. Draisaitl won’t be eased back into NHL action though; instead he’ll be dropped into the deep end of the pool playing alongside Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - by my count Draisiatl will be the 75th player to play the right side for these two this season. By all accounts his play in Bakersfiled has been good so far, will he be able to take advantage of the injuries in Edmonton to convince the coaches that he’s ready to be here full time?

The Opposing View

From Eyes on the Prize:

The Montreal Canadiens are back to business.

With their record streak now over, the Habs can focus solely on conquering the remainder of the NHL's 82 game regular season grind. Tonight's game, in Edmonton, is their first opportunity to build on what they've accomplished so far.

Despite the emphatic scoreline, the Canadiens' loss to Vancouver on Tuesday marked something of a return to form, as the Habs began to demonstrate some of the good habits that had been absent during the streak-concluding wins over Toronto and Buffalo.

Facing a vulnerable opponent, Montreal has a chance to convert those good habits into points.

Projected Line Combinations

It looks like injuries are going to force the Oilers to go with seven defencemen tonight. What the combinations might be, or how much the seventh man might play is anyones guess. Early reports were that Mark Fayne would sit out tonight after a poor performance against the Wild, so he's the likely extra man to start.

Forwards
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Leon Draisaitl
Benoit Pouliot Connor McDavid Nail Yakupov
Iiro Pakarinen Anton Lander Teddy Purcell
Anton Slepyshev Mark Letestu
Defence
Darnell Nurse Andrej Sekera
Brandon Davidson Oscar Klefbom
Andrew Ference Eric Gryba
Mark Fayne
Goalies
Anders Nilsson
Cam Talbot