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Pre-Season Game #8 : Oilers @ Canucks

Oilers close out presason with visit to Vancouver

Top line minutes?  Anton Slepyshev makes his case.
Top line minutes? Anton Slepyshev makes his case.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports



3-3-1 Ranks 6-1-0
Preseason Preseason
8:00 MDT
Rogers Arena
The opposing view: Canucks Misconduct
Watch:  Sportsnet
Listen: 630 CHED

Coming To A Close

The Oilers got handled by the Canucks by a score of 5-2 on Thursday night.  Oiler goals were had by Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov, but Vancouver's Bo Horvat had a two goal, three point night en route to an easy Canucks victory.  A fair bit of internet hullabaloo was made after this loss, where the Oilers clearly didn't look very good.  While the Oilers didn't have some key components on defence like Oscar Klefbom (who is day-to-day) and Mark Fayne, the game illustrated pretty clearly that the Oilers are thin as a fruit roll up on the back end when they're down a man or two on the blue.

The Oilers will conclude their preseason portion of the season in BC today.  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"When I look at his game, and we watched the video again, the video doesn't lie... He did a lot of the things we worked on today in the game...He's a young player, but he's played pro hockey before...You can see it.  He's been around pro players before.  It doesn't matter what league you're in, you're just around older players, more mature players and he carries himself well"


That's Oilers Head coach Todd McLellan on Anton Slepyshev's impressive camp.

I don't think it's controversial to suggest that Anton Slepyshev has been the player who has impressed the most in this camp so far.  Slepyshev has seen top line minutes with McDavid and Hall, he's seen time on a line with Yakupov and Lander, and his play has been consistent no matter where or who he's been juggled with in the lineup.  Two weeks ago, I don't think anyone would have had Slepyshev on the opening night roster, but it's October 3rd, and there's only a few days left until the season starts.  The third round pick from the 2013 NHL draft has four points (2-2-4) in six games, and he might see some time on the big club with Jordan Eberle expected to miss a month or more with a shoulder injury.

The Opponent is saying

"He used to be aggressive and he's the kind of guy that doesn't need to be, size-wise.  He's a big kiid and proportionally he's got long legs, so he's trying to learn how to use that to his advantage.  It takes a long time to figure it out, and sometimes if you are a little lanky, you tend to overextend, and sometimes he did that early in his career.  He just needs to be big and relaxed and you see that coming."  Source
That's Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on backup Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller will be expected to shoulder the brunt of the load between the pipes in Vancouver (29-15-1, .911 SV%) but they're confident that a stellar AHL season by Markstrom will help translate to NHL success.  Markstrom will be Vancouver's number 2 to begin the season, but could see some significant action if the thirty-five year old Miller misses any time.

Here are the forward lines from Friday's practice

Taylor Hall - Connor McDavid - Anton Slepyshev
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Teddy Purcell
Leon Draisaitl - Anton Lander - Nail Yakupov
Lauri Korpikoski - Mark Letestu - Matt Hendricks

Have some of this
  • WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SEE THIS GAME? Yes. It's on Sportsnet.
  • Slepyshev saw some more top line practice on Friday.  Five days from the start of the regular season and you're on the top line in practice?  Things could be worse for you.  Leon Draisaitl found himself on the left side of Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov, and the fourth line looks like an actual NHL fourth line.  Not bad.
  • The Oilers are going to depend a fair bit on Oscar Klefbom this year, and he won't be in the lineup tonight after being listed as 'day-to-day' by Todd McLellan.  Another night of Nikitin / Ference could be bad for the blood pressure.  Deep breaths.
  • THREE HEADED MONSTER? - I think the team is invested in Cam Talbot, but this quote from McLellan suggests that they might actually roll with three goalies to start the season. I'm against this idea in almost any situation, but will they waive Scrivens?  Could Anders Nilsson actually start?  I don't put a high probability on the last two questions, but McLellan has seemed to play his hand pretty hard (Reinhart, Gryba).  He's not playing it here so much.