The Oilers took an early three goal lead against the Hurricanes on Sunday and proceeded to kill it dead with a piss-poor effort through the final forty minutes. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, perpetually shining as bright as the Northern Star, impressed with a hat-trick in that game. Of course, it wasn't enough.
Tonight, the Oilers continue their road trip against a Detroit Red Wings team battling to keep their playoff position with the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins both getting hot down the stretch. Luckily for the Wings, the Bruins are their division rivals and they sit a steep seven points back with 17 games left to play in their schedule.
How to Tune in
It's another early start tonight as the puck will drop at 5:30 on Sportsnet West.
What to Watch for From the Oilers
Anton Lander will make his return to the lineup after missing seven games with a sore shoulder. He lhas ooked much more comfortable in the bigs under Todd Nelson, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue that level of play to close out the season. His future as a full-time Edmonton Oilers might depend on it.
What to Watch for From the Red Wings
Winging it in Motown took a few expected, completely fair shots at the Edmonton Oilers in their morning skate report, but went on to express some worries regarding the Wings' chances at Joe Louis tonight:
Here come the Oilers, the 29th team in the NHL, the team that never seems to get better, the organization who's in perma "rebuilding" mode, who has 7 1st round picks on the active roster, and who have become the butt of jokes about sucking around the entire league. Does that make me feel confident we'll spank them tonight? Not at all. There's something about the Wings that's bothering me right now, and it's a big part of why I'm nervous that this game will be closer than it should be.
Here's what's bothering me the most right now:
- Tomas Jurco is a healthy scratch and this is stupid
- Luke Glendening is on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and this is a joke
- Teemu Pulkkinen had 0 Power play time last game despite this being an area he specializes in.
Check out Sportsnet's Michael Grange gush over potential future Oiler Connor McDavid. I'm going to be including a lot of McDavid content in these threads from now on, because, quite frankly, it's the only thing that gets me jazzed about the Oilers right now.
Take it from Dale Hawerchuk, quoted in the article I linked to above:
"Just watching video, doing pre-scouts, there’s no one else like him," said Colts coach Dale Hawerchuck, who scored 103 points as an NHL rookie after he was the first pick in the 1981 draft. "Whenever he gets into a certain area, I’m like ‘Ah, shit.’ Guys try to over-cover him, they get consumed with it. Two guys try to do the job and he finds the wide-open guy.
"He’s a generational player," he said. "For a scorer like this, you’re looking at Crosby, Gretz, Lemieux. He’s following that same road."