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Preview: Game 48 - Oilers at Tampa Bay

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Oilers escape Sunrise with two points, but it costs more than they bargained for with the loss of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Just another day at the office for Taylor Hall
Just another day at the office for Taylor Hall
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images


Edmonton

@

lightning
19-23-5, 43 points, .915 p/g Ranks 24-17-4, 52 points, 1.156 p/g
Pacific Division - 7th Atlantic Division - 3rd
27th P/G 11th
23rd ST 17th
19th S/G 21st
26th Goal 6th
5:30 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet West
Radio - 630 CHED
Amalie Arena
The opposing view:  Raw Charge

Two More Points

Taylor Hall had two goals while Jordan Eberle had one of his own as the Oilers burst out to a 3-0 lead by the end of two periods of play.  Florida would more than make it interesting as they scored two goals in the third, but some late acrobatics from Cam Talbot and an empty-net goal helped lock down two points for the Oilers.  The Oilers are victorious in two straight games!  That's great news, right?

A victory in Florida comes at a fairly high price as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be out "long term" after blocking a shot with his hand.  The Oilers are now down two centres in McDavid (who will hopefully be back soon) and now Nugent-Hopkins.  The team is advised to grab a centre from somewhere.  Standing pat will be interesting.

Let's go to the tape

The Oilers are saying

"That was a great win for us...We bent but we didn't break. Great job by Cam keeping us in there late.  They had some good opportunities...It's a nice victory to start a back-to-back"

Source

That's Oilers forward Matt Hendricks on last night's 4-2 victory.

Cam Talbot turned aside a flurry of shots late, Taylor Hall had a pair of goals, and the Oilers did just enough to snap Florida's seven game home winning streak.

The opponents are saying

"He's a complete player who plays the whole 200 feet.  He can play anywhere in the lineup.  He's one of those guys you don't read about in the newspapers every single night, but he's probably the reason the guys are in the newspapers - that unsung hero type.  As a coach, you wish you could have more of (Ondrej) Palats.  But when you do get them, you're glad you have them.  And when they're out of the lineup, you don't realize how much you miss them.  That's what he is to us"  Source
That's Lightning coach Jon Cooper on Ondrej Palat, a player who he appears to be very glad to have in the lineup.

Have some of this

  • The loss of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could be *the* blow that this team can't recover from.  If the team chooses to stand pat with their current set of forwards, Anton Lander is the guy who will likely begin to pick up some significant ice time.  It would be wise for the Oilers to explore the idea of picking someone up either via the waiver wire or elsewhere.
  • Look for Anders Nilsson (10-10-2, .906 SV% / 2.95 GAA) to start tonight after Cam Talbot's performance in Florida.  Expect Ben Bishop (18-13-3, .927 SV% / 2 SO) to get the green light between the pipes for Tampa Bay
  • PACIFIC WATCH / SHOOTING FOR SIXTH:  Two wins in a row help the Oilers out a little bit.  They're tied with Calgary with 43 points, though Calgary has played in four less games than the Oilers.  Edmonton sits six points out of third in the Pacific, currently owned by the Coyotes who have 49 points.
  • Connor McDavid (clavicle), Andrew Ference (undisclosed), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand)  and Oscar Klefbom (hand), are out for the Oilers.  For the Lightning, Joel Vermin (hand), Brian Boyle (lower body) and Mattias Ohlund (knee) will be held out.