Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-1) @
Edmonton Oilers (3-6-1)
Rogers Place - Edmonton
6:30 PM MDT
TV: Sportsnet 360
Radio: 630 CHED
Two goals to start against Washington on Saturday? Sounds like a recipe for success. Unfortunately, the Capitals would bounce back and score four plus an empty-netter en route to a 5-2 ending over the Oilers at Rogers Place.
There are several issues plaguing the Oilers right now. With some luck, perhaps some can be left back in October as the calendar turns a new month. They’ll face a tall order as Pittsburgh is in town tonight.
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
"Last year we started 7-1 and then we went 2-7-1 in our next 10 games...We’re having that 2-7-1 segment...”
That’s Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on his team’s slow start.
It’s not statistically as bad as a 2-7-1 segment, but a 3-6-1 segment isn’t how you want to kick off the season after the club’s first playoff berth in a decade. The special teams are bad, the goaltending is suspect, and the goals just aren’t going in right now. It all changes starting tonight, right?
The Penguins are saying
“Last year I didn't create as many chances as I wanted. Last year wasn't a great year...A lot of different injuries throughout the year and I didn't catch up to the way I wanted to play. This year, I came in energized, and I think I'm creating enough to feel good about the way I'm playing..”
That’s Penguins forward Carl Hagelin on how he’d like to forget most of 2016-17.
Just 22 points in 61 games for Hagelin last season, he’s started slowly with two points (1-1-2) in 13 games so far this year.
Have some of this
- Look for Kailer Yamamoto to get back into the lineup, and look for him to find a home on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic. There are two more games for him to play until his nine game tryout is used up. If he’s on the top six now, I think he sticks after his tryout.
- Special teams haven’t been much fun as of late, so look for Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid to be split up tonight on the power play.
- The defence got quite a facelift during yesterday’s practice. Yohann Auvitu was paired up with Kris Russell on the third pair, while Darnell Nurse got bumped to the top with Adam Larsson.
- The Oilers appear to be unhappy with their new acquisitions, specifically Jussi Jokinen and Ryan Strome. I’m not sure how much either of those guys are going to fetch on the trade market. Just don’t trade RNH.
- NET GAINS: Cam Talbot is probable (3-5-1, .904 SV% / 3.10 GAA / 1 SO) for the Oilers. Matt Murray is likely for the Penguins (7-2-1), .903 SV% / 3.05 GAA. Look how similar the numbers look for these two players. Now guess which team is scoring more goals on the reg.
- The Oilers will be missing defenceman Andrej Sekera (out til December/January) as he recovers from ACL surgery. The Penguins will likely be without Justin Schultz (concussion, day-to-day.)