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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Montreal Canadiens

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Oilers look to snap four game losing streak as surprising Canadiens come to town.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (8-8-1) (6th, Pacific)

Montreal Canadiens (9-5-3) (4th, Atlantic)

Rogers Place

7 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Eyes On The Prize

FOUR, THE WRONG WAY

The Edmonton Oilers got a single goal from Ty Rattie in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. I’m not ready to say that the wheels are coming off on the season, but the club has got to do something to stop the bleeding. Secondary scoring has dried up and the Oilers have fallen from a 8-4-1 start to a Bettman .500 in mid-November.

The Canadiens have surprised so far. At 4th in the Atlantic, they’re looking to prove all the doubters wrong. Can the Oilers get back into the win column tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying:

“Shooting harder, gripping different parts of your stick, taking it on your backhand, switching the way you tape your stick...Changing gloves, washing your gloves, changing your laces… shooting from different spots, shooting off a different foot, shooting off different stances...Trying all those different things to see if something will work.”

Source

That’s Oilers forward Milan Lucic on his goal slump. He has just 3 goals in his last 67 games.

You gotta feel for Lucic, but whatever he’s doing just isn’t working. The Oilers are into the third year of his 7 year deal valued at 42 million dollars locked in with a NMC. I wonder if the Canadiens are still interested in acquiring him.

The Canadiens are saying

“The fact that he’s skating with us is encouraging for everybody...He’s skating well. But, the other part of his rehab is not over yet. From what I’m being told, we’re sticking with the schedule that was put in place at first”

Source

That’s Canadiens head coach Claude Julien on seeing Shea Weber skate on Monday. Weber has been out of commission since having offseason knee surgery. While the Canadiens are no doubt happy to see Weber skate, he’s still likely six weeks away from game play.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Line changes, anyone? The Oilers aren’t scoring goals right now, and it’s giving McLellan reason to move Leon back with Connor. Drake Caggiula has been promoted (?) to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ old slot. That’s a top line of 91-97-29 if it holds. The second line has got Rieder with Nuge and Alex Chiasson. Ty Rattie’s stock isn’t going to grow if he’s on the third line. Putting Draisaitl on the same line with McDavid is likely going to yield some results, but it still cements the fact that the Oilers are a one line team (unless Chiasson starts popping off again).
  • The defence gets a shake up as well. Matt Benning on the second pair is a question mark, as he’s struggled quite a bit in limited action there this year. A Garrison / Russell combo is likely going to be the death of us all.
  • Would not be surprised to see Mikko Koskinen get a start in goal tonight. Carey Price is likely the go-to for the Habs, but his numbers haven’t been wild (he’s got a .892SV% on the year).
  • SICK BAY: Andrej Sekera (ankle) is out for the Oilers. For Montreal, Shea Weber (knee), Paul Byron (lower body), Joel Armia (knee) and Jake Evans (concussion) will be out of the lineup.