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PLAY-IN GAME 1: Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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Oilers open best of five series with Chicago this afternoon.

Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames
All in.
Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers vs

Chicago Blackhawks

01 August 2020

Rogers Place

1 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Second City Hockey

FINALLY, THEY COUNT FOR REAL

It’s been over four months, but the games will count for real today. For the Oilers, they’ll begin their play-in best of five series against the Chicago Blackhawks this afternoon. Both teams will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get back to action. Who will take game one of this series?

Lets go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARES SAYING

“He’s feisty, he plays on the inside. With that, he has the ability to make plays - the little plays that are hard to make in the NHL nowadays.”

Source

That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on Kailer Yamamoto.

We all expect great things from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl this series, but for Kailer Yamamoto, this play-in series could be his time to shine. Making up one-third of the best Oilers line of 2020 with Ryan Nugnet-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl, expect him to see plenty of opportunities on a line with the aforementioned Draisaitl and Tyler Ennis this afternoon.

THE BLACKHAWKS ARE SAYING

“You guys know, it’s playoff time here...We’re only focused on winning”

Source

That’s Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton yesterday on the playoffs play-in series versus Edmonton.

The Blackhawks have had to alter their lineup a fair bit since July training camp began. They’re without Brent Seabrook (who opted out), Andrew Shaw (concussion), and have only recently seen starting goaltender Corey Crawford return to the fold. The Blackhawks finished twelfth in the West this regular season, will they prove to be a formidable foe against the Oilers?

PROJECTED LINES

EDMONTON

RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS - CONNOR MCDAVID - ZACK KASSIAN

TYLER ENNIS - LEON DRAISAITL - KAILER YAMAMOTO

ANDREAS ATHANASIOU - RILEY SHEAHAN - JOSH ARCHIBALD

JAMES NEAL - JUJHAR KHAIRA - ALEX CHIASSON

OSCAR KLEFBOM - ADAM LARSSON

DARNELL NURSE - ETHAN BEAR

KRIS RUSSELL - MATTHEW BENNING

MIKKO KOSKINEN

MIKE SMITH

CHICAGO

DOMINIK KUBALIK - JONATHAN TOEWS - BRANDON SAAD

ALEX NYLANDER - DYLAN STROME - PATRICK KANE

ALEX DEBRINCAT - KIRBY DACH - DRAKE CAGGIULA

MATTHEW HIGHMORE - DAVID KAMPF - RYAN CARPENTER

DUNCAN KEITH - ADAM BOQVIST

CALVIN DE HAAN - CONNOR MURPHY

OLLI MAATTA - SLATER KOEKKOEK

COREY CRAWFORD

MALCOLM SUBBAN

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • TOP SIX FIX - Generally pleased with what Tippett will likely have for his top six today. I think there’s a real chance that the second line could be the deadliest, but you’d be a fool to rule out any line with Connor McDavid on it.
  • I SEE YOU: We’ve only seen Andreas Athansiou a handful of games since being brought over from Detroit at the trade deadline this year. Can he hit the gas with Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald on the third line?
  • NET GAINS: Dave Tippett often tips his hand to experience. Though that may happen, I think you’ve got to give the start to Mikko Koskinen today. Koskinen has been lights out this camp, and he didn’t allow a goal in Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Flames. It would not shock me to see Mike Smith this afternoon, but I’d rather see Koskinen in game one.
  • How much rust does Corey Crawford have for the Blackhawks? Crawford missed the lion’s share of the July training camp while battling Covid-19. The three time Stanley Cup Champion is the go-to netminder for the Blackhawks this afternoon. Will he be 100% in between the pipes?
  • ONE TO WATCH: Everyone knows about Patrick Kane (33-51-84 in 70 GP) and Jonathan Toews (18-42-60 in 70 GP), but do not rest on Dominik Kubalik (30-16-46 in 68 GP). A Calder Trophy finalist this year, he’ll be on Chicago’s top line with Jonathan Toews.
  • Let’s. Go. Oilers.