Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0, 6th in North) vs.
Montréal Canadiens (1-0-1, 2nd in North)
18 January 2021
7 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
RIGHTING THE SHIP:
The Oilers enter this game with a lot of scrutiny on their backs. They were manhandled by a much better Montréal team on Saturday and need to play better if they hope to make the playoffs. Dave Tippett took a hatchet to the team’s defensive group in an effort to get better results. Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones draw out while William Lagesson and Kris Russell will make their season debuts. Slater Koekkoek will move to the right side to play with Darnell Nurse.
Upfront there are a few minor changes. Zack Kassian is back in the lineup after welcoming his new daughter to the world on Saturday. He will reunite with RNH and Connor McDavid. Josh Archibald will move done to the fourth line while Joakim Nygard gets the RW assignment next to Kyle Turris and Jesse Puljujarvi on the third line.
Mikko Koskinen will appear in his fourth straight game due to the simple fact that there is no other option.
Three Things To Watch:
- Expect Edmonton’s big guns to respond tonight. It seems like they play their best after getting embarrassed and boy did they in that 5-1 loss. McDavid and Draisaitl should be men on a mission as they won’t have a red-hot Carey Price standing in their way.
- The team’s third line gets a little bit faster with the addition of Nygard on the right-wing. That line has been a liability through the first three games so hopefully, his injection helps spark Turris and Puljujarvi. This line will be leaned on to provide depth scoring and we have yet to see that.
- Of course, plenty to watch for on the backend tonight. Russell will slide into the second pair with Tyson Barrie while Lagesson will round out the top six next to Adam Larsson. Defensive structure is the name of the game tonight as the Oilers have yet to display consistent play in their own end this season. Tippett has mentioned that as a weakness and I expect him to try to get results. Bear and Jones will get some time in the press box to observe and regroup.
- While the Oilers didn’t play well by any means on Saturday, it didn’t help that Carey Price was is in net for the Canadiens. Price stuffed out basically every good chance that Edmonton had and allowed Montréal to build up an insurmountable lead. That won’t be the case tonight as Jake Allen will get his first start of the season. Edmonton would be smart to get shots on him quick and early.
- Lets. Go. Oilers.