Edmonton Oilers (18-14-2), 6th, Pacific
Ottawa Senators (10-18-2, 7th, Atlantic)
15 January 2022
8 PM MT
Radio: 630 CHED
IT’S BEEN TEN DAYS
It’s been ten days since the Oilers played a regular season game. That game was a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at home. Since then, the Oilers have had players go into Covid protocol, they’ve had players come out of Covid protocol, they’ve had a goalie go back on IR, they’ve had Ken Holland do media in order to answer some questions from media, Evander Kane’s name has popped up all over and Dave Tippett has survived an 0-9-2 run.
That about cover most of it?
The Ottawa Senators are in town to take on the Oilers in a game that the Oilers badly need not only to keep pace in the Pacific, but for their own psyche. Dave Tippett’s last win was over six weeks ago on December 1st. They’d like a win in the worst way possible, can they pick one up against the Senators?
Let’s go to the tape.
THE OILERS ARE SAYING
“Still a question mark...We’ve got a couple of guys that we thought were going to test out of protocol, but as of right now, Koekkoek we thought we’d have yesterday and he’s still not out today. We got Benson and Foegele testing today, and hopefully one of those guys tests out, but we need one of those players to test out to give us an opportunity to have a full lineup tomorrow.”
That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett on whether or not he’d be able to ice a full lineup tonight versus Otttawa.
Imagine the luxury of having 12 forwards in an NHL hockey game. We can dream.
THE SENATORS ARE SAYING
“This one feels good for sure...I thought we were pretty dialed in all night, played good Sens hockey. They had their pushes for sure. They’re a good team. We weathered the storm and got the job done. That was probably one of the best games we’ve played all year, I would say.”
That’s Senators goaltender Matt Murray on his club’s 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Murray turned aside 27 shots to pick up his first win of the season. The win is just Ottawa’s tenth of the season.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- If we’re to take what Ken Holland said in this week’s media availability to heart, then we know that Dave Tippett’s job is safe unless the wheels fall off and the engine catches fire. And then it still might be safe, at least until the end of the season. Holland doesn’t fire coaches mid-season, he went so far as to say he “doesn’t believe in it” at his media availability this week. So, the Oilers had better start digging if they want to get out of his 0-9-2 slump.
- Stuart Skinner, the ice is yours. Skinner tested out of Covid protocol on Friday, he’s expected to start tonight as the Oilers look to bust out of their slump. Skinner (4-5-0, .916 SV% / 2.90 GAA) has an opportunity to run with the ball as Mike Smith is on the shelf for another week or two (torn thumb tendon). Matt Murray is likely for the Senators.
- The Oilers will have eighteen skaters tonight, as all of Warren Foegele, Tyler Benson and Slater Koekkoek have tested out of protocol. If all else is equal, bet on Foegele getting back in.
- Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci were split up in yesterday’s practice. Keith paired up with Barrie, and Ceci was on a line with Darnell Nurse. That leave William Lagesson (or Slater Koekkoek) with Evan Bouchard. Two of those are probably able to get along well enough. A duo of Keith and Barrie could be more uh, interesting than we could be ready for.
- Ottawa’s got a really good top line that will require some attention. Brady Tkachuk - Josh Norris - Drake Batherson are all top 3 in Senators scoring, and could catch a sleepy Oilers defence if Edmonton isn’t careful.
- Leon and Connor are leading the NHL in scoring, and they’ll be together again on the top line with Zack Kassian. Tippett is betting that the Oilers can get it going early and often, and putting the two of the best in the game together could pay dividends. Look for a second line of Zach Hyman - Ryan McLeod and Jesse Puljujärvi to round out the top six.
- Old friend Tyler Ennis is back with his old centre Chris Tierney, the same duo that was together before Ennis came to Edmonton for a fifth round pick back in 2019. Ennis already has twelve points in 27 games this season.
- The Oilers need to win some games in order to keep pace in the Pacific. The Flames have fallen to fifth, but both the Sharks and Kings have overtaken Edmonton in the standings. Both LA and San Jose have a couple more games played than the Oilers, so it’s important for the Oilers if they’d like to hang around in the standings.