Edmonton Oilers (28-19-3, 3rd, Pacific)
Tampa Bay Lightning (32-11-6, 2nd, Atlantic)
23 February 2022
5:30 PM MT
TV: Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Oilers, Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: 630 CHED
BACK TO ONE
The Oilers concluded a five game set in seven days, dropping a 7-3 contest to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Mike Smith was chased after yielding his fourth goal in seven shots, while the Oilers were unable to get anything going until the second period. By the time Evander Kane scored for Edmonton, the cat was already out of the bag. Tyler Benson scored his first NHL goal in the loss, Zach Hyman added one late.
The Oilers embark on a crucial five game road trip with a stop in Tampa to get things going. Can the Oilers keep the goals coming?
Let’s go to the tape.
THE OILERS ARE SAYING
“Obviously, we didn’t have much jump today...We got off to a really bad start. This league is too hard to come back from a 4-0 deficit. We had a little push in the second but couldn’t really get anything going.”
That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl after his club’s 7-3 loss to the Wild on Sunday.
A forgettable day for the Oilers. Mike Smith had one he’d love to forget, the Oilers were unable to get anything on the board until the middle frame. Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft got a full practice in yesterday with a few roster tweaks, come out fresh and battle tonight.
THE LIGHTNING ARE SAYING
“We know Edmonton’s been playing a lot of hockey while we’ve been sitting around...These two (practice) days will help us, and we’ve just got to prepare and be ready.”
That’s Lightning forward Pat Maroon, who just signed a two year extension.
Tonight is Tampa Bay’s first game in eight days. While they’re certainly well-rested, there’s a fair chance that they’ll be a bit rusty after being out of action for so long. Can the Oilers take advantage of what could be a rusty Lightning club?
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- It didn’t end the way we would have liked, but Tyler Benson gets his first NHL goal in Sunday’s loss to the Wild. Lagesson gets it on net, Zach Hyman on top of the crease and Benson jams it home. Then, he gets his money’s worth by shoving Kirill Kaprizov, who looks around like he can’t believe he got shoved. Oh well. First goals don’t come easy.
- Ryan McLeod found himself on the top line in yesterday’s practice at LW, while Zach Hyman flipped over to right wing. Be interesting to see a top line of 71-97-18, there’s a good chance we could see it tonight.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning are a menace, a force to be reckoned with. Tied for seventh in the league in goals per game (3.41), they’re ninth in goals allowed per game (2.76), and they’re high up in the Atlantic Division standings. They only trail the Panthers, who are just flying this year.
- I’d probably go with Mikko tonight, but Mike Smith is likely for tonight based on yesterday’s practice. I’d expect both goalies to get a game in the back-to-back setup on Saturday in Florida and Sunday in Tampa Bay. Look for Andrei Vasilevskiy (22-8-4, .922 SV% / 2.27 GAA / 2SO) for the Lightning.
- Oilers can climb back to within one point of the Golden Knights if they can put together a win tonight. Currently tied with the Kings, the Oilers could use a point or two to keep third place in view.
- I wrote yesterday that if the Oilers have themselves a successful road trip, it might tip Ken Holland’s hand into a spicier trade deadline than one might have expected. If they can come out 2-1 after Sunday, that’s a good set. Hopefully, it begins tonight.