Oilers fans should see two important parts of the future on display tonight against Minnesota. Goaltender Viktor Fasth is expected to make his Oiler debut, and defenseman Oscar Klefbom may play in his first NHL game. On December 27th the Oilers were 39GP, 12-24-3. In the 26 games since, Edmonton is 10-11-5. In their last 10: 5-3-2. If Edmonton loses tonight, they will be the first NHL team to lose 20 games on the road this season. Speaking of road games, after tonight the Oilers will have only six road games left. 10 of their last 16 are at home.
In the bizarre world of being an Oiler fan, Ben Scrivens is costing Edmonton Aaron Ekblad with his play! Of course, that’s ridiculous, but you’ll find a segment of the fanbase wishing for the days of Devan Dubnyk. Speaking of, I’m surprised so many assume Dubnyk’s NHL career is over. If you look at the history of the game, there are tons of players who experience blips in their career and recover. My guess is Dubnyk ends up with a better team, spends a prolonged period in the AHL, gets himself straightened out and plays a couple of years as a flat out bargain before getting a real payday again.
There are some slumps going on here. The Nuge is certainly the player all are pointing too, but Jordan Eberle isn’t at his usual level and you’d like to see Yakupov more involved, too. Taylor Hall earns his nickname (“Chance”) even in a 10 game stretch where nothing is happening (Hall has been a part of 10 out of 18 goals scored during this period, or 55%).
JONATHAN QUICK TALKS SCRIVENS
- Quick via Canadian Press talks Scrivens: “He has done it all year, he did it with us too. I think he is just what this team needed here in Edmonton. He consistently gives you a solid effort and a chance to win every night. We put 50 shots on him and they still had a chance at the end there. For a few years now I think it is an area the Oilers needed improvement, not to knock the goalies they had before. The team defence could be better as well. But (Scrivens) has really stepped in since he came here and given them a chance to win every night.”
THE RACE FOR FIRST OVERALL
Buffalo looks locked in for first overall (pending lottery) and Edmonton is a good bet for #2 or #3 overall. They could catch Calgary and the Islanders if those two teams dive, but that seems unlikely. The team to watch here is Vancouver, who have had their heart removed. By the way, there are FIVE Canadian teams in this group. I think the Oilers take Ekblad, Draisaitl or Bennett, but may deal down if the defender is gone.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. Nuge struggles, Klefbom debuts, is Justin Schultz learning?
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings pbp on TSN 1260. OK are winding down the regular season, but there’s still a race going on.
- Steve Dangle, Leafs Nation. A big win for the Leafs last night, looks like they’ll secure a playoff spot early. Can they finish ahead of the Habs?
- Matt Verderame, SB Nation, Arrowhead Pride and Yahoo. NFL free agency starts today, who’s going where? Revis to Eagles?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. It’ll be fun!