Puck Drop: 9:00 PM EST | Rogers Place | Edmonton, AB
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Oilers Blog:Copper and Blue
Know Your Opponent
Record: (21-21-3) | 45 PTS
Last 10: 3-7-0
Division Ranking: 6th in Pacific Division
Conference Ranking: 11th in Western Conference
PP: 14th (20.8%)
PK: 23rd (77.0%)
What to Watch
- Return of the Mac
After missing yesterday’s team skills competition, it is reported that phenom and captain Connor McDavid will be in the lineup.
Most people remember McDavid as the impetus of the original tank - a race to the bottom the Edmonton ultimately won. The net gains have been surprisingly poor, though; while McDavid’s 27 goals (T-5th) and 67 points (4th) are among the top in the league, Edmonton as a whole is failing to put together a solid season. The superstar’s contributions have not been enough to lift the team out of mediocrity. Sound familiar?
Still, McDavid is top-3 in goals created, and is a constant threat anytime he’s on the ice. Toss in an IV chock-full of vitamins and who knows what McJesus will have in store.
The Sabres have not yet gone three consecutive games without pulling a point in the standings. They’ve lost three in a row, but not in regulation.
Tonight is a different test for the team, though. The time-change is perhaps one; the perception that the team should win against a team that is nearly 10 points lower in the standings is perhaps the most difficult.
The Sabres will have to engage the counter-attack that has been successful at different times throughout the season. They’ll need to break some bad habits they’ve developed, and especially break out of the zone quicker, if they hope to break the streak.
Speaking of shouldering an unreasonable load, Jack Eichel has been the impetus behind much of the team’s success. If a player is struggling, put him with Jack. If a player is on a pointless streak, put him with Jack. If a player is looking for a long-term deal at $8+ mill a year, put hi...well...you get the idea.
The truth is, though, that Eichel himself is scoreless in five games, and hasn’t had a goal since December 16. The team’s record in that time is 4-8. Eichel missed a few games in there, but the point is made.
Whether it’s fair to Eichel or not, the Sabres live and die on his ability to produce. There’s no time like the present for the young star to get hot.
Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Conor Sheary - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson
Vladimir Sobotka - Evan Rodrigues - Jason Pominville
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Zach Bogosian- Rasmus Dahlin
Marco Scandella - Nathan Beaulieu
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Leon Draisaitl - Connor McDavid - Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Alex Chiasson
Ryan Spooner - Kyle Brodziak - Jesse Puljujarvi
Tobias Reider - Jujhar Khaira - Zack Kassian
Darnell Nurse - Kris Russel
Caleb Jones - Adam Larsson
Brandon Manning - Matt Benning
Starting Goaltender: Mikko Koskinen