#1. – Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins & Yakupov
The Oilers top line will remain the same meaning Nail Yakupov will once again be skating along side the team’s top two players with the intent to help the young Russian pot his first goal of the season.
But aside from the goose egg that still accompanies Yakupov’s name in the goals column, this line as a whole needs to start capitalizing more on their chances. Two on ones are great but only if you score on them and lately the Oilers haven’t been able to turn those chances into nothing more than missed opportunities.
As much as the top line is counted on to contribute in the offensive zone, they need to continue to work on their defensive zone coverage. As mentioned, each of the three players finished the game against the Capitals at a minus-4. Now the plus/minus stat can be misleading given that this line played better in their own end but avoiding the costly breakdowns, even once in a game, are what separate the top lines in this league from the average ones.
Overall, this line must be at their best at both ends of the rink. If they can have their best game of the year together, then I’m expecting an Oilers win.