The shuffle continues with the Oilers line combinations and partly because of the return of Ryan Smyth who will be inserted into the second line. It’s a nice balance of scoring, or at least on paper given the lack of red lights that this team has been lighthing up lately.
Mark Arcobello continues to play the wing despite his natural and perhaps his most effective position is at centre. If this team continues to struggle offensively then moving Gagner to the wing, despite his tender jaw might be the next experiment in order to give Arcobello more playing time down the middle.
Devan Dubnyk returns to the crease for the Oilers after recovering from a minor ankle injury. Richard Bachman has taken his place on the list of the walking wounded after providing a small glimmer of hope for Oilers fans that a reliable netminder had been found.
Tonight’s game will mark the NHL debut for Oilers defenseman Taylor Fedun. Undrafted, Fedune defied the odds and has now made his way to the NHL after spending four seasons playing for the Princeton Tigers at the collegiate level. He’s spent the last two years with the OKC Barons in the AHL and after a long yet storied road, his time in the show has arrived. Congrats to Taylor and here’s to a stellar game tonight.
This game could be won at the even strength level as neither team has that great of a power-play. The Oilers rank 25th overall and 28th on the road with the man advantage while the Panthers have the 26th best PP in the league and are ranked 20th on home-ice.
The same could be said for the penalty kill. The Oilers sit 27th overall and 24th on the road while Florida is ranked 23rd both overall and at home.
It’s not surprising to see that the Panthers are struggling to score goals this season, bulging the twine just 28 times through 14 games. Jonathan Huberdeau is off to a slow start with just 3 goals and 3 assists in 14 games while rookie Aleksander Barkov is off to a fine start in his NHL career with 3 goals and 4 assists in 14 games played.
Oil on Whyte prediction: Oilers win 3-2