The Edmonton Oilers are opening up the regular season tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers are coming off beating the Canucks in back to back preseason games 3-2 in both games. In order to keep the streak against the Canucks going they need to keep playing solid hockey. Here are 3 keys to keep the streak going.
We all know at this point that the Edmonton Oilers’ power play is deadly. Last season the power play had a scoring percentage of 27.59% that is scoring just under 1 goal every 3 attempts. So if the Oilers are able to draw more than 3 penalties against them this game they are almost guaranteed to score at least one goal on the power play.
The same also goes to the other side of the penalty game. I am not worried about giving up goals against as the Oilers’ penalty kill is fairly good and the Canucks power play is on the weaker side. The main problem with Edmonton Oilers being shorthanded is that Connor McDavid isn’t on the ice. McDavid doesn’t kill penalties and when McDavid isn’t on the ice your team is not as good as it can be.
2. The New Additions
Zach Hyman, Warren Foegele, Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci, and Evan Bouchard are the main new characters to this team. The forwards Hyman and Foegele are great additions to the top 9 forwards and on paper make this group better, but the game isn’t played on paper. Will these two add more depth scoring? Because that is something this team needs to improve.
The additions on defensive are a much larger question marks than the forwards. Replacing half of the defensive roster is always a gamble. I believe this group is better than last season’s group. They are as an average more of a veteran group. Hopefully this will minimize the errors made in the defensive end.
I think playing against the Vancouver Canucks is great team to test these players out. The Canucks are not a Stanley Cup contender, but they also aren’t a bottom dwelling team. So it’s a great way to ease these players into the regular season lineup.
3. Hit The Ground Running
The Edmonton Oilers have a good start to this game. The Vancouver Canucks have a lack of depth on forward as well as on defense. If the Oilers get off to an early lead in this game the Canucks will have to shorten their bench if they want to increase their chance to score a goal. With no Brock Boeser, the Canucks don’t have anyone out of their top 6 that scares me on a goal scoring front.
The same can be said with the Canucks defense. They are already an offensively minded and when the team needs to score they are more likely to be caught up ice. This should create more odd man rushes or back checking penalties. Both should lead to more goals for the Edmonton Oilers.
Tonight is the first of 82 games to come this season. If the Oilers win tonight and look good, it doesn’t instantly mean we start planning the parade. If the Oilers lose it is also not time to freak out and start making changes. It is game one, sit back and enjoy watching meaningful Edmonton Oilers hockey.