FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS -

1 Cap­tain needs his mates

Con­nor Mcdavid has fig­ured in all three of Oil­ers goals in two games with one of his own against Jaro Halak and two as­sists in Swe­den against Jersey’s Keith Kin­caid. But, Oil­ers badly re­quire their No. 2 cen­tre Leon Drai­saitl to give him sup­port on a sec­ond line. Drai­saitl does have two points in the loss to Jersey in Swe­den but he wasn’t good un­til the third pe­riod, and he only showed glimpses against the Bru­ins with one shot. No­body’s say­ing Leon has to be Ev­geni Malkin, but he has to step up.

2 Any of­fence from de­fence?

The Oil­ers had only 32 goals from the back-end last year and through the first two games they don’t look like much of a threat again. Os­car Klef­bom had a rocket from the point stopped in traf­fic by Halak early in Bos­ton but the de­fence was quiet even with eight shots on net. ev­ery win­ning team needs a weapon on the back-end, ei­ther a primo puck­mover or a guy who can re­ally shoot.

3 Break­ing a bad habit

The Oil­ers are no­to­ri­ously bad in af­ter­noon games. They lost in New york last sea­son be­fore head­ing to Washington for a back-to-back. The Oil­ers have played in europe in the late af­ter­noon (cologne) and at night in Gote­borg, try­ing to ad­just their body clocks to the time dif­fer­ence at home. Now it’s a 1 p.m. et start at MSG, kind of a brunch game.

4 Five-on-five pro­duc­tion

In two games, the Oil­ers have been neutered with two goals even-strength, one by Mcdavid and one by Drai­saitl. The other was on the power play by Mi­lan Lu­cic. The Leafs get two goals 5-on-5 be­fore the an­them singer has cleared his or her throat. In the early go­ing teams are scor­ing five, six, seven goals a night and the Oil­ers seem stuck in 1956 when ev­ery game was 2-1.

5 Not-so-spe­cial teams

Once again, the Oil­ers are los­ing the bat­tles when the refs call a penalty. They’ve taken six penal­ties in two games and only killed three of them. Doubt­ful they can get through an en­tire game against the Rangers with­out tak­ing a cou­ple that they have to worry about. And on their own power play they had chances to negate Bos­ton’s two PP goals on Thurs­day but got very lit­tle done.

If 10 to 15 min­utes of ev­ery game is PP or PK, Oil­ers are in trou­ble.

New York Rangers right wing Jes­per Fast leads the team in scor­ing.

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