FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS -

Shoot first

The Oil­ers have long been look­ing for a for­ward with a shoot-first men­tal­ity and they ap­pear to fi­nally have one in James Neal. he had a team-lead­ing 11 shot at­tempts against the Is­lan­ders, al­most 25% of the en­tire team to­tal (55). his eight shots on net were al­most a third of the en­tire team to­tal (27).

Kill or be killed

Penalty killing, which has been a ma­jor sore spot for edmonton in re­cent years, is off to a good start. The PK units have snuffed 10 of the first 11 short­handed situations, in­clud­ing a brief two-man ad­van­tage for the Los an­ge­les Kings. The power play, mean­while, has four goals in three games, all of them from Neal.

Deviled legs

The Oil­ers have their games spaced out nicely on the first three games of this trip, play­ing ev­ery sec­ond day against the Is­lan­ders, devils and rangers with zero travel. New Jer­sey will be play­ing the sec­ond of back-to-back games af­ter a 4-0 loss Wed­nes­day at ri­val Philadel­phia.

So far, so good

a lot of peo­ple were brac­ing for the worst when de­fence­man Adam Lars­son went down with a bro­ken leg, and that in­jury still might hurt them over the eight weeks he’ll be out. but the Oil­ers are 2-0 in the first two games and turned in their best de­fen­sive ef­fort of the year against the Is­lan­ders.

Lottery champs

This will be a meet­ing of draft lottery kings as the Oil­ers, who have won it four times (Taylor Hall, 2010, Ryan Nu­gent-hopkins, 2011,

Nail Yakupov, 2012 and Con­nor Mcdavid, 2015) take on the two-time champs from New Jer­sey (Nico His­chier, 2017, Jack Hughes, 2019). hall, of course, went to

New Jer­sey in a one-for-one deal.

New Jer­sey for­ward Jack Hughes is one of six No. 1 over­all draft se­lec­tions ex­pected to suit up in the Oil­ers-devils game.

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