FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
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.
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.
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.