Tonight is likely the first and last time I will cheer for the Oilers to win in order to help the Flames.
With an Oilers win tonight, the Kings playoff hopes will begin to dwindle further and a Flames playoff berth will be much more likely.
Following last weeks dismantling at the hands of the Kings, defeating them tonight will be a challenge for the Oilers. The Oilers have had three very rough games losing 5-1, 8-2, and 4-0 to the Ducks, Kings, and Flames. On top of the Oilers struggling, the Kings are desperate. The defending Stanley Cup Champions are currently sitting in fourth position in the division. Although the Kings are tied in points with the Flames, they are 4 games behind when it comes to Regulation/Overtime Wins (ROW) which will be a key factor in determining many playoff spots this season. With only 3 games to play, they will need to finish with more points overall than the Flames as a tie in points would give the Flames an edge due to ROW.
The Kings will be hungry, but the Oilers won’t lay down and die.
Jobs are on the line across the board and many call-ups will have a chance to try and earn a spot on the roster next season. With Fayne and Ference out, the blueline will feature some youngins. David Musil will play his 2nd NHL game, he played alright last time out against the Flames and didn’t seem too out of place. Klefbom and Schultz will likely be the top pairing with Musil/Marincin and Aulie/Davidson rounding out the defence.
The last three games have shown that this defence line-up is not ready to play in the NHL. They have been completely dominated and have left the goaltenders out to dry, although the net minding has been less than average. Tyler Bunz made his NHL debut in relief of Ben Scrivens the last time these two teams faced off. Bunz let in 3 goals in the third period. Bunz has since been sent down and Bachman has returned from a personal leave. He will likely start tonight.
What to Watch For:
Kings Going Hard: They want, no, need to win tonight. They will come out flying and hit everything. The Oilers will need a strong defensive game to hold them off and that will be a tough challenge for an inexperienced blueline for the Oilers.
Bach is Back: Richard Bachman was playing stellar before taking a personal leave. His return will energize the Oil and hopeully he will pick up where he left off.
Jonny Gaudreau will suddenly appear on the Oilers bench before scoring 4 goals to lift the Oilers past the Kings and help the Flames inch closer to the playoffs.
Oilers will seek revenge after being routed in Los Angeles last time out, the Kings will be hungry but might get rattled if the Oilers get off to a quick start. Bachman will play well and give the depleted defensive lineup a chance to win. The Oilers will need more than 2 goals to win though.
I give this one to the Oilers. 6-5 in a track meet, Bachman makes 55 saves in the effort.