Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: TNT, TVAS, SN1, SNE, SNO
Opponent SBNation Site: Copper And Blue
DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 7
The Tampa Bay Lightning are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers at home tonight. The Lightning come into the game with a 7-4-1 record following a win against the Buffalo Sabres that required a rally in the third period. For the Oilers, they enter the game with a 7-6-0 record and come in with a three game losing streak, having lost games against the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, and New Jersey Devils.
The Lightning have an all-time record against the Oilers of 19-18-3 with two ties. The last time these two teams met, the Lightning lost 4-1 in Edmonton, but had won the previous five games before that. Over their last 12 games against the Oilers, the Lightning have a 9-2-1 record.
The Edmonton Oilers are on the second half of a back-to-back after facing the Washington Capitals in Washington last night, while the Lightning have had a couple days off after playing against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Stuart Skinner was in net for the Oilers last night, so I’d expect Jack Campbell will be playing tonight.
Only Pat Maroon and Corey Perry will enter this game against the Oilers with a point streak against them. Pat Maroon has a five-game point streak against Edmonton, stretching back to the 2018-19 season in two games with the St. Louis Blues. Over that five-game streak, he has recorded four goals and six points. His four-game goal streak against the Oilers was broken in his last game against the Oilers, but he has a two-game assist streak going against them. Corey Perry also carries a two-game assist and point streak against the Oilers into the game with a goal and three points in his previous two games against them.
Nikita Kucherov comes into the game with a six-game goal scoring streak, the longest in the NHL so far this season and the longest active streak. Leon Draisaitl also holds an active four-game goal streak, his longest of the season so far. Nick Paul also has a two-game goal scoring streak on the go.
On the point streak side of the things, Nikita Kucherov, Leon Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid have the longest current point streaks entering this game with 10, 8, and 7 games respectively. Valeri Nichushkin of Colorado also has a seven-game point streak marking the four longest currently active point streaks in the NHL. Nick Paul (5), Brayden Point (4), Victor Hedman (3), and Steven Stamkos (3) also have point streaks going. On the Edmonton side, Darnell Nurse has a four-game point streak.
Offensive Power Houses
With Edmonton bringing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to town, it’s a rare chance for Lightning fans to see three of the best offensive talents in the NHL on the ice at the same time with Nikita Kucherov joining them. McDavid leads the NHL in goals and points with 13 goals and 27 points. Draisaitl is right behind him in the points race with 25 points to his name. Kucherov is currently tied for third with the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak with 20 points.
It’s no question that McDavid is the best skater in the NHL today. He is incredibly fast, he has fantastic edge work that lets him cut and turn at full speed like few other players in the world can manage, and he has the hands and hockey IQ to make the most of every single tool in his tool box.
Draisaitl isn’t that far behind McDavid in the conversation when you talk about the best players. Draisaitl has been a better goal scorer than McDavid, though McDavid seems intent on winning a Rocket Richard this year. Draisaitl hasn’t won a Rocket Richard, but he has two 50-goal seasons under his belt and was the 2020 Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner.
Kucherov of course is no slouch either. While not as good of a goal scorer as Draisaitl, Kucherov has two 40 goal seasons to his name, as well as the 2019 Art Ross and Hart Trophy. Kucherov doesn’t get enough credit for his shooting talent, but without a doubt he’s one of the best playmakers and a top right winger in the NHL. And few players in the NHL have a better hockey IQ than Kucherov.
With these three on the ice, there’s every opportunity for this to be a high scoring, dazzling offensive game. Of course, you also have one of the best goal scorers of the Salary Cap Era in Steven Stamkos, and an elite center in Brayden Point to add in to the Lightning’s side that can make dazzling plays. Edmonton also still has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman that, while not as talented as Stamkos and Point, are still threats and forwards that play hard.
More Game Thoughts and Musings
When I look at this Edmonton Oilers roster, I feel like there are still some questions down the depth chart. They have an amazing top end, and have bolstered their second line a bit in free agency. Their defense has a couple of very solid contributors at the top with Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie and they’re getting good contributions from 23-year-old Evan Bouchard who broke out last season with 43 points in 81 games, with only 7 of his points coming on the power play.
The goaltending though? Talk about a Jekyl and Hyde situation in net for the Oilers. The Oilers brought in Jack Campbell from Toronto to help them shore up their net situation. Campbell has been mostly a back-up during his career, but was the started for the Maple Leafs last year where he had a roller coaster of an up and down season. Through eight starts, he has a 5-3-0 record, which isn’t bad. What is bad? An .874 SV%, 4.20 GAA, and he has saved 6.04 BELOW expected. That translates to six extra goals that in theory an NHL average goalie wouldn’t have allowed.
Stuart Skinner on the other hand has played some good hockey. He’s only 24-years-old and was a 3rd round draft pick by the Oilers in 2017. He made his debut in 2020-21 with one game. Last year, he had 12 starts, going 6-6-0 with a .913 SV%, 2.62 GAA, and 1.01 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Very respectable for a back-up goaltender. Through five starts and six appearances this year, he has a 2-3-0 record, but a .928 SV%, 2.62 GAA, and 5.86 GSAx. I saw that, and had to go look at the game logs. Because either he played extremely well and just average in his two wins, or he’s played pretty well in every game, and the Oilers were just bad in a few of those games.
The answer is... he was extremely good in three games, but one game in particular stands out. In his first start of the season against the Calgary Flames, the Flames put up 4.3 xG. Skinner pitched a shutout. So that accounts for 4.3 of his GSAx. But he’s also got a couple of games that were strong with a 2.05 and 1.56 GSAx game. He’s got a couple games where he was pretty average with -0.28 and 0.13 GSAx. And then really just one game that was back with -1.9 GSAx in the game last night against the Washington Capitals.
Since Skinner played against the Caps last night, I expect we’ll get to see Jack Campbell in net. The last time we saw him, the Lightning (and by that I mean Nick Paul) beat him with two goals in game seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round to advance in the playoffs.
While finishing up this preview, I saw something funny in the Oilers roster. They have four Ryans; Ryan McLeod, Ryan Murray, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Derek Ryan. It’s a good thing hockey players mostly just use nicknames for each other.
Tampa Bay vs. Edmonton Comparison
|Game #13||Tampa Bay Lightning||Edmonton Oilers|
|Game #13||Tampa Bay Lightning||Edmonton Oilers|
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Nick Paul - Steven Stamkos
Ross Colton - Vladislav Namestnikov - Cole Koepke
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Berry
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Haydn Fleury - Ian Cole
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Connor McDavid - Jesse Puljujarvi
Evander Kane - Leon Draisaitl - Zach Hyman
Warren Foegele - Ryan McLeod - Derek Ryan
Devin Shore - Dylan Holloway - Kailer Yamamoto
Darnell Nurse - Cody Ceci
Brett Kulak - Evan Bouchard
Ryan Murray - Tyson Barrie