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Tippett on Oilers Play: Makes Curious Decisions Prior to Flames Game

Dave Tippett talked about the Edmonton Oilers recent losses and noted he’s made some decisions prior to tonight’s game versus the Flames.

Dave Tippett Oilers

Dave Tippett didn’t share all of this thoughts, but he had a lot to say heading into Saturday’s Battle of Alberta with the Calgary Flames. As the Edmonton Oilers get set to try and rebound from three straight losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team will take on the Flames Saturday night. Mike Smith will get the start, the Flames will have a temporary coach on the bench and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will be trying to kickstart their offense.

Related: Barrie vs. Bouchard: Do Oilers Have Too Many Right-Handed D-Men?

Smith Gets the Start in Net

Tippett confirmed that the Oilers will go back to Mike Smith in net Saturday. The coach is clearly leaning towards Smith as the starter in Edmonton, giving the veteran far more benefit of the doubt than Mikko Koskinen. Neither goaltender was terribly good in the last three games against Toronto, but Koskinen was pulled early in his game and Smith was left in the crease despite being behind and allowed to battle through.

With a couple of days rest, Smith gets the nod again and the Oilers will really need some early saves to ensure the offense (which has one goal in three games) doesn’t have all the weight on their shoulders.

Tippett Lays Into Team Pretty Hard

There was some definite messaging going on during the Oilers recent practice. In a video on TSN, Tippett can be seen laying into the roster with a profanity-filled speech about execution and playing the right way.

No one should be shocked by the fact a coach swore at his players. But the urgency and demeanor in which Tippett addressed the players suggests this Oilers team is not happy with their results and embarrassed to have been so badly outplayed by Toronto.

McDavid said, “That was a team that had us figured out,” and he’s right. The way Toronto beat Edmonton in three straight, you could tell the Leafs had a strategy going in, executed it to perfection and never looked back. Tippett said the team needs to stay more connected and continue to build on strong performances.

Tippett on Evan Bouchard

“The game against Toronto wasn’t very good for him,” said Tippett. The coach noted there were certain mixes the team has been looking for and stressed the best Bouchard can do is keep working at it and be patient.

Tippett has no doubt that Bouchard will be a good player but it’s clear he sees the defenseman as a work in progress. For fans who are hoping Bouchard will get into the lineup and stay in the lineup, don’t hold your breath. This is a blueliner that is a one-game-at-a-time decision.

Evan Bouchard Edmonton Oilers camp

It is not clear if Bouchard will get in the lineup tonight, but Tippett did say that if William Lagesson is healthy, he could be the defenseman that slots in.

Next: Maple Leafs Looking for Grit, Not Skill at NHL Trade Deadline

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