The Edmonton Oilers will celebrate Pride Night when they take on the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday and plenty of the Oilers players are sharing their feelings on the subject, especially as news of players from other teams refusing the wear jerseys or take part in celebrating inclusion make front page news. Zach Hyman noted, “It’s important to show that hockey players care.” He added of other players choosing to sit out the celebrations, “People have their own personal beliefs, I just don’t agree with them.”
Connor McDavid also was quite vocal about the importance of including everyone in the game of hockey and says he strongly believes hockey is for everyone and is looking forward to pride night. Stuart Skinner and Darnell Nurse both also talked about how important nights like this are to show that everyone is welcome. Both said they were looking forward to taking part.
Can Bouchard and Ekholm Continue to Roll?
Since the arrival of Mattias Ekholm to the Oilers at the NHL Trade Deadline, he’s been on fire, playing big minutes and producing offensively. Ekholm has three goals and nine points in 11 games, while Evan Bouchard (his playing partner) has 10 points in his last nine games. They’ve been elevated to the role of first pair with the way they’ve played and have been extremely effective as a duo.
Depending on how the Oilers choose to roll out their lines against the Vegas Golden Knights, expect to see Bouchard and Ekholm get most of their ice time together and to get a lot of it. This will be a real test for this pairing against the top team in the Pacific Division and one they might face in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Big Game vs. the Golden Knights
Edmonton’s win streak is now five games and their record to 41-23-8 and 90 points has them sitting third in the Pacific Division and six points off the Vegas Golden Knights, who the Oilers face twice in their next three games. This is a huge opportunity to make up ground and a Pacific Division title is not out of the question if the Oilers can find a way to win both games.
While the Oilers have had a great record of 9-2-0 in their last 11 games, the Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings — the two teams ahead of them — have also been winning. Vegas is (10-2-0) and the Kings (7-0-2), in their respective stretches. McDavid said the key isn’t to watch what’s happening in the standings but to focus on their own game. He noted, “We are more focused on things that we control like our game and our habits every day. We know if we go into the playoffs feeling pretty good, we’re going to give ourselves a chance and that’s all you can ask for.”
Some Milestones to Watch For…
Leon Draisaitl needs two goals to reach 300 goals in his career. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane both need one goal to reach 300 for their careers, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having a career season and McDavid is working to see if he can’t reach the 70-goal mark in a single season…
Next: Bruins Can’t Afford to Keep Jeremy Swayman Without Big Moves
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