Below is a post we were just about to put up before news that the Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers game had been officially postponed by the NHL. With Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi now on today’s COVID protocol list, the league decided it best to hold off. The NHL says details will be available tomorrow.
Below is the post we were going to run with…
The Edmonton Oilers will have to try and do something they aren’t always great at doing — that is, play their best hockey against a depleted opponent. The Oilers have been known in the past to play down to their opposition and while the Montreal Canadiens are still a threat on any given night, the Habs will have to try and beat Edmonton without the services of a handful of key players.
Montreal will have to pull out a win and stay in the playoff race without help from Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot and with Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi now on today’s COVID protocol list. This is not good news for the Canadiens, but it is good news for the Oilers who want to keep things rolling and secure first place in the Scotia North Division.
Interestingly, the Oilers will roll with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the top line. Jesse Puljujarvi will complete the trio and it appears head coach Dave Tippett wants to roll with the group that was so instrumental in the comeback against the Winnipeg Jets. As for the second line, it’s a bit weaker with Domink Kahun, Ryan-Nugent Hopkins and Josh Archibald but perhaps they’ll build some chemistry giving the Oilers another scoring threat option.
Happy Birthday Mike Smith
Smith has played lights out hockey for the Oilers this season and he’ll get a chance to continue doing so on Monday as he gets another start. This won’t be an ordinary start though. He’ll be trying to give himself a nice birthday present with another win.
Leon and Connor Hit 50
Draisaitl scored Saturday to join McDavid as the only players with 50+ points so far during the 2020-21 season. This is now the second straight season that the duo were the first two players in the NHL to hit the mark. As for McDavid himself, his 60 points overall in 2020-21 are the most by any player through his first 34 games of a season since 2002-03 (Mario Lemieux: 18-45—63).
As great as those individual accolades have been, Tippett says the most important number to McDavid is the number of wins the team gets. McDavid wants to get the team to a point they are winning every night. Tippett said Lemieux took the same responsibility the former Penguin did, which was the be the best player every night.
Oilers Sign Kesselring
In unrelated game news, the Oilers have signed 2018 sixth-round pick Michael Kesselring to a three-year entry-level deal on Monday. The 6’4” defenseman spent the last two seasons with Northeastern University in the NCAA’s Hockey East conference this season, recording five goals and three assists. He has appeared in 54 career NCAA games with Northeastern, posting seven goals and six assists.
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