The Edmonton Oilers are in for a tough match-up Monday, as they prepare to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edmonton activated three players off the injured reserve Saturday, and the return of Drake Caggiula, Matt Hendricks and Kris Russell proved to greatly benefit the team. In addition, they all managed to contribute to the Oilers 5-2 win in a big way.
Against the Blackhawks, the Oilers will go with similar combinations with some modifications.
Here are the projected lines for Monday’s game against Chicago.
Milan Lucic-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Maroon-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Anton Slepyshev-Leon Draisaitl-Zack Kassian
Matt Hendricks-Drake Caggiula-Tyler Pitlick
Extra: Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse-Matthew Benning
Extra: Eric Gryba
Keys to Victory
Monday’s game will be one of the hardest match-ups for the Oilers so far this season. The Blackhawks are rolling, and are dominating the Central Division. They have a lethal arsenal of elite scorers, as well as great defensive depth and strong net-minding.
Edmonton cannot lose confidence. The Oilers have all the potential to escape with a win, as long as they start early and stay in the offensive zone. Not giving Chicago scoring opportunities will limit chances against, and help the Oilers easily reach a win.
The Oilers also have to draw penalties. The Blackhawks penalty kill is the worst in the NHL, sitting at a 69 percent success rate. With that in mind, Edmonton can take advantage, spending more time on the power-play and making them pay.
Players to Watch
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Artemi Panarinvs.Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid will be a key player, especially coming off his hat trick Saturday. If McDavid wants to keep up the hot streak, he needs to calm the “pass first” mentality and put more pucks on net.
For the Blackhawks, Artemi Panarin continues to make the most of his time in the NHL, and is incredibly dangerous. The bread man has great scoring ability, and just like McDavid, is a rising sophomore who had a great rookie season.
Expect both of these players to be prominent on the ice Monday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT at Rogers Place.