Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs.Philadelphia Flyers|1/2/24

A 7-2 win was a nice way to end 2023. The second line continues to light it up, as Warren Foegele had the first five-point game of his career, and Ryan McLeod now has five goals in his last five games. I’ve always liked the idea of having McLeod in the top six long-term due to his speed, even if he doesn’t get as many points as Edmonton’s top forwards. I think they’ve tried to audition him as the team’s 3C but have found him a home on the wings for now. I’ve stated previously that Foegele has often played some of his best hockey with Leon Draisaitl, and he’s showing it even more right now. Edmonton didn’t play an ideal first period but weathered the storm thanks in part to some good saves from Calvin Pickard. Evander Kane came back from an apparent groin injury that kept him out of the L.A. game and scored a goal. He’s been a streaky player when it comes to point totals, though he is still on pace for 30+ goals. But he didn’t make a single hit last night. Maybe he was just trying to skate out the feeling of what ailed him before, but his physicality is a huge asset when he uses it. The Oilers missed a bit of it on Saturday night. Darnell Nurse made two crisp passes that led to goals. Connor McDavid had only one assist; he’s human, after all. Imagine during this explosion of secondary scoring, if Edmonton’s powerplay wasn’t slumping. In their last seven games, they’ve only scored one PP goal and 25 even-strength goals. Foegele’s second goal kind of felt like a PP goal because he scored just a couple of seconds after a penalty expired. That still looks pretty good for the second PP unit, even if it doesn’t count on the stat sheets as a PP goal.

Heading into tonight’s game, Edmonton is three points behind Arizona for the second Wild Card spot with a game in hand. They’re four points back of Nashville for the first Wild Card spot with three games in hand. Even if the Oilers win tonight, while the Coyotes and Predators lose, there won’t be another Oilers game until Saturday. So Arizona, Nashville, or any other Western team outside of a Playoff spot could still start making ground themselves. Is it enough to steer Edmonton way out of the race? No, not yet at all. That’s why having so many games in hand can matter, provided that they win those games. Win tonight, and even if other teams win before Saturday, you’d still prefer being down fewer points than more. Let’s get ready for the first Oilers night of 2024. The keys to the game are…

“Death By A Thousand Cuts”: We haven’t heard those words in a while because the Oilers are finally winning again. But their last meeting against the Flyers was a good example of the phrase. One particular moment I remember was when Edmonton was down by a goal and had a PP. McDavid had the puck in the offensive zone, then gave it away, and that led to an opposing rush, with the puck eventually going in the back of the net. Ill-timed errors kept on deflating them at a time when they couldn’t get saves. The goaltending has been better now but limit the mistakes.

Can They Do The Cam Cam?: A 60+ point player in his Columbus years, Cam Atkinson has played all 36 games for Philadelphia this season after missing all of last season. In those 36 games, he has a modest total of eight goals and ten assists for 18 points. Two of his goals were scored in Edmonton’s first tilt with the Flyers. If he finds that scoring touch again, make sure he doesn’t have it against you again here.

Will They Run Out Of Goals?: Los Angeles had the best penalty kill in the league going into Saturday’s game, and Philadelphia’s is ranked 4th going into this game. The Flyers are also 7th in goals against. As I mentioned earlier, the Oilers have been dominating at even strength while their PP has been going through a dry spell. Without forgetting about defensive play, their red hot offensive weapons will have another big test against an opponent that’s been very good at keeping pucks out of their net.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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