NHL Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. Seattle Kraken | 03/02/2024

@BR_OpenIce on X,

Zach Hyman is a 40 goal scorer. I love saying that, and I’ll also love saying “Zach Hyman is a 50 goal scorer” before the regular season is complete.

Connor McDavid broke a 10 game goal drought with the winning goal in Overtime on Wednesday night. The last goal he scored before that was in the first game of February, he went almost a whole month without putting one puck in the net. However, in those 10 games, he still put up 23 assists. You could even call it 25 assists if you include the pair he had before the OT goal. He joked to the media a couple of games ago saying, “I’ve decided I’m just going to see how many assists I can get, that’s the focus. I’m not going to shoot the puck anymore, not going to score any more goals.” Then after the win on Wednesday, he joked again and said he didn’t have anyone to pass to.

Everything before all of that was more or less the same. The Oilers don’t start the game on time, Stuart Skinner can’t stop early beach balls, the entire team eventually wakes up and gives us a better product on the ice. The predictability has gotten tiresome and Edmonton will need to learn how to snap out of this habit come Playoff time. It has way overstayed it’s welcome.

The real play of the game was made by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. When the game was tied and the Oilers had a powerplay halfway through the third period, Robert Thomas stole the puck in his zone and went on a breakaway. RNH skated hard on the backcheck and lifted Thomas’ stick at the last second to disrupt the scoring chance. That is why Nuge is still an Oiler, that is why he has always been a vital part of this team. It won’t appear on the scoresheet, but it needs to be on every highlight reel when recapping 2023/2024. Evander Kane tried to plead his case for a double minor to St. Louis. But to be honest, he looked like he was really forcing some blood to be shown. Just because it might take a while for your face or mouth to start bleeding after the penalty has been called doesn’t mean it should go from two minutes to four minutes. Besides, all those shorthanded chances the Blues had made me think they were the ones on the PP.

Edmonton comes out of their five game homestand with five out of a possible 10 points. Pretty meh, if you ask me. They’ll now have a back-to-back this afternoon and tomorrow night. The last weekend before the Trade Deadline, let’s see what they’ve got. The keys to the game are…

Comeback Masters: In two of the last three meetings between these teams, the Kraken took two goal leads and the Oilers came back from both of them. One of those comebacks was in the last few minutes of the third period. I’d rather talk about Edmonton playing a complete 60 minutes consistently rather than how they always prefer comeback stories.

Getting it Dunn: Seattle’s top defenseman Vince Dunn missed their last game against Edmonton on January 18th due to injury. He has 43 points through 55 games played this season, second on his team in total points and first in total assists. He is to the Kraken blueline what Evan Bouchard is to the Oilers blueline.

Better Defensive Coverage: On that same game I referenced, January 18th, the Oilers allowed two breakaways resulting in goals. On Wednesday night, the Nurse/Ceci pair found themselves behind their own net for some reason and that gave the Blues more space in the slot to score. I didn’t like that pair on Seattle’s first goal, either. The Kraken are 28th in GF/G, don’t make them look like they’re 1st.

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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