New coach, new general manager, and several new players on the Edmonton Oilers.
After two seasons out of the playoffs, will it be new results?
Head coach Dave Tippett has stressed reducing goals against. Test number one is Wednesday night when the Oilers open the season at home against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We just have to be more defensively responsible. That falls on the forwards as well,” said captain Connor McDavid. “It’s nothing crazy. A lot of teams, a lot of coaches play the same type of structure. There’s obviously some little pieces here and there that have changed, but overall, not too much.”
“Other than a few exhibition games, it’s just been talk,” said Tippett. “Now we have to see if we can do it. There are all the different parts to it. We have to defend well as a group. There are things you can do to defend less. Your penalty kill, we have to improve in that area. The overall goaltending performance has to be league average or better.”
At the morning skate, McDavid centred James Neal and Joakim Nygard, who will make his NHL debut.
“I see him get better every practice, every game,” said Tippett of Nygard, who played seven years of pro in Sweden. “His tenacity, he’s relentless on the puck, his speed are things we need.”
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Nygard – McDavid – Neal
Draisaitl – Nugent-Hopkins – Kassian
Khaira – Cave – Archibald
Granlund – Haas – Chiasson
Nurse – Larsson
Klefbom – Bear
Russell – Benning
The Oilers and Canucks are on 630 CHED with the Faceoff Show at 6 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.