The Edmonton Oilers can feel the tension in Oil Country — they’ve won just twice in their last 15 games.
While they’ve stressed blocking out the outside noise during this slump, they know it’s there, and they know what a win can mean for the attitude in and around the team.
“We would love to turn this around for the city as well. I know how much the Oilers mean to the fans and the city,” said center and alternate captain Leon Draisaitl.
“We’re doing this for us in the group, but at the same time, we’re also doing this for the fans and the city.”
The Oilers host the Calgary Flames Saturday at Rogers Place (The 630 CHED Face-off Show starts at 6:30 p.m., game at 8 p.m.) in the second of four Battles of Alberta this season.
Tyson Barrie (upper and lower body) and Zack Kassian (non-COVID illness) have been added to the Oilers injured list.
With Barrie out, Darnell Nurse will take over on the point on the power play, which has also been operating lately without Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
That’s given more power play time to Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto.
“They’re really good players that we’re putting on there. You don’t have to teach them too much,” said Draisaitl.
“But at the end of the day, we’ve been together as a unit of five for a long time. We know exactly our routes, exactly where to go. We know the plays. Those are the little things that Yamo, those guys that aren’t regularly on the unit might have to install into their brains.”
“If you look at last game, I think we created ten chances on it. We’re looking for a little more finish on it,” said head coach Dave Tippett of the power play.
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Perlini – McDavid – Yamamoto
Foegele – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
Benson – McLeod – Turris
Shore – Ryan – Sceviour
Nurse – Bouchard
Keith – Ceci
Russell – Koekkoek
The Oilers beat the Flames 5-2 on October 16 in their first and only other meeting of the season.