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NHL Today: Can the Oilers Score in Game Two?

June 10, 2024 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on NHL Today: Can the Oilers Score in Game Two?
Matthew Tkachuk is due for a goal for the Florida Panthers.
Can Matthew Tkachuk snap his goal slump on Monday? (Dan Hickling)

The big story heading into Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals is whether the high-powered Edmonton Oiler offense can solve Florida Panthers star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky after being shut out in the series opener. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of storylines for this game.

Matthew Tkachuk Slumping

Ironically, the last time we discussed Matthew Tkachuk, he was busting out of a slump, and while it was a solid bet to expect him to do the same in Game One, it didn’t happen.

In fact, he only managed a single shot in enduring a third straight pointless game while seeing his PT dip for the fourth straight contest, surprisingly getting under 14 minutes of action on Saturday.

Since potting a goal and an assist in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers, Tkachuk has managed just three helpers in six games. While it’s true he took a step back offensively this season (just 26 goals in the wake of back-to-back 40-goal campaigns), this development is surprising.

Despite the recent skid, Tkachuk is still tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with 19 points, and the fact that the Panthers got through the Rangers and are now ahead 1-0 over the Oilers with next-to-no contributions from him bodes extremely well for their success in this series.

He’s in the 99th percentile of shots on goal for the playoffs, so the goals will come. Let’s face it: Keith Tkachuk‘s oldest son can do it all, from scoring to playing with the meanest edge imaginable (watch Connor McDavid pretend not to be afraid of him in the video below).

Edmonton Tweaks Blueline for Game Two

It’s not that Edmonton played poorly in Game One, but it’s clear it needs to show more fire on Monday if there’s any hope of squaring this series at a game apiece (for what it’s worth, the Oilers are -250 underdogs as per odds at FanDuel).

It does not seem that Edmonton will make any changes to its forward corps, but on defense, Cody Ceci will apparently sit for Vincent Desharnais. Ceci was a Fantasy option a few years back during his last season in Ottawa, but he was rancid in his one campaign with the Leafs before bouncing back with the Penguins and even more so (at least in his debut) with the Oilers.

Ceci wasn’t bad this season (51.5 CF percentage, up from 50.3 in 2022-23), but during these playoffs, he ranks dead last among Edmonton blueliners in CF percentage, and his pairing with Darnell Nurse has been a real sore point among the team’s faithful.

Realistically, what the Oilers need more than anything is to get their vaunted power play going (0-for-3 in Game One), but Ceci barely played on the man advantage on Saturday, so this change won’t really affect this area of the game at all. But if it improves Edmonton’s overall team D, then it’ll be a welcome lineup tweak.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

American rock band The Doors formed in 1965 and remained active until 1973, briefly reuniting in 1978. Their ninth and final studio effort, An American Prayer, was released in 1978 several years after the death of Jim Morrison. It kicked off with “Awake,” a four-part piece that includes “Ghost Song.”

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NHL Today: Hawks Put Defending Champs in Another Hole

June 3, 2013 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on NHL Today: Hawks Put Defending Champs in Another Hole
Chicago’s speed has simply proved to be too much for the Kings, but counting LA out would be foolhardy. They fell behind the Blues two games to none in the opening round and have consistently looked like a very different team in the Staples Center during these playoffs.
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NHL Today: Hawks Lock Up Brandon Bollig

June 18, 2012 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on NHL Today: Hawks Lock Up Brandon Bollig
Re-signing restricted free agent Bollig helps address any concerns the Hawks had that they won’t be tough enough. In his first NHL action this season, he went scoreless in 18 games, but racked up 58 penalty minutes in seeing less than six minutes of action per game.
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NHL Today: Sidney Crosby’s Test Results Coming

January 30, 2012 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
The timing of the report about newly discovered – but apparently already healed broken neck vertebrae – couldn’t have been worse, as the NHL was celebrating its best and brightest when its absolute best and brightest was dealing with a new complication in his one-year battle to return to full health.
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NHL Today: Danny Briere’s Return Not Enough for Flyers

April 9, 2011 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on NHL Today: Danny Briere’s Return Not Enough for Flyers
This team has now gone a season-high five games without a win (0-3-2), fumbling their chance of earning the Eastern Conference’s top seed – a ranking that seemed a foregone conclusion a week and a half ago. Hell, the Flyers might not even win their division, which would relegate them to the No. 4 seed.
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