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Oilers aim to end skid against Islanders

by Brian Compton /

OILERS (1-5-1) at ISLANDERS (2-2-2)


Season series: This is the first of two meetings this season between the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders. They will face each other again on March 6 at Rexall Place.

Big story: Edmonton has gotten off to a rough start under new coach Dallas Eakins. The Oilers have won once in their first seven games and have allowed a League-high 32 goals. New York has won twice in its first six games and has already allowed a couple of third-period leads and points in the standings to slip away.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton enters Thursday’s action hoping to put an end to a four-game skid. The Oilers played better Tuesday, but suffered a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center. Evgeni Malkin broke a 2-2 tie with a power-play goal at 7:20 of the third period.

"To have done the job so far and everything's going all right for us and it's a fanned shot and it goes right to the most dangerous guy on the ice, the hockey gods aren't lined up for us right now," Eakins said. "We'll do an exorcism and see if they give us more leeway."

Islanders: For the second time in three home games this season, the Islanders failed to protect a third-period lead in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. New York was 2:01 away from picking up two points in the standings, but Marcus Foligno erased a 3-2 deficit and the Sabres would go on to win in a shootout, their first victory of the season. They entered Tuesday’s action having scored seven goals in seven losses.

“Last night we played our game for the most part,” Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo told the team’s website Wednesday. “We were physical. Tenacious. We were beating guys to pucks. We had a couple bad bounces – that happens sometimes. But if we play like that, we’re going to win a lot more games than we lose.”

Who's hot: Oilers wings Taylor Hall and David Perron each have a goal and five assists through seven games, while center Mark Arcobello has six assists. Center Boyd Gordon has four goals and right wings Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky have two goals and three assists. Veteran forward Ryan Smyth, a former Islander, has three goals in six games. … Islanders forwards Frans Nielsen (three goals, four assists), John Tavares (three goals, four assists) and Michael Grabner (two goals, five assists) have seven points in six games. Josh Bailey has two goals and four assists.

Injury report: Oilers center Sam Gagner (broken jaw) is out. Forwards Ryan Hamilton and Steve MacIntyre are questionable with knee injuries. Defenseman Corey Potter (back) is questionable. … New York is boasting a healthy lineup.

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