EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers look to win two straight at Rogers Place before departing on a six-game road trip. The Philadelphia Flyers enter Edmonton on the heels of a back-to-back after losing to the Flames in Calgary 3-1 last night.
Despite drops of bad blood between the two squads, stemming back to a 6-5 loss in Philly on December 8, this showdown is nothing more than an opportunity for Edmonton to bag two points.
"I said my spiel last game," said Oilers Captain Connor McDavid. "Tonight's a big two points for both teams, honestly, they're looking for a playoff spot and we're trying to hold one down."
Tonight's mandate is simple for Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
"Play the game," he said. "The points are important."
BAND OF BROTHERS
The previous aggression between the two clubs tested the Oilers support for one another. It's made the squad tighter and announces to the rest of the League that they will go the distance in defence of each other.
"Everyone sticks up for each other and that's why we've been so good this year," said winger Patrick Maroon. "That's what a team's about… there's going to be guys here to step in but for us, the (Brandon) Manning thing is out of the picture right now, we're here to focus on our game and get better as a team."
There are other alternatives to settling a score that doesn't involve exchanging fists.
"It's not always about fighting, it's just about playing hard for each other and having each other's backs," said forward Zack Kassian. "Eventually things are going to boil over and that's when we step in."
McLellan will ice the same lines as he did on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes. The Oilers won that game by a score of 5-2 and every line played well. He'll keep things intact for the Flyers to launch another evenly distributed offensive assault.
The lines were:
Maroon - McDavid - Eberle
Lucic - Draisaitl - Slepyshev
Caggiula - Nugent-Hopkins - Kassian
Hendricks - Letestu - Pakarinen
Klefbom - Larsson
Sekera - Benning
Davidson - Gryba
-- Paul Gazzola, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (30-19-8) vs. FLYERS (27-23-7)
TV: 7:00 p.m. MST; Televised on Sportsnet West
This game marks the second and final meeting between the Oilers and Flyers this season and the lone game in Edmonton.
The last time these teams met was on December 8th in Philadelphia, when the Flyers topped the Oilers 6-5. Leon Draisaitl (1G, 2A), Connor McDavid (1G, 1A) and Andrej Sekera (1G, 1A) all posted multi-point games, while all five goals came from different players.
Oilers team scope:
After dropping four of their last five games, the Oilers bounced back Tuesday with a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The win puts the Oilers two points back of second-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. Overall, the Oilers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.
With two assists on Tuesday, Connor McDavid now has a two-point lead on Sidney Crosby (PIT) and a three-point lead on Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) for the league lead in scoring with 63 points (18G, 45A) in 57 games. McDavid has led the league in scoring at some point in all four months of the 2016-17 season. He has led or co-led the NHL in scoring since Nov. 22, 2016.
McDavid now has 19 multi-point games this season, one more than Brent Burns (SJ), and two more than Sidney Crosby (PIT). McDavid has had three points in a game on seven occasions.
With three points against Arizona, defenceman Oscar Klefbom now has 23 points (9G, 14A), beating his career best point output from 2014-15. Klefbom's nine goals this season also marks a career-best.
Klefbom's three points were also a career best in one game. The Swedish defenceman has had four two-point games, including two this year, and most recently on Jan. 21 @ Calgary.
Flyers team scope:
Philadelphia is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Flames last night in Calgary. The Flyers are two points behind Toronto for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the Leafs holding a game in hand.
The Flyers have been much better at home than on the road this season. At home, they are 17-9-4 and away from the Wells Fargo Center they're 10-14-3.
Philly is 5-4-1 in their last 10 contests.
Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers in scoring this season with 47 points (14 goals) in 57 games. He has four goals and 19 points in 19 career games against Edmonton.
Claude Giroux has 41 points and 12 goals in 57 contests this season. He has played the Oilers 10 times in his career and has five goals and 11 points in those games.
Wayne Simmonds has 10 points in 19 career games versus the Oilers. He ranks third on the Flyers in scoring with 40 points in 57 games. The 2017 NHL All-Star Game MVP also leads the Flyers in goals with 23.