4 Oilers Player Predictions for 2-Game Homestand

The Edmonton Oilers wrapped up their four-game road trip out east with a 2-2 record, and now they’re set to face the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights in an upcoming two-game homestand.

The Oilers haven’t looked like the Stanley Cup contenders that many predicted them to be before the season started, as their 9-7 record indicates. But they have a chance to climb the standings against division rivals this week. That said, below are four player predictions to look out for in the next two games at Rogers Place.

Evan Bouchard Snaps His Goal-Scoring Slump

Evan Bouchard has had a less-than-impressive offensive campaign thus far. He established himself as a full-time NHL player last season, and the opposition became aware of his “Bouch bomb” from the point after registering 12 goals and 31 assists in 81 games.  

Evan Bouchard. Edmonton Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

He hasn’t scored this season, but he has five assists and a minus -6 rating through the first 16 games. He’s struggled with defensive coverage and giveaways, but the underlying analytics from Natural Stat Trick indicate he’s trending well, with a 63.69 Corsi per 60 minutes (CF/60), 3.22 expected goals per 60 (xGF/60), 35.52 scoring chances for per 60 (SCF/60), and 15.19 high-danger chances for per 60 (HDCF/60).

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Bouchard played his second-most minutes of the season (23:53) against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 12, and his three shots were his highest shot total in 10 games. Having said that, the Oilers’ sophomore is due to breakout, and the prediction is that Bouchard will end his scoring slump against the Kings on Nov. 16. That game should be high in intensity, with both teams meeting for the first time since the Oilers defeated the Kings in seven games last May, and this could bring out the best in Bouchard.

Klim Kostin Records His First Point as an Oiler

Klim Kostin made his debut for the Oilers on Nov. 12 against the Panthers. He was fairly effective in eight minutes of ice time, posting a 50% Corsi (CF%), 58.33 Fenwick (FF%), and 57.14 high-danger chances (HDCF%). He had a chance to score on a two-on-one attempt, was credited with a hit, and executed a perfect screen in front of the net on Tyson Barrie’s first goal of the game.

With Evander Kane out of the lineup, Kostin has a huge opportunity in front of him. He’s 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, a strong skater, and he isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates. The upcoming games against the Kings and Golden Knights should be fierce battles, and the Oilers need a player like Kostin to step up. I predict that he’ll be physical, a menace in scrums, and he’s going to record an assist against the Golden Knights on Nov. 19 – his first point as an Oiler.

Darnell Nurse Gets His First Fighting Major of the Season

Darnell Nurse’s $9.25 million cap hit kicked in this season, and there’s still a debate in Oil Country if he deserves the money. Yet, in 16 games, he’s scored three goals and six assists and has a plus-4 rating. Before the regular season, I wrote that the Oilers needed Nurse to be disciplined this season. He had a couple of questionable fights in the preseason against the Calgary Flames’ Mitch McLain, and there was concern that he might let his emotions get the best of him and risk spending unnecessary time in the penalty box.

Darnell Nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

However, he hasn’t dropped the gloves this season, but my prediction is that Nurse (who was suspended against the Kings in Game 5 last postseason for headbutting Philip Danault) will get in his first fight of the 2022-23 campaign against the Kings on Nov. 16.

The game should be high in emotion, and remember, it was Kings’ defenseman Mikey Anderson who injured Leon Draisaitl in Game 6 last spring when he hauled the Oilers’ centerman down to the ice. Moreover, it was later known that the former Hart Trophy winner played through a high-ankle sprain for the rest of the playoffs. There may be some sort of retribution in this contest, and it’ll likely be Nurse who steps up to the plate.

Connor McDavid Records His Third Hat Trick of the Season

Connor McDavid is having a tremendous campaign. He again leads the NHL in points (32), and his 15 goals in 16 games suggest that this is the season that he will add a Rocket Richard Trophy to his trophy case. On that note, he already has two hat tricks — the first one on opening night against the Vancouver Canucks, and the second against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 27. The bold prediction is that McDavid records his third hattrick of the season at Rogers Place against the Golden Knights.

It’s going to be a battle when the Oilers and Golden Knights meet on Nov. 19. It’s the late game on Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada with an abundance of star power, including McDavid, Draisaitl, Jack Eichel, and Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas sits atop the Pacific Division, thanks to some steady goaltending from Logan Thompson and Adin Hill in net. Additionally, it seems Eichel is back in his offensive groove, leading the team with 19 points in 16 games.  

Related: 5 Observations From Oilers’ 4-Game Road Trip

McDavid is as competitive as they come and has a history of rising to the occasion, and with the first-place Golden Knights in town, I expect he’ll be shooting in bunches and trying to score mercilessly. Also, there hasn’t been much of a rivalry between McDavid and Eichel since both were selected first and second overall back in 2015, but both centermen are playing the best hockey of their careers; now that they’re in the same division, this could be the start of a serious duel for years to come.

The Oilers have struggled to put together consecutive wins since winning five in a row from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1, but they have a chance to put themselves in a better position with wins over Pacific Division opponents during this upcoming homestand.

Do you have any of your own player predictions on the short homestand? Put your predictions in the comments below!

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