There are a few updates heading into Monday’s Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks action. The news focuses on the health status of Jujhar Khaira, if defenseman Philip Broberg will play at all this season and what the Oilers will do once they clinch a playoff spot, which could be as early as tonight with a win. Of course, there’s also the Connor McDavid watch as he tries to get 100 points.
Khaira Set to Make Return
In news that will surprise many, according to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, it appears the Edmonton Oilers will be getting back a key penalty -killing forward with a physical aspect to his game in Jujhar Khaira. It’s not expected he’ll play Monday evening versus the Vancouver Canucks. He may not even play Tuesday. But, with four games in six nights, the Oilers announced they figure he’ll be back on the ice and playing sometime this week.
** Update: it appears Khaira will play tonight for the Oilers.
Dave Tippett said he expects Jujhar Khaira to return to the lineup at some point this week. Also, expect Mikko Koskinen to get some action with four games, including a back-to-back situation Monday and Tuesday in Vancouver.
This feels like a quick return for a player who suffered two concussions and there will certainly be some backlash from fans who think he shouldn’t be returning at all this season. We’ll operate under the assumption that the medical staff has taken more than one good look at Khaira and determined that it’s safe for him to hop back on the ice.
Broberg Could Be Black Ace During Oilers Playoff Run
The Oilers officially assigned Philip Broberg to the taxi squad this weekend and the player will not play in the AHL due to paperwork and quarantine timelines. It’s not likely Broberg plays for the Oilers this season given their depth on defence but there is talk he could be a Black Ace during the playoffs.
Puck Pedia points out that if Broberg plays less than seven regular season and/or playoff games for the Oilers this season, his contract will slide again for another year, making next year the first year of his three-year ELC.
Oilers Can Clinch Playoff Spot Tonight
The Edmonton Oilers head into Monday’s action with a playoff clinch on the line. If they win, they’re in. If they don’t, it will take a little longer to rest players who could use it. Obviously, the Oilers won’t sit all their stars because North Division home-ice advantage is still on the line, but it will allow Edmonton the chance to put in some other players.
Tippett hinted that it’s almost time to start getting some players in who haven’t seen much game time lately. “You got to make sure your team is ready. In saying that, some players maybe haven’t played as much lately that you want to get a game or two here or there.” This could include some playing time for defenseman Evan Bouchard (taxi squad) and Slater Koekkoek (LTIR).
It could also mean that goaltender Mikko Koskinen gets a few more starts so that a repeat performance doesn’t happen last year where Smith had a rough first game and the netminding was an issue the entire series against Chicago.
With so many games in such little time, expect the lineups to rotate, while Tippet juggles trying to find the right chemistry for the postseason.
McDavid’s Quest for 100
A big game tonight and tomorrow by Connor McDavid might go a long way in determining how much ice time he gets down the stretch. If he pots say 5 or 6 points in two games here, his ice time might not be cut back as much as other players simply to get him to 100 points on the season.
He currently sits at 87 and 93 or 94 points with four games left will likely equate to Tippett putting him out there in the hopes he reaches that milestone. If he’s quiet over the next two games, the coach might not risk tiring McDavid out of a possible injury.
The best thing that could happen is that McDavid explodes with about seven points the next two nights. Get the 100-point marker out of the way early.