Game 6: The Heritage Classic | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Game 6: The Heritage Classic

This is the first outdoor game for the Oilers in over a decade. With a 4-1-0 record, Edmonton is taking one of its best starts into action against the Winnipeg Jets and looking to recapture first place in the Pacific Division from the Vancouver Canucks who are unlikely placeholders of that spot.

Perhaps as unlikely is the success of the Oilers for this season. On Friday, Edmonton won a game against the St. Louis Blues that has to be considered a measuring-stick kind of game. The Blues are one of the first teams the Oilers have played this year that would have been considered heavy favorites and the Oilers of the past would have let the Blues run their show. Not on Friday. Now, the Oilers look to win three in a row.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The Nuge has to pick up his game. Hopefully this will mark an offensive spark for him and he's able to grab a point or two and get his offensive game going. It looks as though his line is earmarked for the third line, which while it can easily rotate back and forth with the second line is a demotion of sorts. If Nugent-Hopkins is relegated to defensive pairings all season, he's not going to have a real shot at good offensive numbers and he needs to in order to be successful.

Connor McDavid

I would expect McDavid to play well in the first outdoor game of his career. The ice surface is the same size but players have said it feels a lot bigger when you consider the atmosphere. If this is true, McDavid will probably be full speed, making plays and perhaps a two or three point night isn't out of the question.

McDavid has eight points in five games. If there is any part of him that is thinking Art Ross Trophy, (and there probably is) he won't want to fall too far behind the NHL scoring leaders.

Patrick Laine

He's been on fire to start the season and Edmonton will have to watch that wicked shot of his. This could be the McDavid versus Laine show and if it is, I expect the edge goes to McDavid, but not by much. 

Laine may also be a kick in the pants for Jesse Puljujarvi who was drafted right after Laine was. Puljujarvi draws back in tonight and he too has suggested the ice surface being smaller an issue for him. If he's able to feel like he has more space, perhaps he's able to produce a bit more than the average results he has to start the year. 

Heritage Classic

It was a ton of fun to watch the former Oilers get back on the ice yesterday. The level of hockey wasn't great — and the players will be the first to tell you that — but it was a treat to see players like Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Ranford, and others playing together.

It would be great if the new regime was watching the old regime, got to talk hockey and get a sense of pride from the group that leads to another Oilers victory today.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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