The Edmonton Oilers are preparing to take on the Nashville Predators in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
They are in the midst of a three-game road trip, starting Wednesday in St. Louis and ending Sunday in Buffalo.
Here are five questions for coach Todd MacLellan after facing the Predators in Nashville.
What’s the outlook?
MacLellans team is not exactly a lock to make the playoffs.
It is a strong team but it has struggled in its past three games and is playing without two key players in Ondrej Pavelec and Connor McDavid.
How bad is it?
Last year, the Oilers finished fourth in the NHL in goals against average, fifth in save percentage and tied for fifth in goals per game.
They went 9-7-2.
This year, they have won six of eight, but they are at .500.
They have one of the worst power play percentages in the league at 25.5 percent, which has been more than 10 percentage points lower than last year.
Where is the talent?
McLell is known for his strong defense corps and he has to get a lot of that back this season.
The Oilers have been missing key players and players like McDavid, McDavid and McDavid are going to need to step up. 4.
Who will be on the ice?
The Oilers will likely play two lines of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is fifth in the League with 24 goals, and Kevin Bieksa, who has 14 points.
McDavid has been a big part of that line but will likely be paired with Travis Morin.
That could be an interesting mix.
Who is on the bench?
Dillon Heatherington, who will start in goal, will be the fourth defenseman and the backup to McDavid at center.
Brent Moran, who plays on the fourth line with Ryan Nugens, is expected to get the start in net.