FAST TRAIN

The Edmonton Oilers entertained the fans and won the game last night, with Connor McDavid’s first-period goal bringing everyone out of their seats and getting Saturday night off to a rocking start. Incredible skill and speed combined a giant hockey brain. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.

Edmonton dominated the shot clock and the Corsi’s and Detroit kept it closer than it should have been. I guess we can fret about coverage and why Nurse-Gryba were on the ice with 50 seconds left but I kind of want to rave about the new 3line and that trio’s potential.

 OVERNIGHT SENSATION, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
  • Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
  • Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in March 2016: 8-8-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in March 2017: 1-0-0, goal differential +1
  • Oilers after 65, 2015-16: 24-34-7, goal differential -38
  • Oilers after 65, 2016-17: 35-22-8, goal differential +17

Edmonton continues their march to 90 points and beyond, and combined with the LAK regulation loss to Vancouver last night, this playoff spot feels closer with each morning coffee. After 65 games a year ago, the Oilers had 55 points. This season? 78. Yeah. I believe we can confirm they turned north, on a fast train.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Detroit, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Montreal (Expected: 2-2-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Anaheim, Colorado (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-5-1, 15 points in 13 games
  • Overall current results: 1-0-0, 2 points in one game 

The Islanders will be an interesting team, not quite certain what we will see from them on Tuesday. The tougher games during the week are later on, another win would set things up nicely for the Oilers. New York could do the Oilers an enormous favor this afternoon by beating Calgary in regulation.

DEFENSE LAST NIGHT

Corsi for 5×5 percentage

  1. Andrej Sekera 17-10 62.96
  2. Darnell Nurse 25-16 60.98
  3. Matt Benning 20-13 60.61
  4. Eric Gryba 20-14 60.00
  5. Adam Larsson 20-17 57.14
  6. Oscar Klefbom 19-16 54.29
  • Klefbom-Larsson went 18-13 in 17:01 together, including 8-10 with McDavid. Went 10-3 against Tatar-Nielson-Athanasiou but only 2-10 against Mantha-Zetterberg-Nyquist. Larsson had two assists and played 20:36 at evens, and had 1 takeaway and three blocked shots. Klefbom had one shot and played 20:27 at evens. Excellent pairing, really seem to be developing chemistry. Top pairing in minutes, on merit.
  • Nurse-Gryba played a lot last night, went 21-14 in 16:15 together, including 9-3 with the Nuge line. Went 8-7 against Mantha-Zetterberg-Nyquist. Nurse had four shots, 3 blocked shots and his wheels give this team another gear. Gryba had four shots and the pairing had three giveaways. The third goal was a fluke play, Nurse trying to knock the puck down and instead sending it to the net front. Nurse is developing some calm feet now, the game is slowing down for him. Doesn’t mean no-mistake hockey, but it is a very good sign.
  • Sekera-Benning went 17-10 in 14:19 and skated miles. The one pairing that knows the value of a re-set on the breakout, they were 8-0 with the Letestu line. Went 9-2 against Tatar-Nielson-Athanasiou. Three blocked shots and two takeaways for the pairing. Going mobile every shift. Love it!
  • Cam Talbot stopped 22 of 25, .880.

FORWARDS LAST NIGHT

Corsi for 5×5 percentage

  1. Jordan Eberle 24-11 68.57
  2. David Desharnais 13-6 68.42 Top Defense Opponent in minutes: Xavier Ouellet
  3. Zack Kassian 12-6 66.67
  4. Milan Lucic 21-11 65.62
  5. Drake Caggiula 13-7 65.00
  6. Mark Letestu 13-7 65.00 Niklas Kronwall
  7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 23-13 63.89 Niklas Kronwall
  8. Matt Hendricks 8-6 63.64
  9. Jujhar Khaira 14-9 60.87
  10. Patrick Maroon 13-17 43.33
  11. Connor McDavid 12-16 42.86 Mike Green
  12. Leon Draisaitl 11-14 42.31
  • Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl went 11-15 together and went 9-2 against Tatar-Nielson-Athanasiou. Struggled against Larkin 4-6 a little but it didn’t matter. Eight shots, two goals, four points, they were terrific with the puck on their sticks. The line was 33 percent in the dot. Connor McDavid is so good he could have pulled the 1974-75 Washington Capitals into the playoffs, pretty sure. What a thrill to see him play.
  • Lucic-Nuge-Eberle cashed on a nice bit of work by the wingers and went 23-11 in what was their best Corsi night as a trio. Twelve shots by the line, kicked the Larkin and Nielson lines. Nuge didn’t score but there were moments and the puck was heading in a very good direction. Eberle scored a dandy, he is heating up and that is a very good thing. Lucic had a strong game too, in my opinion. The clean air this line is seeing (and identified by Woodguy) is having a positive impact.
  • Caggiula-Desharnais-Kassian had instant chemistry and went 12-6 on the night. Could have cashed several times but did score one and that is a brilliant month for the third line so far this year. Went 6-2 against Miller-Sheahan-Glendening, the line had eight shots on goal and Caggiula could have had a pair or more.
  • Hendricks-Letestu-Khaira went 14-8, went 6-1 against Miller-Sheahan-Glendening. Three shots, Letestu was 67 percent on the dot. I really like Khaira as a player, he had a fantastic look last night but missed the net.
  • Numbers via NHL.com, NaturalStatTrick and HockeyStats.ca.

THE NEW ORIGINALS

The Desharnais line looked good out of the box last night, seemed to me the new man had the puck on his stick a lot in good areas, and made good decisions. Two small forwards and Kassian might seem a little strange, but the two short guys were giving Detroit fits and the other guy scored. I am uncertain why Edmonton chose to move Anton Slepyshev off the line last night, but based on early returns it seems to have worked pretty well. Nine shots on net for an Oilers third line is outstanding.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

He scored again last night, he is now 21, 8-9-17, his NHLe is 17-18-35 at this time. The current RW depth chart (Leon, Eberle, Kassian and Khaira) based on last night looked pretty good. As long as the big Finn is scoring well (and Lander is his center), I think Bakersfield is just fine for him. I expect we will see him before the end of the season, but if JP can push toward 20 goals in the AHL that is a solid bit of development and a nice bullet on the resume.

KRIS RUSSELL

Russell did not play last night, and that brings up a couple of talking points. First, how bad is it? Trading away Brandon Davidson suggests to me the veteran Russell must be close to a return. Second, did you like the alignment of the defense last night? No disrespect to Russell, but for me the mobility of Sekera-Benning is compelling. I wonder if that becomes the de facto second pairing by next season. I know we have talked about this before, but I am really hoping it comes to pass.

 

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236 Responses to "FAST TRAIN"

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  1. treevojo says:

    Simon Gamache?

  2. Professor Q says:

    treevojo,

    Touché. Although I admit I don’t know much about him, that’s a good tale of caution.

  3. Chachi says:

    Professor Q: Failing at attempting to compare to a negative to contrast to the positive. The worry is definitely there, but the track record projects differently.

    Just as the worries about Benson are legitimate and there, but so too are the Galchenyuk hopes.

    Pro hockey history is littered with the broken bodies and dreams of undersized junior scorers. I won’t ever worry about the Oilers passing on one of them.

  4. Bruce McCurdy says:

    I’m still choked the Oilers picked Jason Soules and Richard Borgo in 1989 when Nicklas Lidstrom was still on the board. I can almost distinctly remember saying that Lidstrom was the best player available at 15 and certainly at 36. 😐

  5. treevojo says:

    Lol

    ho-sang crushed hamonic.

    Resulting in a goal of course.

  6. Bruce McCurdy says:

    At least we got Dale Derkatch that one time.

  7. Professor Q says:

    Bruce McCurdy: The Oilers were one of 38 teams to miss out on this potential Kane. But seriously, fuck those guys.

    This is a product of hindsight, I admit. At the draft I was one of the only ones alongside yourself who were trying to calm everyone down and say “wait and see” about Benson, and the hopes that he might be the next Galchenyuk if injury issues were overcome. I supported it, and your arguments.

    I’m just commenting that DeBrincat has certainly added to his cause this season. Raddysh too? Maybe? Or has he had help from DeBrincat?

    I usually don’t dabble in the hindsight thing because we can’t really change it. And of course we can never know how things turn out, especially this early. Although some nights really do have me dreaming about how if the Jets hadn’t won the lottery and the Oilers picked Laine…

    Mmm. 76 goals aside McDavid? 😉

    But hey, if Puljüjarvi gives us a better chance at a Cup I’ll forever love how that draft turned out. And I still have hope for him. I think he’s the best defensively out of Matthews, Laine, and he.

  8. Chachi says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    I’m still choked the Oilers picked Jason Soules and Richard Borgo in 1989 when Nicklas Lidstrom was still on the board. I can almost distinctly remember saying that Lidstrom was the best player available at 15 and certainly at 36. 😐

    It set the Oilers’ prospect depth back for 26 years.

  9. Dennis King says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I was never gone, Bruce:)

  10. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Watching the Clarkson Cup & enjoying Calgary getting beat. Beats that shit show on Sportsnet just now.

  11. Chachi says:

    Professor Q: This is a product of hindsight, I admit. At the draft I was one of the only ones alongside yourself who were trying to calm everyone down and say “wait and see” about Benson, and the hopes that he might be the next Galchenyuk if injury issues were overcome. I supported it, and your arguments.

    I’m just commenting that DeBrincat has certainly added to his cause this season. Raddysh too? Maybe? Or has he had help from DeBrincat?

    I usually don’t dabble in the hindsight thing because we can’t really change it. And of course we can never know how things turn out, especially this early. Although some nights really do have me dreaming about how if the Jets hadn’t won the lottery and the Oilers picked Laine…

    Mmm. 76 goals aside McDavid? 😉

    But hey, if Puljüjarvi gives us a better chance at a Cup I’ll forever love how that draft turned out. And I still have hope for him. I think he’s the best defensively out of Matthews, Laine, and he.

    Raddysh is my favourite. Tampa was so smart they passed on him twice before picking him. Yzerman is a super genius!

  12. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Dennis King:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I was never gone, Bruce:)

    Lurkers make shitty jokers.

  13. Jethro Tull says:

    Chachi: Raddysh is my favourite. Tampa was so smart they passed on him twice before picking him. Yzerman is a super genius!

    Best GM in the NHL and it’s not even close.😐

  14. Professor Q says:

    Well, I see everyone is being mature today…

  15. Chachi says:

    Jethro Tull: Best GM in the NHL and it’s not even close.😐

    There isn’t a crappy contract that he won’t sign, but he can always get rid of it later maybe even without hobbling his team!!

  16. Todd Macallan says:

    Turning the page to prospects we do have, Mantha goes 2+1 in a big 9-7 W over Erie today. All 3 pts were apparently very skilled plays, though I have yet to see the highlights.

  17. spoiler says:

    Younger Oil:

    You know, the only point Chachi was making in his original post was that we have no idea of what Debrincat will be as an NHLer. He hasn’t played a game yet. It hasn’t been 5 years yet.

    These are two very obvious and well-accepted counterpoints. Rather than graciously acknowledging them, and then perhaps continuing with “I still like the arrows” or “I’m betting on success” instead we are treated to a litany of nit-picking semantical posts in Q’s attempts to deny this obvious counterpoint…

  18. spoiler says:

    Todd Macallan: Turning the page to prospects we do have

    How refreshing! And a nice score line too.

  19. Alpine says:

    Don’t think Debrincat could ever be Kane. Doesn’t have the high end skill or skating. Great goal scorer though. I think he’s a really good bet to be a top six guy but much more in the Jeff Skinner mold than Kane.

  20. spoiler says:

    Alpine,

    I think of him as Skinner-like too. Time will tell on whether he can translate the goals to the Bigs.

  21. Professor Q says:

    spoiler: And now Hitler. Unbelievable.

    You know, the only point Chachi was making in his original post was that we have no idea of what Debrincat will be as an NHLer.He hasn’t played a game yet.It hasn’t been 5 years yet.

    These are two very obvious and well-accepted counterpoints.Rather than graciously acknowledging them, and then perhaps continuing with “I still like the arrows” or “I’m betting on success” instead we are treated to a litany of nit-picking semantical posts in Q’s attempts to deny this obvious counterpoint…

    And then we get the maturity comment, and then Hitler.And damning the other side with implied insults of unbalanced and irrational.Wow, just wow.

    Wait. I did acknowledge all sides, graciously and otherwise. I was not the one nit-picking nor the one denying things. I was not the one using mocking hyperbole.

  22. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Alpine:
    Don’t think Debrincat could ever be Kane. Doesn’t have the high end skill or skating. Great goal scorer though. I think he’s a really good bet to be a top six guy but much more in the Jeff Skinner mold than Kane.

    Not sure how a player can lack high end skating skills and remind anyone of Jeff Skinner.

  23. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Georges:
    Woodguy v2.0,

    Thank you for that. Very useful.

    Just woke up from my nap and chased it back to the middle of the January homestand.

    No hard and fast game where “everything changed” because 97 wasn’t *that* far off 93 in terms of TOI vs Elite all year, but saw more “97 vs best” during that homestand and certainly on the roadie afterward.

    So let’s call it the FLA game on Jan 18 in order to have a cut off date.

    I then looked at RNH’s and McDavid’s results for each time period:

    Oct 1 – Jan 18 – 46 gp 22 home – 24 away
    CF%
    97 – 54.4
    93 – 50.6

    GF%
    97 – 61.0%
    93 – 39.0%

    PDO
    97 102.2
    93 – 965.8

    5v5 Pts/60
    97 – 2.65
    93 – 1.44

    5v5 Primary pts/60
    97 – 0.83
    93 – 0.41

    Jan 18 – March 5th – 19 gp 7 home – 12 away
    CF%
    97 – 53.0
    93 – 46.7

    GF%
    97 – 60.5
    93 – 50.4

    PDO
    97 – 102.5
    93 – 100.4

    5v5 pts/60
    97 – 2.90
    93 – 1.39

    5v5 Primary pts/60
    97 – 0.97
    93 – 0.70

    Huh.

    So the results are actually slightly worse for RNH CF% wise, but his PDO tracked back to “normal” and his GF% came right up to even.

    RNH’s primary points jumped up significantly, but overall 5v5 slipped a bit.

    I wonder if this is much ado about nothing but good ol’ PDO regression?

  24. Younger Oil says:

    Deleted my comment, I know it can be seen in replies (it wasn’t directed at Chachi by the way, sorry if it seemed that way).

    I was just attempting to make humor about how people always use incredibly one of a kind hyperbolic examples as counterpoints when anyone tries to use numbers to make an argument about/criticize a past draft pick. It was meant to be intentionally ridiculous hyperbolic sarcasm, sorry that it didn’t come across as such.

  25. spoiler says:

    Younger Oil,

    Very commendable of you, sir. I have deleted the quote in my post.

  26. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    PDO break down of the post above:

    Oct 1 – Jan 18
    97 – 9.6%SH & .9265 SV% = 102.25
    93 – 5.1%SH & .9148 SV% = 96.58

    Jan 19 – March 5
    97 – 10.54SH% & .9193 SV% = 102.7
    93 – 7.25SH% & .9317 SV%

    Maybe a hair of the increased SV% is 93 facing slightly less comp (who score less) there is a corresponding decrease in 97’s ONSV% but not quite the same jump.

    Of course, it could all be noise.

  27. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Chachi,

    spoiler,

    You are good people.

  28. Chachi says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    Chachi,

    spoiler,

    You are good people.

    Well then, it is a mutual admiration society.

  29. spoiler says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Wasn’t my fault we were good, YO started it, Dad.

  30. jm363561 says:

    speeds:
    According to this link:

    https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-expansion-draft-rules/c-281010592

    A F needs either 40 GP this year (not happening) or 70 GP combined this year and last year.

    =====

    Some have discussed Khaira being taken by Vegas. He does not meet this threshold.

  31. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Guilty of hyperbolic comments re: Lidstrom. I stand by my Dale Derkatch remark though. 😉

  32. OriginalPouzar says:

    Centre of attention: Since Feb 14th: (score and venue adjusted)
    CF%
    Eberle 59.3
    Lucic 51.63
    RNH 49.31
    GF%
    Eberle 64.35
    Lucic 62.54
    RNH 50.45
    PDO
    Eberle 100.9
    Lucic 102.44
    RNH 100.07
    Nice to see its not just a PDO mirage, but real.

    He’s just sick – wasn’t feeling well after last night’s game.

    He did workout lightly I guess but they didn’t want to skate him.

  33. dinger says:

    jm363561,

    You are correct in that JJ does not meet the threshold required of players that need to be made available to Vegas. However, he is a three year pro and has to be protected if the Oilers do not want to run the risk of losing him in the expansion draft.

  34. godot10 says:

    jake70: After I posted I got thinking, how often has anorganisation had2 different forward prospect wingers in the AHL being centred by the same player 6 years apart?, …..and assuming Lander centred MPS those games, it makes the MPS-JP comparison more solid I would think.

    Paajarvi didn’t play much with Lander. He played LW with Josh Green at centre and Teemu Hartikainan (Chris VandeVelde playing centre when Green was hurt) and right wing with Arcobello at centre and Phil Cornet at LW.

    Lander played most of the year in the NHL between Eager and Petrell. When he was finally sent down to the AHL, he played mostly with Pitlick and Tyrvainen

  35. jm363561 says:

    dinger:
    jm363561,

    You are correct in that JJ does not meet the threshold required of players that need to be made available to Vegas. However, he is a three year pro and has to be protected if the Oilers do not want to run the risk of losing him in the expansion draft.

    Thanks

  36. Dennis King says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Hahaha.

    I only started visiting again lately

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