G67 2016-17: PENGUINS AT OILERS

The truth is that the Edmonton Oilers have been impressive for every month this season but November. I remember touting February as Pikes Peak and the Oilers drove that hill with impressive power. Now, as we reach what surely must be a breezy March, there is concern from Oilers fans. It has been a long time since the Oilers were truly in a playoff race, and perhaps we need to remind ourselves about what is important. For instance: The Flames are a quality team coming together at the exact right moment, and their winning streak is real and spectacular. For the Oilers? Doesn’t matter. You see, the key is getting into the playoffs, and after that we can worry about what team they face. Secondly, we shouldn’t forget the impressive season delivered by an Oilers team that is still developing and not yet balanced. Perhaps we should go back and look at our discussions back in August.

SLOW TRAIN, FAST TRAIN, 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: 1-1-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers after 66, 2015-16: 25-34-7, goal differential -34
  • Oilers after 66, 2016-17: 35-23-8, goal differential +14

A year ago G67 was a 6-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, as Laurent Brossoit stopped 21 of 27 and Connor McDavid went 1-1-2.  Edmonton would go 6-9-1 from G66 to finish 31-43-8 on the year. If the Oilers go 7-7-2, more than reasonable, they will finish 42-30-10, 94 points. That probably gets them in, as Los Angeles would need to grab 25 points in their last 16 games to pass Edmonton. First things first. Edmonton, Calgary and Anaheim need one of LAK or STL to lose three in a row. I also think folks are waiting for the Flames to snap the fever, while missing an important point: Calgary is one of the best teams in the NHL right now. Full stop.

 WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Detroit, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Montreal (Expected: 2-2-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • 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
  • Current results: 1-1-0, 2 points in 2 games

No worries so far, beyond what looks like two very difficult weekend games against powerhouse Pittsburgh and the Price Canadiens. Fans should expect a strong effort in both games this weekend, but the town team could provide exactly that and go home empty. It could happen, and I would encourage you to resist decapitating pink flamingos and drinking goat’s blood from Imelda Marcos’ shoe. Perhaps a more quiet desperation, like candlelight and wine with G7 1991.

LET’S REVIEW

Back in late August, I picked the Oilers to finish 82GP, 38-36-8 84 PTS. This was before Kris Russell’s addition, before Nail Yakupov had been sent away, before Matt Benning emerged. The RE is here. I predicted 226-226 GF-GA and a .913SP. I recently did an update on the RE defense and forward and skill forward group if you are interested.

I had the Oilers posting 1.02 points-per-game, and they are currently running at a 1.18 points-per-game rate. If they continue, and they should, Edmonton would finish with 97 points. I think that number was not reasonable in late August when I did the RE, meaning this team performed at a higher than expected level. It is the first Oilers team  to do so since 2005-06, and that is an accomplishment no matter where the club finishes. Calm your tits, panic over something worth the panic. I don’t believe the Oilers have the kind of balance they should, but the current standings and the Oilers schedule from here to the end of the season suggest only a giant collapse by the Oilers can save the Kings. I can’t see it from here.

FILIP BERGLUND

  • Filip Berglund: “I do not think I’m done here in Skellefteå in any way. This is where I want to be next year.” Source

That link is to a very informative story about young Berglund, and contains the quote above. No real surprise, since RHD’s Ethan Bear and Ryan Mantha have already been signed and will turn pro in NA this fall. Berglund is already pro, and it sounds like the second half of the season has seen a spike in performance. Good arrows.

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

  • About Connor McDavid: “I’ve never seen a player skate like (McDavid) with the puck. Watch how he beats guys from a standstill. That’s different from anybody else.” -Bobby Orr. Source.

I am beginning to prepare the RE’s for the coming offseason, won’t start until after the playoffs but it will be happening rapido once we start. A couple of items that may be of interest: Looking for an artist to feature. My early favorite is The Band, but they are always the early favorite. Any thoughts? Let me know. Also, I plan to post some tweaks in the player cards. Here is Connor McDavid:

  • 5×5 points per 60: 2.66
  • 5×4 points per 60: 5.46
  • Woodmoney 5×5 DFF vs elite: 54.4 percent
  • Woodmoney 5×5 DFF REL vs elite: 8.0
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 194 shots/11.3%
  • Boxcars: 66gp, 22-52-74

Anything else you would like to see? I am keeping all of this, because it shows how astounding this player is as a sophomore. I will also add in where players stand among Oilers forwards in categories that involve points, and if he wins the scoring title that portion will be in bold. Would you like to add anything?

STANDINGS

This represents an outstanding turn north season over season for the Oilers, although the way we got here offers less comfort than many Oilers fans would like. One thing I do believe fans have a right to be worried about? Cam Talbot has played a lot of hockey, and this club will need him to be brilliant this weekend and through the end of the month. We talk about balance a lot on this blog, and there are reasons for it.  Eight points up with 16 to play? I take that all day. ALL day.

POSSIBLE LINEUP

  • Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl
  • Lucic-Nuge-Eberle
  • Pouliot-Desharnais-Kassian
  • Hendricks-Letestu-Pakarinen
  • Klefbom-Larsson
  • Sekera-Russell
  • Nurse-Gryba
  • Talbot (Brossoit)

That is a veteran 20 and they will sleep well tonight, as the Penguins are a skilled crew with rugged rising and they skate, skate, skate. Pouliot back in should be a positive and Russell back in gives Todd McLellan two pairings he feels he can count on. Remember, the DFF vs.elites suggests the coach has no hesitation in playing the top two pairings against the elites. Pittsburgh has enough depth to give that third pairing fits, and my guess is we see the 4line play fewer than 8 minutes at evens this evening.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy, fun morning with a lot to get to, so we will speak quickly beginning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. Flames are getting higher, will Oilers prevail in the Pacific and grab one of the three top spots? Plus World Baseball Classic: Must see tv?
  • Frank Servalli, TSN. What a difference a year makes: Canada in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Is it time for Oilers fans to panic? Plus NFL free agency.
  • Paul Almeida, SSE. Oilers-Flames playoff series imagined: How good would it be?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Friday!

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534 Responses to "G67 2016-17: PENGUINS AT OILERS"

« Older Comments
  1. Sanderson says:

    Every single Oiler player is firing on all cylinders. This team can hang with the best. Beautiful hockey game. McDavid makes me feel things I haven’t felt since…

  2. digger50 says:

    Shame. Eberle with fantastic game. He can play hockey.

  3. LMHF#1 says:

    Hopkins can’t miss that. He just can’t.

  4. The Trade Guy says:

    Game might be faster these days but the finish is gone.

  5. Professor Q says:

    “We won’t call any penalties on Pittsburgh, but those Oilers characters are fair game.”

  6. russ99 says:

    Shit!!! Dumb penalty.

    Connor was so close.

  7. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    Boooo

  8. Pouzar says:

    Just wow.

  9. OilClog says:

    No tripping on Fleury but….fucking refs

  10. Professor Q says:

    So wait, Fleury doesn’t get called for tripping (penalty shot), but Eberle does?

  11. jp says:

    That was a nice block by Russell.

  12. Side says:

    LMHF#1:
    Hopkins can’t miss that. He just can’t.

    What did he miss? Fluery saved that shot towards the empty net.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Larsson hurt, Talbot fire, call the ambulance I am done.

  14. Gret99zky says:

    Fire. The. Ice. Guy.

  15. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    NOOOOOO!!!!!!

    LARRSOOOONNNNN!!!!

  16. Centre of attention says:

    Larsson might have just broke a finger

    hopefully its not an important one

  17. russ99 says:

    Gret99zky,

    Right?

  18. Acumen says:

    What a frekin kill.

  19. The Trade Guy says:

    Larsson just got a stinger on his wrist. He’ll be fine.

  20. jp says:

    Even the Pittsburgh crew agrees that was interference on Eberle.

  21. LMHF#1 says:

    Side: What did he miss? Fluery saved that shot towards the empty net.

    Had nothing but space and put it in the only place the goalie could get to.

    He also flubbed taking the pass.

  22. OilClog says:

    Ebs gets dumped.. no call.. that was terrible

  23. digger50 says:

    Best game of year IMO

  24. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    Shitty way end this one

  25. Pouzar says:

    I don’t do shootouts. Godspeed all.

  26. Acumen says:

    Larsson please be okay. So much depends on you.

  27. russ99 says:

    He better not put Letestu, Hendricks and Lucic on the shootout…

  28. Gret99zky says:

    Test Tube
    Hendricks
    DD

  29. Ryan says:

    Fcuking epic hockey game.

  30. russ99 says:

    Game of the year, so far. 🙂

  31. OilClog says:

    Puck was dropped between Crosby’s feet lol

  32. BONE207 says:

    Owners & dogs are howling all over town watching that ot. Incredible

  33. striatic says:

    not usually a big enemy of the shootout .. but we could’ve have watched this game, 5v5, 3v3, whatever, indefinitely.

  34. npanciroli says:

    Pouzar,

    Yeah I peace out at shootouts as well.

  35. Bruce McCurdy says:

    That linesman might as well have thrown that last faceoff direclly into the corner. Brutal drop

  36. OilClog says:

    Letestu
    Iro
    Hendricks

  37. Centre of attention says:

    Fontaine picks up an assists on Condors first goal of the night.

  38. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    OilClog:
    Puck was dropped betweenCrosby’s feet lol

    VETERAN PLAY

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    OilClog:
    Puck was dropped betweenCrosby’s feet lol

    Before Leon even got a chance to put his stick down. That was terrible

  40. The Trade Guy says:

    Games like this are why ties are okay.

  41. Pouzar says:

    Centre of attention:
    Fontaine picks up an assists on Condors first goal of the night.

    Free his ass.

  42. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    with the game he is having, TMac HAS to put CMD out there for this shootout, right?

  43. Centre of attention says:

    Connor did it again!!!!!

  44. The Trade Guy says:

    wow I didn’t think Connor would score. lol

  45. Centre of attention says:

    Fuck me.

  46. LMHF#1 says:

    Everyone does realize they should have whupped the Pens tonight right?

    No damn finish. They played hard and well. They were the much better team for 2 periods, but when the time comes to slow down and just put it in, they really struggled.

    Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

    No moral victories this season. They had to have that. Play that way against NYI and you win 7-2.

  47. russ99 says:

    I’ll take a Bettman. Great game.

  48. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    with the game he is having, TMac HAS to put CMD out there for this shootout, right?

    Yup. And yup

  49. Gerta Rauss says:

    Great game, wrong team won

  50. unca miltie says:

    Great game. Tough loss. Still believe

  51. striatic says:

    All credit to Fleury. He kept the Penguins in it and won them this game.

  52. jp says:

    I don’t like the result, but that was a hell of a game. Especially after the early hole.

  53. Pouzar says:

    Fuck that is so disappointing.

  54. OilClog says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Before Leon even got a chance to put his stick down. That was terrible

    Strict orders from the Bettman cave

  55. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    They played amazing. Unlucky goal number 2 against was the difference. Just keep playing that way.

  56. digger50 says:

    Should have given a shot to Eberle tonight, he was playing hot.

  57. Ryan says:

    Loser point bitches!

    Better than no loser point…

  58. russ99 says:

    LMHF#1:
    Everyone does realize they should have whupped the Pens tonight right?

    No damn finish. They played hard and well, but when the time comes to slow down and just put it in, they really struggled.

    Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

    No moral victories this season. They had to have that. Play that way against NYI and you win 7-2.

    Story of our season. McDavid, Talbot and good players but not difference makers.

  59. Gerta Rauss says:

    Hopefully they bring that same game on Sunday and lay a beating on MTL

  60. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    LMHF#1,

    Chill

    Was a good game and they fought back from 2-0, 15 games left everyone getting healthy

    Bring on the Habs!

  61. Acumen says:

    That was exhilarating. I don’t smoke, but I feel like I should have a cigarette now.

  62. npanciroli says:

    Pittsburgh got lucky.

  63. OilClog says:

    Nuge and Ebs both had strong games, both deserved a shot over Letestu in that moment. Coach may of well lost them a point with that one.

  64. Chachi says:

    Oilers deserved the win.

  65. Pouzar says:

    If we get this same shit from Line 2 and 3 going forward we will be more than fine.

    *steps off ledge*

  66. russ99 says:

    OilClog:
    Nuge and Ebs both had strong games, both deserved a shot over Letestu in that moment. Coach may of well lost them a point with that one.

    Probably not, need elevation to beat Fleury on the shootout and neither are doing so with any accuracy.

  67. Professor Q says:

    digger50:
    Should have given a shot to Eberle tonight, he was playing hot.

    He was the first shooter and missed.

  68. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    You know, that was a statement game. If/when the Oilers meet the Penguins in the Finals in a year or two, Penguins are going to remember this one and know they have to bring their A game.

    With McDavid in the fold I believe in the otherwise impossible. Flat out dominant every time he was on the ice tonight.

  69. ashley says:

    I don’t understand the shootout choices this year. It has cost us.

    Draisaitl is a lazy shootout guy. Put some effort into it man.
    Letestu is ok, but there are better options.

    First guy out should always be CMD.
    Then Eberle.
    Then Nuge.

    Penguins go Malkin, Crosby, and Kessel in order of shootout ability. Watch and learn McLellan. You got schooled tonight.

  70. russ99 says:

    A point to keep pace and seeing our team live up to their potential against one of the best for the first time in 10 years is good enough for me.

  71. BONE207 says:

    Damn…now I have to calm my tits for a couple hours while I renovate. The dogs will never be the same.

  72. Acumen says:

    LMHF#1,

    That was an amazing response after a poor first period coming back from 2-0 to force overtime against the reigning Champions – despite facing an inconsistent world class goalie on the absolute top of his game. And we still took a point.

    It was a damn spectacle, to boot.

    Sometimes you just gotta enjoy the game for what it is.

  73. Bruce McCurdy says:

    OilClog:
    Ebs gets dumped.. no call.. that was terrible

    Fleury dumping McDavid was kinda big too.

  74. Gret99zky says:

    Take away the first period and the Oilers deserved 2 pts. That first was gross.

  75. OilClog says:

    russ99: Probably not, need elevation to beat Fleury on the shootout and neither are doing do with any accuracy.

    Hahahah so the patented Lestetu low to the side shot was what the Dr ordered.

    that was the best 14 has played in about 518 days, and Nuge was fighting for every inch.

    To get guys scoring and build their confidence up you put them in positions to succeed, previous track record has proven they do score when given the proper chance to score.. shoot out.. no defence.. a sniper and a subliminal player.. I’d roll with both of them over my utility line C at this point in the year.. especially after a game like that, where they were both a bigger factor in obtaining the Bettman.

  76. Pouzar says:

    Oil 34-11 (76%) Faceoffs

  77. hags9k says:

    That was a fantastic game for this franchise. THAT is some growth.

    Eberle and Nuge were great, it appears we can count on them down the stretch. That was inspired play.

    Our captain is just amazing. Incredible to be able to answer the Crosby shootout like that. He is a cold blooded animal and such a special player.

    Posts were not our friends, but that was one hell of an Oiler game. Take the point, build on that effort

    GOILERS!!

  78. Bruce McCurdy says:

    ashley:
    I don’t understand the shootout choices this year.It has cost us.

    Draisaitl is a lazy shootout guy.Put some effort into it man.
    Letestu is ok, but there are better options.

    First guy out should always be CMD.
    Then Eberle.
    Then Nuge.

    Penguins go Malkin, Crosby, and Kessel in order of shootout ability.Watch and learn McLellan.You got schooled tonight.

    Leon is 3/6 = 50% on the shootout, best on the team. Lazy got nothing to do with it.

  79. LMHF#1 says:

    Acumen:
    LMHF#1,

    Sometimes you just gotta enjoy the game for what it is.

    Can’t. Last 10 years have made me unable.

  80. OilClog says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Fleurydumping McDavid was kinda big too.

    Is it entirely wrong to think it might take a few years for the refs to get over themselves about Mcdavid’s talent

  81. Crazy Pedestrian says:

    F$&@ the shoot-outs!!! Should just keep 3×3 OT going until a goal is scored!!!
    Makes a kick-ass fast paced game end like both teams trip and stumble over the finish line…
    What a let down… at least we got the point to stay ahead of the phlems…

  82. jake70 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Fleurydumping McDavid was kinda big too.

    He was taking a sweep at the puck, just ask the ref, he will tell you.

  83. ashley says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    It was a lazy effort in the shootout. Skate at Fleury straight on and then five hole shot from 12 feet away. Is that what he thought up while waiting for the whistle to blow? Brutal.

  84. trencan says:

    Amazing match, clash of Titans, it was worth to wake up at 3 o clock morning. We lost but I have a good feeling. Going to sleep, have a nice day guys…

  85. Acumen says:

    LMHF#1,

    Hah! Fair enough.

  86. OilClog says:

    The game ending on a Mcdavid penalty shot, due to being tripped on his breakaway in overtime, now that would of been an ending a ref could go home proud of himself about

  87. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    I know score effects were in play a bit and all, but the Oilers put up 32 shots against the reigning Cup champs, folks.

    In only two periods.

    (Pens had 14).

  88. OilClog says:

    ashley:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    It was a lazy effort in the shootout.Skate at Fleury straight on and then five hole shot from 12 feet away.Is that what he thought up while waiting for the whistle to blow?Brutal.

    But that’s his move, that’s how he scores.. or is this your first time watching 29 lull a goalie to sleep.

  89. Professor Q says:

    OilClog:
    The game ending on a Mcdavid penalty shot, due to being tripped on his breakaway in overtime, now that would of been an ending a ref could go home proud of himself about

    Wouldn’t fit Bettman’s jealousy narrative.

  90. Bruce McCurdy says:

    jake70: He was taking a sweep at the puck, just ask the ref, he will tell you.

    So are a whole lot of guys who take tripping penalties.

  91. Scungilli says:

    That was a great effort, much better than normal after a layoff.

    For the last half or so that I could watch, our guys worked their asses off but generated few chances. Pittsburgh got more quality looks out of fewer chances.

    I imagine age has to do with it, but they have to get better at quick set ups and shots. I think that is what McL is after, shoot more and quicker. No point cycling if there is no net attack, although they are getting it to the point, but again gotta get shots through and do the whole process a lot less tentatively.

    It’s telegraphed a lot of the time. Baby steps I suppose. McDavid I think would benefit from looking for economy in his moves and let the quickness he has in his hands work for him.

  92. Bruce McCurdy says:

    ashley:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    It was a lazy effort in the shootout.Skate at Fleury straight on and then five hole shot from 12 feet away.Is that what he thought up while waiting for the whistle to blow?Brutal.

    That’s exactly how he scored in previous shootouts, 2 of them game deciders for the Oilers. Take his time, make his shot. Last shootout, in Montreal, he was the only sniper to beat either goalie all day long. Did the exact same thing.

  93. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Scungilli,

    They got 42 shots through against the Penguins. And that was the best game we have seen yet from McDavid in what will be a storied career. I am puzzled by the last two paragraphs of your post.

  94. Pescador says:

    Pouzar:
    Oil 34-11 (76%) Faceoffs

    Are you sure? Better look again 😏

  95. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Bruce McCurdy: So are a whole lot of guys who take tripping penalties.

    The NHL reffing has just gotten bad. I don’t think it’s anti-Oiler bias, it’s just flat out terrible all around the League these days. They no longer call anything except for slashes that break sticks, occasional holding calls and trips. Otherwise it is open season to haul people down as you like.

  96. Pescador says:

    Acumen:
    LMHF#1,

    That was an amazing response after a poor first period coming back from 2-0 to force overtime against the reigning Champions – despite facing an inconsistent world class goalie on the absolute top of his game. And we still took a point.

    It was a damn spectacle, to boot.

    Sometimes you just gotta enjoy the game for what it is.

    Well said

  97. Pouzar says:

    Pescador: Are you sure? Better look again

    Pretty sure.

  98. Bruce McCurdy says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: The NHL reffing has just gotten bad. I don’t think it’s anti-Oiler bias, it’s just flat out terrible all around the League these days.They no longer call anything except for slashes that break sticks, occasional holding calls and trips. Otherwise it is open season to haul people down as you like.

    You forgot too many men & puck over glass. The former decided last night’s LA game after the Kings had commited a couple of clear infractions earlier in overtime.

  99. Scungilli says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Scungilli,

    They got 42 shots through against the Penguins. And that was the best game we have seen yet from McDavid in what will be a storied career. I am puzzled by the last two paragraphs of your post.

    McDavid creates, but to my eye as a team they are tentative in attack and many sorties don’t end up in a HDSC. Lots of shots they are getting aren’t likely to score.

    If they were better at getting quality scoring chances they would handily beat teams when they play like that.

    I want them to be more dangerous. Other than McDavid. I think they’ll get there. But I want it NOW!

  100. Dennis L says:

    Solid, encouraging game. I have the “good” disappointment. Our shooters still need to find that extra half-second of patience sometimes. Case in point: Nuge in OT at the side of the net. A bit of rush, puck rolls off the end, Fleury makes the stop. And McDavid. Love McDavid….

    I don’t want to go here, but my one “thing” tonight was seeing Russell fail at long breakout or off-the-boards passes from the goal line area, having them intercepted or fail, and seeing the puck come right back at us. I’m sure it feels like it happened more than it did (and he did have a good number of good defensive plays too), but that was the negative thing the stood out to me in an otherwise good game.

  101. Pouzar says:

    Joey Leggs wins it in OT

  102. Jon K says:

    jake70: He was taking a sweep at the puck, just ask the ref, he will tell you.

    I’m pretty sure they changed the rule this season, where even if you contact the puck it’s still a tripping penalty. Missed call but understandable when you watch the play in real time.

  103. Chachi says:

    Dennis L:
    Solid, encouraging game. I have the “good” disappointment. Our shooters still need to find that extra half-second of patience sometimes. Case in point: Nuge in OT at the side of the net. A bit of rush, puck rolls off the end, Fleury makes the stop. And McDavid. Love McDavid….

    I don’t want to go here, but my one “thing” tonight was seeing Russell fail at long breakout or off-the-boards passes from the goal line area, having them intercepted or fail, and seeing the puck come right back at us.I’m sure it feels like it happened more than it did (and he did have a good number of good defensive plays too), but that was the negative thing the stood out to me in an otherwise good game.

    I liked that “thing” where Russell used his skating ability to rush the puck down one wing got a Pittsburgh d-man to follow him up to the blue line and had the vision to slide the puck toward the net where Kassian and Desharnais had one defender trying to cover both them which resulted in a goal for the Oilers.

  104. ashley says:

    Bruce McCurdy: That’s exactly how he scored in previous shootouts, 2 of them game deciders for the Oilers. Take his time, make his shot. Last shootout, in Montreal, he was the only sniper to beat either goalie all day long. Did the exact same thing.

    That may be true. but it’s not like I thought it was a good idea then either. That’s a tough shot to score on straight on 1vG. Threading the needle. 50% is pretty lucky on that choice IMO, almost certainly just too small of a sample. There are higher percentage shots.

    If he likes 5 hole, he needs to get the goalie moving side to side. If he wants to shoot from 12 feet away, he’s got to get the puck up to give it a better chance.

    Drai is not known for his crafty stickwork 1vG. Give the puck to someone who has a little more jazz.

  105. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You forgot too many men & puck over glass. The former decided last night’s LA game after the Kings had commited a couple of clear infractions earlier in overtime.

    You’re right. That too many men against Subban.

    Of all the team sports except for perhaps baseball, which is very different, the NHL is the worst one by far at letting its stars do what they do best.

    The NBA makes it easy for scorers to score and draw fouls.

    The NFL is a totally pass-happy, offense-oriented league and defenders can barely touch receivers.

    In soccer if you are anywhere near a star in the box and he goes down (flops), it’s a PK.

    But in the NHL, no, you are incentivized to clutch, grab, hold, obstruct, interfere, etc., as a grinder because most times they aren’t going to make a call. They want the game to grow further they really need to let the stars be stars. By that I don’t mean they should give calls to stars that others would not get, it just means that they need to call it like the rule book says a lot more.

  106. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Scungilli: McDavid creates, but to my eye as a team they are tentative in attack and many sorties don’t end up in a HDSC. Lots of shots they are getting aren’t likely to score.

    If they were better at getting quality scoring chances they would handily beat teams when they play like that.

    I want them to be more dangerous. Other than McDavid. I think they’ll get there. But I want it NOW!

    Hmm, not what I saw tonight. I saw a team going to the tough areas a lot in front of the net. Eberle, Lucic, Nuge, McDavid,even Desharnais.

    Leon looked a little passive. He looks tired. Running into a bit of a wall again like he did last year.

  107. Scungilli says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Hmm, not what I saw tonight. I saw a team going to the tough areas a lot in front of the net. Eberle, Lucic, Nuge, McDavid,even Desharnais.

    Leon looked a little passive. He looks tired. Running into a bit of a wall again like he did last year.

    True, I’m happy with the game, still want them to get better. I felt the same way last time we had a star on the team and it took a few years to get rolling.

  108. Centre of attention says:

    Bear scores on a slapshot

    can’t wait to see him in pro

  109. Georges says:

    Bruce McCurdy: 80+ percent of defenceman in the entire league are in the QualComp range from 0.4 to -0.4. Schultz is near the very bottom of that massive pack, & also well out to the right. Yes the differences are marginal, as WoodMoney shows it’s not like some players play the toughs 100% & other guys 0. The differences are in the margins, which is where Sullivan is finding his edge.

    The PUC represents visually, pretty much exactly what Woodguy told us about his time vs Elites and in the specific games he drilled down to find who Schultz was/wasn’t matched up against.

    While I agree with you & G that a difference of 1.0 in any one player is noise, QualComp is a weighted average of all opponents. To me that is much more statistically significant than random noise.

    In other words I am unironically citing WoodGuy & WoodMoney as authorities, & Vollman’s method seems to agree with them as a quick-n-dirty illustration in an article that already had too many words in it.

    1. QualComp on that Vollman chart uses Rel CF% as a measure of opponent quality.

    If you pull the Rel CF% numbers for skaters who’ve played 50 or more minutes off Corsica, you’ll see that the standard deviation is 4.5. So the difference you’re seeing between the competition Letang and Schultz face (0.4) is 1/10th of a standard deviation in the quality of all players. That margin is so fine, it’s best to ignore. It can’t be used to support definitive statements like Sullivan is a genius for sheltering Schultz and playing Letang against the toughs.

    2. And the fact that 80% of the defensemen in the league are in the +0.4 and -0.4 range tells you a lot about the variability of the QoC that players face when QoC is measured by opponents’ Rel CF%. It’s not that variable.

    3. A coach who’s working his ass off (as WG said yesterday) to shelter a player he’s playing for 20 minutes a night can save his ass some effort by stapling the player’s ass to the bench or promoting the ass and the player attached to the press box. You just don’t play players you don’t have confidence in for 20 minutes a night. Starting those players in the OZONE isn’t a sign you lack confidence in them. It’s, as you say, the coach finding his edges. Schultz, Crosby, Malkin win games. Other players on the roster are responsible for not losing games. You’re giving Sullivan a lot of credit for his coaching. Give him credit, then, for straight valuing Schultz and using him a lot in situations that Sullivan thinks will win him hockey games.

    4. As far as Schultz being out to the right, remember that PIT is a good team that has more OZONE (33.5%) than DZONE (29.2%) faceoffs. Relative to other players n the league, PIT players are going to be out to the right. Schultz is just a little right of Letang. That Vollman chart you used has a nasty horizontal axis scaling problem.

    5. The difference that G points out in the article is taken from the Vollman chart in his article. It IS the difference in QoC, not individual players’ Rel CF%.

    6. “…QualComp is a weighted average of all opponents. To me that is much more statistically significant than random noise.”

    You should be careful when you detect small differences in large samples. t-tests have a lot of power when you feed in a lot of data. Tiny differences will get flagged as statistically significant. That doesn’t mean those differences are practically significant. I pointed out the numbers above. I’ll recap:

    At this stage in the season, Schultz has played against the majority of the players in the NHL. He’s faced over 600 opponents. Letang has faced over 500 opponents. The difference between the QoC faced by the two players is 0.4. That difference is statistically significant because of sample size. That difference is also 1/10 of a standard deviation of individual Rel CF%. That difference is practically insignificant.

    Google “statistical significance large samples” if you’re interested.

    7. From your CoH article: “My own take was that Schultz needed to play with the best players on his own team to maximize his strengths, and that necessitated playing tougher opponents as a cost of doing business.”

    Umm, if you watched the game tonight, Sullivan agrees with you…?

  110. Pescador says:

    Chachi,

    Hey Chachi,
    Thx for the response this morning, Your avatar is sick, Velvet Rogers.
    When I said “stupid Europeans” I was being sarcastic of course.
    I have rehashed this out of curiosity, seems a common occurrence that Euro club teams keep certain teenagers on the roster but with a philosophy of no matter the talent, limited sheltered minutes are just the way it’s done.
    I’m guessing this is a way of avoiding the classic Oiler play of throwing a prospect into the deep end. Thoughts?

  111. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Scungilli: True, I’m happy with the game, still want them to get better. I felt the same way last time we had a star on the team and it took a few years to get rolling.

    Yeah, I hear you. Hard to stay patient after 10 years of losing. I was somewhat skeptical until tonight.

    I mean, I knew McDavid was an incredible talent.

    But if I am honest, I thought the Oilers lost a lot of elite offensive talent in search of balance in the offseason in Hall, Yak and Schultz. I don’t mean to bring up those 3 in terms of having people point out to me they aren’t elite. Hall was twice > PPG on his own and Schultz I believed in offensively to where I bet Pouzar last year he would score 41 points. I was dead wrong…by a year. And Yak is a curious, kind of sad story. All that said, watching Lucic, Nuge, Eberle struggle all year and seeing Leon produce, but looking best when playing with McDavid, well, I thought this team became very top heavy. McDavid and Talbot holding it all together.

    But even as much as I believed in McDavid’s abilities and believed he could improve further I still thought he lacked elite help. Crosby only got a 2nd Cup because Kessel was on fire. He has Malkin. He has Murray now. In trading Hall away, I thought the Oilers traded away their Kessel.

    But tonight? Tonight what I saw was not just improvement from McDavid, but a whole new level. Not just one level higher, but leaps and bounds higher. He was just incredible every time he was on the ice. I know he was going up against one of his heroes, but if he can bring that fire he had tonight on a more consistent basis, the lack of elite offensive supporting cast may not even matter.

    When he took the shootout attempt, it was like we knew he would score. And so did McDavid himself. I mean, he just had it tonight. That performance makes me think that even without the depth surrounding him, he just may take us to the promised land on his back anyway. That was thrilling. That was something else.

  112. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Georges:

    7. From your CoH article: “My own take was that Schultz needed to play with the best players on his own team to maximize his strengths, and that necessitated playing tougher opponents as a cost of doing business.”

    Umm, if you watched the game tonight, Sullivan agrees with you…?

    Also from my post, “I was wrong” about that. You’re telling me I was right after all? 🙂

    I just think Sullivan has worked at the edges, and the several disparate bits of information I’ve processed in the last 2 days conforms to that. The margins, the 2%. He’s not changing the law of gravity or anything.

  113. Pescador says:

    Pouzar: Pretty sure.

    Good enough for me. That has to be some sort of record

  114. Georges says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Also from my post, “I was wrong” about that. You’re telling me I was right after all?

    I just think Sullivan has worked at the edges, and the several disparate bits of information I’ve processed in the last 2 days conforms to that. The margins, the 2%. He’s not changing the law of gravity or anything.

    Yes, I’m telling you that you’re right.

    And, with that, I’ll let it go. Thank you for responding, Bruce. It was fun.

    Great game tonight. And a relief. I was worried the Oilers were going for a walkabout at the worst time. That PIT team needed every Stampede wrestling dirty trick to get out of here with the shootout win. Now, we have to get by Carey Price and those grrr Habs.

  115. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Georges: Yes, I’m telling you that you’re right.

    And, with that, I’ll let it go. Thank you for responding, Bruce. It was fun.

    Great game tonight. And a relief. I was worried the Oilers were going for a walkabout at the worst time. That PIT team needed every Stampede wrestling dirty trick to get out of here with the shootout win. Now, we have to get by Carey Price and those grrr Habs.

    Right back at you. I’ll look forward to seeing how Sullivan deals when he has Letang back in the mix. For now he’s doing the workaround.

  116. Georges says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    I agree with you on McDavid. We just take it for granted that he’ll beat a defender one-on-one at least five times(?) a game. He was something special tonight, yes sir.

    Didn’t the supporting cast look good, too? The ex-Habs line is dangerous! I know they’ve been on for a few GA’s but I saw those as more defensive breakdowns in the high danger area rather than forward coverage issues. If you have a real scoring and possession threat on the 3rd line, I think you can work out the kinks in GA. Excite.

    And Ebs, Nuge, and Lucic were making plays, no? At that level, how unlucky do they have to get not to score? More excite.

    Talbot made the stops he needed to make, the team responded. Didn’t lie down or play frustrated and confused like that stupid NYI game. I was worried we were going to get run out of Rogers by those awesome, everybody should play like them Penguins. Those guys escaped. I hope they blast the Flames and Schultz scores 3.

    As far as the Oilers… more please.

  117. OF17 says:

    If the Oilers go further in the playoffs than expected, this is one of the games we’ll look back to. They took the defending Cup champions (and possible repeats) to town for two periods. That has to boost their confidence. When everyone is playing like they’re capable of playing, we can beat any team in the league. The trick will be finding consistency with that high level of play, but when it comes, we may be in for a wild ride.

  118. Chachi says:

    Pescador:
    Chachi,

    Hey Chachi,
    Thx for the response this morning, Your avatar is sick, Velvet Rogers.
    When I said “stupid Europeans” I was being sarcastic of course.
    I have rehashed this out of curiosity, seems a common occurrence that Euro club teams keep certain teenagers on the roster but with a philosophy of no matter the talent, limited sheltered minutes are just the way it’s done.
    I’m guessing this is a way of avoiding the classic Oiler play of throwing a prospect into the deep end. Thoughts?

    Sorry Pescador, your sarcasm rang loud and clear and my response didn’t acknowledge that properly. I think there is a good argument that Berglund is being developed exactly as he should be, but I think Swedishposter is the resident expert on that. I just like to poke the bear sometimes because if a North American prospect was having their ice time throttled in a similar way in a North American League there would be a lot of freaking out about it.

    Thanks for the shoutout on the avatar. Velvet Kenny Rogers decorates my life.

  119. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Georges:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    I agree with you on McDavid. We just take it for granted that he’ll beat a defender one-on-one at least five times(?) a game. He was something special tonight, yes sir.

    Didn’t the supporting cast look good, too? The ex-Habs line is dangerous! I know they’ve been on for a few GA’s but I saw those as more defensive breakdowns in the high danger area rather than forward coverage issues. If you have a real scoring and possession threat on the 3rd line, I think you can work out the kinks in GA. Excite.

    And Ebs, Nuge, and Lucic were making plays, no? At that level, how unlucky do they have to get not to score? More excite.

    Talbot made the stops he needed to make, the team responded. Didn’t lie down or play frustrated and confused like that stupid NYI game. I was worried we were going to get run out of Rogers by those awesome, everybody should play like them Penguins. Those guys escaped. I hope they blast the Flames and Schultz scores 3.

    As far as the Oilers… more please.

    Yes, agreed. My comment about Nuge, Eberle, Lucic was from early this year.

    Here’s what I wrote earlier about them tonight:

    I saw a team going to the tough areas a lot in front of the net. Eberle, Lucic, Nuge, McDavid,even Desharnais.

    The 2nd line was solid tonight. 3rd line had its moments, too. If the team plays like tonight every night until the end of the year they will be in good shape.

  120. flea says:

    Watched the game late, and looking at the comments here I saw a lot of the same things. Oilers played well enough to win and got an important point. McDavid – wow!

    A few thoughts about the OT and shootout. OT was sensational. It should be 10 min. Even go as far to put in more offensive rules in the second 5 min. Maybe on icing calls or freezes the offence gets to start with the puck at the red line. The tiebreaker has to go to regulation wins only, the NHL better change that next year. And if you’re going to keep the godforsaken shootout, let players shoot multiple times after the first three go.

    It didn’t happen quite perfectly but could you imagine Crosby and McDavid alternating shootout attempts? That would make the shootout slightly more palatable.

  121. Zelepukin says:

    Georges:
    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    I agree with you on McDavid. We just take it for granted that he’ll beat a defender one-on-one at least five times(?) a game. He was something special tonight, yes sir.

    Didn’t the supporting cast look good, too? The ex-Habs line is dangerous! I know they’ve been on for a few GA’s but I saw those as more defensive breakdowns in the high danger area rather than forward coverage issues. If you have a real scoring and possession threat on the 3rd line, I think you can work out the kinks in GA. Excite.

    And Ebs, Nuge, and Lucic were making plays, no? At that level, how unlucky do they have to get not to score? More excite.

    Talbot made the stops he needed to make, the team responded. Didn’t lie down or play frustrated and confused like that stupid NYI game. I was worried we were going to get run out of Rogers by those awesome, everybody should play like them Penguins. Those guys escaped. I hope they blast the Flames and Schultz scores 3.

    As far as the Oilers… more please.

    Ya we are finally moving in the right direction with our top 3 lines.

    Nuge-Ebs-Looch seem to be really figuring out each other and how to play to each other’s strengths. I think Nuge still has another level to hit. We’ve seen it before and this season has been tough for him. Think back to when you got excited when Nuge grabbed the puck because he’d do something smart with it or how frequently he’d pick the pocket.

    Kass & Pou could be our secret weapon. Both have deceptive speed and will fire shots off at will. Kass has been Mr.Consistent this year imho and I think this duo will rely on Pou and his ability to adjust. It was first game back but he really came to play which hopefully Kass’ energy can rub off on him.

  122. OF17 says:

    I’m starting to hope we re-sign Desharnais. Pouliot-Desharnais-Kassian has a lot to be desired as a third line. There’s enough defensive acumen on that line that you don’t have to worry about it, and its impact physically and offensively is palpable. It’s just one game of results, but the three are good stylistic matches for one another.

    Oddly enough, re-signing Desharnais might be the thing that covers for the discussed Eberle for Strome + deal too. At that point, you have 19-97-Strome / 27-93-29 / 67-13-98 / 54/42/36-55-44, with $3.5M in extra cap space and a prospect/pick from the Islanders.

    At that point, I think Edmonton would have the most attractive hockey-related pitch to Shattenkirk in the league. How many teams will have a legit shot at a long playoff run in 2018 while having a hole at 1D and the space to give Shattenkirk a big contract? If there are any others, there wouldn’t be many. Who knows what his mix of priorities is, but Edmonton offers a value proposition that no one else can: a fat cheque, a contending team, and the opportunity he always wanted in St. Louis. Pair the forwards above with 2-Shattenkirk / 77-6 / 25-83 and Talbot in net, and this team would have the chance to go far.

  123. Dee Dee says:

    Team was hitting again tonight like they were at the start of the year.

    They came back from a 2 goal deficit to tie the reigning Stanley Cup Champions and should have won it.

    It’s all good.

    Keep playing like that and they will beat anyone.

  124. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s 2016-17 Oilers Death March Update:

    Oilers lose in OT after a thrilling comeback and and are now back on a 97 point season pace. Congrats to the 12 players who have accurately predicted 97 points. Death March players who predicted a 97 point finish are:

    Soup Fascist
    Oil 2 Oilers
    Water fire
    Yak Efron
    Ozzie Oiler
    PTS2PNDR
    Genjutsu
    Book;je
    Kashirat
    Lodog
    Say it ain’t so Gretz, Say it ain’t so!
    Countrygirl

  125. Dennis L says:

    Chachi,

    His play on DD’s goal was nice; you’re right to point it out. I don’t think Russell should be benched in favour of Gryba, for example. Especially when playing a fast, pressure team like the Pens.

    Happily, this year our players tend to add more to the good ledger than to the bad, unlike previous years. Russell is part of that improvement.

  126. JDï™ says:

    The game really should have been won in OT. Fleury showed some desperation while on his stomach that Ben never did.

  127. PhrankLee says:

    Holy boys!!

    We gained a genuine point in a genuine playoff race from the genuine champions of the NHL. Again we took a point from the champs and used it against those who would seek to overrun us.. Thats YUGE. Ha ha

    This result at this time of year meaning what it does bodes well in the PhrankLee household!

    Had them finishing the year with 91 points. They will out do that I am glad to say

  128. Pouzar says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: Leon looked a little passive.

    Agreed. I thought he was off the whole night.

  129. Pouzar says:

    Pens are without Letang and Maatta but that was a sound corgi beating folks.

    We have 3 lines rolling pretty good right now. Let’s hope TMc wakes up from his coma
    and puts in much needed speed in on line 4.

    I’ll be curious to see if Cags draws in next game.

    Flames possibly without Hamilton and Stone tonight.
    GO JETS GO!!!! <– I need a shower now.

  130. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    Georges,

    So I needed to go to bed last night before commenting (after my quick seconds after the game ended one) to think about what I had just seen. I was watching the game with a good friend, very solid hockey mind, and after McDavid tied it he just waved his hand (and I apologize for the language) and goes “fuck this kid man, it’s not fucking fair,” and started laughing.

    30 shifts, 26:53 total ice time (21:50 at EV), 9 shots, a goal and a shootout goal.

    What an unbelievable game.

    I saw a lot of good in last nights game and with a little puck luck around the net they would have walked away with two points. Sucks they didn’t but things are starting to coalesce hell even the penalty kill looked good last night.

    Pouliot – really hope he brings that level of intensity to every game from here on out, very good first game back overall IMO.

    The coach has to see what a black hole his 4th line is right? Right?

    Russell had some rust and there were a few hair raising cycle plays where our D got caught in between decisions but they all hung in there. I thought Larsson had a rough first period but settled down after that. Sekera and Klef please hit the damn net.

    The officiating was absolute garbage for both teams. This boned headed “let them play” mentality always irked me. More so after the blatant trip of McDavid by Fluery in OT. If you hack someone’s legs out and aren’t even within a foot of the puck its tripping. I’ve read a few articles that the league is aware that reffing has been a problem this year so hopefully it gets dealt with in the offseason, especially with the scoring race so low but I’m not holding my breath.

    Overall a very entertaining game. There was some serious resilience shown last night and by all measures they put the boots to the Pens for 40 minutes. Wish it was a W but if they can keep that play up (coach mentioned in his presser the game brought some “desperation” out on the bench) I’m much more confident going into this week’s matchups.

  131. theres oil in virginia says:

    Bruce McCurdy: You forgot too many men & puck over glass. The former decided last night’s LA game after the Kings had commited a couple of clear infractions earlier in overtime.

    Playoffs are the best for that. A whole game of crosschecks, interference, slashing, et al. Then in OT (0-0) someone commits the ultimate sin by barely flipping the puck out of the rink, but just inside the d-zone, which is much worse than interfering with a player trying to score or set up a scoring play.

    I recently read that the GMs couldn’t agree about the off-side goal review. That says more about them than it does about the rule. Collectively, these men are confused, to say the least.

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