It is such a long road to Stanley and injuries and maladies play a big part in who wins the championship. I think we all know Connor McDavid is not himself, but is it the flu, ribs or something else? We didn’t see the big speed burst in last night’s game and that’s a worry. Fortunately for McDavid and Oilers fans the world over, the support group is real and spectacular. Adam Larsson roaring the down the ice, Leon Draisaitl playing the Beliveau role and Mark Letestu cashing on the power play. How high can they fly? They may never reach the ground! Music!
THE NUMBERS LAST NIGHT
- First 20: 0-0, Ducks had the edge in shots 10-9, Corsi for 5×5 was tied at 13-13.
- Second 20: 1-1, Edmonton had the edge in shots 11-10, Corsi for 5×5 favored ANA 17-16.
- Third 20: 4-2 Edmonton, ANA had the edge in shots 16-12 and the Ducks dominated the 5×5 Corsi for 26-9! What an insane set of numbers!
- Overall: 5-3 Edmonton, Anaheim won shots 36-32, ANA won the Corsi 5×5 battle 56-38.
The heroes in this game (Leon, Larsson, Letestu) were bold and beautiful. What in the hell was Adam Larsson doing? Holy hell, boys! Leon, you beautiful man! I don’t know if we are more or less certain about this series after game one, but that was fire on ice! Music!
Ilya Ostrovsky was born in Moscow, moved here when he was 9. He loved hockey as a boy in Russia and played it in Edmonton as a child. His favorite hockey teams were the town teams, Red Army Moscow and later the Edmonton Oilers. He is the only man I’ve ever met who has seen May Day through a Kremlin window. His love of the game and growing interest in business led a young Ostrovsky to form the EMHL in 2004. One year later, Ian McClung joined him and since then the EMHL has been a growing concern in the business of men’s and women’s rec hockey in our city.
EMHL is now registering for men’s and co-ed summer hockey, you can click on the ad (or here) and register if interested. If we get enough entrants, Ilya will enter a Lowetide team in one of the leagues, but you have to make tape-to-tape passes and backcheck like a demon. I’m going to tell you more of his story in the coming days. It is fascinating, and unique (I believe) to Edmonton.
Final 5×5 Controlled Zone exits by EDM defence: 54%
13 carries vs 9 passes
Fitting the winner's scored off a D carry.
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) April 27, 2017
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Larsson went 14-17 in 14:55 together. That included 10-7 with the McDavid line and Adam Larsson posted his most amazing night as an Oiler. I was prepared to rave after the first goal, but the added GWG put the night over the top. I’m not sure how many days we’ll see Larsson overshadow Klefbom offensively, but he picked a damned good night to do it. Went 7-4 against Ritchie-Getzlaf-Eaves and were +2 on the night.
- Larsson made a play last night in the defensive zone that shows his subtle value. The Ducks were running around and controlling play, Oilers unable to break the cycle. Larsson saw an inch of daylight and pounced. Holding off the big Duck with one arm and using his other to flick the puck to a teammate, Larsson showed the experience and man strength the Oilers have missed for so long in these years. Dynamite defensive play.
- Nurse-Benning went 11-16 in 12:43, plenty of running around and that is to be expected. Each man had a giveaway and that’s the area they need to clean up. Went 7-3 with McDavid and 6-3 against Ritchie-Getzlaf-Eaves. I’ll take that every game of this series.
- Sekera-Russell went 7-18 together in 14:22 together and it wasn’t good. The two veterans had a helluva time in spurts last night, 3-8 with the Letestu line. Went 2-8 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg, they have a tough row to hoe but need to be better. I did enjoy Sekera’s response to bully Getzlaf at game’s end. Russell was in no-man’s land on the first GA and was no help on a later GA by Eaves. It was a bang-bang play, but he needs to make it.
- Cam Talbot was not strong on rebounds, but did stop 33 of 36, .917.
- Numbers via NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.
- Connor McDavid has the flu, is my bet. He played fewer 5×5 minutes than Leon, that’s a tell. Still, 97 had an impact on the 5×4.
- Leon Draisaitl has been Jean Beliveau for three straight games now, and that’s just about the highest compliment this blog can give. Physical, brilliant, effective and deployed in the important parts of the game, his passing is beyond reasonable now. Magic.
- Patrick Maroon looked comfortable back on the top line and I give him credit, he drives to the net on instinct. I think he’ll stay there for a time.
- This trio went 9-9 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg, Kesler had two assists (one at evens and one on the PP).
- The line went 4-5 against Ritchie-Getzlaf-Eaves, that’s going to be a fun matchup all series long.
- Nuge finally got his first playoff point, well earned. I was flummoxed earlier when his fantastic chance on the power play didn’t cash. This young man (Nuge is only 24) is snakebit, I hope the Oilers keep dancing until the damn breaks. It would be nice to see him have success offensively.
- Lucic had a good night, perhaps a little quiet but he was physical, passed the puck well and supported things defensively. A nice assist on the empty-netter.
- Jordan Eberle’s skills do not match the style of this series, he is going to have to reinvent himself a little in order to have an impact.
- Mark Letestu is a Godsend for this team, his utility ideal for the work available. I know the club doesn’t have enough qualified men for the expansion draft, so may need to leave him exposed. I hope they figure it out before expansion day.
- Caggiula and Kassian didn’t get a lot done, but did have 7 shot attempts between them. The line’s possession numbers were acceptable and we can’t expect a 5×5 goal every night. A reasonable road game for a support line.
- Trio went 3-10 against Rakell-Thompson-Perry, that’s a bad matchup for the Oilers but Carlyle got it (and Sekera’s pairing) for over 7 minutes last night. The Ducks are a diabolical team because of this third line.
- Desharnais’ line didn’t get overwhelmed and played a lot. That’s a good result for the 4line.
- Went 7-7 against Wagner-Vermette-Shaw, that’s good business for this line.
- Benoit Pouliot had a good game by my eye, he was in good spots and made progress difficult.
- Anton Slepyshev is driving the offense on this line, he had a couple of promising sorties. One of them results in a silly goalie interference call, Mr. Fuhr is spot on in his assessment.
- The refs were terrible and the Oilers got the short end. It’s going to happen, folks, I don’t make it a theme because it becomes the only theme once released into the wild. It is there, it is a factor, but Anaheim’s issues (defense, PK coverage) seem to be a bigger story this morning.
- I think maybe Anaheim doesn’t have enough forwards who can play at pace. Lots of chatter about Cogliano, but that’s one guy. The Ducks theme song at times last night was Slow Train Coming and that’s not going to get it done.
- The Ducks defense had some issues, although Lindholm-Manson was sublime. Montour has chaos and Bieksa has slow boots, meaning RH side is the soft underbelly of their blue currently. I expect we see Vatanen tomorrow night.
- Anaheim faces an early ‘must win’ tomorrow. Sounds ridiculous, but down 2-0 heading on the road is basically getting gutshot on the streets of Laredo.
- Leon Draisaitl is only the second Oilers in team history to score four playoff points in a game before his 22nd birthday. Wayne Gretzky did it four times. (Source: NHL.com).
Todd McLellan is up for coach of the year, and I think the nod is well earned. I’ve been especially pleased with his postseason work (I had a post ready to go ripping him for Hendricks playoff deployment, but it never came) and his media avails have been informative and encouraging. I’m especially pleased McLellan has seen Nuge long enough to recognize his considerable ability. As for winning, I think all the awards (Art Ross aside) end up going out east this year, but the Jack Adams is basically the kiss of death for coaches.
- Foo: “Ultimately my plan is still the same; I’m waiting until the summer time, until I’m back home. I’m just taking my time with it, there’s really no point in me signing right now. What’s that going to do for me? I’m not going to hop into any NHL or AHL playoffs games right now, so we just decided it was best for me to wait until the summer and finish this last term of school. Then, we’ll see how some pieces fall into place over this summer with different teams and just find the best opportunity.” Source
I’m a Dad, and as such am watching this Foo signing story closely. I respect this young man and his handlers/parents/advisors a lot. Take your time, project yourself into each situation, live with the idea for a time. Perhaps, if he waits long enough, roster shuffling will occur and Foo will see a clear path to his dream.
Recently, Christian Pagnani over at NHL Numbers had a lash at projecting Jesse Puljujarvi. We don’t have enough track to get a true measure of this young man, but Pagnani tackles the subject and comes away with some interesting conclusions.
- Pagnani: His AHL scoring is in mark with recent 18-year olds, and suggests he should be able to provide a scoring role in Edmonton sooner rather than later. The Oilers can look to one of their former draft picks in Leon Draisaitl and hope for similar success in the coming years for Jesse Puljujarvi. Source
It’s an interesting take on a difficult subject. The AHL numbers were good for a player of his age, and I do believe JP will be here in the fall. Does he get the 97 line? If not, I am curious to see the offensive results.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. A full boat and a lot of cool subjects to discuss:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. The Edmonton Oilers are ahead in their second round series against Anaheim. What the hell is going on?
- Sean Woodley, Raptors HQ. An update on the Raptors and their playoff run.
- Andy McNamara, TSN4Downs. NFL draft, Mayock has the Eagles taking a WR and the Browns getting both their men. Can that happen?
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. This is a wild playoff spring, McDavid’s malady and Leon fire.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!