The Edmonton Oilers put it all together last night, much the same as they did on opening night. Solid goaltending, at times bordering on spectacular, and a defense consistent enough to win the day against the transitioning Chicago Blackhawks. This team can win games when playing as they did last night, the big question is consistency. Cam Talbot regressed like a demon last night, no one is going to catch the midnight rider, we’re on to Philadelphia.
- Connor McDavid: “There was a lot of positive things tonight but the main one was Talbs. He was unbelievable.” Source
LIDO HITS CHI-TOWN, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in October 2015: 2-4-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 5-1-0, goal differential +7
- Oilers in October 2017: 2-4-0, goal differential -7
We’ve seen fire and rain between wins but the team earned a victory on the road against a good team. Getting this road trip off to a solid start was key, now we’ll see if they can grab more points before heading back home. Some of the forwards are (finally) beginning to separate and that’s going to make for interesting days as Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula near their returns.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER?
- At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- At home to: Winnipeg, Ottawa, Carolina (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-3-0)
- On the road to: Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: Dallas, Washington (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-3-2, 12 points in 10 games
- Current results: 2-4-0, 4 points after six games
A big win, now the big work that is Pennsylvania comes into view. I projected 1-1-1 on the road trip, it would really help this team to get one more win during this trip. The Flyers are playing well and they’ll be a big test. Edmonton does not traditionally play well in morning games, going back a very long time.
DEFENSE LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Larsson went 21-19 together, the pairing looked good to my eye. Klefbom got a pretty assist on the winning goal, blocked some shots and fell down taking a shot (thus stealing my move!). Larsson was his usual pain in the butt to play against, the duo was 15-12 against Saad-Toews-Panik in 11 minutes (just two against the Kane).
- Nurse-Russell went 10-13 together (8-7 Fenwick) and were 4-8 against the Kane-Schmaltz-Hartman line (for me, the more dangerous of the two Chicago trios). Nurse’s passing out of the zone seems to have better pace and he transported well. He also got himself into some tough situations and that’s the challenge. My guess is we see these two together on Saturday.
- Auvitu-Gryba were 12-11 together and had 7-2 shots advantage while they were on the ice. At some point Matt Benning may get his job back, and Auvitu brings some chaos. Went 5-6 against Bouma-Anisimov-Hayden, which is one weird line.
- Cam Talbot had a fine night. The one goal he let in was poor but he had several 10-bell chances and stopped 30 of 31 shots overall. His SP is up to .901 now, hopefully on the way to .926.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Maroon-McDavid-Yamamoto counted a baker’s dozen in shots and one of the two goals on the night. The line went 28-14 together Corsi for 5×5 and 20-5 shots for on the evening. McDavid was 20-14 against Duncan Keith but there’s one sortie we’ll remember a very long time. 97 was also 23-11 against Jonathan Toews, including 16-4 shots advantage. Holy hell. Maroon needed this game, in my opinion. Yamamoto made a fabulous play after blocking a shot in his own zone, winning a semi-breakaway and getting a chance in close. I’m not sure how long he’ll be here, but he’s made a fantastic impression.
- Lucic-Nuge-Strome went 6-8 in 11:40, Nuge played four more minutes with various W’s and won some massive draws. Todd McLellan moved Anton Slepyshev up for a time, he ended up playing slightly more overall than either of RNH’s wingers. Nuge went 7-6 against Kane. Well done, young man. Lucic had a good game to my eye, Strome puts the puck in good places. I am growing fond of this trio.
- Slepyshev-Letestu-Pakarinen looked good, going 5-7 Corsi and 3-3 SOG. Letestu got the winning goal, I think Slepyshev is prepared to move up the depth chart.
- Jokinen-Malone-Kassian went 9-6 Corsi and 6-1 shots together, forming a positive possession 4line. That’s been a fairly rare item for Edmonton over the years. Malone is winning an NHL job.
- Numbers from NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
*Duncan Keith voice*
Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. pic.twitter.com/ChmO6coQ4u
— Connor Halley 👻🎃 (@ConnorHalley) October 20, 2017
I am tempted to call it Savardian, maybe Orrwellian, but in reality it was pure McDavid and completely diabolical. How do you defend that? He belongs in a higher league. Filthy. The fact that it came with the team down by a goal, in a four-game dive and losing touch with the top of the division? Priceless.
- Leon Draisaitl is badly missed. I’m astonished people aren’t talking about this more. The amount of acid being poured out on the Edmonton Oilers currently suggests people have either lost their perspective or have an agenda. If you want to be an NHL general manager, then pursue it as a career. If you plan on staying on this side of the fence, perhaps tone down the hyperbole. If you were that smart, someone would have hired you by now. Pretty sure.
I can tell you that no passage written by this blog’s author has ever received the kind of reaction that hit this blog yesterday. When writing it, it felt like my point was well made, but 24 hours later it’s pretty clear I missed by a mile. So, let’s begin by how some took the post and then I’ll clarify where I was heading.
- I was reacting to two specific pieces of writing, one a comment on this blog and another in mainstream media. Both of them, in my opinion, were wildly out of step with reality. One of them was not recent, something I missed when writing the above.
- I mentioned the issue in the intro of my show yesterday (here) if you want to find out about the sources.
- It was not meant as a shot toward Tyler Dellow, but it’s good to know so many of you stand at the ready to come to his defense.
- It was not a veiled message to any specific poster or media person. I mentioned the media piece in the intro linked to above.
Here’s the message I was trying to convey. In my blog posts, and pretty much universally in the comments section, you will find (daily) thoughtful prose about the Oilers and their situation. If you post a thoughtful paragraph about the Eberle-for-Strome trade and cast it as a net negative, that moves the conversation forward. If you post “I will poison this board with hatred for Chiarelli for as long as he lives” it is not helpful. This blog is based on the bunch of us playing armchair general manager and that’s the fun of it. That’s the key. Intelligent exchanges, defending a position using logic, reason, math and prose. I apologize to those (and there were a number of you) who took it as anything other than what it was intended to be, and hope this prolonged passage sets things right.
An absolutely brilliant piece on Tony Hand is here via Tal Pinchevsky of The New York Times. It’s a fantastic article, some exceptional quotes.
The Oilers sit at 22 men on the current roster, so can activate Leon Draisaitl without sending anyone back. To bring in Drake Caggiula, someone is going to get optioned to Bakersfield (who play tonight). Jujhar Khaira is the current forward on the outside looking in, but would require waivers to send down.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. It’s Friday, weekend, Oilers coming off a win and all the sports are happening! Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky,BigMouth Sports. Big win for the Oilers, MLB playoffs, and how networks handle things like the Gordon Hayward injury.
- Paul Sir, The Basketball Show. Some big injury issues early in the NBA season, Raptors season and will Duke win the national championship?
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point Counterpoint discusses the CFL crossover and what to do with Kailer Yamamoto.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Are the Oilers back on track or should they cast about looking for additional help?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!