Last night the Edmonton Oilers won their second game in a row for the first time all season. The Nuge line hung two goals in regulation and then the brilliance of McDavid to Draisaitl put it all away for the second straight OT winner. The climb to respectability is closer today, many miles to go.
The special Lowetide offer is here. Among the items on the menu today are:
- Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi’s long-term development
- Lowetide: The value of value contracts.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2018: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Special Offer
With Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula hurting, suspect we’ll see Jesse Puljujarvi (or Ty Rattie) called up over the next 24 hours, but Jon’s post really does a nice job of pointing out the wisdom of bringing the big Finn along at pace. Bruce McCurdy mentioned on the Lowdown yesterday there is some danger here, once he is recalled it would be very difficult to send JP back a third time. You can lose players, BM mentioned Magnus Paajarvi as a fairly recent example of what can go wrong.
PIKES PEAK, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-3-0, goal differential -3
- Oilers in November 2016: 2-2-1, goal differential -3
- Oilers in November 2017: 3-2-0, goal differential 0
The Oilers are winning games they probably haven’t earned now, the shot differential is under water and they’re winning. When they were losing, the possession numbers shone like a diamond. What a crazy damned season! The possession metrics (39 percent in the Islanders game, 48 percent last night) suggest the team is winning games they should be losing, but I’ll call it regression and consider it good fortune.
AFTER 15, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 5-10-0, goal differential -8
- Oilers 16-17: 9-5-1, goal differential +6
- Oilers 17-18: 6-8-1, goal differential -11
There can be no claim to reaching any plateau worthy of a Stanley Cup contender, but credit can be given for winning a couple of tough road games at a point when the entire season was hanging by a few threads. Miles to go until morning, but the battle has been joined! Cam Talbot is such an important part of this team’s success.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER
- At home to:
Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- On the road to:
NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington (Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vegas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games
- Current results: 3-2-0, six points in five games
I projected this team to be 3-3-1 coming back from the road trip, Oilers have an excellent chance now of being farther along by the time the group returns from Manhattan. Edmonton is ahead of the pace I set for them at the beginning of the month.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Benning were 17-12 together and had 17 OZ faceoffs compared to 5-6 (neu-def) elsewhere. Were 7-4 against Hall-Hischier-Palmieri in 5:22. Were 3-4 in 6:43 with McDavid. Klefbom had a 10-bell chance and I think he is settling down now. Benning had some chaos, this season has featured inconsistency.
- Nurse-Larsson went 12-12 together and 7-8-1 zone starts (O-N-D). Went 4-6 in 6:10 against Hall-Hischier-Palmieri. I very much liked the pairing, very physical and (along with Klefbom-Benning) played a lot.
- Russell-Gryba went 6-9 together and 4-3-6 zone starts. Russell had a fabulous OT sequence where he secured the puck and fed 97 for the brilliant winner.
- Talbot stopped 32 of 34, .942. He is now up to .912 for the season.
- Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl went 15-7 on the night, were 8-3 against Gibbons-Coleman-Noesen in 8:57. Were 3-3 against the Hall line in 2:36 (McDavid line with 2-1 edge in HDSC). McDavid to Draisaitl in overtime was epic, no way to defend that kind of speed and skill.
- Lucic-Nuge-Slepyshev/Kassian went 9-12 but scored both regulation goals. Nuge was fantastic, maybe his best game in a year to my eye. Could have cashed in overtime. Lucic had a couple of points, had a couple of takeaways and played well. Slepyshev scored a fabulous goal, frustrating as hell he’s hurt again.
- Jokinen-Strome-Pakarinen went 9-8 together, this isn’t a tremendous line but they didn’t get scored on. Edmonton needs to have more talent on their third line. It’s a thing.
- Malone-Letestu-Kassian went 4-1 together, played just three minutes before the Slepyshev injury.
- NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.
Well damn Sam anyway. Great snipe and he’s hurt again. Jesus, Mary & Joseph can’t this guy catch a break? Get well soon, young man, the job awaits.
NUGE AND LUCIC
That second line is getting some things done at 5×5, here are the scoring totals 5×5/60 among forwards for this year:
- Leon Draisaitl 3.21
- Connor McDavid 2.53
- Milan Lucic 2.50
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.44
- Patrick Maroon 2.04
- Ryan Strome 1.34
- Anton Slepyshev 1.14
- Zack Kassian 0.78
- Drake Caggiula 0.60
- Kailer Yamamoto 0.52
I’ll give full credit to Milan Lucic, his 5×5 scoring is back and that’s a good thing. Don’t expect 2.50/60 for the season, but a strong turn north from last season’s disappointment seems likely. Now, about those errant passes. As for Nuge, music! What a grand beginning to the season, and he’s healthy plus playing that gorgeous 200-foot game. Two lines isn’t unicorns, but it’s shelter from the storm.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun Friday after a few with disappointment for Oilers fans, we get rolling at 10am on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. McDavid to Leon, are the Oilers back?
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Eskimos vs. Blue Bombers and Oilers find their game.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Why can Edmonton win on the road but not at home?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio.