Jujhar Khaira needed that game, it’ll lead to more. He had an impact on both regulation goals but more than that he earned another game. The Edmonton Oilers season will roll out good and bad, but men like Khaira (and Laurent Brossoit) have a chance to be part of this caravan in the coming years. For both men, yesterday was a good day. Now do it again. That’s the gig.
The Edmonton Oilers should have won last night’s game. After six weeks of making goalies look like Dom Hasek, they ran into the real deal. Patrick Maroon could have had two goals easy, he didn’t cash all night. Although it was a bitter pill (losing in the shootout), that was a quality effort by the road team last night.
- Todd McLellan: “We’re still struggling to score, but I liked a lot of our players and a lot of our game tonight. Let’s carry it forward.”
The special Lowetide offer is here. Here are some things worth reading:
- Lowetide: NEW THIS MORNING: Plenty to be gained in a lost season.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2018: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s trades.
- Special Offer
PIKES PEAK, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-1, goal differential -5
- Oilers in November 2016: 2-4-1, goal differential -6
- Oilers in November 2017: 3-3-1, goal differential -2
This year’s November model is the best of Todd McLellan’s three Oilers teams, posting seven points in their seven November games (five last year and in 2015-16). The road trip (2-1-1) should be considered a success by any measure but the long climb to the playoffs gets harder with each step. Coming from behind in Bettman’s NHL is a desperate and borderline hopeless pursuit. Godspeed, Edmonton Oilers.
AFTER 17, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 6-11-0, goal differential -10
- Oilers 16-17: 9-7-1, goal differential +1
- Oilers 17-18: 6-9-2, goal differential -13
The Oilers were 3-6-1 in October and are 3-3-1 in November. If they can get to (and stay at) .500 by the end of the month there is still hope. The goal differential is a problem because it’s not getting better. The Oilers are playing good defense now but the goals aren’t coming. Bad luck in some places, lack of talent in others.
OILERS BY THE NUMBERS
- Corsi for 5×5: 55.32 (No. 2)
- Fenwick for 5×5: 55.17 (No. 1)
- Shots for percentage 5×5: 53.51 (No. 4)
- Scoring chance for percentage 5×5: 55.71 (No. 1)
- High-Danger scoring chances for percentage 5×5: 56.29 (No. 2)
- Goals for pecetntage 5×5: 46.43 (No. 24)
I used to wonder what it was like to be the Los Angeles Kings, who were Corsi demons. I don’t think McLellan’s system is as drastic as Sutter’s, and the scoring chances are there. Are the Edmonton Oilers the gang that can’t shoot straight? I think it’s a lack of talent at forward, beyond the top two lines.
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: 2-1-1)
- 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: 3-3-1, seven points in seven games
The prediction at the beginning of the month rings true but I’ll give credit for a solid road trip by a struggling team. If they could cobble together more goals, and get some calls (what in h-e-double-hockey-sticks was that call on Nuge? and no call on McDavid’s breakaway? Bias Incorporated) maybe they win six of the final nine games of this month.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson had a successful evening based on the numbers, going 23-7 together (16-7 with 97). Went 10-5 against Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Smith-Pelly. You’d take that all day. Lots of folks jumping on the Nurse bandwagon, a couple of notes there. First, the five-year rule is a good one. Second, wobble can occur even after five years. Oscar Klefbom is in a tough patch right now, doesn’t mean he can’t play the position.
- Auvitu-Russell went 22-8 together, 14-4 with McDavid and 6-4 with Nuge. Went 11-3 against Stephenson-Backstrom-Oshie, that’s a damned good line. Auvitu is a Corsi God, clearly. He has some chaos to his game but the game is mostly occurring light years from the Oilers net when he is on the ice. He’s a cray player.
- Klefbom-Benning went 14-9 together, including 9-6 against Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Smith-Pelly. It’s a ridiculously talented pairing, they were in fact second pair based on 5×5 ice time last night.
- Laurent Brossoit stopped 18 of 19, .947. He was fine.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl had all kinds of chances, Maroon probably didn’t sleep a wink thinking about those 10-bell opportunities. 12 shots on goal. Connor McDavid has a 10-point night in his future, pretty sure.
- Khaira-Strome-Pakarinen went 14-5, Strome and Khaira got some time with McDavid and looked good during 97’s double shifting. Khaira earned another game, it was great to see him playing so well. He looked good with real skill too, Maroon’s fighting major gave him some time with 97.
- Lucic-Nuge-Puljujarvi went 10-6, worked hard and effectively. I keep noticing JP in the places that you would expect a center to be, he’s effective as first forward back. Nuge may be sealing Maroon’s future in real time, you cannot trade that guy.
- Malone-Letestu-Kassian went 2-2, Letestu is the incredible shrinking time-on-ice man. Man. Malone needs to stop taking penalties, and of course he knows it.
WHAT TO DO?
I think the Oilers need to add a scoring winger, someone who can help on the depth lines and move up as required. Maybe it’s time to give Rattie or Laleggia a shot and I do think we’ve reached a point where Jussi Jokinen’s spot in the lineup shouldn’t be guaranteed. Jujhar Khaira replaced him last night, and even without the goal had more impact than the veteran. I’m not calling out Chiarelli on this one, the Jokinen addition looked like a grand idea to me. Not every good idea works out, that’s a fact. One good idea they’ll have to try eventually: McDavid, Leon and Nuge on separate lines. PC needs to find another winger (or two) to make it so.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning after a high event weekend. We get started at 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Pierre Lebrun, TSN & The Athletic. Oilers crossroads and HHOF list is divine.
- Taylor Burns, Absolute Human Performance. We explore a new opportunity for Edmonton athletes.
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Eskimos roll, Oilers play well and get just one point.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!