G26 2017-18: Maple Leafs at Oilers

The Maple Leafs are doing an enormous number of things the right way, and, with no Harold Ballard around to kill it (or hang up on Barbara Frum), prepare yourself for Stanley’s return to Toronto. They’re smart, they are procuring talent at a rapid clip, they have balance, depth and at least one franchise player. It’s your basic nightmare, but at least it isn’t the Habs.

THE ATHLETIC

The special Lowetide offer is here. Great stocking stuffer!

DIRTY WATER, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -9 (10 points in 13 games)
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-9-1, goal differential -3 (11 points in 15 games)
  • Oilers in November 2017: 7-7-1, goal differential -3

This is the final game of November, we’ll review the month tomorrow before moving on to a look at December (it’s going to be a tough month, again!) on Saturday’s post. I don’t think you should bet money on the Oilers tonight, but a win this evening would be a fantastic way to end a very difficult month.

AFTER 26, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 8-15-2, goal differential -16
  • Oilers 16-17: 13-10-2, goal differential +10
  • Oilers 17-18: 10-13-2, goal differential -13

G26 in 2015-16 was a 3-2 shootout win over the Bruins and a year later the score was also a 3-2 win, this time over the Ducks and Leon in overtime (No. 10 on the season).

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: 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 2-3-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games 
  • Current results: 7-7-1, 15 points in 15 games

Well, here we are! Nerdy on the highest, but I’m rather pleased at how close my prediction turned out. I will celebrate by fumbling the December prediction tomorrow.

CAM TALBOT

He didn’t practice yesterday and there is uncertainty this morning. A recall would likely see Nick Ellis at the airport at some point and possibly Jesse Puljujarvi (or Anton Slepyshev) heading for Bakersfield. Jujhar Khaira practiced yesterday, so there’s no injured player we know of to be placed on IR, so that’s the play if Talbot is injured short term. If he’s injured long term, that’s probably a “leave the gun, take the cannoli” moment for the season.

EARLY BARONS GAME

The Bakersfield Condors have a game at 11:30 Edmonton time, those Condors boys have to be awake and ready to go 10:30 left coast time this morning. Lordy. It’s a home game, so that may help and it will give us an early indication about Nick Ellis. If Edward Pasquale starts and Shane Starrett (or other) is backup, chances are Ellis is heading north. I bet we find out about Ellis before game time in Bakersfield.

MAKING BETTS

The Edmonton Oilers traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, gambling that Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and newly drafted Jesse Puljujarvi could push the river. The club traded Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome as a cost cutting measure and bet on Anton Slepyshev, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto or Drake Caggiula replacing Eberle.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have an identical need. It’s actually amazing that we have such a fresh ‘top dead center’ comparable for a situation. Toronto has some fine young wingers (William Nylander, Mitch Marner) they could cash for a RHD and haven’t done it. The Leafs have their Nuge (Kadri) and a superior veteran support group (JVR, Marleau) plus Morgan Reilly who is a fine young defender to my eye.

The Leafs didn’t trade Marner for a RHD, the club signed Ron Hainsey instead (the Demers option, for those who would like a direct comparable). It’s working like a charm.

Tonight, you’re going to see the Leafs come in waves, delivering skill on three lines and dangerous everywhere. I don’t think they are a Stanley Cup team this season, but they could absolutely duplicate what the Oilers did in the spring. And that deepest cut for Oilers fans? The Maple Leafs are far less likely to take a step back the following season. My opinion.

That’s a gigantic trade, I love it for the NJ Devils. Henrique is a capable NHL center, Vatanen is struggling this season but has terrific talent. Fantastic trade for Shero.

If Puljujarvi or Slepy are sent down to ‘Make Room for Nick’ (not a bad sitcom name) then these lines don’t happen. I like them mostly, although it’s a big ask of JP to play against the Kadri line (nasty bit of business that fellow, he’s a fantastic player). Puljujarvi has tightened up the defensive play this year (still thinks he’s a center) perhaps it’s a good fit. I’m not certain the coach likes that alignment though and believe there may be a disconnect between coach and management on this player and his usage.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, we’re drunk with guests! Scheduled to appear, TSN1260:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Oilers versus Leafs, this could be epic on the ice, on twitter, everywhere!
  • James Mirtle, The Athletic. Leafs arrive loaded for bear and looking like a strong contender.
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com. The gap between Talbot and Brossoit, plus the Analytics All-Star Team.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. The big Ducks-Devils trade, Oilers trying to climb, what is the aftermath of missing the playoffs?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

 

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828 Responses to "G26 2017-18: Maple Leafs at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    How great was it to see that fourth line put in such a wonderful performance?

    That line was together for a bit in camp and looked just as good. Due to injury, etc., they haven’t had a chance to play together much during the regular season but the ability to roll that fourth line and for it to contribute would be huge.

  2. Professor Q says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Even up against Marleau and Kadri.

  3. Professor Q says:

    JimmyV1965:
    I’m not saying we need to get a new coach, but I think it’s a tell when absolutely no one mentions Fleming as even a. Interim replacement.

    His first line would be probably be Maroon-Letestu-Cammalleri…

  4. Professor Q says:

    I think that had Jesse passed the puck up on that Caggiula-McDavid breakaway, rather than drawing back to stickhandle the puck and causing Caggiula to go offside, the Oilers likely would have scored there.

    Instead it deflated the tires.

    Shame how quickly the tides can turn.

  5. My Tierless Retina says:

    Professor Q: Shame how quickly the tides can turn

    I see what you did there.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    6 points in 13 games for Khaira and a 61% corsi.

    Is there more offence in this player than we (I) originally thought?

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    If Khaira can play this way consistently and stay healthy, it makes it easy to let Letestu go.

  8. T0ML says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    If Khaira can play this way consistently and stay healthy, it makes it easy to let Letestu go.

    Would suck, but you are right, and be cheaper…..

    Damn that 4th lines points last night was refreshing, is this what secondary scoring looks like?

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    T0ML: Would suck, but you are right, and be cheaper…..

    Damn that 4th lines points last night was refreshing, is this what secondary scoring looks like?

    That’s tertiary scoring. Secondary scoring is when the Nuge and Drai lines produce.

    Too bad Drai has a poor game last night.

    If Larsson played and/or Drai had his legs going, Oilers win that game.

  10. T0ML says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Or talbot …. however I was pleased with the play I saw of LB (Must admit i turned it off in the first so I could be up for the gym this morning, loving a west team while living in Florida is a pain at times…)

  11. OriginalPouzar says:

    The Kadri reaction to the Kris Russell own goal was pretty funny.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    T0ML:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Or talbot …. however I was pleased with the play I saw of LB (Must admit i turned it off in the first so I could be up for the gym this morning, loving a west team while living in Florida is a pain at times…)

    While I’m in the West, no turning the game off, ever, and I never miss my 3:15am wake up call for the gym (6 days a week – Wednesday is rest day and I’m up at 4:15am for a light 30 minute treadmill workout at home).

    5 hours sleep is, apparently enough!

  13. T0ML says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    6 here, 4:30 wake up, down at 10 for some reading. wish I was further west, would make staying later on week days a bit more …. palatable.

    GO OILERS

  14. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    I quite enjoyed last night’s game and thought it could have gone either way though, honestly the Oilers carried the play for the back 2/3.

    I know everyone agrees points > moral victories but down the goalie and two top D-men, against a high scoring team, they hung in there and drive the play even. Yes, too many times LB got hung out to dry but short of Russell’s “stick of god” moment thats a point, probably 2. Oilers put one strong period together against AZ, two against TO and I expect 3 vs. the Flames.

    Thank you ORIGINALPOUZAR, I wanted positive vibes after that game but didn’t expect any so I stayed away from the internet until this morning.

  15. jtblack says:

    PC’s inability to get a proper 4/5 D means Gryba has played to much. Or Auviti. Thats on PC.

    No veteran backup. Ob PC.

    As much as ppl bash PC’s big moves i think him sitting on his hands and not adding a depth winger, 4/5 D man and backup has ccst his team the Playoffs.

    Lets start looking at the Draft!!

  16. texmex says:

    I agree 100%. How chia left the sekera hole unplugged blows my mind.

    For all the Russell haters, today might be a good day because I bet he will be willing to waive his NMC. Not sure he can recover from that in that city with these fans. He will never live it down.

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

    I’m not nearly as apocalyptic as some today.

    Shitty break for Russell, but he won’t get run out of town, sorry to bust that myth right off the hop. The real goat last night was Gryba, brutal penalty at a terrible time and he found himself stapled to the bench because of it.

    Lots of weirdness last night, the blog here was full on cheering for the Leafs in the first, but the Oilers battled back led by the 4th line and out played them through 40 min. Must be a tough pill to swallow for all the folks drooling over the Leafs in the first to see the Oilers out skate, hit, shoot corsi etc., kind throws a wrench into the “they are slow and useless” narrative doesn’t it?

    Two games over the next week, lots of time to heal the bruises, banish the sickness and work on that disaster that is special teams.

    December has a lot of winnable games, the heart shown by the team last night was a beautiful sight, first time in a while they played for each other. Gotta keep that up.

    Should be a good game on Saturday (both teams suck bad at special teams.)

  18. frjohnk says:

    TMac played Klefbom, Nurse, Russell and Benning all over 22 minutes, Klefbom had the most with 24:49.
    Gryba and Auvitu both played 10 and a half minutes.
    Gryba is too slow, takes too many penalties against fast teams
    Auvitu is chaos incorporated. Guy can really skate, but looks like he has trouble playing defence. He might be a better winger

    People say that the defence will be better when Sekera is back and up to speed and I agree. Except for the fact that we CANNOT count on all of our D to be healthy for the rest of our season.

    Chia needs to make an upgrade on Auvitu and Gryba, otherwise we could expect to see our best 4 D of the night playing over 22 minutes regularly.

  19. Pouzar says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!:

    The real goat last night was Gryba,

    The fact some Oiler fans are debating this is interesting. Twitter was a hot mess.

  20. unca miltie says:

    Gotta feel for Russell, terrible break to happen. He should have been the hero instead, with the late goal and the earlier assist. Plus really did play his heart out. While I am cheering for some success in the next week, not really all the hopeful. Going to be tough without the top two defenders and the gaoler.Also
    Wonder if some one from the farm would outplay Gryba?

  21. Pouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar: Is there more offence in this player than we (I) originally thought?

    We? 😛

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    T0ML:
    OriginalPouzar,

    6 here, 4:30 wake up, down at 10 for some reading. wish I was further west, would make staying later on week days a bit more …. palatable.

    GO OILERS

    Fair enough – your schedule is similar to mine – I wake at 3:15 so try and get to sleep before 10. West coast starts (or late games on HNIC) are egregious to me.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    If Adam Larsson was playing, we win this game.

    Having Larsson in and Gryba out for last night would have made a world of difference.

  24. Pouzar says:

    My Tierless Retina: Retina

    Demers eh…..

  25. frjohnk says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    If Adam Larsson was playing, we win this game.

    Having Larsson in and Gryba out for last night would have made a world of difference.

    Larsson would have been in the Russell spot and Russell would have been in the Gryba spot.
    So probably less goals each way.

  26. McSorley33 says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Lots of weirdness last night, the blog here was full on cheering for the Leafs in the first, but the Oilers battled back led by the 4th line and out played them through 40 min. Must be a tough pill to swallow for all the folks drooling over the Leafs in the first to see the Oilers out skate, hit, shoot corsi etc., kind throws a wrench into the “they are slow and useless” narrative doesn’t it?
    **********************************************************************************************************
    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with a lot of what you say….

    But we are 29th in the league. A lot, not all, of that has been earned.

    Many of us, have always liked our 4th line save for Letestu – JJ and Kass are perfect for that role.
    And could fill in on the 3rd line in a pinch.

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

    McSorley33,

    Not disputing any of that but I think its fair to point out two things.

    1) The Oilers on the whole are not a 29th place team, can we agree on likely bubble playoff team?

    2) The Leafs are not the second coming, they are fast and fun to watch, but defensively they have serious issues (like all young teams) so while I was very frustrated at the Oilers start I never actually counted them out for a comeback. Many on this blog were praising the Senators earlier this year, how does that praise look now?

    My Point?

    The grass always looks greener on the other side when your team is in a slump. Nobody is thrilled with how the Oil have played this year but I find it puzzling that some (many?) are openly cheering and or salivating over the Leafs, Sens and gulp the Flames. Look past the standings and you’ll see each and every one of those teams has some serious warts BUT they have gotten some breaks and made the most of them, the Oilers have not.

    I’m not blind to the hill that has to be climbed, but I also look at the standings in the Pacific and am forced to scratch my head. Lots of track left, lots of question marks, and the Oilers can make up a ton of ground in 2018 if they can solve the special teams over the next while.

  28. McSorley33 says:

    SayItAin’tSo, Gretz, SayItAin’tSo!,

    Not disputing any of that but I think its fair to point out two things.
    1) The Oilers on the whole are not a 29th place team, can we agree on likely bubble playoff team?
    2) The Leafs are not the second coming, they are fast and fun to watch, but defensively they have serious issues (like all young teams) so while I was very frustrated at the Oilers start I never actually counted them out for a comeback. Many on this blog were praising the Senators earlier this year, how does that praise look now?
    My Point?
    The grass always looks greener on the other side when your team is in a slump. Nobody is thrilled with how the Oil have played this year but I find it puzzling that some (many?) are openly cheering and or salivating over the Leafs, Sens and gulp the Flames. Look past the standings and you’ll see each and every one of those teams has some serious warts BUT they have gotten some breaks and made the most of them, the Oilers have not.
    I’m not blind to the hill that has to be climbed, but I also look at the standings in the Pacific and am forced to scratch my head. Lots of track left, lots of question marks, and the Oilers can make up a ton of ground in 2018 if they can solve the special teams over the next while.
    ******************************************************************************************************
    I hear you…

    Again, I am old and grumpy and am a glass half full guy.

    You are right we are definitely not this bad ( I think ) but we are long passed the ‘slump’ phase.

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