I’m tempted to say the Oilers got some bad luck with their matchup tonight, but after the Philadelphia game I’m not sure the opponent matters as much as Edmonton’s 23 at this stage. One of the last barriers for this team, this year, will be bringing their road game all the way home and making Rogers Place an impossible place for the opposition to win. Are we there yet? No. However, if these Oilers can bring the same level of quality against the Preds tonight, they have a chance.
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- New Lowetide: Jesse (brand new, just published moments ago!)
- New Lowetide: The Leftorium versus unicorns
- Corey Pronman: Around the farms (Maksimov)
- Lowetide: Mike Hoffman a perfect fit!
LONG DECEMBER YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 5-0-0, goal differential +6
- December 2016: 2-1-2, goal differential +1
- December 2017: 3-2-0, goal differential +8
This year’s team has the best goal differential of McLellan’s December Oilers, but just six points in five games so far. A lot of this is McDavid’s newfound health but it’s also true Jesse Puljujarvi is adding to the group of forwards who can post offense. More the merrier! G6 in 2015 was a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, and it was a 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota one year ago.
AFTER 32, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 14-15-2, goal differential -9
- Oilers 16-17: 15-11-5, goal differential +9
- Oilers 17-18: 13-16-2, goal differential -7
A win tonight and the Oilers will have 30 points in 32 games, and teams have made the playoffs from there. As Rex Libris mentioned on the Lowdown yesterday, it’s not just the point total, it’s the sheer number of teams you have to pass along the way. Everest squared. G32 was a 4-2 loss to the NY Rangers in 2015-16, last year it was a 3-1 loss to Sam Gagner and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Oilers are seven points out of the playoffs, but are behind six teams in the chase for No. 8 in the West. That’s your Everest.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 3-2-0, six points in five games
I have Edmonton losing tonight (Nashville caved Vancouver last night), if the home team wins this evening that’s four wins. I predicted five for the month. There’s a good story brewing in December but it needs to some color and more Finnish.
- Darnell Nurse has emerged now, bona fide quality (Puck IQ will tell us about qual comp) NHL defender. The only downside is his next contract. He ranks No. 22 across the NHL in Corsi Rel among defensemen who have played 15 or more games.
- Eric Gryba is in a strange spot. He’s having an effective season and may not be able to get back into the lineup for some time. With Larsson and Sekera on the mend, getting mighty crowded.
- Brandon Davidson is just getting started but he looks like he did as a rookie before the injury.
- Yohann Auvitu is making a case to hang around for the remainder of the season. If the Oilers waive him, a smart team should snap him up post haste!
- Oscar Klefbom is a warrior, but a wounded one this season. One hopes he returns to last season’s levels later in the year.
- Adam Larsson is slightly underwater at Rel but his possession number is strong. His injury was reportedly a back problem and those things can linger.
- Matt Benning is off his performance of a year ago but that doesn’t mean the Oilers should move away from him. I bet he’d fetch good trade value but righty blue with his offensive instincts have great value. Trading them in a down year is a bad idea.
- Kris Russell’s offense is over the moon his season, his possession numbers are what you might expect and his shots-against per 60 are pretty good compared to the rest. Who’s zooming who? Puck IQ will tell us.
Positive news this morning, Ethan Bear has returned to practice.
— Ryan Holt (@CondorsHolty) December 13, 2017
That’s good news for the Oilers farm team and the organization in general. The big club has more than enough defensemen but getting at-bats for these young defensemen is vital. A quick reminder about how things are going on the farm:
- Caleb Jones 23gp, 1-6-7 -17 (2 power-play assists) (20 shots)
- Ryan Mantha 21gp, 1-5-6 -2 (2 power-play assists) (45 shots)
- Ethan Bear 8gp, 2-3-5 (1 power-play assist) (6 shots)
- Ziyat Paigin 7gp, 0-0-0 (no longer in organization)
All three youngsters who remain are posting crooked numbers, Bear’s boxcars are most impressive and it’s good news he’ll be returning soon. Notice Mantha’s 45 shots on goal? Lordy.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun and busy show this morning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. A big night for the Oilers, can they get past the Predators?
- Chris Mason, PredsNHL. Former goalie and current commentator on Nashville gives us the inside scoop.
- Rob Vollman, ESPN & NHL.com. John Tavares as a free agent, Henrik Lundqvist an all-time great.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Oilers surging, is adding Davidson and Cammalleri enough?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!