Oilers fans were treated to a throwback game that looked like last year all over again at Rogers on Thursday night. Connor McDavid could have pocketed a dozen, Leon Draisaitl put the steam in steamroller and the defense punished and passed well enough to keep the Avalanche at bay. Cam Talbot was beaten on a long ranger that was screened and a gigantic fluke, but kept Colorado from finding the dagger. Now it’s on to California and the trade deadline.
- New Lowetide: Oscar Klefbom in danger entering offseason
- Lowetide: Is speed the new size in Edmonton?
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers need the next Patrick Maroon.
- Lowetide: Ethan Bear making things happen in Bakersfield
- Lowetide: Nic Petan leads some AHL achievers who could help the Oilers
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: In defence of Cam Talbot.
- Lowetide: Is Ryan Strome a keeper?
- Lowetide: Value contracts in 2018-19
- Lowetide: What would Sam Pollock do?
- Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
FOUR STRONG WINDS, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 3-8-0, goal differential -10 (6 points)
- February 2017: 5-6-0, goal differential -3 (10 points)
- February 2018: 3-7-1, goal differential -7 (7 points)
Crazy months all three, the Oilers of 15-16 were deploying 97, 29, 4 and 14 regularly. Justin Schultz and Teddy Purcell were still on the team and we were still discussing Nail Yakypov’s future. The 16-17 team was about to go on a terrific run through the end of the season and you already know about this year’s model.
AFTER 60, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-32-6, goal differential -42 (50 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 32-20-8, goal differential +17 (72 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 25-31-4, goal differential -30 (54 points)
In a season where it’s been necessary to revise expectations on a daily basis, perhaps there is some traction now for the good ship Oiler this year. It would be nice for the team to leave the 15-16 in the dust (that club would gather 20 points in the last 22 games) and push toward 82 points. Small victories are big steps.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY
- At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-1)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-3, 13 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-7-1, seven points in 11 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson went 28-17 in 18:04, the two men spending 11 glorious minutes with McDavid rolling down the highway. Went 15-10 against Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen, pairing had three giveaways. Nurse looks good to me, I wonder if the coach would consider putting him with Russell and then playing the Swedes together. I think that’s the right setup.
- Klefbom-Russell were 18-17 in 13:52, 0-1 GF and just six fabulous minutes with 97 (everybody was enjoying themselves with the top line). Pairing went 13-10 against the MacKinnon trio.
- Davidson-Benning went 8-10 in 11:48, 1-0 GF together. Played just 91 seconds with McDavid, that was all it took for the goal to be scored. Went 4-2 in 2:22 against the Landeskog line.
- Cam Talbot stopped 28 of 30, .933. He’s posting some nice save percentages in recent games (.969, .923, .933 and now .933).
- Among these men, if I’m trying to figure out if anyone was being showcased, I think the answer is Matt Benning. Come summer, my guess is Klefbom might be in some danger.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Puljujarvi-Letestu-Kassian were 21-6 in 13:12, of course the goal by Kassian being the highlight. The Oilers got what they wanted, a showcase for the center on this line. He had his family in the stands, there was an article (Matty?) about he and his wife turning the entire trade deadline into an adventure. Good parents, those. Puljujarvi looked really good all over the ice, had one brilliant chance and a few other in the area moments. Line went 11-3 against Compher-Kerfoot-Wilson.
- Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl were fire, 25-19 and 1-1 GF while going 10-0 in HDSC’s. Colorado’s goalie was incredible on the night. McDavid had 7 HDSC’s, Leon 2 and Lucic 1. Went 20-16, 1-0 GF against the MacKinnon line.
- Slepyshev-Strome-Cammalleri went 18-17, 0-1 GF and Slepyshev had two brilliant chances. I’m really impressed with his late season showing, wonder if the Oilers are thinking about bringing him back next season. Went 9-5 against the MacKinnon line.
- Auvitu-Khaira-Pakarinen went 2-8 in 5:55, very little going on from any of them.
- If I’m looking for showcase evidence, Mark Letetu got the big time on ice push. He played 14:05 at 5×5, the pivot is averaging 8:45 in the discipline this season. Zack Kassian also played four more minutes than he is averaging but that’s probably part of the Letestu bounce.
- Anton Slepyshev also played four more minutes than average but in all honesty he was the best option. It may be a case of renewed faith in a pretty talented hockey player. Talk about your last minute recoveries.
WHAT’S THE PLAN, MAN?
Terry Jones is reporting Peter Chiarelli will have a media avail at 10 this morning. This could be a quick track suit update or sometimes they morph into a full fledged media conference. If it was more formal, I’d suggest signing Patrick Maroon would have been on the agenda. As it is, I don’t think that will happen.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll talk about Germany’s massive win at the Olympics and lots of hockey. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. What the hell happened at the Olympics?
- Chris Ryan, NJ.com. Big trade for Grabner, Hall setting the woods on fire.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Point Counterpoint on NHLers not being at the Olympics. How do you like it now?
- Paul Almeida, SSE. Deadline chat.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.