The Edmonton Oilers are in the “we don’t need no stinking favors” portion of their schedule. The New York Rangers shot their captain out of a cannon, have hobbled many of their forwards and started a goalie—born in Upper Yemen—with about 10 minutes NHL experience, but the Oilers threw it back. Don’t you dare try giving this team two points, they don’t need your pity.
- Todd McLellan: “We can wave the magic wand, we can pound on the desk, we can do all we want. They (his players) have to accept some individual responsibility to be ready to play. There’s not enough of them right now. Tonight’s start was unacceptable.”
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- New Lowetide: Bob Nicholson speaks, Oilers’ fans burn.
- Lowetide: Is Cam Talbot secure as Oilers’ No. 1 goalie?
- Jonathan Willis: Just how good would a all-hindsight Oilers roster be?
- Lowetide: Are we getting closer on McDavid’s shooter?
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA
WIMOWEH, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +5 (4 points)
- March 2017: 2-0-0, goal differential +4 (4 points)
- March 2018: 0-2-0, goal differential -3 (0 points)
The Rangers sent out defensemen with names like Pionk, O’Gara, Quackenbush, Humperdinck and Norbert, but it was to no avail. Edmonton was bound and determined to send those two points away and they did it. Expect a better performance in the next game but this one was over as soon as the teams hit the ice. The Edmonton Oilers, a team that posted 103 points a year ago, is no longer a team. We are watching individuals who don’t realize they are playing in the final NHL games of their career. I wonder if Robert Nilsson knew it in real time and wonder about these young men, too.
AFTER 65, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 24-34-7, goal differential -44 (55 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 35-22-8, goal differential +18 (78 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 27-34-4, goal differential -35 (58 points)
I’ve mentioned this before but that 2015-16 season has been sticking like glue to this one. There have been chances for this year’s model to gain clearance but someday never comes. McDavid is leading like a lion and Nuge was a welcome sight. The auditioning wingers didn’t place a bullet point on the resume last night, not that I could see.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 0-2-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
- Current results: 0-2-0, 0 points in two games
Edmonton has another good opportunity for a win tomorrow night and this club often performs well on the back of a subpar performance. This month has some potential to be explosive (the two Calgary games will be massive for fans) and of course Connor McDavid is on pace for 100 points.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera-Benning were 9-5 in 10:30 together, Sekera went 3-4 with Ethan Bear and 3-0 with Kris Russell. Benning went 2-10 with Klefbom, that was not a happening pair. I thought Sekera had an improved night compared to his own recent performances, Benning straighted out once he was taken from the Klefbom pairing.
- Nurse-Russell went 16-13 in 12:55, 1-1 GF, most of the good coming from time with 97 (13-7). Nurse had a nice chance to score late, for me his defensive work was very good on a night of chaos from the blue. Speaking of, Russell’s shift on the first goal against was baffling. If you watch the tape again, and have an explanation for it, please share. Seriously.
- Klefbom-Bear were 14-9, 0-1 GF in 9:07 together. Pairing had eight offensive zone faceoffs, one of the few identifiable ploys by coach Todd McLellan in the game. I was impressed with Bear, who showed good speed, offensive instincts and a solid shot. Klefbom had a miserable game, I’m a fan of his work but last night lends credence to the idea of shutting him down.
- Cam Talbot stopped 31 of 34, .912. He had no chance on the first goal, the second on was a PP (puck over glass by the goalie) and the final one came on a deflection (appeared to be a bit soft but your mileage may vary). I’ll say Talbot wasn’t the reason for the loss but he didn’t steal one, either. Then again, who would have thought he’d have to?
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-McDavid-Draisaitl went 24-12, 1-1 GF and 5-2 HDSC. McDavid was pure fire, could have had some extra points, but credit to the Rangers they did some good work against him. Edmonton rarely had a tie let alone the lead, and that aided things. Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich lost the Corsi battle 14-8 and were 0-1 GF but I think most teams will take that against McDavid’s line these days. Leon had three giveaways. Too many.
- Puljujarvi-Strome-Slepyshev went 14-14, 0-1 GF and 1-6 in HDSC. Went 6-5 against Fast-Spooner-Hayes but the 10-bell chances were 3-2 for the other guys. Strome had two kids with him, I get it, but he’s going to be looking for a raise this summer and needs the results to match. He wasn’t facing Everest last night, should have moved the needle to my eye. Part of the problem? Puljujarvi. He’s not lacking confidence but has the look of a man without a plan with the puck on his stick. Patience, a little patience, mm yeah, mm yeah.
- Cammalleri-Nuge-Aberg went 9-11, Nuge scored a goal on a delayed penalty but the line itself was not dynamic (7-4 in shots, 0-1 in HDSC). Love the Nuge, wouldn’t mind seeing him with new linemates on Monday. Cammalleri does more good than a lot of these youngsters, that should be a concern to these youngsters.
- Pakarinen-Khaira-Kassian were 4-12 in 7:31 and didn’t have a lot going on. Kassian took a dubious early penalty, Khaira had the puck on his stick to no avail but couldn’t make anything rhyme, I like his game without the puck and that side of the equation probably gets him an increased role next season. Pakarinen was the most noticeable player on the line, due to hitting.
Bob Nicholson had a conversation with the HNIC folks last night, setting twitter on fire. I give him credit for stepping in on a night (and after a first period) when things were going very badly. I’m reading a lot of conclusions being drawn from his comments but would remind you it isn’t his place to reveal all in March. Reading the tea leaves, I think it’s fair to suggest we’ll see some change after the season. I have expressed my opinion on the matter, and will drill down on the Nicholson comments, but the idea that Nicholson gave us the road map yesterday is wildly speculative and flies in the face of logic and reason.
The Oilers won’t stand pat because they can’t stand pat. Last night wasn’t the time nor the place. If you’re wondering when the reckoning, Edmonton’s final game is Saturday, April 7. I think it’s reasonable to expect a media avail in the days that follow.