G72 2017-18: Oilers at Lightning

The road trip got off to a pleasant start in Sunrise but the Tampa Bay Lightning represent the state’s hockey fist and the Oilers should expect a rough ride this evening. The home team played against Boston hours after Edmonton’s game was complete, so fresh legs shouldn’t be a problem for the visitors. Connor McDavid’s Art Ross run is white hot, Ty Rattie’s latest job application for NHL employment is moving up the pile and one of these days will be Oscar Klefbom’s final game of the season. Plenty to discuss today.

THE ATHLETIC!

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PYJAMARAMA, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • March 2016: 4-4-0, goal differential -4 (8 points)
  • March 2017: 6-1-1, goal differential +14 (13 points)
  • March 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential +1 (9 points)
  • March 16, 2016: Edmonton 6, St. Louis 4 (Source)
  • March 22, 2017: Anaheim 4, Edmonton 3 (Source)

Remarkable resemblance once again between this year’s team and Todd McLellan’s first group. Both teams with great gifts and flaws piled one upon the other. I don’t recall great cries of anger over coaching deficiencies in 2015-16, but this year’s staff has been hearing it since the first October sky.

AFTER 71, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 27-37-7, goal differential -48 (61 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 38-24-9, goal differential +29 (85 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 31-35-5, goal differential -31 (67 points)
  • March 14, 2016: Nashville 3, Edmonton 2 (Source)
  • March 20, 2017: Edmonton 2, Los Angeles 0 (Source)

The 15-16 team would manage just nine points in the final 11 games, last year’s team squeeze 18 (!!) out of the same number of contests. There’s a chance this year’s model grabs 80 points, and as I’ve mentioned that’s a better story for exit meeting day than something in the low 70’s.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 4-3-1, 9 points in eight games

Slightly ahead of my monthly projection now, there’s a couple of winnable games at the end of this road trip. That Calgary game on the road to end the month is suddenly wildly important.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Larsson went 23-17 in 16:27, 2-0 GF. It’s a strong number for the top pair, but did the Panthers run their top line against them? Went 9-6 in 6:31 against the Bjugstad-Barkov-Dadanov line, 8-4 in 5:16 against the Huberdeau-Trochek-Vatrano trio. Duo was 12-10 in 6:43 with the 97 line. I was very impressed with Adam Larsson, the team has a lot more structure with him around (in my opinion). Nurse played well, his possession numbers have been looking since the turn of the year, this was a nice one-game recovery.
  • Klefbom-Bear were 18-14 in 14 minutes, 0-2 GF. Went 11-7 in 5:51 against Bjugstad-Barkov-Dadanov line, 3-2 in 3:43 against Huberdeau-Trochek-Vatrano. Both men impressed with the puck, Bear made a grievous error on a pass but Talbot saved him. A wobble pass from Drake Caggiula to Oscar Klefbom resulted in an easy layup for Frank Vatrano on the game’s first goal. You can blame the blue, I think it should be filed under ‘shyte happens’.
  • Sekera-Benning were 7-7 in 10:52, absolutely the third pair although Sekera was a PK staple on a successful afternoon. I thought Benning showed well, there were a couple of examples where a big Panthers winger had the edge on the outside and the youngster interfered (without taking a penalty) to get back into the play. I remain onside with Benning as part of the future.
  • Cam Talbot stopped 40 of 42, .925.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Caggiula-Draisaitl-Slepyshev did well in possession, 15-7 in 10:31, including 10-5 in 8:28 against Huberdeau-Trochek-Vatrano. Lost the GF battle 0-1 but that’s pretty good math for a road game. Slepyshev was flat out robbed by Luongo on a sure goal from the high slot, absolutely filthy play. Caggiula was aggressive and noticeable, one of his better recent games.
  • Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi didn’t play a lot, going 8-4 in just eight minutes. Strome was the best of the three, making some fantastic moves on a solo effort in the final frame that gave Edmonton one of many third-period chances. Lucic missed a shift or two, not sure if it was injury or slow play. Puljujarvi had a quiet afternoon.
  • Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 23-20 in 15:01, the line was responsible for a lot of offense on the day. Went 15-11 in 10:49 against Bjugstad-Barkov-Dadanov. McDavid’s early third-period goal signaled a change in the weather, with Edmonton breaking through in waves. Rattie earned another start, he looked exactly like a man grabbing a lifeline. Godspeed, Ty Rattie. Nuge is splendid, I hope they send him to a good home.
  • Pakarinen-Khaira-Kassian went 3-6 in 5:30, all three men doing good work on the penalty kill. Kassian got drilled and Khaira came to his rescue, that’s becoming a theme late in the season.

An organization can get something from a losing season. Jujhar Khaira is a real positive from this campaign, along with a nice step forward from Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi’s continuing development. Khaira’s your good news centerpiece among the forward group and it’s a helluva story.

TY RATTIE

You should not plan on Ty Rattie scoring five more goals before the end of the season, and even if he does it, remember the Don Ashby run (it does, on rare occasions, happen, but doesn’t mean the magic returns in the fall). It’s a nice story and I’ll be cheering for him. For Rattie, six shots in one game is impressive. Now, he needs to do it again.

PONTUS ABERG

 

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211 Responses to "G72 2017-18: Oilers at Lightning"

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  1. russ99 says:

    Bling:
    To add to the good news:

    Guys and gals, Matt Benning is a legit 2nd pairing RHD.

    Here is Benning’s goal share (GF%) and CORSI(%) with his league-wide rank (minimum 900 minutes played; a total of 118 defenceman qualified).

    GF%: 54.32 (31st)
    CF%: 51.97 (34th)

    It ain’t luck, either. Benning’s PDO is 100.92 this season, and he put up a comparable GF% last season.

    Tierny posted a chart that has Benning being good at preventing controlled zone entries while also being good at controlled exits. He and Larsson show the best amongst Oilers dmen.

    https://public.tableau.com/profile/sean.tierney#!/vizhome/Exitsvsentrydefense–asofMarch17th/Dashboard1?publish=yes

    Matt Benning has put up quality results for two straight years in the league. He is a top quartile defenceman. That makes him a legit second pairing D. He has done this while dealing with some injury problems (IIRC, his play dropped off a bit after he suffered a concussion last season).

    The point of all this is: do not get rid of valuable, core pieces (i.e. Klefbom and RNH) in order to upgrade the 2nd pairing RHD. The improvement over Benning will be marginal (Faulk) or a downgrade at evens (Barrie).

    I would be completely comfortable, next season, running:

    Klef/Larsson
    Nurse/Benning
    Sekera/Bear

    Russell

    This is the kind of post that just irks me. Build a case with offensive metics and completely ignore what he does when the Oilers don’t have the puck.

    Where are the defensive metrics?

  2. Silver Streak says:

    hey ….does anyone know where Vegas will draft this year….was there some guarantee they would draft 6th overall ?

  3. frjohnk says:

    russ99: This is the kind of post that just irks me. Build a case with offensive metics and completely ignore what he does when the Oilers don’t have the puck.

    Where are the defensive metrics?

    Preventing controlled zone entries is a defensive metric.

  4. Munny says:

    frjohnk: Preventing controlled zone entries is a defensive metric.

    Padre, do you know how it is calculated by any chance?

    I would be happy if it is a count of zone entries disrupted. But if it is merely (zone entries – controlled zone entries) then I would have less faith in the number.

    ___

    As for the GF/CF numbers he spends a lot of time with Connor… about 40 percent. And Dreamy is his most common D partner by far. Tough opp I’m guessing but that’s a pretty big push.

  5. Gerta Rauss says:

    Silver Streak:
    hey ….does anyone know where Vegas will draft this year….was there some guarantee they would draft 6th overall ?

    The draft guarantee was last year

    Vegas will be drafting in the 20s unless they make the finals

  6. GMB3 says:

    russ99: This is the kind of post that just irks me. Build a case with offensive metics and completely ignore what he does when the Oilers don’t have the puck.

    Where are the defensive metrics?

    Is preventing zone entries a defensive metric? Asking for a friend

  7. GMB3 says:

    Wilde:
    Does anyone want to talk about how Ray Shero got a top pairing RHD for a lesser player than Jordan Eberle?

    I don’t really think he was viewed as an established top pairing RHD at the time of the trade. It seems to me that their is something in the water in NJ because plenty of guys on their team are having career years

  8. Professor Q says:

    GMB3: I don’t really think he was viewed as an established top pairing RHD at the time of the trade. It seems to me that their is something in the water in NJ because plenty of guys on their team are having career years

    Indeed. If I remember correctly, he was a lesser Seth Jones. Maybe the playoffs changed the opinions about him, or the expansion draft.

    Although there was a rumour (or a few) about Edmonton being hevaily interested. Or at least people here wanted him and others.

    Although in New Jersey, you might be right about the water (no, not sewage). Rookies outperforming? Randoms playing at high levels? Goalies giving each other competition with great play?

  9. ArmchairGM says:

    russ99: This is the kind of post that just irks me. Build a case with offensive metics and completely ignore what he does when the Oilers don’t have the puck.

    Where are the defensive metrics?

    I don’t think you understand what CF% and GF% actually are.

  10. frjohnk says:

    Munny: Padre, do you know how it is calculated by any chance?

    I would be happy if it is a count of zone entries disrupted.But if it is merely (zone entries – controlled zone entries) then I would have less faith in the number.

    ___

    As for the GF/CF numbers he spends a lot of time with Connor… about 40 percent.And Dreamy is his most common D partner by far.Tough opp I’m guessing but that’s a pretty big push.

    Denied Entry Rate – This stat is shown for defenseman only, since forwards typically aren’t as responsible for stopping players at the blueline. As the name suggests, this is the inverse of zone entries, or how often a player is responsible for preventing the opposition from entering the offensive zone.

    Denied Entry % – This is the other defenseman-only stat, and it measures the percent of entries against that ended up as dumps and fails rather than carries or passes for the opposition.

    McDavid zooms everyone on the D. Majority of the D’s numbers are better with Connor. Away from Connor they dont face as tough competition but their numbers are not as good.

  11. Wilde says:

    ArmchairGM,

    He did the same thing to me, and I explained it to him.

    This was a couple weeks ago.

    Guess he didn’t read it.

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