I read somewhere, many moons ago, that the song most men cry to (that they’ll admit) is Everybody Hurts by REM. Yeah. That’s sounds about right. I can’t bring myself to feel bad about last night’s game. The Oilers needed a third period goal and got it—after that it’s an old fashioned shootout at the O.K. Corral and there’s not a team alive that has a good chance of beating this Blackhawks team in that situation. Last night’s point is a chance to breathe, to take heart. The Edmonton Oilers are hitting line drives into opposition gloves, but at least they took it to extra innings last night.
@Lowetide can you show a comparative goal differential with the comparative to last years 19 games tomorrow or Friday?
— Jo Rob (@Gr8one4Oil) November 19, 2015
HARD NUMBERS, HARD CANDY
- Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
- Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
- Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-1
- Oilers in 2014 Oct/Nov: 6-14-4
- Oilers in 2015 Oct/Nov: 6-12-1
- Oilers Goal Differential in 2014 Oct/Nov: -34
- Oilers Goal Differential in 2014 Oct/Nov: -12
That -34 number comes from NHL.com, who have led me astray from time to time in these reviews. When the demons dance and the online loons come calling, pay heed to that goal differential and know last night’s Corgi barks (52-41) came against a mature, veteran team. The turn north is coming. I can feel it.
Let’s chat about the big news before last night’s game—the sudden availability of a perfect-fit defender in Travis Hamonic. The fact he was the slam man on Taylor Hall at the 2010 Memorial Cup gives the idea of his acquisition some kind of weird logic, and based on his actual skills we’re talking about a fabulous solution to one big damn problem.
5×5 points per 60: 0.52
5×4 points per 60: nil
Qual Comp: No. 1 among D
Qual Team: No. 1 among D
Corsi Rel: 11.1 (No. 1 among D)
Corsi for % 5×5: 52.8 (No. 1 among D)
Zone Start: 48.5
Shots on goal/percentage: 37 shots
Boxcars: 19GP, 0-3-3
The Oilers would be better in a heartbeat if they acquired Hamonic. The cost? Well, I’m not sure Edmonton has what they’re looking for:
- Elliotte Friedman: Several sources indicate Snow is not interested in a picks or prospects type of return. He’s looking for equal-level replacement. That’s reason No. 1 this hasn’t happened yet. There aren’t a lot of these players available. Source
The Oilers don’t have that player, unless you can find a DeLorean and drive to Darnell Nurse’s 25th birthday (or possibly Klefbom’s). There’s another consideration: Edmonton has two clusters, the Hall train and the McDavid learjet. Peter Chiarelli can’t rob the McDavid cluster, and Garth Snow isn’t (likely) interested in prospects and draft picks. It’s a painful reality, I’d love to see Hamonic here tomorrow for something future—I don’t think it happens.
Korpikoski and Pakarinen on the same line on that shift. Haven't seen two Finns on the same line here since Tiki – Jari and that other guy;)
— Jouni Nieminen (@OnsideWithJouni) November 19, 2015
Fantastic performance from that line, very impressed with the group (more below). I have to say that Korpikoski is a player I’ve always liked but have not been impressed with him as an Oiler (if with the two goals). Both were very useful players last night. More please!
OILERS BLUE, LAST NIGHT
Stupid good V6 here, plenty of torque and some exceptional, violent movements. The following are my favorite plays by each man:
- Davidson and Reinhart covered off wonderfully on a Toews (iirc) sortie. Davidson offered support as Reinhart was driving Toews deep, and BD recovered the puck and sent it behind the net. Reinhart grabbed the puck and things settled. Really nice exchange, would like to see more.
- Nurse driving deep into the zone and passing to Pouliot was an 80s Oilers moment, tremendous and powerful. Sekera (for me) really showed his value, calm feet and a real sense of grabbing the open lane and getting the puck to safety. He’s in his zone now, that’s a fact.
- Klefbom and Fayne faced the toughest line (what the HELL was that) and chased quite a bit, but it’s hard to be really critical of them. Klef was 5-7 against Kane, I’ll take that. Ridiculous talent over there. We’re in a zone now where Klefbom is emerging as something else again, finding another level. Holy man.
OILERS CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- The Lander trio dominated the Garbutt group but could not score—that’s actually a big part of the game. Despite the dominance, and that’s a helluva Corsi, no goals for the trio. Of the SIX individual scoring chances, one for Lander. He was also excellent in the faceoff circle.
- Draisaitl and his line matched up against the Toews line and the Seabrook pairing most often, and looked like Beliveau again—FIVE individual scoring chances! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I’m running out of rhymes.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his line took on the Kane wizards and the Keith pairing—that’s the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank. You’re going to hear a bunch of “Nuge isn’t that good” crap today, I recommend we put those people on the “Taylor Hall shun” list as of now. Fabulous player.
- Mark Letestu and his line faced the Shaw trio, you’d like to see those numbers are little higher, to be honest. That’s really the third line and they didn’t execute well.
OILERS WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- As mentioned above, the two Finns had some nice runs up the ice and really (despite being the 4line) it would be fine to keep them together. Have to score, though. Pakarinen had three individual scoring chances and Korpikoski had two high danger scoring chances (this is all via war-on-ice).
- Jordan Eberle scored a beautiful goal (he always seems to) off a brilliant feed from Brandon Davidson. He looked dangerous at other times too, but the ‘Hawks sent out the chance machines against them. God Almighty I hope we’re done with this team for the season. Three individual scoring chances, two of them were of the dangerous variety..
- Benny Pouliot skated miles last night, scored a goal and looked dangerous in other places. He also drew an offensive zone penalty, I don’t do grades but he’d get a good one in my books.
- Taylor Hall is so brilliant he’s compiling numbers even on a night when it looks like he’s lost the season. You’d think I would be used to his insane acrobatics, but last night’s stick-in-shoe was a scary item. A brilliant hockey player, entering his prime.
- Teddy Purcell looked great again to my eye, you must give him credit for a fantastic play on the tying goal, gaining position and then making a simple pass to Hall in order to get the ball rolling. If this is his push for a contract, I’m noticing. Lordy.
- Nail Yakupov had one dangerous chance and honestly I thought he had scored. Edmonton needs McDavid back and Yak does too. I admire the effort, he needs help, Mr. Chiarelli.
- Hendricks and his line struggled against Tuesday Thursday and his rambling crew, but they had some great shifts too. I don’t think he’s yet at 100% and he probably has more to give. As it is, he was noticeable in a good way.
The Edmonton Oilers now have two lines rolling, some possibilities for a third and two legit pairings plus a pair of rookies who looked good together last night. I don’t think they can win a wildcard spot, but am here to tell you, at the beginning of the winter’s snowfall, that I, Lowetide, being of sound mind and with full liquor cabinet, believe they could secure that final (third) spot in the Pacific division.
Right now, it looks like 82-85 points could gather the position (although someone, maybe Edmonton, will go on a hot streak). The Oilers, in order to make it to 85 points, would have to go like stink:
- Current record: 19GP, 6-12-1, 13points
- Needed run: 63GP, 30-21-12, 72points
Be honest, there’s some madness required to even suggest such a thing. That said, the things that trouble this team—goaltending, lack of a stud defender, defensive depth, injury—are taking their own sweet time coming together. However, Darnell Nurse is inside the top four, Oscar Klefbom is pushing toward a new tomorrow in terms of what he brings, and that third pairing showed real promise last night.
Finally, Anders Nilsson. If he continues to grab the No. 1 job, this is going to be a helluva story. Like, I mean a ‘we found Fernando Valenzuela pitching to a goat in Los Hombres’ kind of story. We’re on the edge of a new reality, today. I believe it. I believe it!
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Will he be the sober voice of reason, or has he gone crazy like me?
- B.D. Gallof, The Fourth Period. He covers the Islanders, we’ll get to the bottom of these Hamonic sounds.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. A range of topics, CFL playoffs, Oilers turning north and Blue Jays offseason.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Three-on-three, trade winds and the All-Star Game.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s going to be a blast!