The Edmonton Oilers got a win before the Christmas break, and Cam Talbot was the main man for the home side. On an evening when Edmonton scored three and then spent the night unable to get the puck out of their own zone, this was a game stolen. The defense badly missed Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson, get well soon!
TIME AFTER TIME, YEAR OVER YEAR
- 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: 4-7-2
- Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
- Oilers in December 2015: 7-3-0
- Oilers after 35 in 2014-15: 7-22-6, 20 points (-51 GD)
- Oilers after 35 in 2015-16: 15-18-2, 32 points (-15 GD)
Edmonton plays Vancouver and Calgary on the weekend, wins in those games and we can look forward to 2016 with at least the hint of a playoff run. Edmonton now has as many wins in December of 2015 as they did in all of the pre-Christmas games in 2014.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nikita Nikitin played a tidy game, spent 7:07 with Gryba (7-8) and 2:38 with Fayne (3-0). Definitely the sixth man on the night, hard to complain about the effort or results. Eric Gryba (I thought) played his best hockey on the PK last night, making a couple of nice plays at or beyond the blue to deny a sortie. He also played 2:33 with Nurse (1-3) and 1:47 with Justin Schultz (0-3).
- Mark Fayne had a nice time with Nikitin, but struggled in 8:02 with Justin Schultz (4-15). He spent a lot of the night in chase mode, I imagine he misses Andy Greene terribly.
- Andrej Sekera made dozens of good plays last night, battled hard and won the puck often. Now, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have difficult moments, but he (along with rookie Darnell Nurse) took on the top (and most dangerous) lines. The top duo played 10:53 together (7-19).
- Darnell Nurse was a tough nut all night, battled the big Jets to a standstill and skated miles. He took a few lumps, including a filthy slew foot at the end of the game (and delivered an impressive punch to Schiefele in retaliation). Despite the possession numbers, I thought he was one of the best players in the game. His battles with big forwards are going to become legendary, the young man has been gifted physically and has complete determination. I cannot wait to see him in a playoff game. Also blocked a shot from the photonic cannon.
- Justin Schultz started the night with Darnell Nurse (2-0 in 2:58) but spent most of the evening at even strength with Fayne—a difficult time for the Oilers and the pairing. He scored an enormous goal in the game, giving Edmonton some breathing room for the first time in over a week.
Courtesty of T-Funk at HFBoards. pic.twitter.com/1XNDOnET3l
— Carter & Blindsay Award Winner (@CopperandBlue) December 22, 2015
DEFENSE, SCORING CHANCE AGAINST, 5X5
- Nikita Nikitin 4 (.355 per minute)
- Eric Gryba 7 (.490 per minute)
- Darnell Nurse 14 (.697 per minute)
- Justin Schultz 13 (.809 per minute)
- Mark Fayne 12 (.905 per minute)
- Andrej Sekera 16 (.955 per minute)
This is War-on-Ice SCA raw totals and my rudimentary math got us to per-minute totals. As you know, I am a believer in the CorsiRel, but Todd McLellan is following something that has him convinced that Darnell Nurse is an effective partner for Andrej Sekera. The coach scampered away from the Nurse-Schultz pairing quick like a bunny last night, maybe this is the reason? Love to read your comments.
One final note: It is important to remember this team is down Oscar Klebom and Brandon Davidson. Even with that, Peter Chiarelli needs to get Todd McLellan more help.
"Our group senses the fans are behind us right now." Coach McLellan on #Oilers current seven-game winning streak at Rexall Place
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 22, 2015
CENTER, LAST NIGHT
The Nuge line received the easier chores last night, and did in fact have a better night—although they did not cash. His line saw Byfuglien-Trouba for over 10 minutes. Not long until McDavid returns, this line has been injured a lot but also hasn’t earned its keep in recent days. I thought RNH had one of his better games last night.
Leon Draisaitl got the tougher opponent in terms of forward matchup, and the Enstrom-Myers duo. Although their possession numbers didn’t favor the Edmonton side, all three goals came from this unit. The man can pass so well, I sometimes want to compare him to Peter Mahovlich but I think he is already better!
WINGS, LAST NIGHT
This reflects what I saw, McLellan ran the Nuge line against softer forwards (but the Buff pairing) and they saw daylight but couldn’t make it go. I think they are starting to feel good at the plate, should see some home runs on the weekend from them.
Hall and Purcell faced the toughest forward group (and Myers) and robbed them blind despite being 30% at evens in possession. Why can’t we get one of these blasted games on a Saturday night? Either way, the lack of precision that plagues the Nuge line was on full display with this group. They are divine.
- ”I’m disappointed. It’s great that we got the points in the bank and we went into the break feeling good, but I think we’re such a better team than we just performed tonight. We got away with one tonight.” Source
- “We can shake hands and wish everybody a Merry Christmas with a smile on our faces. (But) we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. There’s some areas where we need some practice time.” Source
I understand McLellan’s view, but if I am Peter Chiarelli this was a grand night. Cam Talbot looked exactly like the guy the Oilers were supposed to get from the NYR, and Andrej Sekera was a man on the blue. Two major solutions to massive problems if it holds. Lordy Talbot was fantastic.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 22, 2015
Oh Billy Ranford, Billy Ranford, you beautiful man. I well remember the spring you played out of your mind and brought us final glory. I hope you enjoyed your evening, Bill Ranford. We will never, ever forget you.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today on the Lowdown, 10 this morning TSN1260. We are getting close to Christmas, and that means unusual moments. Yesterday was like free form jazz at an opium den: Very loose and a lot of staring. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. Oilers win! Now, they just need Talbot to do that every night! We will also discuss the Nuge rumors and who are the six best defensemen on the team?
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Guy is off to Finland for the WJs, we will talk about some of the draft eligibles you might look for at the tournament.
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. A bright young man just starting in his broadcast career, he got to cover last night’s game up close and personal. I will ask him about the experience.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide twitter. See you on the radio!
Note: The dog in photo represents the Oilers, and the rodent is the playoffs. Or the Canucks.