G8 2016-17: OILERS AT CANUCKS

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers are two wins away from an incredible October sky. If the team can win tonight on the left coast, and then find a way to get past the Senators on Sunday, their record will be 8-1-0. Mail that back to last year and what would you hear? ‘Shut your whore mouth’ most likely. Yet, here we are. Does the fever break tonight? Or is this team actually better by a lot?

The truth is, every game day thread you read on every Oilers blog this season could be boiled down to one sentence: If McDavid is in the lineup, this team has a chance to win two points. Every night.

mcdavid-puljujarvi-capture

EVEN IN THE QUIETEST MOMENTS, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 3-4-0, goal differential -2
  • Oilers in October 2016: 6-1-0, goal differential +10

In Game 8 one year ago, the Oilers lost to the Washington Capitals 7-4. Evgeny Kuznetsov was on fire that night, he was so fast and the Oilers defense was very poor. If you check the names on defense that night, and compare them to the current roster, suspect we can agree there has been progress.

DEFENSE, AFTER SEVEN

defense-oct-27

  • I prefer Corsi For (this is all 5×5, courtesy NaturalStatTrick), but have sorted by HD SC.
  • Oscar Klefbom is on another level, with Adam Larsson not far behind. In terms of HD SCs, the Oilers are basically double the opposition. Man. That’s electric.
  • Andrej Sekera has been very good to my eye, but trails partner Kris Russell across the board. Thoughts? I have to say that a veteran second pairing (we had discussed Fayne in the role during summer) has been a Godsend. Calm moments tower over the chaos most nights, and that is a very good thing. Russell is one of three Oilers defensemen with more high-danger scoring chances for than against. WheatnOil is drilling down on CorsiRel in the comments section of the previous thread (you know I love my Rel!) and making good points. Lefty-Righty is a thing.
  • Darnell Nurse is basically even in HD scoring chances and regular scoring chances, Gryba just a shade behind. I think eventually we will see Brandon Davidson there, but what kind of top 6D might we see in 2017-18? My guess is Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera and Nurse are locks, with Benning close to same. Kris Russell? Eric Gryba? Both have a chance to be back, imo.
  • Where does that leave Griffin Reinhart? Where does that leave Griffin Reinhart?

FORWARDS, AFTER SEVEN

forwards-through-game-7

  • The Lucic—McDavid—Eberle line is the best 20 minutes on television—or in the arena. Honestly, the 97 shifts approach Beatlemania. Part of the magic is that I feel he could score on every play, and that is going to end in a 5-point night along the way, sure as hell. Maybe it’s tonight? I well remember some pretty vacant Vancouver teams being run over by the 80s Oilers.
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Kassian are struggling in the Corsi but sawing off in high-danger scoring chances. Kassian is not ideal, but how many months will it be until Jesse Puljujarvi is ready? March? I think they have the solution and are just waiting for this player to push Kassian out of the way. Could happen sooner than later, JP is going to be a special player.
  • Nugent-Hopkins is a key player on this team. If he can play his quality two-way game and post 50 points, this team has a chance (if Leon can level the soft parade) to improve markedly in GF.
  • Maroon—Draisaitl—Puljujarvi looks good in HD scoring chances, and reasonable in possession. I think this line should be pushing more 5×5 and bet we see it as time rolls along. Draisaitl is exceeding my RE, that is an excellent sign.
  • Lander—Letestu—Pitlick is doing some pretty impressive scoring from the 4line, only question being can it continue. I am beginning to wonder if Matt Hendricks and Iiro Pakarinen will be able to force their way onto the roster when they return. Pakarinen is in an especially tight spot at this point.

THE RE SERIES

Each summer, I do an RE series in search of reasonable. After tonight, we will be 10 percent into the schedule and it is a chance to see where we are in the early days. Here are the actual numbers, and what RE would have suggested at this point.

  1. Connor McDavid 7gp, 4-7-11 (6gp, 3-4-7) +4
  2. Jordan Eberle 7gp, 3-3-6 (6gp, 2-3-5) +1
  3. Leon Draisaitl 7gp, 2-4-6 (6gp, 1-2-3) +3
  4. Milan Lucic 7gp, 3-2-5 (7gp, 2-3-5) Even
  5. Benoit Pouliot 7gp, 3-1-4 (5gp, 1-2-3) +1
  6. Mark Letestu 7gp, 2-2-4 (6gp, 1-1-2) +2
  7. Zack Kassian 7gp, 2-2-4 (5gp, 0-1-1) +3
  8. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 7gp, 0-4-4 (6gp, 2-2-4) Even
  9. Tyler Pitlick 7gp, 3-0-3 (1gp, 0-0-0) +3
  10. Darnell Nurse 7gp, 1-2-3 (6gp, 0-1-1) +2
  11. Kris Russell 7gp, 0-3-3 (Not included in RE)
  12. Andrej Sekera 7gp, 0-3-3 (6gp, 1-2-3) Even
  13. Jesse Puljujarvi 5gp, 1-1-2 (6gp, 1-1-2) Even
  14. Patrick Maroon 7gp, 2-0-2 (6gp, 1-1-2) Even
  15. Oscar Klefbom 7gp, 0-2-2 (5gp, 0-2-2) Even
  16. Mark Fayne 1gp, 0-1-1 (6gp, 0-0-0) +1
  17. Anton Slepyshev 3gp, 1-0-1 (0gp, 0-0-0) +1
  18. Anton Lander 6gp, 0-1-1 (4gp, 0-1-1) Even
  19. Adam Larsson 7gp, 0-1-1 (6gp, 0-2-2) -1
  20. Eric Gryba 5gp, 0-0-0 (Not included in RE)
  21. Brandon Davidson 1gp, 0-0-0 (5gp, 0-1-1) -1
  22. Cam Talbot 7gp, 2.49 .927 (5gp, 2.44 .920) Seven points up in SP
  23. Jonas Gustavsson 1gp, 0.00 one (2gp, 2.95 .905)

The RE hasn’t badly overestimated anyone (numbers here), with only Larsson trailing the prediction (and Brandon Davidson injured). There is however evidence that I may have underestimated Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian. I am fine with it, the idea of RE is to find reasonable. Thoughts? One thing we should probably expect is a dip in Cam Talbot’s save percentage moving forward.

DYLAN MCILRATH

I wrote about Dylan McIlrath last night here, and at ON in a kind of obscure way. So. I don’t think the Oilers will claim him, but would not be shocked to my shoes if they do in fact grab him. McIlrath is a defensive defender, but unlike a Mark Fayne (and even unlike Eric Gryba) he has good straightaway speed. Edmonton has the position covered (RH stay-at-home) and seem to like Gryba this year (and possibly beyond). I think you should be close to your internet at about 10:15 today, and we will cover this on the Lowdown. Again, I don’t think it happens, but it could this morning. Bet it was discussed. Paajarvi? They didn’t take him last time he was on waivers—when it made more sense—doubt they do it today.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun Friday as always, 10 this morning on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. The Cubs are playing in Chicago in a World Series—historic. Plus the early start for the Oilers and media coverage of the Leafs.
  • Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Oil Kings progress (send goals!) and some of the early risers in the 2017 draft.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Should the Oilers tweak the roster (adding McIlrath, perhaps a Purcell) or stay the course with a young, improving group.
  • Paul Almedia, SSE. Can the Oilers get to 9-1-0 in October? And the wobbly rich that represent Man U.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

 

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wheatnoil

Woodguy,

frjohnk,
Russell did indeed have a poor game of zone Exits, one of his worst actually. As Padre says, though, all but Klefbom struggled to move the puck.

Walter Gretzkys Neighbour

Maybe the stats don’t address it or describe it, but I’m seeing an Oilers TEAM. For the first time in a decade or more. They hit, get position, take away space and time and seem to be working together.

I like it a lot! This is group of players with some direction and cohesion.

Doesn’t hurt that McDavid looks like he’s playing in a totally different space-time continuum.

Personally, I’m going to enjoy watching a team look like they give a damn!

Now go beat down the Senators!

I’d like to add how much I appreciate the other commenters who provide insight and analysis. Thanks to all for making this site fun.

frjohnk

Woodguy: Agreed, Klef too.

I think that was Nurse’ best game of his career so far.

Saw Russell real bad, lots of “off the glass and out”.

He was forced to make a lot of plays on his back hand and he’s not that good at it.

Pete needs to get a RHD pretty quickly I think.

I didnt think much of the Oilers D moved the puck well, maybe Klefbom did, but maybe its just the breakaway pass and a few other times I remember he did move it well.

But Vancouver does clog up the neutral zone well

Somebody should start counting the number of times Sekera goes walkabout. We are lucky the Canucks could not generate anything when he made a few bad pinches.

Cant believe Nurse and Gryba were the only Dmen who were more than 50% in all of corsi, fenwick, shots, scoring chances and high danger chances.

Other 4 were outcorsied, out fenwicked, out shot, out scoring chanced, all 4 were even in high danger chances for and against.

If we can get games like this from our 3rd pairing more often than not, its like getting scoring from the bottom 6 forwards and we will win more games because of it.

tcho

That Troy Stretcher looks like a player. Damnit.

Bohologo

My coffee is particularly good this morning.

Tastes like victory.

Woodguy

Bruce McCurdy:
Nurse & Gryba with identical 5v5 shot shares tonight.

Corsi 16-10
Fenwick 14-6
Shots 13-4 (!)
Scoring chances 8-2
High danger scoring chances 3-1

Quality performance by both men to my eye, & those stats certainly support that.

I think they did a good job of rubbing out the puck carrier to gain possession all night.

Need to be better moving the puck the other way, but they got it back often before anything happened in the dzone and that’s almost everything.

Woodguy

Pouzar:
Outside of the obvious….Nuge, Kassian, Nurse. Saw em good.

Agreed, Klef too.

I think that was Nurse’ best game of his career so far.

Saw Russell real bad, lots of “off the glass and out”.

He was forced to make a lot of plays on his back hand and he’s not that good at it.

Pete needs to get a RHD pretty quickly I think.

Johnny

texmex:
Did anyone watch OT of the NJ CHI game??? Someone was on the ice the whole OT and turnedover the puck on the winning goal.

Be careful. We are not allowed to point out flaws in this players game. He is so good at hockey that the little things that players do in game (manage shift lengths) do not apply to him.

To be fair, maybe he is feeling like he is the only one that can score on his team, similar to the situation in Edm.

If anyone is looking for examples as to why teammates may not see him as THE BEST teammate, look no further. He had multiple opportunities to change. I thought he had gone off 30 seconds in.

The Chicago announcers gave it to him HARD.

JD_Wry

comment image

Ca$h-McMoney!

admiralmark,

Just assume your Canucks friends are on Heroin. That’s what I do.

Ca$h-McMoney!

First Oiler game I’ve been able to watch start to finish. I really liked teemu pulkkinen’s game. Won a lot of battles, laid some big hits, his whole line had a number of good chances and seemed to be matched up with the Sedin’s often.

Extend Russell

I know +\- is an antiquated stat but it sure does tell a compelling story on the leaders of this team.
Russell
Larsson
Kelfbom

Bonifide and dominant

Extend Russell

Oilspill:
Let me guess, ýou turned down the job LOL. At least he fucking knows hockey, more that most of the writers who using fancies to try to understand the game. At least he not a clueless Homer!

Someone sounds jelly that he doesn’t have what Bruce has…

Don’t worry with comments like this I’m sure everyone will be rushing to see what you comment next !

hunter1909

Russell is a great defenceman.

hunter1909

Bag of Pucks:
Canucks came out with a very aggressive forecheck and the Oil D withstood it, That is encouraging.

The stretch pass to McDavid is the perfect response to the hard forecheck.

This team can beat you a lot of ways. And I think they’re scratching the surface of what they can be.

They’re already playing something that’s close to playoff style:

Keep it simple; then beat the fuckers down with a combination of size, speed and talent.

hunter1909

McDavid’s breakaway looks like his signature set play the opposition gets to worry about.

Canucks just entered their own version of the MacT era: A hard fought, moral victory at the hands of some jumped up bullying visitors.

admiralmark

My Canuck friends are telling me McDavid refused to speak to the media after the game. Not that I care much but is this true? And if so do we know why?

hunter1909

Oilers could really use a 1984 Paul Coffey.

Bruce McCurdy

GMB3:
Bruce McCurdy,

Bruce’s as a bit of non stats guy lemme state that I love hearing your opinions and always look forward to your posts. You’ve got a good grasp of stats and the eye test in your analysis and I’m a fan. Might not mean much but I say keep on keeping on.. Always look forward to seeing your posts on here

Billy1977:
GMB3,

This

Thanks to you both. Good to see your comments, Billy, please post more of them.

Melman

Ice Sage,

This was on full display tonight. A number of times Russell and Sekera played catch, took their time and didn’t try and squeeze a breakout pass on what looked like a tight opening. Saw the other pairs the same – Gryba sure seems to give Nurse the job of moving it up unless he has to be the guy to do it.

I like seeing TMac give Nurse those late game minutes. Good for his growth and confidence

Ice Sage

One area I’ve notice the Oilers better at is the calm reverse below the goal line – a really under-rated event but it buys a bit of time and control. That’s coaching and new personnel.
This might *just* be a team built for the 2020’s

Ice Sage

Melman:
Was at the game tonight – random thoughts:

1). They don’t win this game 1-10 years ago
2) Talbot glove save in the 2nd is my TSN turning point
3) saw the RNH line and Drai line good.All 6 D were solid all night.Nucks had maybe 5 or 6 good scoring chances but regularly danger got pushed wide or shots blocked. Gryba and Nurse are an effective 3rd pair.Klef – Larsson are a legit 1st pair – holy shit does 77 close on fwds in a hurry.They look like they have tons of room and like Kaiser Soze, poof it’s gone
4) size matters: Gryba, Nurse, Kassian, Lucic, Drai, Maroon, Pitlick, PJ – it adds up
5) loved watching Szibsa realize he was about to drop them in the first against Lucic and then come to his senses
6) Connor McDavid – my goodness aunt Edna can he fly
7) Connor McDavid

Best of all I got to chirp my nephews who are 7 and 9.I know that makes me a bad person, but they’ve been giving it to me for years and I’m not ashamed

Edit: this good goalering thing is a real deal

Totally agree except I’ll trade that Talbot save for Miller’s on McD in the 3rd. Canucks played well but Oilers finally have the talent edge.

Zelepukin

Bruce McCurdy:
Nurse & Gryba with identical 5v5 shot shares tonight.

Corsi 16-10
Fenwick 14-6
Shots 13-4 (!)
Scoring chances 8-2
High danger scoring chances 3-1

Quality performance by both men to my eye, & those stats certainly support that.

Backs up my statement earlier. That pairing played smart. Granted they are not facing the toughs as frequently as they use to, which is great. Nurse is learning very quickly on how to not over-commit and those two did a good job of separating the man from the puck on most shifts this game.

No idea what game Pouzar was watching by saying they didn’t play well.

wheatnoil

Melman:
wheatnoil,

Are we already at the point where we are critiquing road wins against the Canucks!?! Let’s take the 2 points and the shutout and let the boys hit the Roxy

The Zone Exits put me in a dour mood, but truly, I’ll take the win!

commonfan29

Lowetide:
The Lucic—McDavid—Eberle line is the best 20 minutes on television—or in the arena. Honestly, the 97 shifts approach Beatlemania.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4jSbmK5a10

Hope is a good thing

Hockey is a funny game; thought Nuge played very well and got no points – didn’t think Lucic played very well except for a couple moments and he ends up with 2 points.

Nice to see Talbot didn’t let his twins or Vancouver’s get the best of him. Good call on him Woodguy, and good job getting him Chiarelli.

Melman

wheatnoil,

Are we already at the point where we are critiquing road wins against the Canucks!?! Let’s take the 2 points and the shutout and let the boys hit the Roxy

Billy1977

GMB3,

This

GMB3

Bruce McCurdy,

Bruce’s as a bit of non stats guy lemme state that I love hearing your opinions and always look forward to your posts. You’ve got a good grasp of stats and the eye test in your analysis and I’m a fan. Might not mean much but I say keep on keeping on.. Always look forward to seeing your posts on here

wheatnoil

I think they should have played better against Vancouver, but two more points are in the bank and against a Pacific Division team to boot.

Tomorrow we’ll continue to rail against the score-adjusted corsi. Though, to be honest, by score-adjusted corsi they’re still 18th in the league (according to Natural Stattrick), which is a playoff bubble team.

14 points in the bank in October for a playoff bubble team is nice cover to withstand the eventual Wrath of Regression.

Edit: 18th in the league, 7th in the West, 4th in the Pacific. That’s a full-value playoff bubble team!

Billy1977

LT
First time post but have been reading for the last 8 years. Thanks for providing everyone a forum to share their opinions and hockey knowledge. I have learned so much from the posters on here both about hockey and about life. This last win has me waxing nostalgic, dreaming of days gone by but yet to come. Let’s all enjoy the ride, it was a blast in the 80’s…let’s have fun in the 10’s

Cheers

Billy

Bruce McCurdy

Nurse & Gryba with identical 5v5 shot shares tonight.

Corsi 16-10
Fenwick 14-6
Shots 13-4 (!)
Scoring chances 8-2
High danger scoring chances 3-1

Quality performance by both men to my eye, & those stats certainly support that.

Melman

Was at the game tonight – random thoughts:

1). They don’t win this game 1-10 years ago
2) Talbot glove save in the 2nd is my TSN turning point
3) saw the RNH line and Drai line good. All 6 D were solid all night. Nucks had maybe 5 or 6 good scoring chances but regularly danger got pushed wide or shots blocked. Gryba and Nurse are an effective 3rd pair. Klef – Larsson are a legit 1st pair – holy shit does 77 close on fwds in a hurry. They look like they have tons of room and like Kaiser Soze, poof it’s gone
4) size matters: Gryba, Nurse, Kassian, Lucic, Drai, Maroon, Pitlick, PJ – it adds up
5) loved watching Szibsa realize he was about to drop them in the first against Lucic and then come to his senses
6) Connor McDavid – my goodness aunt Edna can he fly
7) Connor McDavid

Best of all I got to chirp my nephews who are 7 and 9. I know that makes me a bad person, but they’ve been giving it to me for years and I’m not ashamed

Edit: this good goalering thing is a real deal

Ice Sage

Gotta tell ya lads, it’s tough
Thinking of this team
As a solid
defensive squad.

But, beyond McD, Loooooch and High Definition Scoring Chances

that’s been the difference.

I dig!

Ice Sage

Ronald Chevalier:
I also thought that Lucic didn’t have the strongest game. For the most part his passing was off(other than the give and go with McDavid). Have a feeling we are going to start seeing a lot of trap hockey.

LOL – back home for a night, flush with Alberta ca$h. Still gets 2 points!

Ice Sage

Was out with a die-hard Canadiens fan tonight.
We’re booking our June holidays.

JD_Wry

böök¡je,

You’re great Bookije!

Ice Sage

JDï™:
What’s everyone drinking tonight? Water? Johnny Walker Black? Nuck Fan Tears?

Mmmmmmmm…

Orca blood baby

Leroy Draisdale

I also thought that Lucic didn’t have the strongest game. For the most part his passing was off(other than the give and go with McDavid). Have a feeling we are going to start seeing a lot of trap hockey.

Zelepukin

This was one of those games where Klef-Lars played so solid against tough comp that I don’t care if Hall scores 30 this season. We won that trade from our perspective, in that we we are so much better for it.

Chia’s intermission interview touched on that. He is liking a lot of things we’re doing that only managers notice. Lots of the little things. Klef-Lars are so good at the smart play, applying pressure without over-comitting.

oilinthepeg

Hey, hey… let’s be optimistic, folks! With this recent surge of decent to above decent hockey-ing, we are bound to somehow attract Ray back. Contracts and agreements be darmned!

7-0-1! Woohoo!

böök¡je

Fuck this team!

I’m starting to believe.

I’m going to be so crushed this time.

Bag of Pucks

texmex:
Did anyone watch OT of the NJ CHI game??? Someone was on the ice the whole OT and turnedover the puck on the winning goal.

You can cram this in your cram hole.

Bag of Pucks

Canucks came out with a very aggressive forecheck and the Oil D withstood it, That is encouraging.

The stretch pass to McDavid is the perfect response to the hard forecheck.

This team can beat you a lot of ways. And I think they’re scratching the surface of what they can be.

Chaos Magician

I had the Canucks feed for most of the game. Used the TuneIn radio app so I could pause the radio feed and get it synced with the tv feed. It made the third period so much better.

I’ve only done that one other time. It was back in the Rod Phillips days. Might be doing it more often.

Zelepukin

Remenda is the worst. Okay, maybe not Garrett bad but still, not a game doesn’t go by where I find myself saying out loud, who hired this guy?

flyfish1168

Bruce McCurdy:
Lucic was a fight away from a Gordie Howe hat trick.

I thought Sbisa was going to go with Milan

JD_Wry

texmex:
Did anyone watch OT of the NJ CHI game??? Someone was on the ice the whole OT and turnedover the puck on the winning goal.

Greedy Kane. So like him.