G41 2016-17: OILERS AT DEVILS

by Lowetide

We had no money really, she worked at the bank and I at the radio station in Red Deer. We both worked overtime to afford the little extra’s, and on this day, the one I am about to tell you of, both things came into play. I did a remote from 10am-4pm on the Saturday in summer, those dollars would make my paycheque enough for us to take our first vacation. I rushed back from the remote (conveniently located at the Olds Auction Mart) and flew back to the radio station to drop off the equipment, hang the keys to the van on the wall, and start my vacation.

We had a 1976 Dodge Colt, it was white with a denim hardtop roof. We had to get gas, so hit the Mohawk (by the Tastee Freez, over by Bower Mall) on the way out of Red Deer. We had been married one year and a little bit, I took a picture of her walking out of the Mohawk with two Cokes and some cheezies. Still have that photo, still remember the promise in that moment. This is us.

When we grow attached to dreams, the really good ones, it hurts to let them go. We, Oilers Nation, had a dream, it included Taylor Hall, front and center and part of the bad times and surely part of the good days that lay ahead.

That was the promise, that was the hope. That dream is gone now, today. We are left to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. We will do so in our own time, individually. Dreams, the really good ones, die hard, as they should. This is us.

ACROSS THE RIVER TO THE JERSEY SIDE, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in January 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential -1
  • Oilers after 40, 2015-16: 16-21-3, goal differential -24
  • Oilers after 40, 2016-17: 20-13-7, goal differential +9

Game 41 a year ago saw Andrej Sekera score a beauty in overtime. That win, No. 17 on the year, would be followed during January by two more victories, five more losses, and two more ties. That kind of record this season could see the Oilers slide right out of the playoffs—meaning this game and every other one needs to bring points to Edmonton.

FACING THE OLD TEAM

  • Taylor Hall: “It’s going to be weird, but to be honest, it was really nice to have a game [Friday] against a different team. I guess now I start thinking about it. I’m just trying to stay focused on helping my team and trying to get two points for us. It’s definitely going to be weird and I’m not going to downplay that. It’s going to be a super strange atmosphere for me, but the quicker I put that aside and just focus on playing hockey and focus on my contribution to the team, I think that’s the best way to go.” Source

Sometimes it works the other way, where the team plays poorly against their former mate, so I don’t think it wise to believe either team has an edge. I also believe it will be weird for Oilers fans too, because Taylor Hall as enemy is going to take some time.

CURRENT STANDINGS

Everyone but Anaheim plays tonight, Edmonton cannot be caught from behind this evening thanks to a valiant effort by the Vancouver Canucks. They broke Calgary’s heart last night, just a wildly unfair result for the red team. Edmonton must push this evening, zero points would be a harsh result.

PAC-7 LAST 10 GAMES

  1. Vancouver Canucks 7-2-1, 15 points
  2. Edmonton Oilers 6-2-2, 14 points
  3. San Jose Sharks 6-3-1, 13 points
  4. Anaheim Ducks 5-2-3, 13 points
  5. Calgary Flames 5-5-0, 10 points
  6. Los Angeles Kings 4-4-2, 10 points
  7. Arizona Coyotes 1-8-1, 10 points

If the Oilers stay in that cluster with Vancouver and SJS plus ANA, they will make the postseason. Too many 10 point runs over 10 games and they will find themselves slipping away. We agreed (well, actually, we didn’t agree at all) that, barring injury, Edmonton should be able to post 17 points this month, in 14 games.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY

  • On the road to: Columbus, Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa (Expected Result: 2-1-1) (Current: 1-1-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, New Jersey, Calgary, Arizona, Florida, Nashville (Expected Result: 3-1-2)
  • On the road to: Calgary, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected Result: 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota (Expected Result: 0-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-4-3, 17 points in 14 games

Oilers cannot win a playoff spot this month, but they can certainly lose one. These two games against the Devils and Senators could vault the team into first place by Sunday night, or put them in a hole they can’t dig out of for the entire month. Huge weekend.

OILERS FORWARDS, 5X5 YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Connor McDavid is getting little air this season, teams are really clamping down on open ice around him. Still, his 5×5 number is a handsome total.
  • Patrick Maroon’s big evening in Boston has vaulted him into a very nice range.
  • Leon Draisaitl is off from last season, and Edmonton needs him at 2.00, but he is among the top performers on the team as we approach the halfway point of the season.
  • Nugent-Hopkins isn’t that far off last season, but he had a horrible year in 2015-16. Not good, although RNH is 5-4-9 in 16 games since December 1. Not great, but better.
  • Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot are in the ditch year over year, one assumes regression will catch them up in the second half. I am uncertain BP is here much longer.

There are all kinds of wonderful players on this Avalanche roster, including Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie (who is having a terrible year). Among UFAs who could be on the move, Jarome Iginla gets a lot of attention. He can still shoot the puck, but cannot get to places. Only five goals in the first half may not be enough for even the famous to find a new home for the playoff run. I think Rene Bourque, Dr. Evil, might be a more attractive option for Peter Chiarelli. Still owns speed, has nine goals, and is a highly aggressive player. Oilers fans would need to take a moment to come to grips with this result.

TAKE ‘EM WIDE, BUCKY!

The Bakersfield Condors outdoor game goes tonight, and last night the Oilers and Kings alumni played a riotous game from all reports. Kelly Buchberger had a hatty, Semenko scored but alas it was not enough (maybe they needed ALAS), but who cares it looks like everyone had a lot of fun.

The game goes at 7 our time tonight (at Memorial Stadium) in Bakersfield, I will update as the game rolls along. The Condors twitter is an excellent follow.

MY EXPANSION DRAFT PROTECTED LIST

  • Goal: Cam Talbot
  • Defense: Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson
  • Center: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu
  • Left Wing: Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon
  • Right Wing: Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian
  • Ineligible for Selection: G Nick Ellis, D Darnell Nurse, D Matt Benning, C Connor McDavid, R Jesse Puljujarvi, C Drake Caggiula, R Anton Slepyshev.
  • Available: D Brandon Davidson, D Griffin Reinhart, R Tyler Pitlick, L Benoit Pouliot, C Jujhar Khaira.

That is my current list. What is yours?

ADAM LARSSON

Tonight is the first time Adam Larsson will play against his old team, not a lot of publicity out there that I have seen. Larsson leads Oilers defenders in 5×5 minutes, ranks No. 1 in terms of total minutes against elites (through 39 games, I have not updated since the road trip began) and has helped in defense of the Oilers net. No arguing the trade, I said at the time and say today it was a terrible deal. I do hope we can reach a point, down the line, when we can discuss Adam Larsson as a player who has helped the Edmonton defense in their efforts to make the playoffs. Adding Larsson has reduced the chaos a great deal, and one hopes he begins to look more comfortable with the puck on his stick as time goes by.

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jonrmcleod

Lowetide:
Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

Fayne also had a goal. Musil got an assist.

theres oil in virginia

Lowetide:
Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

No, but everything good this guy does sure makes some people howl.

kgo

oscarmike: kgo,

Did Hall die??

His Ego died a little bit today!

Doug McLachlan

Great win!

OMG that first 10 minutes was amazing.

That’s what it looks like when fancy stats and eye test line up.

Clearly we were dominating everywhere but the scoreboard.

You can’t control luck but you can aim to be that relentless on the puck.

Ottawa also played tonight so no excuses.

GoOilers!

tcho

verite:
pocession charge,

Chiarelli is an abject incompetent. THIS GAME WILL PROVE IT.

Just felt the need to bump this. Any humility forthcoming?

Gerta Rauss

Zelepukin,

Sure

This team is deficient in a number of areas, lots of room for improvement from several players

A 6 game home stand coming up (after a win in Ottawa tomorrow, fingers crossed) and the team will be coming home feeling pretty good about themselves

Zelepukin

Gerta Rauss:
Just getting caught up now

Big,big win

Another 2 points in Ottawa tomorrow and we’re in full flight

I’d say we’re only in full flight if we see the same 4-line offensive push. This requires guys like Ebs and Nuge to really force the offense rather than sit back and let the McD line push the win.

For me, that’s the difference. The threat of McD is potentially stronger than what points he actually puts up on the board.

spoiler

That 5 minutes Hall had to spend with the mics in his face pregame was absolutely outstanding. He sounds different. This might be a good thing for him too.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

LadiesloveSmid,

Letestu’s line got the 1-1 goal…

Gerta Rauss

Just getting caught up now

Big,big win

Another 2 points in Ottawa tomorrow and we’re in full flight

Zelepukin

gogliano: I’d hope they’d make a deal if Talbot goes down.

McDavid getting injured is the one I worry about more.

Either unaddressed could get them sub .500 without much trouble.But there is no real way to address a McDavid injury.

It’s much easier to address a loss of McD than it is to replace Talbot, the most played goalie in the whole league. There is no #1 goalie out there open for a trade. We’d probably have to go for Halak or call up Brossoit in hope’s pull out a rookie miracle for the playoff push.

If McD goes down, Drai takes over 1C responsiblity. Ebs will come back up to the first line, PUJ slots in on his spot on the third.
The 1st PP will need some rethinking but perhaps that opens the door to PUJ or Drake taking a more shooter’s responsibility.

I just think we can’t ignore how much Talbot bails us out with massive saves at crucial times in a game, because we’ve gotten so use to seeing him handle them with ease. The perfect example will be tomorrow’s game, if Gusto starts. He can be a tire fire with rebounds.

T3Hunter

Woodguy: Yes, Wood.

Wood is the answer.

As a forester, I’m not sure if you have a great answer, or if there was just a great question. Either way, I agree, wood is the answer.

And on a side note, how about them Oilers? 49 points in 41 games! I’ve had to be humble when wearing my Oilers colours for far too long. I’m not wanting to be smug, just to enjoy the moment, and this will do so far.

spoiler

Lowetide:
Griffin Reinhart wins it in overtime. Full moon?

If Larsson had scored the OT winner…

jp

LadiesloveSmid:
Klefbom had 9 SOG!!

99 shots on the year, 10th in the league for D (for what it’s worth!).

spoiler

And on that note Frolik frolicks.

Muletrain97

Condors win!!! They tie it up with about 2min to in 3rd, and of all people Reinhert with the partial breakaway winner in OT! Khaira played strong and heavy two-way hockey, as did Scott Allen Taylor Beck, and Anton Slepy. Brossoit settled down and was solid in net. D-wise, Osterle can fly in this league and is very noticeable. Tried to get an interview with Khaira but got kicked out of area just before it ended!! All in all, a great time in Bakersfield at the Outdoor Classic! Peace ✌️

jp

Klima’s_Bucket:
Tom Gazzola ‏@TomGazzola31m31 minutes ago
Griffin Reinhart just attempted a shot from the point. Water went flying 20 feet into the air. The puck a couple feet forward.

Just another example of how bad of a deal that Reinhart trade was.
Oh well, it’s water under the bridge.

Looks like Reinhart figured things out – it appears he scored the OT winner this evening.

LadiesloveSmid

Klefbom had 9 SOG!!

gogliano

Zelepukin: It’s called Talbot getting injured.

I’d hope they’d make a deal if Talbot goes down.

McDavid getting injured is the one I worry about more.

Either unaddressed could get them sub .500 without much trouble. But there is no real way to address a McDavid injury.

Loose Human Head

Klima’s_Bucket,

Yup. Baby faced cowboy could really chuck em.

Klima's_Bucket

Tom Gazzola ‏@TomGazzola 31m31 minutes ago
Griffin Reinhart just attempted a shot from the point. Water went flying 20 feet into the air. The puck a couple feet forward.

Just another example of how bad of a deal that Reinhart trade was.
Oh well, it’s water under the bridge.

Muletrain97

Reign up 2-0 after two at the Outdoor Classic. Rain has stopped, hopefully can finish the game without more of the wet stuff.

LadiesloveSmid

Like I said against Boston, I was looking forward to the follow up performance to that dud. Glad they got the 2 points in a night they actually deserved it. Didn’t catch most of the first or third but saw all of the 2nd and OT, thought Klefbom had one of his strongest and most involved nights of recent. Eberle was clocked in, probably could’ve had 1 or 2 with better placed shots (and if that early hook hadn’t happened). Maroon-McD-Drai was dominant, sucks that the rest of the forwards need one of 97 and 29 to score whatsoever.

Zelepukin

gogliano: Close to a lock with 44 points or better.Even .500 hockey will give them a decent shot depending how things break.

23 home games remaining, 18 on the road.

Hard to see them missing it at this point.

It’s called Talbot getting injured.

gogliano

spoiler:
Half way.If they can put up 49 points in the 2nd half, they’ll be in the playoffs,

Close to a lock with 44 points or better. Even .500 hockey will give them a decent shot depending how things break.

23 home games remaining, 18 on the road.

Hard to see them missing it at this point.

godot10

Muletrain97:
Raining steady at the Outdoor game, really messing with the surface. Reign up 1-0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

Don’t mind me

Woodguy: Wood is the answer.

Hardwood comes in handy.

Ice Sage

Woodguy: Yes, Wood.

Wood is the answer.

So she said…

Muletrain97

Raining steady at the Outdoor game, really messing with the surface. Reign up 1-0

Woodguy

jm363561:
Schneider and Wood second and third stars. Wood?

Yes, Wood.

Wood is the answer.

Woodguy

Younger Oil:
Currently there are only FOUR teams in the league that are considered “below 500”.

Only 14 teams have won more games than they have lost.

Weird, weird league.

.565 is the new .500

(league average pts%)

Zelepukin

jp: I actually do feel kinda bad for Hall now.

Same. I watched the entire NJ broadcast and they really don’t have much to talk about other than Hall. If Wood didn’t score on a play that showed off his speed, they would have been left with what I guess is a nightly highlight, the goaltending.

Fans like entertainment. You pay to be entertained. Sure you might win games by being boring but it’s still a question of, would you rather go to the theatre or just watch the movie on Netflix in a month.

Woodguy

Just finished on the PVR.

Well that was something eh?

Unicorns with frickin lasers!

Team 68% CF

55’s line with a 83%
97 with 73%
36 with a 70%
91 with a 57% (checking the toughs don’t chaknow)

NJD is not a good team. At all.

No D.

Poor Taylor.

*clap,clap*

Muletrain97

At the Outdoor game, raining off and on. Stopped the 1st period with about 4 and a half to. Intermission then will make up the time in 2nd. No score, Khaira throwing his weight around as is Allen

jp

Wow, 8 goals for Eberle in the 1st half. On pace to match his career low (from the lockout year).

Hope he can get back on track going forward. He’s only shooting 7.7%, hasn’t dropped below 12% since his rookie year, and over 13% in each of the past 3 yrs. There is hope!

Zelepukin

Mr. D.:
How man times did McD go around their defence and the haday a full head of backward steam. That happens on tight gap defense.

The thing is with those plays where McD busts wide at mach 1, no NHL D is use to that so it’s foreign territory in how to react. Usually tight gap control will force the forward handling the puck to reduce their speed because it creates unconcertainty in puck control. This does not happen with McD. If anything, he welcomes it.
McD’s biggest problem is that he usually runs out of space, especially when he is coming down the off wing. You could see it tonight where he literally made the same offensive decision 3 times coming down the right wing, beating the D-man wide but running out of space so he was only left with the quick, inside under the stick shot on net. The good thing is that he is starting to do more of his wrap-around play. He did this all the time in Junior and scored a ton on them.

Don’t mind me

New Improved Darkness: Woooot

Woooot – The sum of everything. ?

jp

hodgkins:
Watching the Devils reminded me of many nights for the Oilers the past 10 years.Feels weird being on the other side of it.

I actually do feel kinda bad for Hall now.

Ice Sage

flyfish1168:
phlegms have one UGLY jersey

I expect them all to have soup-strainer moustaches

Mr. D.

How man times did McD go around their defence and the haday a full head of backward steam. That happens on tight gap defense.

Zelepukin: Haha totally. That was an all-around great game. Sure, Gryba got caught on a couple mistakes but usually those things happen multiple times by multiple people.

Ebs had a great game.

Hall, sorry bro. I know it’s a back-to-back but it looks like you’re on the 2012 Edmonton Oilers right now.

flyfish1168

phlegms have one UGLY jersey

Zelepukin

Ice Sage:
New Jersey is a bad hockey team with an all-world goalie, missing their best D and captain and they knew it – just parked the bus and hoped for the best…
Result flattered them.No wonder they made that trade – T Hall would be the only reason I’d take my kid to see that team.

On to the Senators.No grief-stricken goalie to contend with, Karlsson vs McD, trading chances.The Oil-train keeps rolling.

So true. Hey kids, how would you like to go watch some grown men cycle the puck around the boards and wait for the other team to make a mistake on clearing a rebound or bumbling a pass, so we can win 1-0? Exciting right?!?1

oscarmike

Its like broke back mountain listening to the Calgary Flames anthem singer.

Material Elvis

Lowetide: Yeah, I would have gone Schneider, McDavid and Klefbom.

That’s how I saw it, too.

Younger Oil

Currently there are only FOUR teams in the league that are considered “below 500”.

Only 14 teams have won more games than they have lost.

Weird, weird league.

oscarmike

kgo:
Hall sure didn’t get much respect out there…he got knocked hard on his ass at least 5 times with clean hits…Larsson crunched him hard twice in the first few minutes before Gryba destroyed him…nobody stood up for him, nobody responded….damn it feels good to cheer for a bunch of bullies for once.

kgo,

Did Hall die??

wintoon

The Oilers were full value for their victory tonight. Their level of focus and intensity was so much higher than during the recent game against the CBJs.

Again tonight, Talbot made some huge saves. He gave us a chance to win against a hot goaltender. Well done.

Ice Sage

Klima’s_Bucket:
Speaking of Wood, anyone remember Dody Wood???

I’m a getting’ old, I don’t remember much wood at all…
maybe Natalie – now that wuz one hot tomato