G45 2016-17: FLAMES AT OILERS

by Lowetide

Make no mistake, tonight’s game is going to be epic: HNIC, Saturday, national television, four-pointer, playoff implications, balls out, blood on the tracks. Anyone—any body—who tells you they know the outcome of this game is a liar. The Edmonton Oilers have not finished ahead of the Calgary Flames in a season that mattered in decades. If they are going to climb that hill this season, then this team must stand and deliver tonight. No excuses. None.

ALBERTA MOON, 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: 3-3-0, goal differential -3
  • Oilers after 44, 2015-16: 17-23-4, goal differential -26
  • Oilers after 44, 2016-17: 22-15-7, goal differential +7

G45 one year ago was a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on the road. Cam Talbot was the star of the game from an Edmonton standpoint and he will need to have a big game tonight. The Oilers as a group need to have a strong start—something that hasn’t happened in these last few games—and play a complete game. I picked the Flames to finish ahead of Edmonton this season in the Pacific Division, and they are hauling ass over the last month, kicking ass and taking names. No friends wear red tonight, this is the land of the orange and blue. Let’s get this started.

DEFENSE, 2016-17

  • Andrej Sekera and Matt Benning are working well together. In almost 200 minutes 5×5 (now), they are at 58 percent Corsi.
  • Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson are over 50 percent together Corsi for 5×5, and we are talking over 500 minutes together.
  • Kris Russell and Adam Larsson have played 138 minutes together and have a Corsi for 5×5 of 48.4—that is pretty close to 50 percent and a lefty-righty. I would like to see Russell on a pure left-right pairing for 20 games.
  • Brandon Davidson is going to take some time, in my opinion, to reach the point where Todd McLellan can count on him as he did a year ago. He will get there. Patience and prudence.

FORWARDS, 2016-17

  • This list is kind of incredible. McDavid is of course golden, and I think credit needs to be given to Tyler Pitlick, Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl for their 5×5/60 totals.
  • The incredible part is the group from 1.04 to 1.27/60. These men, as a group, are established NHL players of significant talent. Hendricks is not an offensive player, but the other four are performing so badly it is amazing.
  • What are the odds that all four (Eberle, Nuge, Lucic and Pouliot) stay below 1.70/60 for the entire season?

Jesse Puljujarvi has played in two AHL games and has two assists. I watched the game online, would estimate he played about 15 minutes, including one minute on a power play where he was the feature shooter. His assist was terrific (video above) and he made several impressive plays. I think this trip to the minors will be beneficial, hope he gets into 20 games or so and really posts some boxcars. Some other observations:

  • Joey Laleggia is a far better winger than defender. He is 3-2-5 in his last seven games.
  • Anton Lander belongs in a higher league.
  • Patrick Russell is a far more effective player now than he was at the beginning of the season.
  • Gerry Fleming really likes Scott Allen.
  • Mark Fayne is the best defenseman in Bakersfield.
  • Jordan Oesterle was a factor on multiple sorties. He is such a good skater.
  • Nick Ellis is a very good goalie, but is a poor puck handler.
  • Jaedon Descheneau is a burner. He may have a pro future.
  • Griffin Reinhart had good and bad moments. Lost a couple of battles along the wall, and did not pass the puck crisply, but he was also physical in front of the net and transported the puck well. He also scored a goal.

MAROON—MCDAVID—DRAISAITL

There’s something happening here. The current McDavid line has a Corsi for 5×5 number of 67.21 percent, via Corsica.Hockey. Their shots for percentage is 72.04, expected goals for per 60 is 4.16, scoring change for percentage is 72.50. This is special. How special? The Nuge line is 2.31 (with Pouliot and Eberle) at this time. We don’t know if the McDavid line can continue this run, but there is little doubt we are looking at explosive chemistry here.

If Todd McLellan can get this line out there against Jokipakka—Engelland pairing tonight, Edmonton should be sitting pretty by midnight.

PIKES PEAK

This is the climb this morning. A win for Edmonton tonight would mean a five-point cushion for the Oilers with a game in hand—that is ideal. A Bettman point with Calgary grabbing the two is less attractive, although the game in hand afterward (along with a two-point lead) would give some comfort. A pure loss would be a disappointing result, but we must acknowledge the Flames as a substantial opponent and possibly a better team.

BALANCE

At the beginning of the season, I did not publish the balance photo, and tonight’s game is an example of why balance continues to elude Edmonton. The Flames needed help in goal last summer, and they got it. The club needed some good wingers, even through training camp, and found some acceptable answers. The Oilers? Backup goaltending remains an issue, and the team is still trying to figure out right wing.

I think Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan knew this was a growth team, they knew there would be auditions. In dressing Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira and other youths tonight, the Edmonton Oilers are serving two masters—development of future players, and winning a hockey game.

Balance. Some sweet day.

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theres oil in virginia

Gerta Rauss:
That was one ugly baby tonight but I’m lovin’ the 2 points

Woot..!!

Breathtaking!

Ice Sage

New Oilers doing it with D and Goaltending. Dr Drai is the key to this team, like Mess in the day.
I don’t know how to feel about the playoffs…

JimmyV1965

I’m thrilled that we won tonight. However, it was a boring game. I think both teams were tentative, too afraid to make mistakes. OT was amazing and we keep winning!!! No offence Bruce Wayne but you should take a chill pill. Life is too short.

Cassandra

BONE207: I know what God fearing, sports loving people are and who are you to say that I don’t know? I absolutely have a right as I enlisted the same way all posters here did. As for the right to morals…well, you can hide behind your screen and your anonymity but I know how to behave in public. As for purity of fandom…wtf? There is your view and other’s view but purity? This isn’t a religion or a science. It is expression and dialog. If your views override others, it is not purity but more of a cult. Jonestown beckons you. Drink your own Koolaid and say goodnight.

Except I never attack you and your ilk, and I certainly don’t try and chase you away. I said something that was plainly true, that that was an awful hockey game, indeed one of the posts was simply agreeing with another poster. And yet that got you all in huff and demanded I “leave”, because what you expect, indeed what you demand, is the blind adoration of the partisan. So feel free to ignore my posts. I won’t even know.

spoiler

Frank the dog,

I think beating Hall–and we’re talking about a franchise whose soul has been owned by ex-players–deserves an honourable mention.
😉

Frank the dog

Anyway, the wins against Phoenix, the Devs and the
Flames were a firm I dication that his team is now, finally, approaching legitimacy.

BONE207

Frank the dog: I’d suggest that telling someone to go fuck himself is somewhat less than civil.

Whew…I thought for second I was mistaken.

Frank the dog

Bruce Wayne: One of us is acting uncivil and it isn’t me.But if you want to fight, I’m game.

I’d suggest that telling someone to go fuck himself is somewhat less than civil.

LMHF#1

spoiler:
LMHF#1,

Fair enough, and well put, Hemmer Fan (as I will always be too). And I think we all enjoy the 2 points, so that’s a few bright lights the dark knight is missing.

Winsawin. Always. Night all.

BONE207

Bruce Wayne: Maybe you should read the threads more closely. You have no idea what this place is about, and you have no right to try and play the office of public morals, and you certainly have no right to enforce a purity of fandom.

I know what God fearing, sports loving people are and who are you to say that I don’t know? I absolutely have a right as I enlisted the same way all posters here did. As for the right to morals…well, you can hide behind your screen and your anonymity but I know how to behave in public. As for purity of fandom…wtf? There is your view and other’s view but purity? This isn’t a religion or a science. It is expression and dialog. If your views override others, it is not purity but more of a cult. Jonestown beckons you. Drink your own Koolaid and say goodnight.

thepeetso

Yep. Glad for the win, but as far as flow and action, that game was tough to watch beyond 10 minutes in the 3rd and overtime.

and you’ve got to feel that when ebs gets one, they’re gonna come in bunches after that.

spoiler

LMHF#1,

Fair enough, and well put, Hemmer Fan (as I will always be too). And I think we all enjoy the 2 points, so that’s a few bright lights the dark knight is missing.

LMHF#1

Spoiler – I enjoyed the emotion and the “journey” , if you will, of that game – but it really wasn’t good hockey for much of the night. Just too sloppy. Definitely not the epic Saturday night of performances I was hoping for.

BONE207

spoiler“> Pescador.: I know we know we are, but does everyone else?

I know we 3 are

Cassandra

BONE207: Maybe you should reread your comments. The truth is out there and so are you. Your shtick is well known to all. Punch holes in your drywall or put your helmet back on…just go.

Maybe you should read the threads more closely. You have no idea what this place is about, and you have no right to try and play the office of public morals, and you certainly have no right to enforce a purity of fandom.

spoiler

Pescador:
spoiler,

We cool

I know we know we are… but does everyone else?

😉

Pescador

spoiler,

We cool

BONE207

Bruce Wayne: One of us is acting uncivil and it isn’t me.But if you want to fight, I’m game.

Maybe you should reread your comments. The truth is out there and so are you. Your shtick is well known to all. Punch holes in your drywall or put your helmet back on…just go.

MrEd

Dadbot is cool. Cheers BaggedMilk.

Pescador

Bruce Wayne: Please. That was an awful hockey game, and you know it.

No that was a tight hard fought game, and best of all the good guys won!!
Thanks Bruce

spoiler

Bruce Wayne: Only a blind partisan could have enjoyed that.

Bruce Wayne: Please. That was an awful hockey game, and you know it.

Examples of civility.

Cassandra

BONE207: Seriously, here on LT’s site you act like this?

Awful game or not, Calgary fLame fan or not, you just reek of arrogant narcissism. Maybe your squirrel got run over but don’t take it out on Lowetidians. Can’t act civil, go away. Simple.

One of us is acting uncivil and it isn’t me. But if you want to fight, I’m game.

BONE207

Bruce Wayne: Please. That was an awful hockey game, and you know it.And since you were so polite, why don’t you go ahead and yourself real nice and hard.

Seriously, here on LT’s site you act like this?

Awful game or not, Calgary fLame fan or not, you just reek of arrogant narcissism. Maybe your squirrel got run over but don’t take it out on Lowetidians. Can’t act civil, go away. Simple.

spoiler

Bruce Wayne: Please. That was an awful hockey game, and you know it.

Arguments like this are so compelling I have no choice but to throw my Russell and Whitehead on the fire.

spoiler

Pescador,

Yeah sorry, probably a bad choice of words on my part considering he was the lone scorer. I was thinking of the will he was trying to impose upon the game in the 3rd period and he went a little unsuccessful for his efforts.

Once again he was the best post-game interview. I love the guy. Besides his talent he strikes me was one of those good glue guys you always want in your dressing room.

Cassandra

BONE207: Maybe telling kids that drop their ice cream cones that their world will end is your idea of fun but this constant negativity spewing from Old Faithful is tiring. Add or subtract, I don’t care but perhaps you need to just go…far away where even Al Gore doesn’t reach.

Please. That was an awful hockey game, and you know it.

Pescador

Bruce Wayne:
What an awful game to watch.Only a blind partisan could have enjoyed that.

If I was a flames fan I would feel the same way

Pescador

spoiler:
Pescador,

Snake bit tonight.Not this season.

This was a game review.

Where the hell did that little between the legs toe drag come from at his age….We’re supposed to only wait 5 years for that good shit.

Hey Spoiler, I’m not one to pick shit, especially not with my teammates.
My bad, that was a tight game tonight, goals were at a premium. Yet Maroon still found a way, that is the opposite of snakebit in my book. I’ll guess your perspective was that he had a number of chances. Our boy Eberle is snakebit, that much we can agree on

BONE207

Bruce Wayne:
What an awful game to watch.Only a blind partisan could have enjoyed that.

Maybe telling kids that drop their ice cream cones that their world will end is your idea of fun but this constant negativity spewing from Old Faithful is tiring. Add or subtract, I don’t care but perhaps you need to just go…far away where even Al Gore doesn’t reach.

spoiler

And speaking of, if there’s a Grease/60 number, ours is probably decent for the first time in 10 years.

Cassandra

LMHF#1:
Am I crazy or has this been a terrible hockey game? Bobbled pucks. Bad passing. No getting shots through. Almost zero breakouts.

Choppy, sloppy, messy.

Not crazy at all. If this is what playoff hockey looks like I want no part of it.

BONE207

Bruce Wayne:
What an awful game to watch.Only a blind partisan could have enjoyed that.

Again…you use the eye test. Try using the Excel point of view…or just eat cheezies in your basement.

Cassandra

What an awful game to watch. Only a blind partisan could have enjoyed that.

spoiler

Pescador,

Snakebit tonight. Not this season.

This was a game review. He scored a nice greasy one, but coulda had a couple more.

Where the hell did that little between the legs toe drag come from at his age…. We’re supposed to only wait 5 years for that good shit.

Pescador

spoiler:
Benning on Gaudreau one-on-one… and then the chance at the end of the 3rd… if only McDeity knoew how to put some sauce on dat puck lol (I can laugh now).

Sekera…Seksy.Just a wow game.Normally I have the charts handy but it felt like he played half the 3rd period.That sliding cut off of the pass on the 2 on 1…. just so goddamn sexy.And an OT witch.

Maroon… this guy wanted to do it for everyone tonight was snakebit,

Yes other then the goal he scored tonight & the career year he’s currently having,
Totally snake bit!
Conversely, your other takes were better

BONE207

jimmers2:
I’m not sure what to think about 3v3 overtime yet, but this one was excellent and had a very different pace and feel than normal hockey.It was kind of like the sprint pursuits in cycling, fast-slow, feint, charge.A real chess match and impossible to look away.

Imagine they did away with the shootout and went for another 5 minutes of 3 on 3 instead. I’m for that.

spoiler

spoiler,

And kudos to Rom who called this long before any of us.

spoiler

i’m sitting back thinking about Drai casually wandering over to smoke Hathaway on his way off the ice. Hath had lit up the Oil his shift before… not so much after.

Drai wasn’t my pick that year. I didn’t mind the pick because I think of the draft in terms of levels or plateaus and thought he was in the range, but after tonight I think he was the best forward available in that draft. Maybe GERMAN offered an arbitrage opportunity but either way, watching him play tonight, he is gonna eat up the playoffs.

/channeling hunter

treevojo

JimmyV1965:
It’s kinda interesting how Lucic gets free ride and Eberle is whipped mercilessly. At least Ebs is out there making stuff happen. Every game he has multiple chances. Lucic is slow and meh.

I don’t think lucic has been given a free ride.

He has been critiqued here consistently.

As a fan I hope they both find their niche soon.

Their play elevating will be the difference between a playoff team and a Stanley cup contender

spoiler

Seismic Source:
He needs a shrink

This isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Frank the dog

thepeetso:
Frank the dog,

Truth.

Except, we’re playing our recently vanquished nemesis on Monday. That will surely be a tough, hard fought game with no quarter asked nor given.

spoiler

digger50:
Not sure I understand the negativity I’m feelin here.

That’s how a tight game is played. Not the most exciting. I thought Oil had the edge in possesion and rushes but gave up that edge in high danger scoring chances. Talbot held us in there, no shame in that.

Nothing towards Ebs tonight please, he played well.

Agreed. Except I thought the tight play and the stakes on the line were thrilling.

treevojo

OILERS just took two points off of one of the hotter teams in the NHL minus two of their top 6 dmen.

This team is for real.

hags9k

What an effort from the squad. Not many passengers tonight, good on them and the coaches for making sure they understood this was a big game.

I wish they were able to generate more offensive looks. For all the hard work they were doing gaining territory, often they were not getting much more than some wristers from the point into traffic.

I feel like off the cycle the offense needs a D man to make a move or a fake at the point to break down the coverage and create some chaos. Our D is much improved but we still lack somebody with enough confidence to do this consistently. Sekera shows flashes, as does Benning, and Oscar might take that next step soon.

But man, very impressed with the effort tonight. They wanted this one.

Eat shit Calgary!

StixMalone

Will we ever win a game in regulation????

danny

Gordies Elbow: McDavid played, and it pleased the Lord…

MUSIC!

thepeetso

Frank the dog,

Truth.

spoiler

Gordies Elbow: McDavid played, and it pleased the Gord…

FTFY

Frank the dog

thepeetso:
Frank the dog,

well two anyways

Their 2 games are against Kings and Avs. Win both and at 45 games all round, they are tied for 1st with Anaheim, we are 3rd.
With the fLames at 46 games, if we win the next one we are 6 points clear at the same game count.
I’ll take 3rd if that puts us in the playoffs. At which point TMac is a coach of the year candidate and our team has exceeded expectations for the first time since 1986.