ALL THE GOLD IN CALIFORNIA

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers started slowly and the San Jose Sharks started fast last night on the left coast. The official scorer saw more than 40 hits in the first period, and perhaps also saw the swallows return to Capistrano. The Oilers? They were all business, especially after the first period.

THE WHO BY NUMBERS

  • After 1: 0-0 score, SJS had the edge in shots 13-6 and they dominated Corsi for 5×5 26-12.
  • After 2: 0-0 score, EDM had the edge in shots 12-4 and Oilers dominated Corsi for 5×5 23-10.
  • After 3: 1-0 EDM, SJS had the edge 6-4 and 15-12 in Corsi for 5×5.
  • Final: 1-0 EDM, SJS had the edge in shots 23-22 and in Corsi for 5×5 51-47.

That was some game, the Oilers chased in the first but their structure held better than Game 1. In the second period, it was the Sharks who were forced to swim, and the third period was fairly even. Every playoff shutout is a big deal, for me Cam Talbot was busier last night than on Friday. What a game! The Sharks brought a lot of effort and a giant Thornton, but were once again bested by the northern upstarts. I cannot wait to get to the next chapter!

MCDAVID LINE

  • Todd McLellan moved Leon from  the 97 line (I believe) in order to get bigger, stronger down the middle. I counted several good chances for this line, including a McDavid wrap, two Maroon chances where he shot the puck 10 miles wide (good lord, man!) and a couple of reasonable if rushed shots by Slepyshev. I would like to see this line again.
  • Maroon may be illing.
  • McDavid faced Vlasic-Braun (12-15, 13 minutes) and went 10-8 against Marleau-Couture-Ward in nine minutes.
  • The best chance for 97 might have been on the PP, a fine pass to Mark Letestu could easily have cashed.
  • I have five (Maroon net front, Maroon two on one, McDavid wrap, McDavid right point and Letestu PP) good looks provided by 97, that’s a good night in spite of the scoreless entry in the game summary.

NUGE LINE

  • Nuge had five shots on goal, including a very good shot off the faceoff that had a chance.
  • Nuge and Lucic are coming on now, seems Lucic is the passer and Nuge the cannon, which is bass ackwards but I’ll take it. Maybe Eberle can screen the goalie. Don’t care, it’s working.
  • Nuge line went 5-5 in eight minutes against Martin-Burns and 3-2 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski. This is yuge, folks. RNH played 5:25 against Joe Thornton and it we see a Mike Peca result. Sheesh! That’s good! I am loving it!
  • This is the only line that stayed intact, after a winter of eyebrow raising.

LEON’S LINE

  • I really liked the line, even without the goal. As you can see, going 8-6 together and ending with these Corsi’s tells us their previous line wasn’t working. So credit to McLellan, he found a nifty trio here.
  • Leon gets some credit for creating havoc just before the turnover that led to Zack Kassian’s goal.
  • Zack Kassian is at the pinnacle of life now, and we’re all thrilled. What a fabulous story. I love it. Nice Elvis sideburns too. If he makes an album of Elvis songs, I’ll buy that thing in every format: 8-Track, cassette and vinyl.
  • Leon went 3-4 against the Hertls.

DESHARNAIS LINE

  • This line had some good things. Pouliot and Desharnais went 10-7 5×5 Corsi events and had some promising moments. I think this might be something that can work.
  • Letestu had (to my eye) one of the best chances in the game, pass from 97 and a strong shot on the power play.
  • Letetu went 6-7 against the emerging Meier line, Desharnais went 5-1. The line was in and out with alot of other forwards, but the results were generally good for an Oilers 4line.
  • Pouliot had a selfish penalty and a point-blank chance provided by 97 in which he didn’t get a shot. Not good! Burns drilled him at the blue line and there was a lot of jack assery from San Jose, but you can’t do that in a big game that close.
  • Desharnais has a lot of things that have kept him in the NHL, and we saw several of them on display last night. Anticipates well, wonderful passer, and he gets in there despite size difference. He was back to early levels last night.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Klefbom-Larsson went 13-14 together, and played some heavy minutes. Went 5-6 against Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski line, also 3-3 against the Hertls. Oscar moved the puck (mostly) well, and Larsson was Mr. Clampdown along the wall all night. The man is a menace, but in a good way. I am loving this pairing now, and they can get the puck out under control.
  • Nurse-Benning went 10-11 in 12:28. They went 4-6 against Meier-Tierney-Sorensen and 3-6 against the Hertls. Darnell is not making good decisions with the puck but is defending well, and that is a sign of maturation. Just as a young hitter can sometimes let offensive slumps impact his play in the field, that malady can strike NHL defenders. I think Nurse has overcome that issue, or at least at this time. Needs to  make better plays with the puck . Benning was in chase mode much of the night, we didn’t see his savvy play with the puck near enough. He’s a rugged player, caught a couple of Sharks with hits that hurt. I’m going to love watching him play.
  • Sekera-Russell went 7-6 against Marleau-Couture-Ward and that’s some good business.Went 16-18 together.Russell was very effective on the PK and was a whirling dervish against the Sharknado. Sekera made good decisions with the puck on a night when the blue had very little clean air.
  • I wish the Oilers could be more consistent with their breakout passes, but the Sharks are partly responsible and there has been improvement over the season.
  • Talbot stopped all 23 shots and is on a roll. Goalies man. Two late stops were especially key, both probably better than 50 percent to find the net when the rocket launched. A strong night.
  • Numbers via NHL.com, NaturalStatTrick and HockeyStats.ca.

AFTER THREE GAMES

I picked the Oilers to win this series, but in a lot of ways it looked straight up from here. Part of the issue involved SJS injuries, and we’ve seen Logan Couture play well (Game 1) and fade (Games 2 and 3). I thought Joe Thornton had a fine game last night, really added to the fearsome forwards on the Sharks. It wasn’t enough, and that’s a tell.

It is borderline treason it seems to credit Todd McLellan with making a smart move, but I’ll give credit on several fronts. He attacked the matchup issue (raised with JT’s return) by moving Leon onto the third line as a center, and didn’t shake up the impressive Nuge line while doing it. It would be no surprise if we see the same forward lines as listed above in Game 3. It’s also possible Patrick Maroon gets some time on lower units (meaning possibly Drake Caggiula gets the push).

DARMOK, IN WINTER

Sometimes, when I’m especially angry at a specific thing and have been raging about it for an hour or a day or a week, Mrs. Lowetide sends a verbal knife between my third and fourth rib. “Don’t you ever let it go?” she’ll ask, sweetly. Dammit! Can’t you see how angry I am over this thing that has no real impact on my life!!?!?!?!! We’re all prone to these outbursts, but there’s a real chance my house has seen double the norm over the years. The phrase “you’re like a dog with a bone” has also been mentioned a few times in those same years.

Folks, I think it’s time for me to let it go. That doesn’t mean you, this is for me. When the trade occurred on June 29, I reacted to it emotionally and intellectually, and both reactions had the Oilers trailing on the transaction. That doesn’t make me special, it makes me typical. I did take the time to find out about the other guy and knew a little of him too.

In order to free himself from the chains of that deal, Peter Chiarelli needed to cobble together a team good enough to make the playoffs and compete once there. After last night, that milestone has been passed. I think the trade was a loss in talent, and a win in balance and structure. Made necessary by the Jeff Petry trade, the addition of Adam Larsson has proven astute, it is a very good fit. Lots of other things have been added (including health) and talking about progress without mentioning Connor McDavid would be insane.

Peter Chiarelli solved one problem (RHD who can play the tough minutes) and added another (he needs someone to push the river on a line that doesn’t include 97). I absolutely believe one problem is more difficult to solve than the other. That is his challenge, but this season gives him the right to find the solution. In my opinion.

ZACK KASSIAN, LEGEND

During the 2005-06 regular season, Fernando Pisani was an effective two-way winger who often mentored some of the talented youths on the Oilers. An eighth-round selection (1996) from the St. Albert Saints of the AJHL, Pisani posted his best offensive year in 2005-06 (18 goals and 37 points) while serving an important role on the 3line. Those 18 goals (80 games) did little to prepare us for his brilliant offensive outburst in the playoffs, where he scored 14 goals (!!!) in 24 games. If you listen closely, you can still hear the drums of Fernando from the fields in the distance.

Zack Kassian is a little younger than Pisani was in 2006, and his career high in points (14-15-29) is probably still to come (along with a large contract). It appears the hockey Gods have chosen Kassian as this year’s Pisani, as his two game winners suggest a starring role for him. Music! What a tremendous story, I think Jake Gyllenhaal will play him in the movie. Redemption songs are the sweetest, and Kassian’s genuine humility is an added piece to a wonderful story. This is why I love sports.

TOTAL RECALLS

We’ve seen Griffin Reinhart and Nick Ellis get the call, I imagine we hear about Jesse Puljujarvi sometime in the next few days. Sail on, Timra Red Eagle, you are bona fide. I wish you had come to us in a time when management had a mind for knowing.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

I’m on the round table at nine this morning, so tune in (TSN1260) early if you can. We bring the crazy at 10, scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Burnside, ESPN. Some amazing stories across the NHL playoffs, we’ll make stops in Edmonton, Chicago and St. Louis.
  • Jake Sundstrom, Fear the Fin. Sundstrom is wicked smart and has given us great insight into the Sharks before and during the series. We’ll get his read on this weekend’s games.
  • Jason Gregor, TSN1260. What does Jason think of these line changes?
  • Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue/The SuperFan. Leon in the middle opens this up, should Todd McLellan keep things this way?

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

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spoiler

J. Geils passed away? Did not know that.
RIP big fellah.

McSorley33

Georges,

TMac moving Drai to 3C is rational because he lost some confidence in DD at 3C and Letestu should not be playing 3C. If DD can play with more jump (like last night) and outscore his opponents (still waiting), Drai goes back to the first line. DD isn’t a bit player on this team.
*******************************************************************************
David played 6 min in game 1.
6 min in game 2
9 min in game 3

He has yet to get a shot on goal.

He has had no impact on this series so far.

JD_Wry

Jethro Tull: So the 1st line

What I saw was Lil J, Big J, Boo-urns. Coots and Marloo on the 2nd.

Yeah, I don’t like that.

But it’s still nice to drop in to FTF and drink up all those salty comments.

npanciroli

Larsson has been our best defenceman these playoffs so far. Just a pleasure to watch. Such a calm, punishing force on the back end.

I agree with others, Maroon looks off.

Cagguila McDavid Kassian
Lucic RNH Eberle
Maroon Draisaitl Slepyshev
Pouliot Letestu DD

Is what I run.

Jethro Tull

JDI Хоккей:
They’re advocating Boo-urns to be put on the 1st line to help bring some offense.

I’m not sure I like that idea, but I don’t really know their blue line depth either.

So the 1st line will be Boo-urns, Rat Boy and the wrong Karlsson?

TBH, Burns has been nice and quiet this series, and may he stay as such. And they are trying everything to keep him away from McDavid. Probably since watching tape of what he did to Doughty.

JD_Wry

They’re (FTF commenters) advocating Boo-urns to be put on the 1st line to help bring some offense.

I’m not sure I like that idea, but I don’t really know their blue line depth either.

Bruce McCurdy

Georges: Before OT, the benefit/cost of GF/GA in tied situations…? hmmm…

I wrote this back in 2009 and stand by it.

Pouzar

Georges: I’ll take them.

I’ll take Sid. 🙂

Bruce McCurdy

frjohnk: Just curious if you know what the rate of regular season games go to OT?How many playoff games go to OT?

Regular season games is right around 25%. Playoff games a little higher I believe, though without an “OTL” column it’s a little tougher to work out.

Dennis King

Jethro Tull: Dennis, with the greatest respect, I don’t know where you’re going with this.Georges is right.And after watching him score that shorty, McDavid may just be the only player in the NHL that the numbers match the (vast majority) of eyes.The examples of back-checking stick lifts is endless in this series alone.He’s the current Art Ross winner.He not only tilts the ice, but weighs it down like a super massive blackhole.And it doesn’t seem to matter who he plays with.They’re caught in the event horizon.

This may seem like fan boy adoration, but buddy, are you seeing what you want to see or playing devil’s advocate?Because the evidence just isn’t there.

I’m saying that early on I saw him playing way deeper in his own zone and while he isn’t exactly Pavel Bure these days, he’s not Pavel Datsyuk either. Now, maybe it’s been a change in tactics where they’re telling him to hang higher in his own end, that I cannot speak towards

russ99

Georges:
The Oilers have trailed for just one second in the series so far. In game situations where you’re tied or leading, the benefit of scoring a goal is less than the cost of giving up a goal. So our defensive play has been prioritized over our offensive play. We don’t know enough about the Oilers offensive play in the playoffs to reach conclusions that override what we’ve learned about the Oilers offensive play in the regular season. And we’re not in desperate times call for desperate measures mode.

TMac moving Drai to 3C is rational because he lost some confidence in DD at 3C and Letestu should not be playing 3C. If DD can play with more jump (like last night) and outscore his opponents (still waiting), Drai goes back to the first line. DD isn’t a bit player on this team.

I think we have seen enough to make a judgement. A disproportionate amount of offense came from the rush during the season, and this dries up for the most part in the playoffs where good teams sit back and deny space on entry.

We’re still not cycling to create chances enough for my taste. We’ve gotten timely goals, but little sustained offense other than that one fantastic power play where we didn’t score on Friday night.

Thankfully the team-wide commitment to limiting the opposition offense has been much more solid thus far.

Pouzar

Jason Gregor‏Verified account @JasonGregor 1h1 hour ago
More
“If we mapped out first three games and had controlled McDavid and had almost 5 PPs a game we’d expect a better outcome,” Deboer. #Sharks

No Chit. The refs are trying their best though.

Dennis King

Georges: If he does that, he’d be getting the puck to the guy who scored 4 5v5 goals instead of the guy who scored 24 5v5 goals. He’d be choosing the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 7.27 over the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 16.90.

Once the puck drops, I’ll cheer for Slepy just like I cheer for every Oiler. But, until he shows otherwise, he’s just a placeholder on the first line. Nothing (a track record of results) for the Sharks to worry about. It’s really up to him to make them worry.

Slepyshev on the first line makes the first line easier to defend and easier to attack. TMac made a decision to ice a less competitive first line so he could ice a more competitive lineup.

Here’s to Slepy scoring like Guentzel and throwing all of this back in my face.

Or, you know, it could be about passing to two guys on a line instead of one fellow and a fellow who’s scoring has slowed down and is probably playing hurt.

Who could say for sure

Jethro Tull

Dennis King: I had a DM convo with someone awhile back about how 97 isn’t the full-on two-way player that he was at the start of his career

Dennis, with the greatest respect, I don’t know where you’re going with this. Georges is right. And after watching him score that shorty, McDavid may just be the only player in the NHL that the numbers match the (vast majority) of eyes. The examples of back-checking stick lifts is endless in this series alone. He’s the current Art Ross winner. He not only tilts the ice, but weighs it down like a super massive blackhole. And it doesn’t seem to matter who he plays with. They’re caught in the event horizon.

This may seem like fan boy adoration, but buddy, are you seeing what you want to see or playing devil’s advocate? Because the evidence just isn’t there.

Bruce McCurdy

Scungilli Slushy: A complicating issue is that points = money, so it isn’t easy to have an offensive type D that is a ‘specialist’ on the third pair because of the cap.

One interesting example of the type is a guy Chiarelli signed as a free agent right out of college (imagine!), namely Torey Krug. He occupied exactly the role you described at first, averaging 17:30 a game his rookie season, then 19:35 before making it to 21:36 each of the last two. Each year he has led the team in PPTOI and has scored nearly 45% of his career points on the PP. Meanwhile over the four years he has seen his cap hit ramp up from (last year ELC) to $1.4 (bridge) to $3.4 (second bridge) to $5.25 (first year of a four-year deal) MM. This year did see a surge in his scoring rates from his usual 40 points to 50, & his PP scoring surged to 25 (no other Bruins D-man had more than 3!).

At even strength he is playing #3 minutes, so not bottom pair, but a clear example of a guy who is get paid first & foremost to score points.

Pouzar

Georges: As good as Connor is, is he that good?

I give you Jake Guentzel(3rd rounder) and Conor Sheary (Undrafted).

treevojo

Woodguy v2.0,

No

It’s actually in response to something digger said a few days ago.

It had to do with Oilers players using Chiarelli’s lack of deadline activity as an excuse not to put in a full effort post deadline.

It was cheek.

Dennis King

Georges: I don’t believe you on Connor’s disinterest in the defensive zone. Doesn’t fit the numbers. Doesn’t fit the eye test. Doesn’t fit the player.

I had a DM convo with someone awhile back about how 97 isn’t the full-on two-way player that he was at the start of his career

Pouzar

Georges: If he does that, he’d be getting the puck to the guy who scored 4 5v5 goals instead of the guy who scored 24 5v5 goals. He’d be choosing the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 7.27 over the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 16.90.

Once the puck drops, I’ll cheer for Slepy just like I cheer for every Oiler. But, until he shows otherwise, he’s just a placeholder on the first line. Nothing (a track record of results) for the Sharks to worry about. It’s really up to him to make them worry.

Slepyshev on the first line makes the first line easier to defend and easier to attack. TMac made a decision to ice a less competitive first line so he could ice a more competitive lineup.

Here’s to Slepy scoring like Guentzel and throwing all of this back in my face.

Opportunity is a thing. I think Slepy is one of the most gifted players on the team. People forget he was a 1st rd rated talent but didn’t get drafted due to sign-ability issues.

frjohnk

Bruce McCurdy: Agree with this take on a theoretical level, though my own is that Bettman Point motivations have infected the game at the cellular level to value defence over offence.

Just curious if you know what the rate of regular season games go to OT? How many playoff games go to OT?

Bruce McCurdy

wheatnoil: Isn’t this mostly true in the regular season where you get a point for a regulation tie? In a winner-take-all scenario, wouldn’t the cost of giving up a goal be the same as the benefit of scoring a goal when the game is tied?

Agree with this take on a theoretical level, though my own is that Bettman Point motivations have infected the game at the cellular level to value defence over offence.

wheatnoil

Georges:
The Oilers have trailed for just one second in the series so far. In game situations where you’re tied or leading, the benefit of scoring a goal is less than the cost of giving up a goal.

Isn’t this mostly true in the regular season where you get a point for a regulation tie? In a winner-take-all scenario, wouldn’t the cost of giving up a goal be the same as the benefit of scoring a goal when the game is tied?

Woodguy v2.0

Georges: 5v5 Goals Scored

36 5
42 4
67 8

Though anything is possible, I think what’s probable is that 19-97-29 start scoring 5v5 goals. The Sharks have held them off the 5v5 scoreboard for 3 games now and we’re still ahead in the series. They’re still getting their chances. They’ve led the team for most of the season.

Interesting to see TMac’s thinking on this when we see the lines in game 4.

Context.

You need more context sir.

Raw numbers without context, especially counting numbers, can paint a false picture of a player.

See my comment above on Maroon and Pouliot’s scoring.

Who you play with is crucial to production. Crucial. Massive.

That’s one reason that Kassian’s 1.74pts/60 is so excellent this year.

Only 4 points with McDavid.

Mind you, even he got the McDavid bump:

Kassian without McDavid 1.53 pts/60
Kassian with McDavid 6.32 pts/60 (!!!) (4pts in 38 minutes)

wheatnoil

Georges: You track zone entries, correct? (Please ignore the rest if not the case.)

I have a couple of assumptions:

– teams generate more CF events per controlled zone entry than uncontrolled zone entry
– CMD has a high rate of controlled zone entries

Am I off base?

Also, do you track goals following zone entries as well? Do you know the goal breakdown for:

– controlled
– uncontrolled
– OZ start

Thanks!

I haven’t been tracking zone entries. However, those that have tracked those have found that your two assumptions are true. The go-to source for zone entries (and really all tracking) is Corey Sznajder. He told me he expects to have the Oiler playoff games up in the next few days. (I usually track zone exits but am not doing so for the playoffs since Corey is getting the Oilers work up.)

As for the answer to your question, Corey has a team page up for Edmonton but I haven’t got a chance to look at it closely yet. It’s from 30 games tracked during the regular season (he’s working on the rest of season). It’s at theenergyline.wordpress.com .

Woodguy v2.0

Georges: As good as Connor is, is he that good?

97’s even better than that.

He did this for this guy:

Player Season Goals
PATRICK.MAROON 20122013 2
PATRICK.MAROON 20132014 10
PATRICK.MAROON 20142015 7
PATRICK.MAROON 20152016 7
PATRICK.MAROON 20162017 24

Also,

I think Sleppy has a much, much better shot than Maroon.

A lot of Maroon’s goals have been goal mouth tips and rebounds.

If Sleppy adds that to his game he could score a ton with 97.

Also,

Maroon with 97 this year: 2.88pts/60
Pouliot with 97 last year: 2.95pts/60

Bulging Twine

Dougie Hamilton = Michel Petit ??

spoiler

The fact that many people didn’t understand the Hall-Larson trade is both a condemnation of State Education and of Mainstream Media. Engage with either at your peril.

It is great to see LT come around on the issue and frame it (mostly) properly.

Woodguy v2.0

Pouzar:
So do people think the new line changes will stick?
I think they have to do based on Wheat’s excellent analysis above but I am not confident.

Based on McLellan saying they changed in response to SJS getting Joe back I think they stick

Woodguy v2.0

treevojo:
digger50,

The Oilers players are starting to look like they are not giving a full effort.

I wish Chiarelli acted more like Fletcher at the deadline so our players could have responded like the wild players have.

I’m assuming this is a dig at MIN players.

If so, its off base.

If not, well then its more info. *the more you know rainbow*

Shots per game (MIN-STL)

1) 41-31
2) 24-22
3) 52-26

They are outshooting STL 117-79 and the scoring changes, xGoals etc are about the same ratio.

MIN isn’t down 3-0 because of player effort.

They are down because Allen has an all situation SV% of .974

I’ve watched about half of this series and the shots that haven’t gone in are ridiculous.

JD_Wry

blainer: playing much more disciplined and by that I mean we stayed out of the Box.

There was also a noticeable lack of Peel and Lee last night, which couldn’t hurt the number of PKs either.

Seismic Source

Rocknrolla,

My brother and I payed 650 each. Good seats but pricey. The website was all over the map for prices. There were worse seats that were going for a lot more. I live overseas and don’t come back too often so I figured why not.

ashley

blainer:
Lost in a lot of the talk today on how much better the fancies were in the final two periods is the fact we were playing much more disciplined and by that I mean we stayed out of the Box.

We need to continue this. That was a very close game last night and by no means is this series even close to over. A sharks win tomorrow night and right back to square one. My gut says this is going seven but have to say I do feel better with the lineup changes on the road.

If we win in five or six I believe the coach’s should be praised for their ability to switch things up the correct way.

This is a great point. I liked all the energy, but a couple of guys were too close to the edge in game 2. Despite all the penalties, several were still missed and could have been the difference in that game.

These teams are so close to each other that the difference between winning and losing this series could come down to a single PP goal. The details are important. Keep the checks legal and be mindful of your stick. If you get crunched on the boards or smoked in the open ice, take it and move on.

The coaches must have delivered such a message because the Oilers were much more disciplined save for the Pouliot revenge crosscheck.

Rocknrolla

Seismic Source:
I’m going to game 5. Paid a fortune for tickets. Do not care. I need to experience that atmosphere.

What did they run you? Thinking the same….

trencan

No, you are not crazy LT 🙂 A lot can change but Vesalainen will be likely a riser in the draft. And I also see this year some similarity between Liljegren and Chychrun. Quality defender falling in draft from top positions . But I still think it will be very lucky team which draft him.

Younger Oil

I think that

Caggiula-McDavid-Kassian
Lucic-Nuge-Ebs
Desharnais/Maroon-Draisaitl-Slepyshev
Pouliot-Letestu-Desharnais/Maroon

Could be a solid lineup.

blainer

Lost in a lot of the talk today on how much better the fancies were in the final two periods is the fact we were playing much more disciplined and by that I mean we stayed out of the Box.

We need to continue this. That was a very close game last night and by no means is this series even close to over. A sharks win tomorrow night and right back to square one. My gut says this is going seven but have to say I do feel better with the lineup changes on the road.

If we win in five or six I believe the coach’s should be praised for their ability to switch things up the correct way.

wheatnoil

wheatnoil: He might be.

Connor McDavid has had 7 different line combinations with at least 50 5×5 minutes since he started in the NHL. Every single one is over 50% corsi, over 50% fenwick, over 50% shots on net, over 50% in xGF, and ONLY the line of Lucic – McDavid – Draisaitl has a goals for of less than 50% (& even then they had an amazingly low PDO of .905).

Among those 7 combinations includes the combination of Pouliot – McDavid – Yakupov.

Actually, if I lower that down to 10 minutes, we end up with 11 different line combinations and ALL of them are over 50% in raw corsi, fenwick, shots and xG.

Now, McDavid tends to play with really good players, but still. That’s unreal!

Bag of Pucks

This is definitely one of those mornings where the fancies have surprised, and pleasantly so.

By eye, I thought the Sharks were the better team for most of the night, particularly with territorial advantage and zone time in the front half of the game. But obviously the possession stats in the cold light of day depict a more favorable picture. I think this ‘bend but don’t break’ approach can play tricks with the mind’s eye.

There were instances where the Sharks forecheck really bottled up the Oil in their own end, but they did a great job managing their panic threshold. The frequent resets by the D can be frustrating but this team has definitely learned the pros of eating the puck as opposed to coughing it blindly up the boards under duress.

The transition game is almost nonexistent which is a really tragic fact to ponder with Connor in the lineup, but sometimes you have to win ugly, particularly on the road.

The one note of caution I would add is the shot differential stats don’t tell the full story on Talbot’s importance to the win last night. SJ did get some five star chances from the slot and imo that win does not occur last night without Talbot having a first star worthy performance. Would suggest that’s not a recipe for sustainable success (i.e. your goalie having to be absolutely lights out to win) but it’s great to get it when you need it.

Finally, this team deserves more PP time. Always a homer thing to say, but there were definitely some missed calls against our boys last night.

wheatnoil

Georges: As good as Connor is, is he that good?

He might be.

Connor McDavid has had 7 different line combinations with at least 50 5×5 minutes since he started in the NHL. Every single one is over 50% corsi, over 50% fenwick, over 50% shots on net, over 50% in xGF, and ONLY the line of Lucic – McDavid – Draisaitl has a goals for of less than 50% (& even then they had an amazingly low PDO of .905).

Among those 7 combinations includes the combination of Pouliot – McDavid – Yakupov.

trencan

Sorry, I know nodody cares about the draft this year (thanks god) but Vesalainen is having fantastic tournament WJC18 – 8 points in 3 games. He is strong and has good shot. I thought he could be interesting partner for Jesse in the future (not sure but think they played together previous year in the same line on WJC18 ) but based on this stats he will not be available for us in the first round. Finland has again really strong team this year.

blainer

Georges: If he does that, he’d be getting the puck to the guy who scored 4 5v5 goals instead of the guy who scored 24 5v5 goals. He’d be choosing the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 7.27 over the guy with a 5v5 sh% of 16.90.

Once the puck drops, I’ll cheer for Slepy just like I cheer for every Oiler. But, until he shows otherwise, he’s just a placeholder on the first line. Nothing (a track record of results) for the Sharks to worry about. It’s really up to him to make them worry.

Slepyshev on the first line makes the first line easier to defend and easier to attack. TMac made a decision to ice a less competitive first line so he could ice a more competitive lineup.

Here’s to Slepy scoring like Guentzel and throwing all of this back in my face.

I think Tmc goes back with Drai in Edmonton unless Sleppy has a breakout game. This lineup change had to be made as we were getting creamed in possession on the road.

Sleppy can keep up with Connor and has a great shot but he is not the Talent Drai is. At least not yet. I get where your coming from on Maroon but I think Sleppy might just surprise if given a longer audition.

JOFA

Pechetr: half

100% agree with the Hall comments. I can honestly say I’m happy he’s gone.

striatic

ashley:
Also, RNH is doing a masterful job of the role of defensive centerman.He’s sneaky quick and very clever defensively.I would imagine that he would be frustrating to play against.There weren’t a lot of really good chances for the sharks after the first 10 minutes.

RNH has had some trouble with zone exits, but he’s been very good at helping to keep the play to the perimeter, stripping pucks and being in perfect position to support his D.

He’s had some weird, largely unforced errors getting the puck out of the zone in a way that leads to immediate counterattacks though, early in games.

blainer

ashley:
I was watching the game last night, and I would say the biggest change year over year is the forward’s commitment to defense.The defenders look better partly because there are some new guys and the others are older, but mostly because they are being supported by their forwards.

It’s a whole team effort.They are all on the same page.I saw Benning hung out to dry on a bad read last night, and Slepy slides down to play the near post like you would see a Dman defending the cycle.Eberle, Letestu, Hall, Pou, Yak were all wandering near the blue line last year, or often half way to the red line without the team even having puck possession.That’s the kind of thing that was missing and has made an enormous difference.

Maybe this is what Chia was referring to as “culture change” in the summer, rather than all the character problems we assume.

That play by sleppy last night got him some serious love from the coach’s. It’s the kind of play that keeps a player like Sleppy in the lineup and can even earn you a promotion on the top line.

I am big fan of this player and hope he has a hat trick with Connor the next game..

ashley

Finally, regarding Hall; I don’t know if we will ever know all the details of what was contemplated in that trade. There are things about Hall I miss, and others that I don’t. He had value and was exchanged for something we really needed.

All that hockey stuff aside, I want to say this: On a personal level, I feel really bad for the guy. He put his heart and soul into this franchise with the hope of being part of something special. A better day was promised, but was snatched away from him just as it was about to be delivered. Now he finds himself in the same or worse situation in a different town but approaching a decade older – his prime years half gone.

On a personal level, I wish it could have been different for him. I would feel better if he landed with a team that was in the playoffs – a team that had a chance. I hope he gets that chance someday.

Jethro Tull

Dennis King:
One last thing about the new lines: right now 97 is still running everything though seam-passes or rush-passes to 19. Oil don’t have much time to practice now but we really need to see him key on getting 42 the puck more.

I’m always a bit leery about giving this year’s Art Ross winner tips on how to score more.

OmJo

Woodguy v2.0:
McLellan making in game adjustments that were good and worked gave me pure joy.

The Oilers had no answer for SJS’s forward depth without last change.

McLellan saw it, acknowledged it, did the exact right thing to correct and here we are talking about a win in game 3.

That makes me pretty damn excited.

UNICORNS!!!

Also,

Nuge holding SJS’s best in check (or beating them) has been key to this series so far.

SJS loads up a Pavelski/Thornton/Karlsson line and they tread water vs 27-93-14

My series MVPs so are are:

Talbot
Kassian
Nuge

Also,

Agree that 19 isn’t right.

If McLellan doesn’t want to give him the game off, his speed and style would fit with 29-44.

36/67-97-42
27-93-14
19-29-44
36/67-13-55

Exciting times.

19-29-44 would be a joy to watch.

ashley

Also, RNH is doing a masterful job of the role of defensive centerman. He’s sneaky quick and very clever defensively. I would imagine that he would be frustrating to play against. There weren’t a lot of really good chances for the sharks after the first 10 minutes.

ashley

Larsson is truly incredible. He does things that I know most of you notice, but the average fan wouldn’t. A classic example last night was dangerous Jumbo Joe coming in with Pavelski across the blue toward the left faceoff circle. The Oilers forwards are changing and a SJ trailer is coming in for 3v2. Larsson angles Joe to the boards. Thornton, the savvy veteran recognizes that and makes a move to the inside. Larsson poke checks the puck back a little, just enough to slow Thornton’s progress. By now, Klef is all by himself with two sharks in the slot and a great scoring opportunity awaiting if the puck makes it over. Larsson seizes the momentary loss of puck possession to close the physical gap on Thornton and push him against the boards. With his other hand he pokes the puck out to the blue line and the play moves the other direction.

A very dangerous scoring chance was imminent, completely neutralized in 1.5 seconds by the savvy play of Larsson. This happens dozens of times every game.

That has a LOT of value.

He’s a lot like Pronger. You put him out there, and you know that the Oilers are probably going to be ok for 45 seconds.