2017 PLAYOFFS (G12): G6 DUCKS AT OILERS

by Lowetide

The most difficult game to win all year awaits the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Just minutes away from a 3-2 series lead, bad luck, horrible timing, the mistakes of youth and video review all conspired to put them on the brink of elimination. The overwhelming realization that tonight could be the last night of the season may end up being too much for a young team to rise against, and this evening could be a major disappointment after a long run of brilliance and satisfaction.

You go ahead and bet against Connor McDavid and these Edmonton Oilers, I’m going to pass on the opportunity. There’s a lot we don’t know about tonight (Andrej Sekera, the team’s mindset) but I haven’t bet against 97 since lottery day and I’m not going to start now. Bless you boys, win this one for Cam Talbot and let’s get this back to California one last time.

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PLAYOFF SCORING

  • McDavid is finding the range now, it’s only a matter of (having enough) time.
  • Leon Drasiaitl’s fantastic regular season has been followed by a splendid playoffs.
  • Milan Lucic doesn’t have the foot speed to arrive at the (usual) scene of the crime.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is starting to show up in the scoring summaries more often, good to see. Now, let’s hope tonight brings him his first playoff goal. Eberle too.
  • Drake Caggiula is looking more and more like a solid option on 97’s line. I don’t know that we’ll ever see him there for 80 games, but as a plug-and-play when Leon is needed elsewhere, he should be able to play that part for years.
  • Adam Larsson has four points in this series, leading all defensemen.
  • Oscar Klefbom has emerged as a complete defenseman. We’ll talk about him during the RE, but the Oilers solved a major issue via the draft, as it should be.
  • We are last chance Texaco ladies and men, and Andrej Sekera is status unknown.
  • Kris Russell had a strong night on Friday and the coach clearly loves him. More in a minute.
  • Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning are gaining valuable experience this spring, and I wonder how quickly they will learn the lessons before them. That may end up being key for Edmonton’s Stanley chances as the seasons roll along.

LINES BY POSSESSION

Corsica.hockey provides brilliant information on lines and pairings, and we are now deep enough into the playoffs to see some numbers worth viewing. One of Edmonton’s flaws in the Anaheim series has been 5×5 possession, so let’s run the Corsi for by line in that discipline:

  1. Drake Caggiula-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl (33 mins) 58.23 percent
  2. Milan Lucic-RNH-Jordan Eberle (91 mins) 55.49 percent
  3. Benoit Pouliot-David Desharnais-Anton Slepyshev (49 mins) 49.47 percent
  4. Patrick Maroon-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian (25 mins) 48.72
  5. Patrick Maroon-Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl (72 mins) 48.50
  6. Drake Caggiula-Mark Letestu-Zack Kassian (50 mins) 41.49
  7. Source

You can find out a lot about your team in a series against another playoff team, and for Todd McLellan the top four lines listed here have been doing a reasonable (or better) job in possession. Small sample size for Caggiula on the 97 line but interesting all the same.

PAIRINGS BY POSSESSION

  1. Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson (159 mins) 50.82
  2. Darnell Nurse-Matt Benning (117 mins) 50.67
  3. Andrej Sekera-Kris Russell (138 mins) 46.80
  4. Source

Lots of encouraging numbers here, the top pairing has delivered under trying circumstances in my opinion. The third pairing is also above 50 percent in possession despite the wobble one would expect from two blue with so little experience. The third pair is well below 50 percent and that’s an issue, I’m not sure how much of that number is on Russell (Sekera has struggled to my eye) but that’s the area to improve next season.

KRIS RUSSELL’S FUTURE

  • Steve Simmons: No one gets more abused by the stats gurus than Edmonton defenceman Kris Russell, who is hardly a Corsi darling. So it’s nice to see him have a strong playoff run with the Oilers, where his minutes played tells you what the coaching staff thinks of him. Source

I think we’re heading for a summer that includes two contracts (97 and 29) that will approach $20 million cap per season (beginning in 2018-19). Can the Oilers afford to sign Kris Russell? The answer is yes, if Peter Chiarelli can manage several things. A buyout of Mark Fayne, trading Benoit Pouliot and one more move (I’ll use cashing Eberle) could make it happen.

POSSIBLE 2017-18 ROSTER

I think the Oilers would have to trade Jordan Eberle (or Nuge) to make signing Kris Russell possible. That’s how I see it, anyway. When McDavid’s contract kicks in (I expect it will be $10-11.5 million annual cap but that’s a guess) for 2018-19, the club will have to deal Nuge. I don’t see another way to do it, please chime in if you have any ideas.

The Oilers may indeed sign Kris Russell this summer, after the expansion draft. You and I may look at the Corsi and Fenwick or Woodmoney numbers and balk, but the coach is Todd McLellan and he clearly values what Russell brings. Does McLellan value Russell’s skill set higher than he values Jordan Eberle? You already know the answer.

WHO REPLACES SEKERA TONIGHT?

My guess is that Eric Gryba draws in and Matt Benning joins Kris Russell on the second pairing. The Swedes remain and Nurse plays third pair with Gryba. I like the idea of Klefbom-Benning but it’s late in the evening for that kind of nuance.

FRACTURE

If the Oilers lose tonight, I believe it will be a defining moment for a lot of Oilers fans. The fracture of last summer’s trade activity divided the fanbase and has given us many months of bickering. I don’t consider myself a part of any group (my childhood upbringing has defined me so I avoid crowds when talk turns to religion) but do believe there is a fracture brewing that may see a gigantic reveal this evening.

I think many fans of the Oilers became fans of the team in the period surrounding Marchant’s OT goal and then the MacT coaching years. This (younger) group was excited by the 2006 Stanley run and then drained by the decade of stunning losses.

My theory is that these fans cannot balance the roster moves of last summer with the success and failure of the current roster. I suspect they are already gone but may not realize it and a loss tonight will set them free. I further believe we will see those fans migrate toward ‘smart teams’ like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.

I could be wrong, but it has to be exhausting to cheer for a team that does not share your world view. In the coming months, expect high foreheads and deep thinkers (and bloggers) to explore other teams as a release and a curio. Somewhere in those days and months, they will find release. It is as it should be, and we should embrace whatever future fits us best.

Sail on, Dellows. I have enjoyed the ride immensely.

 

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Ribs

Lloyd B.: The little devils are always watching you and taking their cues from you.

I reckon that is ground zero for the old adage “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

So that’s why he was trying to kick the dog and throwing his toys at the TV during the third period of game 5!!! … No, wait, that was just me..

Scungilli Slushy

Game seven is always a mystery. Breaks, injuries, it’s one game for the whole thing. I feel good that this version of the Oilers has players that are driven to win. I think that is where the lack of quit comes from.

Nothing is a given, but I believe the team will be there to win. That drive also can help to trump the nerves of a young team. It is going to be a long two and a half days.

Pink Socks

dangilitis:
1) My 6 y/o daughter predicted a 7-3 win tonight. I told her she had to be a little more realistic. Damn adults, no imagination…

2) I’m in Chicago, and my wife had booked a dinner 1 month ago, before the schedule obviously had come out. I was crushed I couldn’t even watch the game, but ordered my entree just before game start as a lovely choucoutre dish: “seared duck breast, duck sausage, confit duck leg, 18 hour sauerkraut, caraway pickled apples, confit potatoes, duck jus.” It was delicious…

Rake 2.0: The sauerkraut didn’t overpower the rest of the dish?

This is the best comment exchange I have ever read.

crimson20

Ladies and germs,

Full credit to that team. A statement game if there ever was one. Feeling good but tempered.

We all should know by this point, as Sir Bobby Mac has reiterated, that game-to-game momentum is non-existent in these playoffs and the two-day break should give us pause.

I really hope TMac and the group are equally level-headed post-game 5 as they are post-game 6. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. Keep the us-vs-the-world mentality going but stay disciplined, ignore the extra-curricular activities, and commit to the speed game and that team will be flying home happy from California.

As a guy from a movie I once saw said, “good good… let the hate flow through you.”

Kinger_Oil.redux

– I go:

McD-Maroon-Shep
Drai-Lucic-Cags
RNH-Pou-Ebs
Letesu-Kassian-DD

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Wow! coaching is a tough gig!

– I was silent after the 3 goals in 4 minutes, as I thought the coaching staff did a poor job

– But what can you say about the staff: sans Klef & Sek. Putting Drai &Lucic together, Benning in PP1, a clearly different approach with the lead than Friday.

– As monumental historic collapse the 4-3 game was, this was a huge win for the organization

– Can’t say enough about having the depth to be able to bring up 2 D who played total of less than 12 minutes in the playoffs: that’s on Chia.

tcho

What a fantastic atmosphere in and around Rogers last night. So much fun, people in great spirits, and (so far – knock on wood) none of the idiocy from the ’06 cup run.

Goilers! *clapclap*

who

HenryDrix: Saw it tonight!

Yes we did. Now I want to see it in game 7.

Soup Fascist

hunter1909: Let’s hope it doesn’t come to hoping for these losers to deliver.

Stanley makes for some crazy story lines.

Make no mistake – If it is the 2nd goal in a 4-1 Oil win, I am fine with that too.

hunter1909

Soup Fascist: Game 7. Nuge’s line with the winner.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to hoping for these losers to deliver.

Soup Fascist

Nobody from the Ducks seemed too interested in talking about their recent collapses in GMs 6/7. That is all they are going to hear for three days. Could motivate them to get the gorilla of their back or could be planting additional seeds of doubt. Personally I think they are more worried about their goaltending.

Let me say this. Connor McDavid is always capable of having a breakout night. Plus I know this might be wishful thinking but the old 67-93-14 line has some history. Nuge and Poo both missed grade A chances – again – last night. I am hoping against hope there is at least one moment of greatness there, maybe during an integral part of the game.

Game 7. Nuge’s line with the winner.

wintoon

The Oilers need to remain every bit as pissed off and determined for the next game as they obviously were for tonights game.

hunter1909

Eberle is playing hockey like a 50 year old virgin hoping to score in an Amsterdam bar.

hunter1909

spoiler: No team is going to want to go through a 5th… and have to deal with all the questions and insults again. The level of motivation they’re going to bring to the beginning of that game will be intense. But there will be an opportunity to get into the Duck heads, if the Oil can find some success.

Score a pair in the first 10 minutes and it’s going to go your team’s way >90% of the time. Draisraitl is capable of scoring these goals, Similarly, thecaptainconnormcdavid is capable of breaking out from his current slump and banging in a pair himself.

Before opening up the Hunter1909 2017 Playoff Death March I considered having a side contest based on which player was most likely to emerge as Lowetide’s Whitest of Whales Fernando 2006 Pisani.

Kassian, Letestu, Sleppy the Russian, Deharnais, Caggiula have all had their moments.

RedNed

A question from the ignorant: what happens with all the hats after a hat trick?

As to the game, fantastic! Missed the first period because I can never work out the proper time difference, but greatly enjoyed the rest. To me, Anaheim looked a bit flat (fatigue kicking in?), Larsson looked like he was saving himself a bit, Eberle focused and Sleppy is beginning to look like he did when he played for his KHL team – if he reaches the level of tenaceous ferocity he played with then we will be in for a treat!

Can’t wait for Thursday (my time). Go Oilers!

Oil2Oilers

This thread has given me the will to live this morning after way to many White Russian variants. I may now owe Visa a organ, I hope they take pickled liver.

LT, so calm and reasonable on line and on the radio about the game 5 screw job, throwing shade at the Refs as he announced every goal. Music

Lloyd B.

spoiler: No team is going to want to go through a 5th… and have to deal with all the questions and insults again. The level of motivation they’re going to bring to the beginning of that game will be intense. But there will be an opportunity to get into the Duck heads, if the Oil can find some success.

Intense may be to soft of a term to describe what is coming in the 1st period in Anaheim.

The goaler, Talbot I think is his name, is going to be all kinds of elite.

Good thing is…He can be !! Wooooooooooot!!!

spoiler

Lloyd B.: They of the 4 straight years of losing game 6 on the road and game 7 at home.

No team is going to want to go through a 5th… and have to deal with all the questions and insults again. The level of motivation they’re going to bring to the beginning of that game will be intense. But there will be an opportunity to get into the Duck heads, if the Oil can find some success.

Oilander

I am steady keeled. Tomorrow morning I will have forgotten about this win. 9 more.

*goes streaking*

HenryDrix

who: Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself. If that side of Lucic doesn’t show up what are we paying him for?

Saw it tonight!

Lloyd B.

Professor Q:
I think the only downside was seeing Getzlaf, Gibson, et al. actually laughing and in good spirits after the game. Scary in a way. Like they know something we don’t.

I want them down-trodden and depressed lile Couture and the Sharks were during that series.

New Game: Take a shot every time Getzlaf states that the scoreboard doesn’t matter.

I take it as a nervous laughter. They of the 4 straight years of losing game 6 on the road and game 7 at home.

The Oilers don’t have those demons to excise.

For all the playoff experience the Ducks have, most of it is not very positive.

A couple of quick goals against on Wednesday and it could be a “here we go again” for the veteran squad.

The first goal or two is going to be HUGE for either team.

Likely moreso for the Ducks.

BONE207

Hi Gang…Arrived in Paris and watched the Canadian team win. Slept through the Oilers game but what a good morning it is here. Can’t wait for game 7. I know I will be drunk for that one. The ducks are skewered now. History will reign supreme and Oilers have that Connor kid who has yet to breakout but promised a game 7. Messier prediction…I hope so…

Admiral Ackbar

Helluva game. Everything worked right. The hockey gords were smiling on them tonight. I hope they didn’t use up all that mojo tonight. Game 7 will be more difficult.

Hopefully they get the same referee crew. They did a good job at catching the nonsense.

As Biggie said:

Going going, back back, to Cali Cali.

Rake 2.0

dangilitis:
1) My 6 y/o daughter predicted a 7-3 win tonight. I told her she had to be a little more realistic. Damn adults, no imagination…

2) I’m in Chicago, and my wife had booked a dinner 1 month ago, before the schedule obviously had come out. I was crushed I couldn’t even watch the game, but ordered my entree just before game start as a lovely choucoutre dish: “seared duck breast, duck sausage, confit duck leg, 18 hour sauerkraut, caraway pickled apples, confit potatoes, duck jus.” It was delicious…

The sauerkraut didn’t overpower the rest of the dish?

Bank Shot

Professor Q:
I think the only downside was seeing Getzlaf, Gibson, et al. actually laughing and in good spirits after the game. Scary in a way. Like they know something we don’t.

I want them down-trodden and depressed lile Couture and the Sharks were during that series.

New Game: Take a shot every time Getzlaf states that the scoreboard doesn’t matter.

Bryzgalov was doing a lot of smirking in the net in 05/06 before the Oilers lit him up.

Its impossible to predict what will happen on game 7.

dangilitis

1) My 6 y/o daughter predicted a 7-3 win tonight. I told her she had to be a little more realistic. Damn adults, no imagination…

2) I’m in Chicago, and my wife had booked a dinner 1 month ago, before the schedule obviously had come out. I was crushed I couldn’t even watch the game, but ordered my entree just before game start as a lovely choucoutre dish: “seared duck breast, duck sausage, confit duck leg, 18 hour sauerkraut, caraway pickled apples, confit potatoes, duck jus.” It was delicious…

Professor Q

I think the only downside was seeing Getzlaf, Gibson, et al. actually laughing and in good spirits after the game. Scary in a way. Like they know something we don’t.

I want them down-trodden and depressed lile Couture and the Sharks were during that series.

New Game: Take a shot every time Getzlaf states that the scoreboard doesn’t matter.

LadiesloveSmid

treevojo:
I thought Nurse had a great game.

If klefbom isn’t back.

He will be a big reason the oil pull through on Wednesday.

Keep Nurse-Larsson together?

Klefbom-Benning?

Caller Zen

Eberle with the game 7 winning goal … that would be a sweet, sweet moment. First playoff goal of his career will win the series. Let’s see it happen!

smellyglove

OK, I said I wasn’t going to watch, and I stayed away for one period.

Wow.

This team is so resilient! Congrats. What guts, and playing without 2 of the top 3 D.

Lastly – Eberle. The goat on the ONLY goal against the Oilers. Ends with a -1 and no points when 20 are distributed to Oilers players. How far the mighty have fallen.

Bag of Pucks

Diablo: Well said – it drives me nuts that when things go wrong, people around here immediately throw the coaches under the bus. I love TMac’s demeanour – never embarrasses the ref or his own players. When he has something to say, he always keeps it brief and professional. His staff has brought structure to our D-zone coverage, zone breakouts, PP and PK this season – something that was unthinkable a year ago. They’ve done a damn good job.

But at the end of the day, the players have to buy in, trust the system and execute. When things break down it is usually due to equal parts luck and a failure to execute the system.

Really enjoyed tonights game. Just an outstanding performance by Leon – Chia is going to have to pay the man this summer. Our D was terrific tonight – they moved the puck really well and battled hard in front of the net to keep Talbot’s lanes clear. The forwards were absolutely flying tonight. And I thought everybody did a great job turning the other cheek and avoiding retaliation penalties – we had 2! 5 on 3 PPs!

Looking forward to game 7 – Oilers got a lot of breaks from the refs tonight and Anaheim’s goalies let in some pretty weak goals. Game 7 is going to be a much tougher game, but if the Oilers can play the same way, they should have success.

Go Oilers!

Nailed it!

Ribs

Younger Oil,

it’s worth a shot! *No pun intended.

Death By Misadventure

LT, after tonight I think your estimate on Leon’s cap is low. I think we’re talking Tarasenko money. It will start with a 7 and a non-zero after the decimal.

Lloyd B.

Ribs: I thought we had him spooked after the first few goals. My wife and I were hooting and hollering pretty good at the TV. He looked confused and even cried a little bit one of the times. By the end he was smiling and wailing on the ottoman along with ourcheering. Great stuff.On to game seven!

The little devils are always watching you and taking their cues from you.

I reckon that is ground zero for the old adage “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.

Ribs

Lowetide: Haha! Give that boy a hockey stick and make sure he shoots right (Woodguy, that’s your left).

I thought we had him spooked after the first few goals. My wife and I were hooting and hollering pretty good at the TV. He looked confused and even cried a little bit one of the times. By the end he was smiling and wailing on the ottoman along with our cheering. Great stuff. On to game seven!

Chachi

treevojo: Lol.

I know.

I’m just being an ass.

But not towards you.

One will know.

😉

Diablo

The Hermit: I feel we have a very good head coach, but at the end of the day it’s the players who make the difference.

Well said – it drives me nuts that when things go wrong, people around here immediately throw the coaches under the bus. I love TMac’s demeanour – never embarrasses the ref or his own players. When he has something to say, he always keeps it brief and professional. His staff has brought structure to our D-zone coverage, zone breakouts, PP and PK this season – something that was unthinkable a year ago. They’ve done a damn good job.

But at the end of the day, the players have to buy in, trust the system and execute. When things break down it is usually due to equal parts luck and a failure to execute the system.

Really enjoyed tonights game. Just an outstanding performance by Leon – Chia is going to have to pay the man this summer. Our D was terrific tonight – they moved the puck really well and battled hard in front of the net to keep Talbot’s lanes clear. The forwards were absolutely flying tonight. And I thought everybody did a great job turning the other cheek and avoiding retaliation penalties – we had 2! 5 on 3 PPs!

Looking forward to game 7 – Oilers got a lot of breaks from the refs tonight and Anaheim’s goalies let in some pretty weak goals. Game 7 is going to be a much tougher game, but if the Oilers can play the same way, they should have success.

Go Oilers!

Wolfie

And I want to bring my son!

Wolfie

Well, no matter what happens in Game 7 this was one hell of a display. This team is something. If Nuge and Eberle ever find that little bit extra they will be unbeatable.

I loved seeing Ebs finally take one to the near post and drawing the penalty on Manson. Keep doing that and one’s bound to bounce in. Then you’ll get more space.

I loved that we could match nasty for nasty.

I hope they keep going at Getzlaf. He makes everything go for Anaheim.

One of the most memorable games I have ever watched. I’m seriously considering flying to Anaheim for for Game 7. Even at the risk of financial ruin! Lol

Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull:
Whatever happens, I am an Oilers fan.

I am an Oilers fan!!!!!!

Younger Oil

Lowetide: Haha! Give that boy a hockey stick and make sure he shoots right (Woodguy, that’s your left).

Fun fact that runs true in my family:

If you want your kid to shoot right, hand him a golf club before a hockey stick.

He’ll have a hell of a slap shot too.

maudite

Hopefully they call penalties again next game…

Melvis

I’m thrilled, but all in all, there aren’t enough superlatives covering this feeling. The cure for game #5 – a spliff and a soak in a hot tub. Same for game 6. Next game, win or lose…a road trip, some good sounds and a soak in the salt in Watrous. Can’t drown for getting drunk and they don’t call it a medicinal herb for nothing. Stan Weir invented it.

Goilers!

treevojo

I thought Nurse had a great game.

If klefbom isn’t back.

He will be a big reason the oil pull through on Wednesday.

Lloyd B.

Wow. Couldn’t watch the game tonight due to work. Did hear the first period on the radio.

I thought it odd during the pregame comments, before noon on the thread, that so many seemed to be writing an obituary.

I guess the rumors of the Oilers death were a tad premature.

This growth team continues to learn some very valuable lessons.

Next lesson, GAME 7. Woooooot!

There’s something happening here.

Ribs

No joke. As soon as the game ends my soon to be one year old stands up against the ottoman in front of us and the TV and raises both arms with a big smirk on his face. Wooh! He’s wearing his jersey, of course. Then minutes later, he is so inspired by the big Oilers win, he takes his first few steps towards us for a celebratory hug! Perfect! There’s something special happening here!

Man, I had two thoughts going into this game. It was either going to be a slow plodding cautious affair ended in the third period, or it would be as I hoped, a guns blazing tornado onslaught from our pissed off phenoms. Damn. So satisfying. I think I’ll have another beer.

Woodguy v2.0

I’m pretty thrilled that I didn’t notice Reinhart and Gryba much and when I did, it was good.

They were pretty good at stopping the cycle and getting the puck back.

A little bit of mean didn’t hurt either.

Benning with a whale of a game, and I love that he worked so well on PP1. I’ve been hoping to see him on it at some point. Hate to see Dreamy out, but love that it gave the coaching staff a chance to see that 2 RH shots on that unit is gold, and Benning is better passer than Klef.

Thrilled.

GOILERS!!

*clap,clap*

treevojo

In other news.

Bruce Wayne’s new found surge on oiler fandom has taken a step back because the Oilers blew a team out with positive results from 7th round equivalent Lucic and a ghost like performance from long time Oiler Eberle.

jp

Wow, Drai now 2nd in playoff scoring, 1 point behind Malkin. Impressive!