Game Nine 2017-18: Stars at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers are back home and have a nice stretch of games at Rogers. If they were firing on all pistons, we could count on a large slice of the available points—but this season has a different feel to it. In our last episode, the head coach was sending out an S.O.S. for a 1R, perhaps operating out of home base will bring him some answers.

PIKES PEAK, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 3-5-0, goal differential -5
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-1-0, goal differential +12
  • Oilers in October 2017: 2-5-1, goal differential -9

Game Nine a year ago was that strange 2-0 loss to Ottawa, Craig Anderson shutting out the club on an emotional evening. Cam Talbot stopped 20 of 21 but the story was in the other goal. Edmonton isn’t scoring goals, the GF-GA per game (1.88-3.00) in sharp contrast to one year ago (2.96-2.52). They can’t fire 23 players, so there is abundant pressure on the coach. Nothing imminent of course, but Todd McLellan has a lot to ponder over the next three days. His roster, his lines and pairings, will tell us a lot about who he wants to go to war with on this roster.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver  (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Winnipeg, Ottawa, Carolina (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-3-0)
  • On the road to: Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 1-1-1)
  • At home to: Dallas, Washington (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-3-2, 12 points in 10 games 
  • Current results: 2-5-1, 5 points after eight games games

It took some time for the team to settle down defensively and now they seem hesitant in the offensive zone. The shooting percentage is going to regress and I think we should be able to count on at least one win in the next two games that will round out this week. I expect we will see a watershed offensive evening at some point in the next week or two, but timing is unknown.

Photo by Rob Ferguson

TRADE WINDS (SPEED)

  • Elliotte Friedman: “I think that they are going to look for speed. I think they are going to try to find some players around the league that have some hop to them, because they need guys fast enough to play with McDavid.” Source

Speed is abundant across the NHL and can be procured—some of it at less than prohibitive prices. Michael Grabner in New York won’t cost a lot, Matt Duchene in Colorado will. I think the Oilers are probably reaching the conclusion that Kailer Yamamoto needs another year before entering the NHL full time. I further believe the club isn’t sold on Anton Slepyshev in a feature role—not at this point in time, anyway.

That means a trade, or recall of Jesse Puljujarvi. Fans should be open to either, there’s something about the roster as currently constructed—and its usage—that doesn’t rhyme.

MCDAVID’S WINGERS IN PITTSBURGH

It is rare to see a veteran NHL coach spend an entire NHL game casting about for solutions but we saw just that thing on Tuesday night in Pennsylvania. Once Todd McLellan moved away from Kailer Yamamoto as 1R, he tried a lengthy list of the roster, including his clear preference Leon Draisaitl.

  • This is via NaturalStatTrick.
  • McDavid’s wingers included all forwards save Nuge and Jujhar Khaira.
  • The players under a minute could be coincidental or shuffling coming off a penalty kill, someone has a skate problem or missing a shift due to short-term injury. The guys getting three minutes or more had to be the coach trying out an idea.
  • After all the Nuge on RW talk over the summer, he didn’t try that idea. Makes sense, Leon was just coming back from injury. If chemistry doesn’t chime soon, we may in fact see that kind of deployment.

CONNOR MCDAVID ON CHEMISTRY

  • “It definitely takes a few games, 5-6 games to really get a good idea. To really, fully get chemistry with someone you have to play together for a long, long time. It’s been nice that Leon, Patty and I have been able to stick together for a long time now and I definitely hope that continues. It’s easy to find each other out there, because we’re all pretty comfortable.” Source

Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto have been on the ice together for 61 minutes at 5×5, 65 percent Corsi and 65 percent shot share. Scoring chance share? 67 percent. High danger scoring chance share? 25-8, 76 percent. Goals for and against? 2-2. Kailer Yamamoto is going to be an excellent NHL player, I’m convinced he’s a better prospect than Jesse Puljujarvi long term, but this year he isn’t cashing chances. That’s not a shot at the young man, we saw Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi go through the same obstacles as rookies. Connor McDavid with Leon Draisaitl is a better plan. All day, all the time. Source

HELP!

The theme of today’s post is help! and the exclamation point is necessary. Todd McLellan needs the Nuge line to score goals and he badly needs Ryan Strome to post some 5×5 offense. The biggest issue is  finding a 1R for Connor McDavid to turn those Corsi’s and HDSC’s into goals for Edmonton. The answer to all three problems? Leon Draisaitl. I think Todd McLellan chooses Leon for the CMD line, leaving Peter Chiarelli to add some speedy winger for Nuge or Strome’s lines. I am hopeful they give Anton Slepyshev a try in the coming days.

CONNOR MCDAVID QUOTE TO FRANK SERAVALLI

  •  “I don’t know what it is. I just think guys haven’t been very good.” Source

That’s part of it, 10-bell chances have to cash at a higher rate and the goalie was off in the early days of the season. That said, this team needs a boost. Edmonton began the year with a 1R depth chart of Leon Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto, Drake Caggiula, Zack Kassian. Perhaps we’ll see that lineup tonight. At some point, the Edmonton Oilers will move Yamamoto to Spokane unless the young man starts to cash these chances. Jesse Puljujarvi waits near the corner of North by Northwest, and trade market beckons.

LOWEDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We have a full boat of guests today, beginning at 10 on TSN1260.

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Where to play Leon, what to do about Kailer?
  • Scott Burnside, Senior Digital Correspondent, Dallas Stars. We talk to an old friend about an old nemesis for the Edmonton  Oilers.
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com.  Top offensive pairs in the NHL, Kucherov and Stamkos are on fire, McDavid and Leon can carry a team.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. How frustrated is Connor McDavid?

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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OriginalPouzar

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Grimaldi’s. Even that has been renovated and lost its charm. Good pie still, but not the same.

No, Barclays is not good for hockey. I miss NassauLoud rink, loyal fans. Only thing was the facility was terrible and too much trouble to get to.

Yes Grimaldi’s – that was it.

One time there was enough for us in any event – I’m excited for Isa’s palace – Modern Love.

That’s too bad – I was excited for Barclays Cneter – we’re row Section 24, Row 9 – i think they are pretty decent seats (bought them a long time ago so I don’t really remember) – either way, I’ll be at an Oiler game in New York – that’s a good night.

OriginalPouzar: I have been to Brooklyn once before but we didn’t venture much farther than that famous pizza place essentially under the Bridge.

Barclay Center isn’t a good arena?

I’ll be headed in to Brooklyn earlier in the trip to – Going to Modern Love for the vegan wife.

Grimaldi’s. Even that has been renovated and lost its charm. Good pie still, but not the same.

No, Barclays is not good for hockey. I miss Nassau Loud rink, loyal fans. Only thing was the facility was terrible and too much trouble to get to.

Woodguy v2.0

OriginalPouzar: It was a great game for the first line – Todd clearly wanted to match 1st line vs 1st line and it worked.

It was a bit of a risky move as that line has had a history of getting running around its own zone against other top lines but, with the addition of Drai, it truly might be the best line in the league.

97’s lines went 48%CF and +1 in goals. Almost the definition of “saw-off” except they won the goal battle.

That’s a great DAL line so even if they went 50% GF that would be a good result.

Just need to beat the other 3 lines then.

McLellan running the “nuclear power v power” and that’s probably the right decision.

McDavid will outscore a lot of 1st lines and that’s needed when they don’t shoot 17% 5v5.

Need the 5v4 to cash too.

meanashell11

OriginalPouzar,

Well that’s too bad!

OriginalPouzar

meanashell11:
OriginalPouzar,

I will be there as well.Actually going to all three of their games, NJD, NYI, NYR. We should meet up!

We fly in the Newark a few hours before the game on the Friday night but I wasn’t able to convince the wife to allow attendance – I guess our entire 5 day trip, which is supposed to be centered around the marathon, can’t be centered around the Oilers. We leave Wed morning so will be gone before the game at MSG.

OriginalPouzar

Woodguy v2.0:
Woodguy v2.0,

RNH will get Seguin/Benn all night and The Testu is there for RH FO. I bet he gets spelled off a bit, he’s on PP1 and PK2.

Missed that entirely.

RNH vs Benn 0:55
McDavid vs Benn 9:13

No forward other than 19-97-29 was over 1:07 (Lucic)

Klef (8:16) and Larsson (8:51) had the Benn assignment too.

Next highest Dman vs Benn was Nurse with 2:52

It worked.

Benn was on the ice for 1 5v5 goals and 27-93-55 with 25-62 were on the ice.

97’s line w/ 77-6 outscored Benn 1-0 5v5.

The other 2 5v5 goals for 97 were scored against Janmark’s line

Janmark was on the ice for RNH’s 2 5v5 goals too.

Janmark vs RNH 4:13 2 goals againt
Janmark vs McDavid 3:13 2 goals against

Rough night for Janmark

It was a great game for the first line – Todd clearly wanted to match 1st line vs 1st line and it worked.

It was a bit of a risky move as that line has had a history of getting running around its own zone against other top lines but, with the addition of Drai, it truly might be the best line in the league.

OriginalPouzar

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
Nurse,and Larsson and Klefbom for that matter, is evidence you have to be patient with young D. LT says five years for prospects but for D I have felt like it takes until age 25 or 400 games.

Always believed in Nurse, although I did think Ristolainen was the better pick. Might wind up being wrong on that. Bad teams do bad things to good players.

Oilers brought along Klefbom well and maybe Nurse, too.

I don’t think Nurse got the benefit of as much AHL time as Klef did and could have used a nice stretch of 20-40 games down there but, at this point, he is taking huge strides forward and there isn’t much to complain about.

Nurse has been the brightest spot of the early season – hopefully he stays healthy for the year.

OriginalPouzar

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
OriginalPouzar,

Most parts in western Brooklyn are harmless. Barclay Center is not good for hockey.

I have been to Brooklyn once before but we didn’t venture much farther than that famous pizza place essentially under the Bridge.

Barclay Center isn’t a good arena?

I’ll be headed in to Brooklyn earlier in the trip to – Going to Modern Love for the vegan wife.

Woodguy v2.0

Oilers 4v5 TOI and GA last night:

Player TOI GA
Adam Larsson -4:05 – 0
Oscar Klefbom 4:05 -0
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 3:52 – 1
Mark Letestu 3:22 – 2
Kris Russell 3:04 – 3
Zack Kassian 2:48 – 1
Darnell Nurse 2:43 – 2
Leon Draisaitl 2:28 – 1
Eric Gryba 2:12 – 1
Jussi Jokinen 2:01 – 0
Connor McDavid 1:16 – 0
Drake Caggiula 1:10 – 1

Kinger_Oil.redux

– It’s a lot easier to score goals when the SV% is .857, and not .957.

– I’d say 5×5 our system looked the same, but we scored goals.

– Good to see Lucic, RNH, Strome and our D put up points

– A string of goalies who put up .857 to even out the .956 our secondary scoring will be strong

– Or these goals just a function of bad G, and our secondary guys still suck?

meanashell11

OriginalPouzar,

I will be there as well.Actually going to all three of their games, NJD, NYI, NYR. We should meet up!

Woodguy v2.0

Evilas:
Dear Lowetidians,

The Oilers scoring woes are all my fault.I placed the thumb of one of the mini-gloves on my rear view mirror, inside the hand hole of the glove (when I had finally returned them to their rightful place a few days ago), thus preventing the proper flow of scoring vibes.I realized my mistake around noon today.No worries, all is good now, the balance has been restored and the boys will be scoring from here on in.

My apologies for all the angst and flashbacks to the dark decade.

It will never happen again!

*whew*

Woodguy v2.0

Woodguy v2.0,

RNH will get Seguin/Benn all night and The Testu is there for RH FO. I bet he gets spelled off a bit, he’s on PP1 and PK2.

Missed that entirely.

RNH vs Benn 0:55
McDavid vs Benn 9:13

No forward other than 19-97-29 was over 1:07 (Lucic)

Klef (8:16) and Larsson (8:51) had the Benn assignment too.

Next highest Dman vs Benn was Nurse with 2:52

It worked.

Benn was on the ice for 1 5v5 goals and 27-93-55 with 25-62 were on the ice.

97’s line w/ 77-6 outscored Benn 1-0 5v5.

The other 2 5v5 goals for 97 were scored against Janmark’s line

Janmark was on the ice for RNH’s 2 5v5 goals too.

Janmark vs RNH 4:13 2 goals againt
Janmark vs McDavid 3:13 2 goals against

Rough night for Janmark

Nurse, and Larsson and Klefbom for that matter, is evidence you have to be patient with young D. LT says five years for prospects but for D I have felt like it takes until age 25 or 400 games.

Always believed in Nurse, although I did think Ristolainen was the better pick. Might wind up being wrong on that. Bad teams do bad things to good players.

Oilers brought along Klefbom well and maybe Nurse, too.

Hwahl

Nurse is growing on me. Another strong night, I read posts saying he took an unnecessary penalty in the 3rd but that’s honestly 95% on Jujhar for making such a bad play

OriginalPouzar,

Most parts in western Brooklyn are harmless. Barclay Center is not good for hockey.

OriginalPouzar

Pescador: Compared to what, Brooklyn?
Stay outta of my town sweetheart, it’s not for the soft

I’m not sure I understand the comment.

I will be in Brooklyn for the game there in a couple of weeks – looking forward to seeing the Barclays Center.

OriginalPouzar

GMB3:
I only saw the first half of the game. How did Nurse play? Did he maintain the high level of play from the Pittsburgh game?

Yup, Nurse had a very strong game again – one penalty we could have done without.

OriginalPouzar

GMB3: Did you take your clients to the game?

Yup, couple bankers from Calgary and one based out of Edmonton – I got us SN Club seats which worked out great.

I don’t drink, obviously, and have meetings this morning in Calgary so decided to drive back after the game.

Clearly I’m not waking up at the usual 3:40 am for the gym, especially after being awake for 21.5 hours (the drive from Red Deer in was probably not smart) – a well-deserved day off.

Great game.

who

Listening to Bruce and David discuss the game tonight on Cult of Hockey. I usually agree with their take on the game but saying Kahira had a good game is quite a stretch.
He had a good first shift ot two and probably had 3 shots on net right off the hop but watch the tape after that. He suddenly became hestitant and slow to make a decision or move the puck and as a result he turned the puck over in his end two or three times when he could have easily have moved it.
Surprised Tmac played him at all in the third.

Pescador

Younger Oil:
Yeah, I’m done watching, possibly for good.

Something against the written rules of the game happens every time someone touches the puck.

The game has no integrity, and the results have no meaning if the rules are applied completely randomly.

This was really clear in the playoffs last season, it is more of the same this season.

Probably an overreaction, but I can’t invest this much time in something so blatantly inconsistent.

Somehow your even more embarrassing then that last fuck

Pescador

Crazy Pedestrian:
I’m done… white flag!!! Chia is definately signing kelly, and we are trading nuge for pennies. Calgary fan at work is going to have a hay day tomorrow…
Oilers are a shell of themselves from last year…

Great predictions,
don’t let the door hit you on the way out F face

Pescador

OriginalPouzar:
That was fun.

The clients are out drinking and I’m driving back to Calgary.

Gasoline Aleey is, sketchy.

Compared to what, Brooklyn?
Stay outta of my town sweetheart, it’s not for the soft

GMB3

I only saw the first half of the game. How did Nurse play? Did he maintain the high level of play from the Pittsburgh game?

€√¥£€^$

Dear Lowetidians,

The Oilers scoring woes are all my fault. I placed the thumb of one of the mini-gloves on my rear view mirror, inside the hand hole of the glove (when I had finally returned them to their rightful place a few days ago), thus preventing the proper flow of scoring vibes. I realized my mistake around noon today. No worries, all is good now, the balance has been restored and the boys will be scoring from here on in.

My apologies for all the angst and flashbacks to the dark decade.

It will never happen again!

GMB3

OriginalPouzar:
That was fun.

The clients are out drinking and I’m driving back to Calgary.

Gasoline Aleey is, sketchy.

Did you take your clients to the game?

OriginalPouzar

OriginalPouzar:
Huge home-stand coming up – the boys need to string some wins together and, given the uptick in play and solid road trip, the signs are there for the impending break out.

Its starts to night against Dallas, they will carry that momentum in to the game Sat against Ovie and the caps and parlay it in to a solid road trip.

5 goals for tonight.

Wheels Up for O. Pouzar in 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Lets Go Oilers

Who knew they could score 5 goals in one game?

OriginalPouzar

That was fun.

The clients are out drinking and I’m driving back to Calgary.

Gasoline Aleey is, sketchy.

Boil-in-the-Oil: That’s kinda the way I saw it too. Or, was our (poor) PK allowing them to look so good? And why does our PP play from so far away from the net? The Stars PP seemed to always to be moving in closer and closer to our net, looking super dangerous, and consequently very successful.

Oh well. Job done. The streak begins at 1.
LETS GO OILERS…CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP

Would like to see the Oilers use Drai in front of the net on the PP the way the Stars use Been. Almost posting up. He can pass from there, deflect, collect rebounds, screen, use that long reach and backhand. Oilers like to have him down low but to the side with McDavid.

Bank Shot

Good results by Nuge. He has to be a factor like that nearly every game to earn that cap hit.

I don’t believe he’s as good defensively as some fans think he is, so I believe he needs to be scoring at a strong clip to be a valuable piece.

Edmontons PK is bad. Stars shouldn’t be able to wing it through the box like that. Its not a surpise really. Too many inexperienced players there.

Boil-in-the-Oil

JimmyV1965:
I wouldn’t say our PK was poor tonight. The Stars PP was amazing. Best one I’ve seen this year. Mental note. DONT TAKE 5 PENALTIES!!!

That’s kinda the way I saw it too. Or, was our (poor) PK allowing them to look so good? And why does our PP play from so far away from the net? The Stars PP seemed to always to be moving in closer and closer to our net, looking super dangerous, and consequently very successful.

Oh well. Job done. The streak begins at 1.
LETS GO OILERS…CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP

Munny

This was a bit of a nail in Moto’s coffin.

Top 6 is looking set.

gregsaint

What’s with the weird offside rule where they blow it down when the non-offending team has the puck? In a game where possession matters so much, it’s kinda whack to take possession away like that. At the very least, it should be an auto-all-the-way-down face-off, right?

Philosophil

This game gives me some hope, with concern. Outscored our special teams tonight, but showed some resiliancy at 4-3. Cautious optimism.

BONE207

Scrivens…Klinkhammer…Brule… on Canada’s Olympic team?
If they win gold can we re-sign them after saying sorry?

JimmyV1965

I wouldn’t say our PK was poor tonight. The Stars PP was amazing. Best one I’ve seen this year. Mental note. DONT TAKE 5 PENALTIES!!!

Philosophil

Munny,

I wondered the same. SN didnt offer an explanation. It went from Oil possession to timeout

Pouzar

Jason Gregor‏Verified account @JasonGregor 1m1 minute ago
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“Confidence. I’m trying plays I wouldn’t have last year.” Nugent-Hopkins on four goals in nine games.

Chachi

Patrick Laine looked an awful lot like Milan Lucic trying to catch up to Phil Kessel in overtime tonight.

Pouzar

Washington another good PP team but they aren’t Dallas 5 on 5.

Dee Dee

The old Bandwagon took some serious damage tonight!

You can always count on Dallas for some good firewagon pond hockey.

Chachi: Primary scoring showed up too. Leon had a great game. Would not be surprised if he wakes up tomorrow with some whiplash from that dirty hit from behind from Hanzal.

I thought the scoring would come from the primary side picking up more so than the secondary. Drai coming back and all. That part happened, but how many times do the Oilers score 5 goals and McDavid only has one point? If Nuge can get going that’s huge for this team. The question was always who was going to step up to fill those-who-shall-not-be-named’s boots. If he can do that, that’s massive.

Oh, I forgot, I think the bank shot by Maroon off a Dallas player counts as quaternary scoring–when you have own goals by the other team.

SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo!

Big bounce back effort from Nuge!

I thought he gripped the stick a bit less tight after the Benn goal and it paid off.

For Nurse I thought That last penalty was bad but otherwise he had another strong game.

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker),

You were bang on re: 5v5 play. Very good effort from the team tonight. Gutsy win.

Now start rolling!

treevojo

That I would say is literally a material win.

Chachi

NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Nuge is secondary scoring for sure. I think Benning counts as tertiary. Literally.

Primary scoring showed up too. Leon had a great game. Would not be surprised if he wakes up tomorrow with some whiplash from that dirty hit from behind from Hanzal.

LadiesloveSmid

I do believe Talbot and Sekera were EDM’s best PKers last year. His absence is felt

dustrock

I would like to think that they will figure out the special teams.

I am impressed by the 5v5 systems though man we need some bottom 6 scoring.

Klef-Lars seem to be back to normal.

Chachi:
So much secondary scoring I think it counts as tertiary scoring. Nuge was huge. Nurse was fantastic. The penalty kill was a dumpster fire.

Nuge is secondary scoring for sure. I think Benning counts as tertiary. Literally.

dustrock

Funniest stat of the year on the ridiculous reffing in the NHL is that slashing calls are up 495% from last year. Total PPs up 18%.

So everyone talking about the non-calls on everything non-slash, it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

Good fighting by the team, good reminder that puck luck will change and possession has its advantages.

Please Gord figure out the PK right quick though.