My Dad used to MacGyver things to make them go. We got a leaky rad one time on summer holidays, it was an old Vauxhall (we always had the weirdest cars when I was a kid) so we’d all chew Wrigley’s Spearmint gum, then spit it (ew) and hand it to Dad. He would plug the leak, and we’d drive until things got heated.
The Edmonton Oilers are in a similar spot. Using actual assets to address goaltending short term (Talbot will be back, remember) seems a waste, so the ‘chewing gum’ solution seems the right call here. After last night’s game, two things are clear: The Edmonton Oilers are still in it, and Laurent Brossoit is perhaps too much of an adventure at this time.
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- New Lowetide: Moonstruck
- New Lowetide: Walker, Australian Oiler
- Blackdog Pat: The Big Picture (fabulous)
- New James Mirtle: An All-Canadian NHL division!
- New Jonathan Willis: Time to move on from Eric Gryba
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2017: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect Winter 2017: Caleb Jones
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect Winter 2017: Tyler Benson
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect Winter 2017: Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 Prospect Winter 2017: Ostap Safin
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 Prospect Winter 2017: Filip Berglund
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 Prospect Winter 2017: Jujhar Khaira
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 Prospect Winter 2017: Nick Ellis
- Lowetide: Oilers No 11-20 Prospects Winter 2017
- Lowetide: Fresh Farm Produce
- Lowetide: Analyzing the Mike Cammalleri trade.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s Media Conference
- Lowetide: Finding the Off Ramp
LONG DECEMBER, YEAR OVER YEAR
- December 2015: 1-0-0, goal differential 0
- December 2016: 1-0-0, goal differential +3
- December 2017: 1-0-0, goal differential +2
That was a crazy game last night but it was a win and that’s all that counts. Edmonton’s schedule eases during January, vitally important the team stays in the race during the lead up to the New Year.
AFTER 27, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 10-15-2, goal differential -15
- Oilers 16-17: 14-10-3, goal differential +10
- Oilers 17-18: 11-14-2, goal differential -13
The goals for are coming on now, Edmonton’s forwards are sorting themselves out (more in a minute). The goaltending is not right and that’s becoming a major issue. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a trade before the Philly game.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DECEMBER
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 1-0-0, two points in one game
If the Oilers could find a way to capture 16-18 points (say 8-3-2) we could talk about the good schedule ahead. After that third period last night, suggesting 8-3-2 is impossible. We’re going to find out about this organization’s opinion re: Brossoit in the coming days. Nick Ellis might see his NHL debut against the Flyers.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Russell went 12-11 together in 13 minutes, 3-1 in HDSC and 1-2 in GF. I liked the pairing again, WG has been trumpeting this duo for some time and perhaps we see them remain a pairing when Larsson returns. Mobile and aggressive. Went 7-5 against Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland.
- Klefbom-Benning were 16-16 in 13 minutes 2-4 HDSC and 0-1 in GF. I was encouraged by this pairing, specifically Klefbom who is rounding into form. Benning takes a lot of punishment, I hope he can find a way to take fewer hits to make plays. Went 5-4 against Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik.
- Auvitu-Gryba are The Odd Couple, going 8-13 in 12 minutes (notice the equal minutes for the three pairs), 2-0 in GF and 2-2 in HDSC’s. Gryba had a nice recovery game, Auvitu looks one part chaos, one part puck mover extraordinaire, one part Drake Caggiula. Seriously. Change your number! Went 5-2 against Bennett-Jankowski-Jagr.
- Laurent Brossoit stopped 29 of 34, .853. He is losing his hold on an NHL job.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Maroon-Nuge-Cammalleri went 13-6 together, 2-1 GF, 1-1 HDSC. I think Slepyshev should get this shot, hope he’s back in against Philly This line isn’t getting enough scoring chances, which sounds ridiculous on a night when the collective boxcars count 2-1-3. Went 9-4 against Bennett-Jankowski-Jagr.
- Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi went 15-9, 2-0 in GF and 3-5 in HDSC. Line scored 3-3-6, Puljujarvi scored twice and that’s a big damned deal. Line went 11-9 against Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik, 2-0 in GF. That’s a helluva battle but I think 97 won the day. JP, man. The Finnish Horse.
- Caggiula-Draisaitl-Strome were 10-13, 0-1 GF and 2-3 HDSC’s. This line had some looks, I think Leon is finding the range now. Caggiula had one of his better games, Strome made some good plays. Trio went 6-9 against Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland in 6:16 (0-0 GF), that’s a big assignment.
- Khaira-Letestu-Kassian were 4-13 (Khaira) and 2-8 (Kassian) with the center. All three mean posted crooked numbers in the boxcars, Khaira a lovely goal and Letestu cashed his breakaway. I am loving this line despite the fact they got caved in possession. Went 3-6 with Hathaway-Stajan-Brouwer, Hathaway was filthy on one shift with hits to Maroon and Benning (Edmonton getting the penalty).
The mannish boy is finding his way. Jesse Puljujarvi has sorted some things out in that giant cranium and is running with the lead horses in this current window. Two goals last night gives him four in 10 games, and now we can talk about the Oilers problem solving internally. Getting JP established this season—even a 15-goal campaign—sets up next fall and Kailer Yamamoto as (possibly) 2R. You can get a lot from a losing season, and good teams do just that thing.
The Oilers didn’t push in the third period, laying back for the onslaught. That’s not going to work for this team, they need more OZ time. We’ll talk about the goalie in a minute but if you go back and watch that third period, very rare to see the Oilers playing full press in Calgary’s zone (or even playing it straight up when the road team had the puck in Calgary’s end). Too passive.
Laurent Brossoit was letting them in from below the Equator and a contending team (I’m not sure the Oilers are, but let’s pretend) can’t have that rolling around in their mind. At least two goals (and as many as four) were poor and the goal line shots were bizarre. LB had a bad game and there may a hitch in his giddyup. Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers have a decision to make, I believe the organization as a whole are devoted to this young goalie. Are they prepared to risk the season on him? Stay tuned.
In 2016-17, the year before he was traded, Jordan Eberle posted a 5×5/60 scoring total of 1.76. I call this measure God’s flashlight because there’s no way to avoid the terribleness and the glorious. I’ve always believed the top line should be over 2.00/60, the second line north of (about) 1.80, and anyone over 1.50/60 from the third and fourth lines is going well. Let’s have a look.
- Connor McDavid 2.67
- Leon Draisaitl 2.63
- Milan Lucic 2.48
- Jujhar Khaira 2.27
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.20
- Mike Cammalleri 1.90
- Patrick Maroon 1.80
- Jesse Puljujarvi 1.80
- Zack Kassian 1.60
- Ryan Strome 1.46
- Mark Letestu 1.38
- Drake Caggiula 1.36
There are some nice numbers here, five players over 2.00/60. Some of this is small sample size, Khaira has played 14 of 27 games and only recently gained a prominent role. McDavid, Draisaitl and Lucic do have previous seasons of over 2.00/60 and the Nuge did it as a rookie and was close one other time. The 5×5 scoring portion of this team is damned good, truth to tell, but most other elements are on fire.
Congratulations to Todd McLellan on his 400th NHL win. That’s a helluva accomplishment.