G36 2017-18: Canadiens at Oilers

by Lowetide

In the fall of 1972, the Montreal Canadiens had four left-wingers who were breaking into the lineup. The 1960’s portsiders—John Ferguson, Gilles Tremblay, Dick Duff—were all gone and there was a need for new blood. The 1971-72 group (Frank Mahovlich, Marc Tardif, Rejean Houle) was super talented but the Big M was growing old and there was a need for additional talent. Sam Pollock’s Canadiens were so talent rich that even Hall of Famers had to enter as part-time players.

So it was, that in 1972, Steve Shutt, a brilliant offensive winger with a cannon shot and a fantastic two-way reputation, had to wait for Chuck Lefley and Murray Wilson to have their auditions. Yvon Lambert, who was a fine player too, had to wait in the minors. I honestly wonder if Lambert would have made it at all had the WHA not stolen the stunning talent that was Marc Tardif.

Oilers fans are watching auditions on right-wing this fall and winter, there’s some fabulous talent here. Jesse Puljujarvi could be here 15 years from now tearing up the Pacific Division. Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Kailer Yamamoto all bring something to the conversation, and some will emerge as NHL Oilers. We’ll never see auditions like the ones Sam Pollock cooked up in the first expansion era. It was, pure and simple, insanity. Steve Shutt waiting in line? The hell you say.

THE ATHLETIC!

Great Christmas offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. If you don’t feel it’s worth the $4.49/month, cancel anytime during trial before getting charged. Offer is here.

LONG DECEMBER, YEAR AFTER YEAR

  • December 2015: 6-3-0, goal differential -3 (12 points)
  • December 2016: 4-2-3, goal differential 0 (11 points)
  • December 2017: 6-3-0, goal differential +8 (12 points)
G10 2015 was a 3-1 win over the Jets, Cam Talbot stopping 44 of 45. Last year Edmonton won 3-2 over the St. Louis Blues in overtime. A win tonight gives the team a 7-3-0 December record, 14 points in 10 games. That would represent exactly what was required to save the season. Not all the way there, but a very nice start. Huge game.

AFTER 36, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers 15-16: 15-18-2, goal differential -17 (32 points)
  • Oilers 16-17: 18-12-5, goal differential +9 (41 points)
  • Oilers 17-18: 16-17-2, goal differential -7 (34 points)

Vancouver beat the Oilers 2-1 in overtime 2015, Taylor Hall with seven shots on goal. Last season, it was a 3-2 overtime loss to San Jose. A win tonight gets Edmonton back to fake .500, although counting your chickens would be unwise. Montreal brought the good stuff out west based on last night’s 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: 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Toronto, Columbus (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
  • At home to: Nashville (Expected 0-1-0)(Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose, St. Louis, Montreal (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • 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: 6-3-0, 12 points in nine games

My October prediction (5-3-2) was too positive, November (7-7-2) was close and now it appears I underestimated the team. In my defense, moving Leon to center, adding Brandon Davidson and the emergence of several kids who were auditioning (Puljujarvi, Khaira) helped in a big way. This has been an encouraging month for the Oilers.

Gallagher is a player to watch tonight, he’s skilled and an agitator and has a motor that won’t quit. Max Pacioretty is my favorite Habs skater but he had a fairly poor game by my eye in Calgary last night. Could be bad news for Edmonton. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Carey Price in net. I can’t cheer against that guy. Not ever.

TABERNAC SATURDAY

The Oilers have belly flopped spectacularly on Saturday nights in recent years, payback for the delicious “roadkill Saturdays” of my 20’s when Edmonton would lay waste to some fumble goalie wearing a Habs or Leafs sweater. Bring back those days, please and thanks.

5X5 SCORING, FORWARDS (NHL RANK)

  • No. 9 Connor McDavid 2.76
  • No. 14 Leon Draisaitl 2.59
  • No. 28 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.38
  • No. 34 Milan Lucic 2.31
  • No. 53 Patrick Maroon 2.06
  • No. 118 Ryan Strome 1.56
  • Source

This is among regular forwards (400+ minutes) and reflects a fantastic run at 5×5 by Edmonton’s top three centers and top two left-wingers. No right-wingers, although Puljujarvi (2.06/60 in 233 minutes) is trending in a good direction. The Oilers need a more dynamic right-wing as well, and Strome needs to push that scoring number closer to 2.00/60.

TRADER PETE!

Based on various sources (Bob, Fussy Britches) seems like the Oilers may be on the verge of one or more trades. My list includes a sniper (probably RW, as per above) a checker for the PK (also RW), a RHD (probably in summer) and possibly an upgrade in goal. Bob seems to be honing in on a scoring winger, although Elliotte Friedman doesn’t think the Oilers have the trumpets to acquire Mike Hoffman (and that is reasonable, assuming PC doesn’t trade the first-round pick). I’ll have Simon Boisvert on Saturday Sports Extra today to discuss.

ANTON SLEPYSHEV

From all manner of sources, good bad and indifferent, it’s a good guess Slepyshev is on his way out of town. What does that mean? A winger is coming in, but it’s probably two separate trades and the target may not be Hoffman. The search begins anew.

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Crazy Pedestrian

Jordan:
If the Oilers continue to destroy the Pacific division as they have to start the season, they will make the playoffs.

The oilers are 5-1 so far this season against the Pacific in the regular season.

They have 22 games left against the Pacific.

At that pace, that pro-rates to an 18-4 record. 36 points

That leaves 24 games against the rest of the league to get another 22 points if the playoff cut off s 94 points.

I really like our chances.

18-4??? Man I know their good against the pacific right now, but that definately seems like a stretch to me… they haven’t even played LA or Anaheim yet! And for all we know they might have just got lucky in the 1 game against Vegas, seeing as they’re rolling over everyone else!

As long as Talbot stays Talbot, and McDavid stays “non-injured” McDavid, we have a “Fighting” chance.

We will also need 2 or 3 other teams currently ahead of us to faulter and stay down for the rest of the season. That’s a hard ask…

But dammit! The Oilers fan in me hopes you’re right.

GO OILERS GO!!

Jethro Tull

Ryan: If McDavid is injured, then McLellan should be fired.

Errr….why?

Jordan

If the Oilers continue to destroy the Pacific division as they have to start the season, they will make the playoffs.

The oilers are 5-1 so far this season against the Pacific in the regular season.

They have 22 games left against the Pacific.

At that pace, that pro-rates to an 18-4 record. 36 points

That leaves 24 games against the rest of the league to get another 22 points if the playoff cut off s 94 points.

I really like our chances.

geowal

slopitch:

The standings look tolerable this morning but man there aren’t many teams that look like they will stumble.

The way Talbot looks right now they are ready to roll. I could see 10-2 run. Do that and you don’t need anyone to stumble, they’ll lose to each other.
I boldly say wildcard spot end January.

slopitch

Lost in the Reinhart/Barzal rage is that Vegas took Reinhart and not JJ. Credit to JJ and to Drai for turning his game around.

The standings look tolerable this morning but man there aren’t many teams that look like they will stumble.

Professor Q

Thinker: Beauty of privitize health care.

There’s really no difference between waits between the U. S. and Canadian systems, aside from a few things and if you have an absurd amount of money (even though both teams are Canadian and this game took place in Canada).

Sometimes it takes even longer in the U. S. than in Canada.

However, other socialised healthcare nations offer much shorter wait times and better care than both. We’re lagging behind.

CrazyCoach

Hard to tell where that shot hit McDavid but he was sure favoring that foot.

My guess is that it hit him on the laces and when that happens, it pretty much deadens the foot and of course hurts like a SOB.

I hope he’s OK and it will be like that Boeser (sp?) kid in Vancouver who only missed that one game.

Santa better bring me what I really need.

Gayfish

dangilitis:
Don’t know if it was commented upon, but Petry had 10 of Montreal’s 30 shots tonight!

Do you think he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder?

Doubt it, he’s soft.

commonfan29

texmex,

Meh. MacT is still there and he took about 3 seconds to tell us Rollie was done for the series in ’06.

Ryan

texmex:
Ok. I’m just going to come right out and ask. Is anyone else worried the Oilers are bluffing about McD ankle to avoid Christmas chaos?

I’m worried.

If McDavid is injured, then McLellan should be fired.

dangilitis

Don’t know if it was commented upon, but Petry had 10 of Montreal’s 30 shots tonight!

Do you think he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder?

texmex

Ok. I’m just going to come right out and ask. Is anyone else worried the Oilers are bluffing about McD ankle to avoid Christmas chaos?

I’m worried.

Gayfish

Crazy Pedestrian:
Ok, I’ll rephase that…
Uh hem… If only it was that quick for everyone in our free health care system…

Where are you getting this free health care? I pay abut $9000 a year on health care.

GMB3

hunter1909:
Khaira, Letestu, Caggiula, Benning have all started to bloom as NHLers.

Something is working.

Me thinks Letestu probably bloomed prior to his career season last year

Pescador

hunter1909:
Offer Nurse 4. million X 7-8 years.

The term guarantees him everything he will ever want. And the team gets his great service for another 7-8 years at a great cost against the cap.

If he signs for less then 5 I will be happily surprised

Pescador

Munny: I owed you one. ?

I gave you Waylon Jennings and Roger Alan Wade,
Not close, haha

Crazy Pedestrian

Man… if loser points weren’t a thing, Oilers would already be in a playoff spot… ducks have been the biggest beneficiaries of the loser point system for the last 3 years… they only have 14 ROWs, and have 8 (!) OT losses…

hunter1909

Khaira, Letestu, Caggiula, Benning have all started to bloom as NHLers.

Something is working.

hunter1909

striatic:
Looks like Vegas is going to win again, shutout against the Caps. That team is something really special this year, unreal.

When you think about it Vegas had all season to scout every team and cherry pick some pretty decent players. No stars, but solid contributors like ex-Oiler Perron.

They didn’t even want Griffin Reinhart. : p

From top to bottom I’ll wager their lines and pairings aren’t much different than the other ones, but the whole of the parts adds up to NHL success for Vegas.

hunter1909

Offer Nurse 4. million X 7-8 years.

The term guarantees him everything he will ever want. And the team gets his great service for another 7-8 years at a great cost against the cap.

Professor Q

striatic:
Looks like Vegas is going to win again, shutout against the Caps. That team is something really special this year, unreal.

The Tennessee Titans of the NHL?

Never mind. That would more likely be like the Colorado Avalanche, but they won.

Munny

Pescador:
Munny,

That song is terrible

I owed you one. 😉

hunter1909

Pescador:
Hallelujah!!
It’s a Christmas miracle, I’m going to get drunk
rr

lol

striatic

Crazy Pedestrian: Yes…THIS year…

But they’ll hit the ditch next year right?Can’t keep a team like this together for cheap right???

We’ll see. If their UFAs want to stay, they can certainly afford to keep the team, cap wise.

McNabb, Marchessault, Neal and Perron are the major UFAs, we can assume Engelland re-signs.

They have something like 44 million in cap space to re-sign these guys and their RFAs if they want to spend it.

Pescador

Munny,

That song is terrible

Jethro Tull

Munny: That seems like a long way to go just to buy a mattress. Shit better be in stock.

http://www.bridgeinn-grinton.co.uk

You can wait here while he checks.

Crazy Pedestrian

striatic:
Looks like Vegas is going to win again, shutout against the Caps. That team is something really special this year, unreal.

Yes…THIS year…

But they’ll hit the ditch next year right? Can’t keep a team like this together for cheap right???

Munny

Gonna leave you all with the best Christmas carol of all time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqUKbP_9lNo

Enjoy!

And please have a safe night.

Crazy Pedestrian

striatic:
Crazy Pedestrian,

I mean, he didn’t have to go to the hospital. Standard to have that equipment in the arena these days.

Thinker: Beauty of privitize health care.

Ok, I’ll rephase that…
Uh hem… If only it was that quick for everyone in our free health care system…

Munny

Jethro Tull: It’s 100% true. Michael Bell, born in Havant, Hampshire, England, currently residing in the Yorkshire Dales is my father.

That seems like a long way to go just to buy a mattress. Shit better be in stock.

striatic

Looks like Vegas is going to win again, shutout against the Caps. That team is something really special this year, unreal.

hags9k

N64: ~ You can go back to drinking from it ~

*slides bottle back into paper bag, straightens out Santa hat, chugs.*

Jethro Tull

Munny: I’m gonna need a down payment before I buy that, Jethro.

It’s 100% true. Michael Bell, born in Havant, Hampshire, England, currently residing in the Yorkshire Dales is my father.

npanciroli

Great win!

Have a great holidays everyone!

Surrey Oiler

N64: ~ You can go back to drinking from it ~

Thank you !!! And I will !!! So relieved !!!

Pescador

Munny: He is one tough mofo, that’s for sure.

https://youtu.be/ScrGGW0GQ80

N64

hags9k:
Can. I. stop. breathing. into.this. paper. bag yet???

~ You can go back to drinking from it ~

OriginalPouzar

4 wins in a row for the Oilers.

7 wins in a row for Talbot.

Leon is feeling better and has been driving his own line from the center position – playing with two wingers who are finding their way in the NHL.

Even strength scoring among the best in the NHL.

Khaira trying to match Nurse with respect to arrows up this year – what a season for Jujhar – I never ever thought he had this offence – good on him.

Actual NHL players at both forward and defence that aren’t able to get in to the lineup – depth!

Gayfish

Crazy Pedestrian: Man… that WAS fast… X-ray within 10min of injury? Damn if only it was that quick for everyone…

Beauty of privitize health care.

striatic

Crazy Pedestrian,

I mean, he didn’t have to go to the hospital. Standard to have that equipment in the arena these days.

Crazy Pedestrian

striatic:
TMAC SAYS HE’S OK!

X-RAY NEGATIVE!

WE CAN BREATHE!

Man… that WAS fast… X-ray within 10min of injury? Damn if only it was that quick for everyone…

Munny

Jethro Tull: Michael Bell is my father. True story.

I’m gonna need a downpayment before I buy that, Jethro.

99217

Gerta Rauss: That line really did look good

Khaira is looking more confident with the puck every game now-I thought he’d top out as a 4th line role player but he has really showed some skill with the puck and it’s showing up on the scoresheet

Agreed…big man whose hands and head are catching up to his quick feet.Really starting to see him as a future core forward with 97 93 29 98 91.

dangilitis

Munny: With feets of strength!

Winner!

Pescador

Hallelujah!!
It’s a Christmas miracle, I’m going to get drunk
rr

Munny

Gerta Rauss: It’s a festivus miracle

With feets of strength!

dangilitis

Thank G-d. My daughter made me put her to bed after Khaira iced this thing (My heart just wasn’t into story telling tonight)

npanciroli

Crazy Pedestrian: Please be right…

Positivity!

Munny

He’s okay, I’m okay, we’re all okay.

Thank you, Santa. I take back all the nasty things I said about you.

Gerta Rauss

Surrey Oiler: Where did you hear this? Great news, just want solid confirmation

McLellan’s post game presser