The Edmonton Oilers arrive at New Year’s Eve in playoff mode, every game is huge and every loss is a terrible blow. A team with enough talent to win the division is now forced into a hard target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse for two points each night. It’s a hard way to find out the trouble is real. For this Oilers team, passing one club at a time is key and that climb needs to begin tonight.
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- New Lowetide: Puljujarvi pushing
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- Lowetide: On Cam Connor, Jujhar Khaira, Ryan Strome and Anton Slepyshev
- Lowetide: Jones, Bear and Mantha
- Lowetide: Year-end taking stock
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid: The Athletic’s Person of the Year!
- December 2015: 7-4-1, goal differential -4 (15 points)
- December 2016: 6-2-4, goal differential +1 (16 points)
- December 2017: 7-4-1, goal differential +9 (15 points)
G13 in 2015 was a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, Trevor Lewis and Dustin Brown with three points each. Last year it was a 3-1 win over those same Kings. It’s just one game but a recovery month with eight wins would be a substantial turn north for a team that took forever to come together.
AFTER 39, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 15-20-3, goal differential -23 (33 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 19-12-7, goal differential +10 (45 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 17-18-3, goal differential -6 (37 points)
G39 in 2015 was a 1-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, a goal from Ryan Getzlaf the difference. Last year, a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. A win tonight and this year’s team would be midway between the 2015 team and last year’s 103-point nutcracker.
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 3-0-0)
- On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Chicago, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-1)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-2, 12 points in 13 games
- Current results: 7-4-1, 15 points in 12 games
A successful month either way, the run after the Philadelphia game (6-2-0) through the Christmas break may end up being the high mark of the season. Oilers have bled a little since.
Benson had another big night (four assists) for the Vancouver Giants last night, now sits at 25gp, 14-23-37 (NHLE: 35 points). As we’ve discussed many times, Benson staying healthy was the number one goal this season. He’s covering that bet and flourishing. A good arrow.
Oilers prospect Aapeli Rasanen goes to the net and deflects home a powerplay goal. The 6th rounder has really impressed me this tournament.
— Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) December 30, 2017
Rasanen is a promising prospect, exactly the type who can develop into a useful NHL player. Miles to go but his presence (and success) on a good Finland team indicates he has progressed since draft day.
ONE PIECE AT A TIME
We’re at the end of December, Edmonton is hanging with the playoff teams while also making very little progress in moving up the standings. The Bettman point means tough sledding but that’s the price of gloomy October starts.
Into January, I’ll probably add some draft stuff to the back of the GDT and summaries, and trade options will become more a part of things. Happy New Year, be safe and have fun!