The Edmonton Oilers do as well in Texas as Davy Crockett and yesterday was no exception. Executing the back door play straight out of “The Ladislav Smid Collection” the defense rested early and often while the brilliant Stars No. 1 line made quick work of the Alberta clippers.
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- New Lowetide: What went wrong for Peter Chiarelli?
- Lowetide: Making the deadline calls on free agents
- James Mirtle: How the NHL and every team has changed this season
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers are going to trade Nuge, now is the time
- Minnia Feng: The little things that make hockey beautiful
- Lowetide: Oilers have no Andrew Mangiapane to recall
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid: The Athletic’s Person of the Year!
RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR
- January 2016: 2-1-0, goal differential 0 (4 points)
- January 2017: 2-1-0, goal differential 0 (4 points)
- January 2018: 1-2-0, goal differential -9 (2 points)
G3 2016 was a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, Jaromir Jagr skated around the ice twice during warmup and I called him a prima donna. He would score three minutes in. G4 2017 was a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
AFTER 43, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 17-22-3, goal differential -24 (37 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 21-14-7, goal differential +8 (49 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 18-21-3, goal differential -20 (39 points)
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vegas (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
- Current results: 1-2-0, two points in three games
Edmonton has just four games now before the long layoff, Wayne Gretzky is hanging around in the gondola of NHL rinks across Christendom. You can say it’s nothing and it would be if the performance since the break had been anything close to acceptable. As it is, keep your ears on, good buddy, one of those old bull Oilers may have decided to crash the gate doing 98 and let them truckers roll, 10-4. Third time’s a charm?
- Sekera-Benning went 18-12 in 13:15, 0-1 GF and 2-1 HDSC. Sekera turned the puck over at the blue line early and gave up a breakaway, looked in-between for much of the night. Benning looked better, and this was the best pairing on the day (imo). Went 9-8 in seven minutes against Roussel-Faksa-Pitlick, 0-5 in 1:31 against Benn.
- Klefbom-Russell went 17-22 in 16:22, 0-1GF and 3-3 HDSC. To my eye Klefbom is coming on, a little more power in his game. Russell did the swim a couple of times, played the first goal two-on-one in a ponderous manner. Went 11-14 in 5:55 against the Radulov-Benn-Seguin line, leading the defensive groups in opposition against the big Dallas trio.
- Nurse-Larsson were 8-19 in 14:37, 0-2 GF and 0-5 HDSC. This is becoming a trend and coach McLellan needs to get away from this pairing right away. Went 4-11 in 5:37 against the Radulov-Benn-Seguin line, meaning the Klefbom pairing was superior in about the same time against the impact line.
- Cam Talbot stopped 15 of 19, .789. I don’t blame him, his mates need to mind the back door a little better.
- Al Montoya debuted as an Oiler (nice mask!) and stopped 13 of 14, .929.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Khaira-Draisaitl-Kassian were 8-2 and 3-1 in HDSC’s, took coach McLellan some time to move the fourth line wingers up and it worked well. Slepyshev-Caggiula (5-6, 0-2 GF) were a disaster and PC needs to step in. That ain’t working. Leon went 4-4 in 3:28 against Benn.
- Cammalleri-Nuge-Strome went 14-14 in 11:02, 0-2 GF and 1-2 HDSC’s. I like the Cammy-Nuge train, Strome (for me) was not as effective. RNH got a power-play assist and continues to find his way to the scoresheet after avoiding it like the plague for years. Went 6-10 in 4:42 against Benn.
- Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi were 14-16 in 14:36, 0-0 GF and 3-2 HDSC’s. McDavid was the best Oiler as always, I think the Finn was second behind him. Some 10-bell chances for the youngster, he’s finding seams and driving to the net. McDavid was frustrated, not sure if this tandem lasts but there’s a lot of promising elements. 97 was 1-4 in 1:43 against Benn.
- Caggiula-Letestu-Slepyshev were 5-5 in 4:43 together.
SAIL ON, MCARELLI?
The knives are out for Peter Chiarelli, fans are mad as hell and there are some curious things going on. MSM is feeding a “something imminent” storyline and we haven’t see the general manager for a month—I haven’t seen a quote from him on the trade for Montoya (as a for instance). Meanwhile, the “face” of the organization, increasingly, is Wayne Gretzky.
Todd McLellan would be the obvious move if the losing becomes too much, but perhaps we’re looking at a dual “settling family business” crescendo to the season. Could we see Craig MacTavish return to coaching?
One thing we can be sure of? The game’s afoot and Wayne Gretzky is in a prominent role as our story begins.
I’m not certain if this happens now, or if Keith Gretzky would be involved, but the Edmonton Oilers do telegraph these things and my Geiger counter has been making violent noises for about 18 hours. Come for the game, stay for the drama. It could be a wild week.