History tells us Finnish lungs breathing northern Alberta air equals magic, and Jesse Puljujarvi may be a full force gale by his 20th birthday. I’m not going to insult you by suggesting it’s been a simple transition but in most every way Jesse Puljujarvi arrived right on time.
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- New Lowetide: Paul Coffey’s role in Edmonton
- Lowetide: What does the Nuge injury mean to the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers mid-season review: The Forwards
- Lowetide: Tweeners and Iiro Pakarinen.
- Lowetide: Back in Bakersfield: Laurent Brossoit.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli needs some answers from this week’s meetings
- Corey Pronman: Top 50 NHL prospects (Oilers alert)
- Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline
RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR
- January 2016: 4-2-2, goal differential -1 (10 points)
- January 2017: 5-3-0, goal differential -1 (10 points)
- January 2018: 4-4-0, goal differential -7 (8 points)
I didn’t think the Oilers could get back to even in January, the club looked so woeful early on. A nice three-game winning streak has saved the month with two more games to go.
AFTER 47, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 19-23-5, goal differential -24 (43 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 25-15-7, goal differential +10 (57 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 21-23-3, goal differential -18 (45 points)
The three wins offer some hope for the team, not for the playoffs, but for something around 82-85 points on the year. A wild disappointment to be sure, but several miles from the 70 points of 2015-16. Is there any playoff hope left? Edmonton has won three in a row, if they win seven more, that might represent a four or five point climb on the competition. That means you’d be halfway to just outside.
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 2-3-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
- Current results: 4-4-0, eight points in eight games
And suddenly the Oilers are right back on track with my expectations for the month. Can the club win both games to end the month on a five-game winning streak?
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson were golden last night in 16:00 5×5 minutes, physical, good in coverage, moving the puck, the whole ballgame. Went 23-9, 3-0 GF and 18-4 SCF and 8-2 HDSC for on the night. Were 14-4 with the diabolical Leon line. Were 17-8 against Vanek-Gagner-Boeser line. Nurse started sorties shot out of a cannon and Larsson was smart and mean. Both men are going to be vital to any success down the stretch.
- Sekera-Russell went 7-11 in 10:16 together, 1-0 GF, 3-3 SC and 2-1 HD. The Draisaitl line was 0-6 with this pairing Russell has added a bizarre reset to his game now. He skates up the ice with the puck gingerly, pauses, stops, quiets the momentum and then makes a pass when everyone has stopped or scoots back to his own net. If Paul Coffey was paying attention, that has to be a bullet in his power point presentation.
- Klefbom-Benning were the wayward wind. They were 8-18 in 11:12, 0-1 GF and 3-11 (SC) and 0-5 (HDSC). It’s not good, the Oilers have to do something here. Oscar needs a shutdown defender alongside, and Benning needs a veteran. Oscar’s sorties are mostly gone and he isn’t shooting the puck as much lately. Benning has no time to think, and actually makes good plays considering how much he’s being crowded. He needs to be quicker, seems to have lost half a step.
- Cam Talbot stopped 25 of 27, .926. He made some tremendous early saves, one on a naked Mike Cammalleri turnover.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Pakarinen-Letestu-Kassian went 5-3 in 7:13, 6-2 against the Sutter line. Kassian was skating miles, Pakarinen too, Letestu was effective although his speed was noticeable in the game. No shots on goal for him but a dandy PP look where he fanned on the shot.
- Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi were fire, wow what a performance. Accounted for seven points and went 16-11, 2-1 GF and 11-4 SC and 5-0 HDSC. Lucic moved the puck well and Leon worked hard and smart, but the Finn was the straw. Man. Outstanding. He could have had four. JP was physical, a pure ramrod, shot the puck well, drove to the net and made a gorgeous touch pass Doug Weight would be proud of making. Get this kid on an outdoor rink before every game!
- Khaira-Strome-Cammalleri went 9-8, 0-0 GF and 1-2 HDSC. Khaira scored a fabulous goal (did you see the JP pass? Holy hell) Strome was close and Cammalleri increased the IQ of the forwards by a lot save for the suicide giveaway. He won’t be back (slow boots) but I like him plenty.
- Maroon-McDavid-Caggiula had a strong game despite the possession numbers. Went 11-21, 1-0 GF and 4-6 HDSC. The Edler-Stecher duo (7-21) owned the trio, and Gaunce-Dowd-Eriksson were 16-4 against the 97 line. The Klefbom-Benning (3-15) and Sekera-Russell (2-6) pairings aren’t golden with McDavid, bet Coffey saw it right away. McDavid is Genesis to Revelations every night, could have had four points in the first period alone. Maroon looked effective on LW, I thought Caggiula did some good things too (he makes smart plays and gets after the puck).
McLellan says Coffey’s focus will be on skill development, at all levels of organization, and with a focus on D in particular. Will work with prospects and with their NHL dmen as well. More to come tomorrow.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 21, 2018
That’s a fine idea, if Paul Coffey is helping every defender in the system, from Darnell Nurse to Oscar Klefbom to Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear. I’m writing on this subject today for The Athletic and believe there could be a few layers to this story.
— Robert Murray (@NovaCanuck) January 21, 2018
Maybe the Oilers have their two right wing scorers after all. Yamamoto has been coming on since returning from the WJ’s and looks like he’s going to push for a high boxcar number by season’s end.