Connor McDavid in full flight is poetry—pure speed, creativity, astonishing hand-eye, intoxicating. I’m sure there are other things on planet earth that delight the brain and shock the eye as much or more, but in the northern city of Edmonton No. 97 is the only game in town. Last night, the young man gifted fans with something very special. You hold on to these moments, they are worthy of being remembered for a lifetime. Jesus, Mary and Joseph what a hockey player.
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- New Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers cap situation and the deadline
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Oilers badly need a boring but effective summer
- Corey Pronman: Mid-Season draft rankings
- Lowetide: Oilers draft and college returns
- Lowetide: Central Scouting and where the Oilers shop for talent
I LIKE YOU, LLOYD. I ALWAYS LIKED YOU, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +9 (4 points)
- February 2017: 0-2-0, goal differential -3
- February 2018: 1-0-1, goal differential +3 (3 points)
Interesting start to the month in all three seasons. The 15-16 bunch were celebrating Connor McDavid’s return (he was back for both February games) and the 2016-17 group were in a lull before breaking off an insane run to the final bell. This year’s model? They’re on a good run now, fun game last night.
AFTER 51, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 20-26-5, goal differential -26 (45 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 28-15-8, goal differential +21 (64 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 23-24-4, goal differential -20 (50 points)
It’s taken all season but the Oilers are close to a point-per-game pace and could make it so with a victory tomorrow night. Huzzah! There were some really good things going on last night, wonder if this crew can push back into the outer edges of the playoff race before spring. They are 5-1-1 in the last seven, that’s some stout brew.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FEBRUARY
- At home to: Colorado, Tampa Bay (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-1)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-6-3, 13 points in 14 games
- Current results: 1-0-1, three points in two games
The Oilers got three out of four points at home and are ahead of my projection. I have them grabbing three points from the three road games this week, it will be interesting to see how much success they have in California. The Kings are 4-6-0 in their last 10, put the boots to Arizona on the weekend.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera-Davidson went 17-8 together in 14:01, 7-2 in scoring chances and no goals were scored during 5×5. Went 11-5 against Kunitz-Callahan-Peca. Sekera had at least one stressful moment but the pairing kept the puck going in a good direction.
- Nurse-Russell went 12-20, and 2-1 GF in 15:40. SC’s were 10-8 on the night, they were 10-10 against Kucherov-Namestnikov-Stamkos and that’s the top line in TBAY. The GA was on Nurse’s stick for an instant but he couldn’t do much with it.
- Klefbom-Benning were 12-22 in 15:25 (equal playing time during the evening for the three pairings). Went 7-9 in scoring chances, faced Killorn-Gourde-Peca and went 5-14. That line is diabolical. Klefbom didn’t clear on a PK GA, he had more heartbeats that Nurse to move it but couldn’t fire the neurons.
- Cam Talbot stopped 31 of 33, .939. His return to form would be an exceptional turn for the entire organization. I thought he played quite well last night.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Slepyshev-Letestu-Pakarinen went 11-6 in 7:19 and the Pakarinen goal came at 5×5. I like the trio, good to see Slepy grab a point. The point of a four line is to get the puck deep, forecheck, keep the play 200 feet from the net. Line did a good job it and scored to boot.
- Maroon-Strome-Caggiula had some real chem, going 12-12 in 11:31 together. Were 5-5 in scoring chances and there were no goals. Strome had a terrific game and has five points in his past three games. I like him at center, and have really liked his last few games. He had a run starting with the Boston game awhile back too, hopefully this current hot streak runs a little longer for him. Nice chem with Caggiula.
- Cammalleri-McDavid-Draisaitl were 13-20 together in 15:10, 3-0 in GF and 6-0 in HD scoring chances. Were 7-12 against the Stamkos line but were 1-0 in GF against them. Hedman was effective against McDavid, they’ll no doubt see a lot of each other in the final. 97 said he had a good nap when asked about the brilliant performance, what a talented player.
- Lucic-Khaira-Puljujarvi went 9-13 together, 0-1 in GF, 7-6 in SCF and 4-3 in HDSC’s. There were several good moments for the line, I thought Lucic had his best game in some time, had some nice looks. Puljujarvi is using his speed well, Khaira is crashing, too. I like him at center.
Last nights 4 goal performance by McDavid also resulted in the #Oilers captain hitting 2 Perf Bonus categories, goals & points, worth $212,500 each.
McDavid has already hit his max allowable 4 'A' categories this season for $850,000.
G (20) ✔️
A (35) ✔️
P (60) ✔️
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 6, 2018
Worth every penny and more, next year’s contract will remain a bargain. McDavid began last night’s game No. 13 in scoring, today he is tied for No. 3. He now leads the NHL in even-strength points.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. Oilers big win last night, cap dictates deadline.
- Andy McNamara, TSN. Eagles win! Browns own the draft!
- Scott Cullen, TSN. Handicapping the NHL playoffs.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.