The Edmonton Oilers got some breaks and good goaltending last night in the first two periods, finding themselves up 2-0 after 40 minutes. The final frame was most unkind, featuring three Boston goals, four high-danger scoring chances, some luck and a large amount of chasing the puck against an excellent team. You’d hope for a better result, but the possession numbers (61 percent Boston) and the shot clock (43-20) loved that dirty water. For Oilers fans, some of the younger players played well and that’s the kind of thing to look for during this very long season coda.
- Lowetide: Ethan Bear making things happen in Bakersfield
- Lowetide: Nic Petan leads some AHL achievers who could help the Oilers
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Jonathan Willis: Where have Milan Lucic’s goals gone?
- Lowetide: In defence of Cam Talbot.
- Lowetide: Is Ryan Strome a keeper?
- Lowetide: Value contracts in 2018-19
- Lowetide: What would Sam Pollock do?
- Lowetide: Oilers Keeper List
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Oilers draft history and the OHL
MORE THAN A FEELING, YEAR OVER YEAR
- February 2016: 3-7-0, goal differential -7 (6 points)
- February 2017: 5-5-0, goal differential -2 (10 points)
- February 2018: 2-7-1, goal differential -8 (5 points)
Some nice moments for various Oilers in this game, if the team was showcasing Jujhar Khaira and Ryan Strome for trade then the night was a success overall. Cam Talbot deserved a better fate in my opinion, even if he did head south on the GWG a little early.
AFTER 59, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 22-31-6, goal differential -41 (50 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 32-19-8, goal differential +20 (72 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 24-31-4, goal differential -31 (52 points)
The 2015-16 team would grab 20 points from the final 23 games, last season’s Oilers posted 31 in the same time frame. This year’s model? I’ll bet closer to 20 than 31, that 2015-16 team has been a road map all down the line.
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 0-3-0)
- At home to: Florida (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Vegas, Arizona, Colorado (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- At home to: Boston, Colorado (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- 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: 2-7-1, five points in 10 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson were 14-18 in 17:03, 0-1 GF. The duo matched the Bruins physically and were effective separating puck from opponent, but outlets weren’t crisp. Klefbom-Larsson on the horizon after the trade deadline? Went 1-12, 0-1 in 7:16 against Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak, who were frightening.
- Davidson-Benning were 9-13 in 13:07, I saw them defending pretty much the entire night. Benning had a monster hit on Ryan Spooner, an absolute rattler of a hit. Davidson took a penalty for diving that was a terrible call by the ref. I think one of these men sits when Sekera returns Thursday. Were 0-2 in 58 seconds against Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak.
- Klefbom-Russell went 12-22, 0-1 GF in 15:34 together. Russell hammered the post early, the pairing was not crisp with their outlet passing so were turned back consistently. Were 3-14 in 6:28 against Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak.
- Cam Talbot stopped 40 of 43, .930. That’s three good games in a row by the math.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Puljujarvi-Letestu-Kassian were 6-6 with 1-0 HDSC on the night, in 9:06. Todd McLellan rolled the line quite a bit, both veterans did solid work. I’m concerned about Jesse Puljujarvi, he seems betwixt and between right now. Growing pains of youth I know, hopefully he gets with some skill after the trade deadline. Were 3-3 against the Krejci line on the night.
- Khaira-Strome-Slepyshev were the most effective offensive line, going 1-2 GF, 12-16 in 8:54. Strome’s long goal drought now over, he’s potted a couple lately. I like him best at center. Went 3-10 against Heinen-Backes-Nash line.
- Lucic-Draisaitl-Cammalleri were not a strong line, poor Leon’s wonderful passes were mostly useless. Man what a waste. Went 7-13 in 12:01, 1-6 in scoring chances. I kept wondering when Leon would move to 97’s line but it never happened. Went 0-7 against the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak trio,
- Maroon-McDavid-Caggiula were 10-23 in 15:51, 4-12 in shots and 0-1 GF. McDavid was tightly checked and his wingers were poor. Maroon’s thought process is a house divided currently and Drake Caggiula can’t hang with the kind of opponent McDavid sees every night (witness the winning goal). McDavid was 12-20 in 15:12 against Zdeno Chara, coach McLellan not using his last change advantage in any way, really. Were 4-17 against the Bergeron line in 7:03.
I was at last night’s game, the first chance for me to look at the team since Christmas. Boston is a fine team, so the things that troubled Edmonton in this game were partly due to the qual comp. Things I noticed:
- Connor McDavid should have drawn four power plays, he drew one. It’s a thing.
- While we’ve been worrying about the right-wing depth chart, the left side has fallen into disrepair.
- Talbot is seeing the puck well again.
- Nurse-Larsson is a solid pairing, but you can see the wisdom of Klebom-Larsson. Oscar needs Adam’s defensive acumen and Larsson needs Klefbom’s puck moving. I think we may see Nurse paired with Russell in the coming days.
- Who were they showcasing? Based on lineup choices, Drake Caggiula, Patrick Maroon, Mike Cammalleri and Milan Lucic get the nod. Based on usage? The entire Strome line.
- Being at the game last night was fun, I stayed away from social media and checked in on the blog only a few times during the evening. One of the great things for me about this season is the success of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle in their new cities, I hope their success continues. That said, twitter has become six degrees of Taylor Hall (except it’s only one degree) and at times it seems every single Oilers mention ignites a Taylor Hall/Jordan Eberle response. If you feel that side of Oilers fandom isn’t for you (and your emails to me indicate same), I encourage you to opt out, or to fade those who do make it about those trades. Peter Chiarelli made those trades, and he should lose his job over it. You didn’t make the trade. It is not a reflection of you and you don’t have to make it a part of your daily experience. If it is impacting your life outside of the recreational time you put aside, then let it go. For your own peace of mind.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on the Lowdown, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Last night’s game, how long will it take to turn this team around?
- Scott Wheeler, The Athletic. Scott has his mid-season rankings out and there are some very interesting decisions. We’ll also talk about the state of the Oilers prospect list.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. My friend has a new book! Plus baseball!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!