The Edmonton Oilers didn’t mark their man worth a tinker’s damn last night, from sunup to sundown. Given a 3-0 lead despite getting hammered in possession, they collectively said screw that noise and began drinking muddy water by the bucket. Good lord sometimes you wonder if this crew has repeatable skills. This kind of game is beyond galling, it has to be fixed. I understand Oscar is gone for the year, but the man coverage was poor and at times I think the Oilers shifted to “man on the street” coverage. You watch that game and tell me: What on earth were they trying to do?
“It was awful, horrible. We had a good start and then our game went right back to where it was at the start of the year. We have to find a way to keep pucks out of our net. Disappointing cause lately we had been good in our own end,” McDavid. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) March 28, 2018
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- New Lowetide: The college way doesn’t necessarily represent the best way.
- Lowetide: A superb summer in three movements.
- Jonathan Willis: McDavid’s season shows how much the NHL has changed.
- Lowetide: Looking at Oilers No. 2 line for 2018-19
- Jonathan Willis: An 8-point plan for the Oilers’ offseason.
- Lowetide: Ethan Bear’s first 10 games.
- Lowetide: What are the Oilers getting in Cooper Marody?
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
I’M A MAN, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 7-7-0, goal differential -2 (14 points)
- March 2017: 10-2-1, goal differential +21 (21 points)
- March 2018: 7-5-2, goal differential +3 (16 points)
Despite last night’s game, it has been a good month. If the Oilers ran an 82-game season in the way they’ve performed in March, their record would be (about) 41-29-12, 94 points. That’s in the range of playoffs. Not that it matters, but the hockey you’ve been watching featured enough success to project as a playoff pace. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen it, wanted to remind you.
AFTER 77, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 30-40-7, goal differential -45 (67 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 43-25-9, goal differential +39 (95 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 34-37-6, goal differential -29 (74 points)
Oilers can erase the memory of last night’s game with a win on the coast tomorrow night, and a Saturday night chaser of two points in Calgary would put the team dangerously close to 80 points on the year. Of course, they could fall into a funk and lose out through season’s end, there’s no way to predict this team.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH
- At home to: Nashville, NY Rangers, Arizona, NY Islanders, Minnesota (Expected 2-3-0) (Actual 3-2-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-1)
- On the road to: Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 3-1-0)
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Columbus (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-1-1)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
- Current results: 7-5-2, 16 points in 14 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson were 9-11 in 16:28, 0-1 GF. Were 3-9 in SCF and 1-3 in HDSC, it was that kind of night. Were 5-8 against Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson in seven minutes, that line was filthy all night long. Holy hell. Dubois was playing LW last I paid attention but he is the pivot on this line and was splendid. Larsson wasn’t tight against Panarin on the second goal. Nurse has been chasing for weeks, needs to remember his transporter abilities and do that more often.
- Russell-Bear were 13-15 in 12:22, but 0-3 GF. Were 7-13 against Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson, somehow got loose against the second pairing for 6:33. Bear made some good outlet passes but was not good in coverage. Russell was a day late too often and was very poor in outlet passing.
- Sekera-Benning were 10-11 in 10:43, 0-2 GF. Went 6-11 in 5:00 against Jenner-Wennberg-Vanek, who was absolutely a pain in the ass all night long. Sekera doesn’t hear footsteps and doesn’t see oncoming trains and he can’t win a battle at all. Genuinely concerned. Benning was active but not terribly productive.
- Cam Talbot stopped 13 of 18, .722. Laurent Brossoit stopped seven of nine (woo hoo) .778.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Slepyshev-Khaira-Kassian went 7-6 (Kassian in 8:43) and 3-6 (Slepyshev in 6:07) with Drake Caggiula (4-0 in 2:33) replacing Pete Best. Each of the regular fourth-line men did some good things, but nothing rhymed. Khaira pushed, I’d like to see him higher in the lineup, with more skill. Went 4-4 against Milano-Dubinsky-Bjorkstrand, no one scoring on anyone’s watch. I think you take that from your No. 4 line.
- Caggiula-Draisaitl-Aberg were 5-7 in 5:58, 0-2 GF. Line was 4-6 in six minutes (0-1) against Jenner-Wennberg-Vanek, I don’t think either winger for Edmonton was strong on the night. Lucic joined Leon for five minutes, going 6-4, 2-1 in scoring chances. Leon needs help, people. Aberg needs to impact the game way more than he did last night if he’s to grab an NHL job in Edmonton.
- Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi executed at their usual levels, going 7-6 in six minutes, 0-0 GF. Lost the scoring chance battle 1-2, and Strome had a GA when Caggiula-Aberg were out there with him, but the original trio was solid. I noticed some negative online last night about JP, not sure what people saw. For me, Puljujarvi would be one of the forwards I’d rate as being good (only McDavid was great on the night, in my opinion).
- Nuge-McDavid-Rattie had five points and all kinds of momentum but the entire bridge collapsed. The line had a terrible night in possession, going 11-18, 1-4 GF in 12:55. Lordy. Went 9-13, 1-1 against the Panarin-Dubois-Atkinson line, the Oilers didn’t have an answer for them when the game was being won. Rattie can’t disappear as he did last night, that’s the one thing he cannot do while keeping the 1R job. Nuge got in some bad luck on the first GA, but this line wasn’t sharp defensively all night long.
GOD’S FLASHLIGHT, LAST 10 GAMES (5X5 60 SCORING)
- Connor McDavid 5.57
- Ty Rattie 3.65
- Nuge 3.42
- Pontus Aberg 3.12
- Leon Draisaitl 2.30
- Drake Caggiula 1.56
- Jujhar Khaira 1.21
- Zack Kassian 1.17
- Ryan Strome 1.11
- Jesse Puljujarvi 1.07
- Anton Slepyshev 0.67
- Milan Lucic 0.51
McDavid is blowing the doors off NHL teams, Nuge and Rattie offering a strong rhythm section and keeping their sticks on the ice. Leon is posting stronger numbers than Nuge would be delivering (I believe this to be true) on a second line with Aberg and Caggiula, but you’d like him to have stronger linemates. I enjoyed the shuffle last night that saw JP and Lucic move up with LD, would like to see the Finn stapled there for the rest of the season.
CORSI FOR 5X5, LAST 10 GAMES (DEFENSE)
- Andrej Sekera 46.67
- Matt Benning 46.67
- Kris Russell 45.06
- Adam Larsson 44.77
- Ethan Bear 43.79
- Darnell Nurse 40.82
Nurse has struggled in the last 10, Oilers don’t have enough actual NHL defensemen (Oscar is one) and are running a flat out rookie every night. Andrej Sekera is playing third pair and isn’t close to 50 percent in possession. Would they buy him out? I can’t see it but the Edmonton Oilers need to be much better in the fall at the position.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) March 28, 2018
His NHLE from this past season is 82gp, 11-17-28, that’s just shy of what we might expect from a top flight offensive forward. I believe he’ll settle in as a two-way winger in pro and have also believed he’ll get a full season in the AHL before moving up. We should keep in mind two things: The Oilers need value contracts at the NHL level, and Benson is highly regarded by the organization. Could we see him in Edmonton by this time next year?
Only two games, not time to panic, but Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Kailer Yamamoto have just a single assist between the two so far in the series. Something to keep an eye on. Series tied 1-1. Game 3 is in Spokane Wednesday. #WHL
— Kevin Dudley (@k_dudley) March 26, 2018
Usually a player breaks out around the time one notices a slump but it’s something to watch. Yamamoto is 2gp, 0-1-1 so if he picks up a couple of points in the next game all will be well. A lot of his value comes in the offense so it’s pretty easy to read how he’s going. Yamamoto’s NHLE (82gp, 12-26-38) puts him on a collision course for opening night in the NHL. Whenever I write that, someone posts “he should go back to junior” but the young man has played four seasons at that level and turns 20 in September. Ideally, the Oilers have enough quality, balance and depth to send Yamamoto to Bakersfield but history informs us that Yamamoto is a strong candidate for opening night.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A rollicking show beginning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. I don’t know why, but Bruce is always scheduled after an ass-kicking. He’ll use his wonderful vocabulary to describe the scene and we’ll look forward to April.
- Meghan Montemurro from the Athletic. We’ll chat Phillies, who may actually be phormidable some nights this year.
- Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. Who is moving up? Down? We’ll have a lash at the players who might be available around Edmonton’s pick in the first round.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!