The Edmonton Oilers had 14 high-danger scoring chances at 5×5 last night, and cashed on a play I would judge to be low danger (assuming a normal human being had the chance). Natural Stat Trick tells us Edmonton ranks No. 3 overall in HDSC’s, with 9.7 at 5×5 per game. As upset as one might be about last night’s game, and it was the 44th loss so you should be used to it by now, this club had their chances.
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- New Lowetide: Condors Curios: Interesting things bubbling under in Bakersfield
- New Jonathan Willis: Does Anton Slepyshev have a future with the Edmonton Oilers?
- Lowetide: Jujhar Khaira’s spot in the order.
- 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: 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.
DID SHE MENTION MY NAME, YEAR OVER YEAR
- March 2016: 7-8-0, goal differential -3 (14 points)
- March 2017: 10-2-1, goal differential +21 (21 points)
- March 2018: 7-6-2, goal differential +2 (16 points)
One game left in the month and it’s still going to represent a healthy chapter compared to the others this year. The Oilers have so many bad habits it’s difficult to pick a favorite. Last night, I noticed many people focusing on coverage, I spent the evening amazed by all of the terrible passes. Vase, vase. It’ll need to be fixed by fall.
AFTER 78, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 30-41-7, goal differential -47 (67 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 44-25-9, goal differential +40 (97 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 34-38-6, goal differential -30 (74 points)
Well, they aren’t going to catch Calgary. However, the Oilers may yet draft inside the top 10 overall. This is a pitiful record if you look at it after a Connor McDavid shift, but full value if you’re peering at the standings during a shift by anyone else. Edmonton cannot handle pressure on its defense, they crumble like, well, crumb cake.
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 0-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 6-7-3, 15 points in 16 games
- Current results: 7-6-2, 16 points in 15 games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Auvitu-Benning were 13-11 in 12:01, 0-1 GF. I think the goal against was a collective outreach cluster bleep, Leon was slow to awaken, Talbot went walkabout and both defenders left an ocean down the slot. Went 6-5 against Goldobin-Horvat-Jokinen (good grief) and that was the line that was on the ice for the GWG. Curiously, the pairing had four offensive and five defensive zone starts.
- Nurse-Larsson went 19-17 in 19:22 (they are playing too much) and 0-1 GF. I think it was icing and that set up the entire play. You may feel differently. Were 12-6 against Sedin-Sedin-Gagner. Again with the weird zone starts, seven in the offensive zone and five in the defensive.
- Sekera-Russell were 9-10 in 14:55, 0-0 GF. This was an astute move by the coaching staff, placing the two veterans together in an effort to shore up the second pair. Went 2-4 against the low event police of Motte-Sutter-Archibald. Sekera had his best game (imo) since his return, Russell was effective save for the outlet passing.
- Cam Talbot stopped 28 of 30, .933. Misstep on the GWG, solid otherwise.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Lucic-Strome-Puljujarvi went 13-5 in 11:52. I thought the trio was splendid, with Strome leading the way. If he could hit the damnable net once in awhile he would score 20. Puljujarvi was mostly quiet and Lucic was unlucky and slow, but criticizing these three men for last night is a strange way. Went 6-3 against the Sedins.
- Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 15-9 in 14:46, 0-0 GF and 9-5 in SF. They were 3-3 in HDSC, seems to be a higher event line than need be. Went 11-7 against Motte-Sutter-Archibald. I’m going to guess McDavid-Draisaitl ends up being a better possession driver as a line.
- Pakarinen-Khaira-Kassian were 9-8 in 7:18, 0-1 GF (it was offside). The line went 6-6 in scoring chances but 1-4 in HDSC’s, that’s an interesting line. Were 5-5 against Boucher-Gaunce-Gaudette. Kassian is in a funk of games where he doesn’t really do anything, especially at 5×5. I thought he showed flashes of coming out of it last night.
- Caggiula-Draisaitl-Aberg were 12-14 in 11:51, 0-1 GF. Leon needs a Pisani in the worst way. Were outshot 7-12 and lost the SC battle 5-6 but were 3-3 in HD. I think Draisaitl should be run with Khaira or Puljujarvi for awhile. Warts and all, there’s more promise with those two men.
OH MY GENTLE LORD
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 30, 2018
In the words of the great philosopher Blondie “Oh Hoe, Oh Hoe, what are we gonna do?” That was a nothing play. Nothing. Zippo. Nada. Wow.
In my piece for The Athletic today, there are lots of interesting tidbits on the entire roster. Joe Gambardella’s season is the most interesting in my opinion, drilling down on his numbers gives one hope for this young man’s future.
RYAN STROME AND NEXT YEAR
I’ve come around on Strome as a No. 3 center and would bring him back next season. In fact, despite appearances, I’m on board with most of the roster returning:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Connor McDavid—????
- ????—Leon Draisaitl—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Milan Lucic—Ryan Strome—Kailer Yamamoto
- Pontus Aberg—Jujhar Khaira—Zack Kassian
- ???—Iiro Pakarinen
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Darnell Nurse—?????
- Andrej Sekera—Kris Russell
- Matt Benning
- Cam Talbot (???)
I have just five replacements listed, the problem being the organization must upgrade a gigantic amount and cannot borrow from the current roster. Next stop: Draft lottery.