The first time the Oilers and the Calgary Flames met in a regular season game was October 22, 1980 at Northlands Coliseum. Dave Semenko scored the first goal in the rivalry, fitting based on the complete lunacy that would follow. I can’t tell you all the reasons why beating the Flames on HNIC means so much, only that it does. Every damned time.
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- New Jonathan Willis: Aberg and Rattie audition for jobs as value contracts in major roles.
- Lowetide: Condors Curios: Interesting things bubbling under in Bakersfield.
- 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.
DAZED AND CONFUSED, 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)
- 2016 and 2017 schedules complete
Game 16 this month gives the Oilers a chance to end March with 18 points. That would represent a large portion of the yearly point total (24 percent if Edmonton wins tonight) in one 31-day span. One area the organization let slip through their fingers this month: Impacting the overall goal differential. Opportunity missed.
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)
- March 28, 2016: Anaheim 2, Edmonton 1 (Source)
- April 4, 2017: Los Angeles 6, Edmonton 4 (Source)
Edmonton will play Minnesota, Vegas and Vancouver in April to close out the schedule, making Calgary the easiest opponent on the schedule. Doesn’t mean the Oilers win tonight, but the roster quality favors the northern town. Perhaps Edmonton decides to make yet another goalie look like Georges Vezina.
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
Turns out I was pretty close on the estimate, although this month had some ups and downs. A win tonight gives Edmonton an 8-6-2 record and 18 points. You’d have to call that a success, as over 82 games it represents 41-31-10, 92 points, and somewhere close to a playoff spot.
Tyler Steenbergen with the hat trick and Stuart Skinner made 40 saves as the @SCBroncos won 5-2 in front of a very lively crowd tonight to take a 3-2 lead in their series with the Pats. Game 6 is back in Regina tomorrow night. Post-game is live on @TheEagle94one
— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) March 31, 2018
Skinner remains unsigned and could play another season in the WHL (he turns 20 in November). Skinner had an .897 save percentage in Lethbridge (31 games) before the trade to Swift Current. In the final 25 games of the season, he posted a .914 SP. So far in these playoffs (5 games), he is running a .940 SP. Impressive season.
MCDAVID FACTS, NO. 97
So far this NHL season, the Oilers have outscored opponents (5×5) 79-56 while Connor McDavid is on the ice (1257 minutes, 49 seconds). That’s a 58.52 percent goal share. When McDavid is off the ice? 2,536 minutes, 14 seconds of pure misery. The goal differential without McDavid on the ice (79-111, 41.58 goal share) leaves the overall number shy (158-167, 48.62). This is the tale of two teams: Stanley Cup contender versus AHL level.
Jesse Puljujarvi has played 426 minutes with Lucic this season…hasn't played over 250 minutes with any other forward. Makes sense right?
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) March 28, 2018
Beyond ‘God’s Flashlight’ (5×5 per 60 scoring) is Primary Points per 60. Basically, the stat deletes second assists, a sticky wicket because some second assists have more impact than first assists due to the degree of difficulty. That said, it does inform us about difference makers as opposed to lucky buggers and this year Jesse Puljujarvi shines in this stat. (Corsica)
- No. 5: Connor McDavid 2.36
- No. 10: Ty Rattie 2.16
- No. 18: Leon Draisaitl 2.03
- No. 125: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.39
- No. 171: Jesse Puljujarvi 1.26
- No. 217: Ryan Strome 1.16
- No. 222: Anton Slepyshev 1.14
- No. 236: Pontus Aberg 1.11
- No. 259: Drake Caggiula 1.07
- No. 274: Jujhar Khaira 1.04
Lots to talk about here. McDavid’s season is amazing, especially considering the players ahead of him (MacKinnon, Matthews, Cirelli, Marchand) are running with superior linemates. Ty Rattie towers over Pontus Aberg, but Aberg’s Nashville minutes are included here, so disregard the gap between the two men as stated here.
Leon Draisaitl is the right choice for No. 2 center over Nuge for several reasons, including the primary points number. We weren’t certain LD could drive his own line before but we now have confirmation. The downside? When Draisaitl has defensive lapses (as he did the other night on the GWG) he will be the target of fans. This was the case with Nuge in that role and Horcoff before him. Oilers fans, who I value and defend, have never been able to understand that nuance. When a player is asked to play that role, especially with lesser linemates, the degree of difficulty is enormous. When your center makes a mistake, please understand it happens to everyone playing the position. Seriously. The downbeat verbal on Leon this season makes Oilers fans look silly. He’s a very good NHL player transitioning into a very difficult role. Be patient. He’s ideally suited to the role.
Jesse Puljujarvi scores well in this ranking (there are 170 forwards who are having more success, making JP a lower second-line winger due to 31 teams times 6 players in the top six=186 players) and that’s a great spot to be at age 19. I will tell you that in my opinion Puljujarvi has work to do in order to earn more trust from the coach (and probably teammates) but Dustin Nielson touched on an important item above. Milan Lucic (who is not listed above) has been a drag on offense all year and JP has had that as a Denver boot much of the season.