The Edmonton Oilers gave home fans a fun game with lots of goals and a win at the end last night. The highlight: Three points by Connor McDavid (all brilliant) and the low light was defense so loose it reminded some of the free form jazz set performed by Spinal Tap at the Hollywood Bowl. In a tough season, that was a fun night for everyone but the coaches.
Great offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. Offer is here.
- New Lowetide: Condors forwards and Austin Czarnik.
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers can learn from fledgling Golden Knights.
- New Julie Robenhymer: Cooper Marody and his future.
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the need for speed.
- Minnia Feng: A cinematic analysis of this year’s Oilers.
- Lowetide: What if the 17-18 Oilers season was a blessing in disguise?
- 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.
MYSTERY TO ME, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-0, goal differential -1, two points
- Oilers in April 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential -1, two points
- Oilers in April 2018: 1-1-0, goal differential -2, two points
Looks like April is going to start the same every year under Todd McLellan’s run as Oilers coach. Not much to choose one from another, although making the playoffs is a better way.
AFTER 81, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 31-43-7, goal differential -49 (69 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 46-26-9, goal differential +41 (101 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 35-40-6, goal differential -33 (76 points)
The won loss record is criminal but the goal differential is impossible. How on earth can a team ice a 106-point impact player and finish dash 33? What on earth are they doing when he’s at rest? Lordy.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL
- On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
- At home to: Vegas, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- Overall expected results: 1-2-0, two points in three games
- Overall actual results: 1-1-0, two points in two games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson went 18-9 in 17:40, shots 14-6, 2-1 GF. Were 9-3 in HD, McDavid’s line 3-2 HD, but 2-0 in GF. Went 8-7 against Pirri-Karlsson-Tuch. I think this pairing could work next season but prefer Klefbom with Larsson. Woodguy tells me that Nurse is the better match, perhaps I’ll warm to the idea. Pairing was exposed on the third goal, otherwise solid.
- Russell-Bear were 13-12 in 15:34, 6-6 SF and 4-4 in HDSC. That was a goal, nice one too. Russell had a good passing evening, Bear looked sharp on several decisions but he’s awkward on that power-play back pass. I like Bear a lot but he needs more AHL time. Went 4-7 in five minutes against Pirri-Karlsson-Tuch.
- Lowe-Benning were 11-16 in 10:43, 6-11 SF and 1-2 GF. Were 5-4 against Nosek-Linbderg-Reaves. I thought Lowe was nervous early (misstep on GA) but settled in. Benning’s goal is the reason you keep him around. You can be critical of Lowe (he was wrong place, right time a few times) but there was plenty to like. I’d be fine with him re-signing and remaining a recall option.
- Cam Talbot stopped 30 of 33, .909. Made some big stops, got win No. 30.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Khaira-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi played well, going 15-8 in 13:22. Were 9-5 in SC and 5-1 in HDSC’s, Puljujarvi getting two brilliant looks and setting up Leon on another glorious chance (Subban was good, and lucky). Leon was terrific in this game, his linemates both benefited and helped the performance.
- Lucic-Strome-Caggiula were 9-7 in 9:37, 1-1 GF. Were 7-4 against Nosek-Linbderg-Reaves. Strome and Caggiula are small but had some chem. Caggiula had three HDSC, Lucic one, the big man needs to impact the offense more often.
- Nuge-McDavid-Rattie were 13-18 in 12:48, 2-1 GF and 8-8 in shots. The trio was 7-5 in HDSC’s but there possession numbers are trailing the overall scoring success. I think Rattie has earned a contract. Ran 11-9 against Tatar-Haula-Neal, 2-0 GF.
- Slepyshev-Cammalleri-Kassian were 6-10 in 9:46. They were 0-1 in GF but 4-4 in HDSC. I think all three men are in danger in terms of return (although Kassian is likely to be back). Between the other two, I expect Cammalleri has a better chance to return but that’s a guess.
Cooper Marody and the Michigan Wolverines have been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Gut-wrenching way to lose, but that was one hell of a hockey game.
— Matt Mosewich (@EDMFutureWatch) April 6, 2018
No idea if the Oilers can get him signed in time for tomorrow night, but there are a bunch of AHL games to come (5) so we wait. Marody’s numbers in Michigan (40gp, 16-35-51) and NHLE (36.5) suggest he’s a solid prospect. Drake Caggiula had an NHLE of 44 coming out of UND, but he may have been zoomed a little by linemates (and he does have 20 points this season). Interesting prospect, he should help if he signs.
Interesting line. Corsica has them at 116 minutes, 112-121 Corsi 5×5 events (48.07), 13-7 GF (65 percent). I think you have to wait at least 200 minutes but the trend suggests this line is scoring well past expectations. Part of that is 97 for sure, but you don’t want the world’s best player on a line that is a possession drag. I do think both wingers have earned more time in the fall on McDavid’s line. Not certain Rattie will have an NHL career but he is taking advantage of a brilliant chance and credit to him. Nuge fits like a wonderful, expensive, ludicrously well-tailored glove.
Benson is off to Bakersfield and should see some action before the end of the schedule. Kailer Yamamoto was playing hurt during Spokane’s series so his debut in the AHL will be delayed (and may not happen at all). Plenty of hope for both men as they begin pro careers in an organization with enormous needs at their positions.
Oilers aren’t locked in at No. 7, the club could move up a significant amount with a win Saturday (and losses in the tri-state area). At this point you’d like to get the best odds, if Edmonton ends up at the No. 7 spot they could still move down because of the lottery.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We are live at United Cycle this morning, 10-noon, to celebrate an Edmonton treasure. How old were you the first time you hit United Cycle? We’ll help celebrate this morning. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, BigMouthSports. The Masters already has an outstanding leaderboard, NHL playoffs straight ahead.
- Mark Zecchino, Golf Talk Canada. The Masters!
- Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Can the Jays hang with the Yankees? Plus, should the Oilers sign Ty Rattie and bring him to camp as McDavid’s right-wing?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!