It began like so many nights, your favourite blogger throwing cups and saucers hither and yon, turning the air blue and causing the dog a terrible fright. Edmonton’s third pairing looked poor, the team was outclassed on most every sortie and I entertained the idea we’d see a trade or other move sometime in the morning. Alas, this young Oilers team, who did show some spark after going down 3-1, flattened the Jets in the third period to get things back to fours. The Darnell Nurse goal? Well. That was nice. The pass from McDavid to Rattie? Otherworldly.
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- New Eric Duhatschek: Oilers finally getting a goal without Connor McDavid’s help and Edmonton captain couldn’t be happier.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Grant Fuhr talks about his journey, drug use and the state of goaltending.
- New Lowetide: Math offers a surprising option for Leon Draisaitl’s struggling No. 2 line
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Patience preached as Jesse Puljujarvi attempts to carve out his spot in the Oilers lineup.
- New Corey Pronman: Around the farm. Prospects having early success (Oilers item).
- Lowetide: College and AHL prospect update.
- Lowetide: Panic storm on the horizon as Oilers remain a one-man show
- Justin Bourne: How hockey has changed for the better and allowed its young stars to shine.
- Lowetide: Joel Persson’s early season performance in the SHL.
- Lowetide: Practice lines in Boston, anger in Edmonton and Kailer Yamamoto remains on the No. 2 line.
- Jonathan Willis: At 34, is Kyle Brodziak just too old to help the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Why Todd McLellan’s name keeps showing up on those ‘first coach fired in 2018-19’ lists
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Larsson went 18-10 in 16:06, rocking chair defense saw them post 13-6 shots, 1-0 goals, 2-1 in HDSC. Impressive. Faced the Connor-Schiefele-Wheeler line 8:21, 8-7 Corsi and 5-5 shots (1-0 Swedish duo in goals). Edmonton won the head-to-head battle of the titans, it helps having McDavid along for 11:09.
- Nurse-Russell played 20:25, going 19-14 Corsi for 5-on-5, 7-9 shots, 0-1 goals. Faced Schiefele 8:05, going 13-11 and zero goals (5-6 shots). McDavid played with this pairing only 6:24. Nurse’s goal was a Bobby Orr beauty, goalie played it poorly but so did the Jets’ defender.
- Garrison-Benning damned near lost the game in the first period. Very bad! Went 11-16 Corsi for 5-on-5 in 8:34, 1-2 in goals and I think the general manager should be aggressive in adding some help here. Kevin Gravel? Went 8-12, 1-2 against the Lowry line, had no answer for that impressive trio (Tanev-Copp). Benning settled in with Nurse (1:25, 1-1 Corsi), and Klefbom (2-0, 1:15) and now I’m wondering if the Leftorium isn’t deep enough.
- Cam Talbot stopped 29 of 33, .879. It would be easy to criticize him but the goalie made some big stops, including a late breakaway that would have been a heartbreaker.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Khaira-Brodziak-Rieder were 8-3 in 6:52, 1-0 HDSC and no goals. They were effective if quiet offensively (Khaira with the great chance). There was plenty of line juggling, so it’s difficult to get a full measure of this group, I’d be fine with seeing them again. Brodziak needs to be more involved but he’s still adjusting.
- Nugent-Hopkins-McDavid-Rattie were 18-10 in 16:03, 11-6 shots, 2-0 in goals, 3-1 in HDSC. Seven offensive and three defensive zone starts, that’s a wrinkle. Went 14-9, 2-0 goals against Morrissey-Trouba, the righty caught McDavid mid-game along the wall and I’m still worried. Were 11-8 in 12:34 against Schiefele, 97 is getting a steady diet of the best available. Rattie had four HDSC. His goal was a fabulous shot off a brilliant McDavid rush. How many times can he do that over a season? Rattie is on pace for 20.5 goals this season.
- Caggiula-Strome-Puljujarvi were 8-4 in 7:43, 6-3 shots and 0-1 goals. Strome also played well with Lucic and Yamamoto when McLellan flipped the lines (5-5) and Puljujarvi scored when the coach zoomed him to the No. 1 line. Need to be more dynamic. I say it every post-game. They know! I know. We know.
- Lucic-Draisaitl-Yamamoto were 5-7 in 6:34, 0-1 goals. Leon moved to a line with Caggiula and Puljujarvi for a time, they had success (5-7 but did get a HDSC). Puljujarvi jumped on a line with Nuge and McDavid to get a goal. Yamamoto jumped on a line with Strome and looked good. Leon had more chances but seemed to be tentative, an example being on a partial breakaway he chose to turn into a two-on-one. Draisaitl didn’t drive the net with his usual abandon. Concerning. Leon got the Morrow-Myers pair (12-14, 6-8 shots, 0-1 goals, two HDSC for and against), McLellan has to get this line untracked.
- Lucic went 7-6 Corsi events 5-on-5 without Leon, Draisaitl going 8-8 without the big winger.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 0-4-0, goal differential -8
- Oilers in October 2016: 3-1-0, goal differential +2
- Oilers in October 2017: 1-3-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2018: 2-2-0, goal differential -4
The great thing about last night’s victory is that the 2018 team has a little distance between themselves and the two teams listed who missed out on the playoffs. That’s a big deal, even this early.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM OCTOBER
- On the road to: Sweden to play NJD (Expected: 0-0-1) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- On the road to: Boston, NYR, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 2-1-0)
- At home to: Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Washington (Expected 1-3-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Nashville, Chicago (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 3-6-2, 8 points in 11 games
- Current results: 2-2-0, 4 points after four games
I projected the Oilers to be 1-2-1 (three points) by now, so the team is ahead of my prediction. The home stand sounds like a blessing but good grief there are no easy pieces over the next week. I picked the Boston game as a win, mostly because of one the greatest games I’ve had as a fan (took my daughter, she loved it and Martin Marincin scored in the shootout. She’s been a hockey fan since, that’s a memory I’ll hold forever). Can they get 11 points out of this month? It would be a huge help. Best to take it as it comes.
DID HE, OR DIDN’T HE?
Retweet if this was done on purpose
Like if it’s an accident pic.twitter.com/W9cpv53xUa
— not Connor McDavid (@McJesus_97) October 17, 2018
This morning, I’m reminded of the Gretzky days, when grown men would agree “he meant to do that” and then shake their heads in awe. Did he mean to do that? I agree with this take. If McDavid had bobbled the puck, he would have made an attempt to recover.
LINES FOR BOSTON?
Hell if I know. Jesse Puljujarvi scored while standing in for Rattie, who also scored while on the top line. Todd McLellan said “Jesse played well most of the night, he looks like he’s starting to regain that confidence.” I would like to see him get power-play time and a Leon-Puljujarvi audition seems inevitable.
What a terrific goal. He’s playing over 21 minutes a night at 5-on-5, he is tied for No. 20 overall in even-strength scoring by defensemen (1-2-3) and playing monster minutes. The general manager needs to find some help, but in the meantime Nurse (and the Swedish pairing) have played well enough to get the Oilers here. A quick note on Kris Russell so far: he’s exactly where you expect him to be, lower part of the rel. He’s defending too much and he’s not a great passer. However, he stepped in on the second pair and can stay there until Matt Benning finds his way or the general manager finds an alternative. That has value.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A crowded house today on the show, a combination of euphoria over an Oilers win and euphoria over reefer madness. I should watch that again. At 10, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Oilers win! Now 2-2. What’s next?We’ll identify the major areas Peter Chiarelli will need to tweak in the coming days.
- Cole Young, PBR (Professional Bull Riders). The toughest guys I’ve ever met are bull riders, and Cole will be part of the Edmonton Classic this weekend. We’ll chat about the sport and Cole’s success.
- Jon Campbell, Sports Analyst at OddsShark.com. The NBA season is just underway, are the Raptors a good bet to win the east? Golden State Warriors again? Houston? Boston? 76ers? What about the Lakers? We’ll chat about some college ball as well, any questions you’d like answered?
- Jeff Paulus and Sean Fleming, FC Edmonton. One of the great things about Edmonton is how many great soccer people there are. Eddies hired a great one yesterday, we’ll chat.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Tune in!