Game 18 2018-19: Canadiens at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Montreal Canadiens, for most English Canadians in my youth, were the enemy. Before expansion, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Canadiens played catch with Stanley most of the time. I don’t really remember those days, but rather my memories come after expansion when Sam Pollock flattened the rest of the league by schooling addled general managers Punch Imlach, Hap Emms, Emile Francis, Tommy Ivan and Sid Abel.

Montreal would win eight of the first 12 post-expansion Stanleys, the other four divided up between Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. Why? The expansion draft. I’ve written about it before, and have decided to write a book about it soon. Will keep you updated. First tease: Sam Pollock stars as Moby Dick.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Best available offer is here!

  • New Lowetide: Connor McDavid, a 50-goal season and chasing Phil Esposito’s magical 1970-71.
  • Lowetide: Oilers send Puljujarvi and Yamamoto to Bakersfield; recall Marody
  • Lowetide: Oilers trade options: Dealing from strength is finally a possibility.
  • Lowetide: What happens to the Oilers when Alex Chiasson’s hot streak ends?
  • Jonathan Willis: Under the circumstances, playing in the AHL affords Jesse Puljujarvi the best chance at career redemption.
  • Lowetide: A new day dawning for Oilers prospects in Bakersfield as increased usage means greater success.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: In depth: Embattled Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli defends his record, remains bullish on the future.
  • Lowetide: Future Oilers bubbling under in Bakersfield may get a look sooner rather than later.
  • Lowetide: Oscar Klefbom takes a step forward for the Edmonton Oilers.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Forty years later, remembering the forgotten trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton.
  • Lowetide: Oilers reach a pressure point on defence and right wing.

OILERS AFTER 18

  • Oilers in October 20156-12-0, 12 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in October 2016: 9-8-1, 19 points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in October 2017: 7-9-2, 16 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2018: 8-8-1, 17 points; goal differential -8

Things have tightened for the 2018 Oilers, who have a chance to catch the 2016 playoff team (again) with a win tonight. The 2017 team is also pushing up and with a loss by Edmonton tonight you’d have to consider those two teams a close match for each other.

OILERS IN NOVEMBER

  • Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-1, five points; goal differential -5
  • Oilers in November 2016: 2-4-1, five points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2017: 3-3-1, seven points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in November 2018: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -6

Edmonton has struggled in November during the McLellan years and this year is a straggler (or could be) even among this shy group. Big game tonight.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Detroit, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida  (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 1-3-0)
  • At home to: Colorado, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Dallas, Los Angeles  (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 8-5-1, 17 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 2-4-0, 4 points in 6 games

Oilers need a winning streak and right soon! I have this as a win tonight, but my prediction for the month so far (3-3-0) is lagging and might be in trouble with a loss this evening (I have tonight as a win). By the time the Vegas game is over, we’ll have a much better idea about this month, and possibly the future for some major players in this piece.

EV per 60 scoring (forwards) and NHL rank

The ranking is overall for forwards. So, first-line forwards would count 93, there are 186 top-six forwards, et cetera.

Center

  • No. 46—Connor McDavid 2.79 (1st)
  • No. 90—Leon Draisaitl 2.31 (1st)
  • No. 357—Ryan Strome 0.31 (4th)
  • No. 307—Kyle Brodziak 0.85 (4th)

McDavid will be No. 1 or No. 2 soon, he’s hanging around in the second division but the market is going to correct like a kraken. Draisaitl moves to wing now, he’s played already with 97 quite a bit because 4-on-4. I expect they’ll cash tonight. A pulse for the bottom six centers but they need to bring much more.

Left Wing

  • No. 135—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.01 (2nd)
  • No. 216—Tobias Rieder 1.54 (3rd)
  • No. 249—Jujhar Khaira 1.30 (3rd)
  • No. 331—Milan Lucic 0.61 (4th)

Nugent-Hopkins ranks as a second line winger (31 first-line wingers in the league) and considering the amount of time he’s played with McDavid that’s not fabulous. Rieder also ranks as a second liner, Khaira third line and Lucic fourth line.

Right Wing

  • No. 45—Alex Chiasson 2.81 (1st)
  • No. 175—Ty Rattie 1.76 (2nd)
  • No. 224—Drake Caggiula 1.49 (3rd)
  • No. 341—Jesse Puljujarvi 0.49 (4th)
  • No. 343—Zack Kassian 0.46 (4th)
  • No. 348—Kailer Yamamoto 0.39 (4th)

Chiasson’s market correcting now, his contributions remain a key part of the early success enjoyed by this team. I’ve been pleased with Rattie’s performance and Caggiula ranks No. 83 in goal-scoring (5) among NHL forwards.

NEW LINES AND PAIRINGS

  • Drake Caggiula [13, 5-0-5]—Connor McDavid [17, 10-13-23]—Leon Draisaitl [17, 10-7-17]
  • Tobias Rieder [17, 0-7-7]—Nuge [17, 3-14-17]—Alex Chiasson [11, 6-0-6]
  • Milan Lucic [17, 1-4-5]—Ryan Strome [17, 1-0-1]—Ty Rattie [8, 2-2-4]
  • Jujhar Khaira [15, 0-4-4]—Kyle Brodziak [16, 2-0-2]—Zack Kassian [14, 1-0-1]
  • Oscar Klefbom [17, 0-8-8]—Adam Larsson [17, 0-6-6]
  • Darnell Nurse [17, 1-4-5]—Matt Benning [13, 0-2-2]
  • Jason Garrison [10, 1-0-1]—Kris Russell [17, 0-4-4]

I think this represents Todd McLellan’s preference in terms of lines and pairings. I think that’s as it should be: When your job is on the line, go with the one that brung you. This might crater but McLellan has his big guns pointed in the direction he believes to be correct. Please don’t be France, please don’t be France.

SEKERA RETURN

The last completely healthy NHL game played by Andrej Sekera came on May 3, 2017. He played 24 minutes. May 3, 2017 was 18 months ago, he has suffered a torn ACL and a torn Achilles tendon. He’s skating again, perhaps we see him in NHL action in the new year if there isn’t another setback. I think counting on a productive Sekera this year is a bad bet, but as a bonus item would be a Godsend. He did play well in the World Championships a year ago spring after struggling badly in the NHL on his return late December. Sekera is 32.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A fun morning that includes the return of an old friend. All gets started at 10, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:

  • Scott Cullen, The Athletic. Brand new job, same witty verbal and updates on fantasy hockey, the Oilers and probably CFL.
  • Dan Robertson, TSN690 Montreal. Habs in town, that means an away game in Edmonton for the Oilers. Who starts? Why are the Habs doing so well?
  • Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll chat about Peter Chiarelli’s recent verbal, the team’s struggles and the handling of Jesse Puljujarvi.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

 

 

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v4ance

Woodguy v2.0,

You’re the wood guy, Guy! Figure it out!

frjohnk

Woodguy v2.0:
frjohnk,

This is interesting.

All situations SV% since 16/17.

Nilsson hsa 59gp, Talbot 153gp (all regular season)

HDSV%
Talbot .825
Nilsson .825

MDSV%
Talbot .910
Nilsson .909

LDSV%
Talbot .966
Nilsson .968

Crazy how close they are to each other.

Yeah. IIRC, Nilsson was a UFA when he was an Oiler

if he does not go on that huge slide, I wonder if they would have tried to keep him.

Jethro Tull

hunter1909: Glen Sather openly spoke of helping his old team when he gifted Talbot to the Oilers. Chiarelli had nothing to do with it.

Awesome. So we’re allowed to gift players to other teams without their permission. So we can send Lucic to Vancouver?

And you can take what Sather says with a grain of salt. I’d certainly count my fingers after shaking hands with him.

Ryan

jtblack: Wow.Nurse and Lucic have cratered.Nurse seems off this year compared to even modest expectations.Maybe it’s Russell

My issue with Drake is he is the person in the office who never stops talking, has papers scattered everywhere and is constantly in motion.But at the end of every month, when the #’s are reviewed, they are last or near last for effective.

Drake looks busy.But watch his forecheck next time.He will miss wildly on a body check (ineffective) or he will lose the puck battle 80% of the time.Visually looks like the Tasmanian Devil; but rarely coming out on the right side of the puck or with the puck.

Russell ‘s RELIT is 10.7 while Nurse’s -21.7.

I still don’t know much about this metric, but I’d wager a guy with a +10.7 rating can’t be weighing down a guy with a -21.7 rating.

Agreed that the pairing has not been good.

Woodguy v2.0

frjohnk,

This is interesting.

All situations SV% since 16/17.

Nilsson hsa 59gp, Talbot 153gp (all regular season)

HDSV%
Talbot .825
Nilsson .825

MDSV%
Talbot .910
Nilsson .909

LDSV%
Talbot .966
Nilsson .968

Crazy how close they are to each other.

OriginalPouzar

godot10:
The Pacific Division is thoroughly mediocre this year.

Yup and the Oilers have been very good against the Pacific over the last two years and haven’t had a chance to play any division games. I think the next 5 in a row are against the Pacific.

The Oilers have set themselves up nicely for a great opportunity here.

OriginalPouzar

godot10:
One typically doesn’t know about a goaltender until they have gone around the league a second time to see whether other teams can figure them out and find their flaws.

I think that’s starting pitching……

godot10

Glovjuice: No. He’d have had more points relative to most others then.

McDavid is a much better player. But stylistically, IMHO, Perreault is the closest comparable.

The other would be Valeri Kharlamov.

ArmchairGM

godot10:
The Pacific Division is thoroughly mediocre this year.

Good thing, too.

Woodguy v2.0

Professor Q: I was thinking of the pitchforks being stored for now, but this is along the same line, I think.

What the hell do I do with all these torches?

Glovjuice

godot10: Gilbert Perreault

No. He’d have had more points relative to most others then.

frjohnk

godot10:
One typically doesn’t know about a goaltender until they have gone around the league a second time to see whether other teams can figure them out and find their flaws.

One comparison for Koskinen is Nilsson.

Both drafted by Islanders, both big, both played in KHL and had great numbers.

Nilsson had a .922 save % after 16 games with the Oilers in 2015-16.

Then preceeded to put up 8 straight games of sub below .895 save %.

But Im a shot quality truther and believe our D is better than 3 years ago, so that should help Koskinen

Im not sure what they have in Koskinen. So far, 2 really good starts and 2 starts not so good ( but he did get a win in the .885 save % game as the Oilers outscored the mistakes)

I see a goalie that is big and takes up alot of the net.

frjohnk

hunter1909: Glen Sather openly spoke of helping his old team when he gifted Talbot to the Oilers. Chiarelli had nothing to do with it.

Chia was at the helm. He gets the credit for getting Talbot.

godot10

The Pacific Division is thoroughly mediocre this year.

godot10

One typically doesn’t know about a goaltender until they have gone around the league a second time to see whether other teams can figure them out and find their flaws.

Woodguy v2.0

Oiler Goal Share after 18 games (9-8-1)

Even strength (5v5, 4v4, 3v3):
McDavid On Ice 18-12 (60%)
McDavid Off Ice 18-24 (43%)
Net EV 0

Special Teams (PP+shorties for – PK + shorties against):
14-16
Net ST -2

Empty Net: 2-4
Net EN -2

Net Goal Differential -4

godot10

jtblack: I do not have the Lens of experience that you do LT. My Idol growing up was Gretzky. But the way McDavid creates chance after chance; he reminds me of Gretzky. The diffetence?

McDavid also reminds me of Pavel Bure with his explosive speed.

And lastly he has a little bit of Alexei Kovalev, the way he makes guys look foolish.

I just don’t remember a player with so many high level attributes. Do you?

Gilbert Perreault

pts2pndr

ArmchairGM: Draisaitl is currently shooting 22.9% – I don’t see a problem here.

Not to mention the beautiful back hand passes would be much harder to make and why fix what isn’t broken!

ArmchairGM

Scungilli Slushy: If he used a shooter’s stick it might be more conducive to goal scoring, but he likes the Smytty style paddle. If he stays RW he needs to change that, at least a little bit.

Draisaitl is currently shooting 22.9% – I don’t see a problem here.

OriginalPouzar

Scungilli Slushy: Koski also has the height that doesn’t leave a lot to hit over him. It doesn’t work as well with shorter guys.

Talbot is 6’4

OriginalPouzar

Kinger_Oil.redux:
– this team looks so much better with koski in net

– Talbot down as soon as puck crosses blue lines, hiding scared deep in crease first shot goals and too many games where he was the weakest link IMO. Rarely the better goalie.

– Koski be awesomoski. Looks legit.

The team definitely played better tonight than the last few games but he is on his knees just as much as Talbot is and, last night, he was on his knees and lost his angle as the first shot beat him high – exactly the same thing that Tablot gets bashed for repeatedly.

ArmchairGM

Bank Shot: I just think it doesn’t suit his strengths. He’s got decent skill level but he’s a pretty meat and potatoes player in terms of style.

They need a defenceman with some offensive creativity, and even if the guy doesn’t have a big shot, a guy that can sneak into the slot at the right time would make a world of difference.

Does it have to be a defenseman though? I could see Nuge in that spot.

ArmchairGM

Ben:
‘Ground and pound’…’ground and pound…’ground and pound’…?

Mixed metaphors? Mixed tenses? Both?

MMA reference.

Ribs

I want to be happy about this win but they played McDavid with Draisatl and the Habs played David Schlemko and Jordie Benn for over 20 minutes along with their backup goalie.

We heaven’t learned much, other than what we already knew.

I do still wonder if the smart money is on loading up the top line and riding them as far as they go. The coach is overly reasonable, so won’t try it, but it may be the best option. Maybe they take it even one step further and go 93-97-29 for a stretch?

hunter1909

frjohnk: Talbot is Chias best big move.

Glen Sather openly spoke of helping his old team when he gifted Talbot to the Oilers. Chiarelli had nothing to do with it.

Foege Foegele Torpe

OriginalPouzar:
Going to have to give the coach some kudos for some solid in-between game and in-game adjustments.

– He saw the fourth line was rolling again tonight and gave them a regular shift – in fact, I think they likely had more ice at evens than the third line – will check later

Lucic Strome and Rattie are kinda like a second forth line,

€√¥£€^$

Scungilli Slushy: That saved them another 25 years paying off an Olympics. Smart rate payers.

I voted No tonight, might be “good” for the country, but definitely no legacy for the taxpayers (which really include all Albertans and Canadians, but if we really look at it, just Albertans ?).

….Anyway the people have spoken.

Foege Foegele Torpe

frjohnk: Talbot is Chias best big move.

It would be fantastic if Koskinen was an even better move.

Koskinen did go down on the 3 shots that beat him (1crossbar) pretty much like Talbot does but Koskinens rebound control was extremely good tonight. This is something Talbot has struggled with as of late.

Crossbar shot was deflected by Rusty’s attempted shot block

€√¥£€^$

Gerta Rauss: I didn’t realise that Desjardin has the interim title- Q would be tempting for LA for sure, I’m sure they’ll do their due diligence

But yeah, that situation in LA is going to get worse before it gets better

and Doughty will be ripe for the pickin ????

Foege Foegele Torpe

Munny,
Strome plus 2nd rounder or 1st, knowing Poile

Bank Shot

frjohnk:

Koskinen did go down on the 3 shots that beat him (1crossbar) pretty much like Talbot does but Koskinens rebound control was extremely good tonight. This is something Talbot has struggled with as of late.

That’s pretty much goaltending 101 now though.

I can’t even think of a goaltender currently in the NHL that doesn’t play the profly style.

anduril

Lines I’d like to see:

Cags – McD – Rattie
Lucic – RNH – Strome
Rieder – Draisaitl – Chiasson
Khaira – Brodziak – Kassian

With Rieder out, I’d move Khaira up and Marody in.

Munny

What would Colton Sissons cost?

innercitysmytty

jtblack,

Based on what specifically? Career ppg are almost identical, Nuge has a few more goals in less games, and more 5×5 offense. Not sure about fancies, but Nuge is considered a good 2-way player. RJ has had fewer injury issues but not a significant difference. On the surface they appear pretty close.

Munny

Grimaldi with his first on an unbelievable play all round.

jtblack

who: They offered Nuge for Jones. Nashville chose Johansson instead.

Naashville chose right

who

leadfarmer: Or Nuge for Seth Jones
Like a few of us were begging for at the time

They offered Nuge for Jones. Nashville chose Johansson instead.

hags9k

I liked Lucic’s game tonight, Khaira too. I think they will both score soon.

Koskinen looked like a very good goalie again, hopefully Talbot is motivated and can get hot.

When’s the last time we had 3 goals from the D in a game?

The effort was definitely there again tonight, so maybe the coach has not lost the room after all? This team sure knows how to torture us…

Scungilli Slushy

Munny:
Calgary votes “No”. Calgary resoundingly not socialist. Good for them.

That saved them another 25 years paying off an Olympics. Smart rate payers.

Professor Q

Munny:
Francis also thinks this Olympics would be an “injection” into the economy. Illiteracy at it’s best.

And not to mention the opposition’s seemingly obsession with pipelines as a direct alternative.

Both a) not a direct, exclusive alternative (although like new arenas, Olympics hosting is really bad for the long-term economy), and b) proof that nothing seems to have been learned about economic diversification.

Scungilli Slushy

Gerta Rauss: I didn’t realise that Desjardin has the interim title- Q would be tempting for LA for sure, I’m sure they’ll do their due diligence

But yeah, that situation in LA is going to get worse before it gets better

I’m not sure Q would want to captain that Titanic of a team. There is no easy way out being that old and that contracted up.

Scungilli Slushy

frjohnk: Talbot is Chias best big move.

It would be fantastic if Koskinen was an even better move.

Koskinen did go down on the 3 shots that beat him (1crossbar) pretty much like Talbot does but Koskinens rebound control was extremely good tonight. This is something Talbot has struggled with as of late.

Koski also has the height that doesn’t leave a lot to hit over him. It doesn’t work as well with shorter guys.

Munny

Francis also thinks this Olympics would be an “injection” into the economy. Illiteracy at it’s best.

Munny

Eric Francis thinks the 88 Olympics is what turned around the Alberta economy in the 80s, lol.

frjohnk

Kinger_Oil.redux:
– this team looks so much better with koski in net

– Talbot down as soon as puck crosses blue lines, hiding scared deep in crease first shot goals and too many games where he was the weakest link IMO. Rarely the better goalie.

– Koski be awesomoski. Looks legit.

Talbot is Chias best big move.

It would be fantastic if Koskinen was an even better move.

Koskinen did go down on the 3 shots that beat him (1crossbar) pretty much like Talbot does but Koskinens rebound control was extremely good tonight. This is something Talbot has struggled with as of late.

Munny

Calgary votes “No”. Calgary resoundingly not socialist. Good for them.

Bling

OriginalPouzar:
Going to have to give the coach some kudos for some solid in-between game and in-game adjustments.

– McDavid/Nuge had been cold for 4 games and he goes back to Drai and it cleary sparked the line and the team. Putting Caggiula back on the 1st line worked as well tonight.

– He saw the fourth line was rolling again tonight and gave them a regular shift – in fact, I think they likely had more ice at evens than the third line – will check later

– He saw that, after a great start to the year at 2RD, Russell had regressed to historical norms and he switched him with Bening who had been fairly solid recently – both those d-men had fantastic games

– He saw the PK had been struggling and that Drake was on the ice for quite a few of the goals against – even after Rieder went down, I don’t think Drake had a shift on the PK.

Great observations and I agree. We love you again, Todd!

Even aside from his goal, DC was doing a great job digging pucks and keeping plays alive for Drai/McDavid. Good game from him, and I eat crow again 🙂

Also, I made fun of a muffin Russell slapper, so then he goes and scores on a softer wrister. It’s poetry, really 🙂

It’ll be interesting to see if Benning can keep this up. He was rocked in game one versus NJ, I believe it was Hall who hit him, and he probably suffered a concussion. His play took a dip after that, but if that was all injury related, maybe we are only starting to see the real Matt Benning now.

Klef had a bad shift on the PP, but my goodness was he dreamy defensively. Time after time after time, he won puck battles and made a good pass to the move the puck north. Klef/Larsson = #1 pairing. Legit.

Gerta Rauss

Munny: I was thinking *sell* at first, but switching the coach might be easier.

That said, JQ can afford to be choosey and not sure a smart coach would choose there.

I didn’t realise that Desjardin has the interim title- Q would be tempting for LA for sure, I’m sure they’ll do their due diligence

But yeah, that situation in LA is going to get worse before it gets better

OriginalPouzar

Upper body injury for Rieder – will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

Gerta Rauss

That’s a nice win for the Oilers- MTL was just what the doctor ordered for this team and fan base