Game 28 2018-19: Oilers at Blues

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers lost in Dallas without Connor McDavid, but with the captain back have a good chance to win against the St. Louis Blues this evening. McDavid doesn’t just cut the game in half, he brings possession, goal differential and exhausts the other team’s best for over 20 minutes a night. Here’s the latest, using shot and goal differential:

  • Connor McDavid 5-on-5 On Ice: Shots (273-228) 54.49 percent; GD (20-15) 57.14 percent. 
  • Connor McDavid 5-on-5 Off Ice: Shots (401-407) 49.6 percent; GD (21-33) 38.89 percent

Edmonton’s 5-on-5 shooting percentage is 6.08 this season (7.48 last year; 8.28 in their playoff season) and that should regress, but then again no sniper with Simo Häyhä’s resume is on the current roster. Ken Hitchcock is going to be like an agitating washing machine trying to get goals out of his current wingers, and then the next batch if these guys don’t work out.

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. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Ken Hitchcock’s ‘to-do’ list of miracles a long one, involving 30 percent of the Oilers roster.
  • Jonathan Willis: Leon Draisaitl needs his own line and other lessons from a McDavid-less Oilers loss
  • Lowetide: Oilers farm team in Bakersfield coming to a boil with quality prospects, most exciting farm team in decades.
  • Lowetide: Finding Ken Hitchcock’s Oilers more productive wingers: Hard target search.
  • Dom Luszczyszyn: 31 Stats (Oilers content).
  • Jonathan Willis: Edmonton’s waiver gamble on Valentin Zykov is one with the possibility of a surprisingly high-end payoff.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 4 Prospect winter 2018: Ryan McLeod.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect winter 2018: Tyler Benson.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect winter 2018: Kailer Yamamoto.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect winter 2018: Evan Bouchard.

OILERS AFTER 28

  • Oilers in 201511-15-2, 24 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in 2016: 14-10-4, 32 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2017: 11-15-2, 24 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2018: 13-12-2, 28 points; goal differential -6

Suddenly the 2018 team is losing ground to the playoff club and the two non-playoff teams are on the same lap as this year’s model. The NHL is evil with the Bettman point, you can’t make up ground because of the damned singleton but you can lose ground if you don’t get those extra points. Edmonton needs at least an overtime result this evening.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 3-0-0, six points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-0-1, five points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2017: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2018: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential -1

December for the McDavids has been a good time all four seasons, the current crew will need a win just to keep up. The team is currently on pace for 85 points, but a win tonight improves that number to 88. The Oilers aren’t far away here, although the Pacific is starting to heat up.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN DECEMBER

  • At home to: Vegas (Expected 0-1-0) Actual (1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Colorado, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, San Jose, Winnipeg (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 1-1-0, two points in two games

This is the most winnable game this week, the trick will be getting two points from the weekend games. McDavid is 5-12-17, minus 1 in his last 15 games, he was 11, 9-9-18 to start the campaign. History suggests he is about to tear up the blacktop, and coach Hitchcock has freshened the lines and steam cleaned the carpets.

NEW LINES

  • Chiasson—McDavid—Draisaitl: 38 goals
  • Khaira—Nuge—Puljujarvi: 9 goals
  • Caggiula—Spooner—Rattie: 10 goals
  • Lucic—Brodziak—Kassian: 4 goals
  • Klefbom—Larsson: 2 goals
  • Nurse—Russell: 3 goals
  • Gravel—Benning: 1 goal
  • Talbot (Koskinen)

Via Jack Michaels. Hitchcock is as loyal to 97-29 as McLellan before him, and like the dispatched coach, the new man doesn’t have enough in the batting order to give the Nuge line home-run power. Khaira moving up is cool from a fan point of view but that’s also reflective of the roster issues. I also expect Khaira’s spot to be occupied by Valentin Zykov by the weekend, so the window of opportunity for the big man is small.

The third line has more skill with Rattie added to Spooner, perhaps they can break through. The fourth line is now back to being the fourth line, in the words of Craig MacTavish  “in today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score.” That fourth line that can’t score. They’ll make $9.1 million this season. The player MacT was talking about in that quote? Rookie Teemu Hartikainen.

Lots of good arrows for this player he could be a masterful waiver claim if things work out right. Skill meets opportunity is a fabulous story, we’re seeing it in Vancouver with Josh Leivo and Edmonton badly needs the same.

WHAT IF THEY DON’T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

On the morning he was fired, Todd McLellan’s Oilers had a record of 9-10-1, 19 points and good for No. 6 in the division (No. 4 by points over .500). This morning, after going 4-2-1 under Ken Hitchcock since November 20, the team has a record of 13-12-2, 28 points and good for No. 6 in the division (No. 6 by points over .500).

I think the playoffs are important, but equally vital is getting young, inexpensive contracts playing productively while filling important roles on the team. What does that look like?

In 1993-94, the Oilers rookies included Jason Arnott, Dean McAmmond, Boris Mironov and Kirk Maltby. The following season Todd Marchant and David Oliver joined, and the next Ryan Smyth, Miro Satan and Greg DeVries. In 1996-67, three years after Arnott, the team debuted Mike Grier, Rem Murray, Dan McGillis. That’s one dozen substantial additions in four seasons. When you don’t have actual NHL players, you have to develop them.

Since Connor McDavid arrived in 2015 fall, how many actual NHLers have made their debut with the Oilers? Darnell Nurse, Brandon Davidson, Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning, Jujhar Khaira and we’ll see about the rest.

Names that need to be added to this list? Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Evan Bouchard, Cooper Marody, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones and on it goes. It can’t be built in a day, but tonight’s roster will see only one (Puljujarvi) of these young talents playing a feature role on the team.

That’s okay, things take time. However, there are over 50 NHL games left in this season and there should be plenty of time to get at least a couple more youngsters into the lineup full time. The playoffs are the goal, but if that isn’t possible then for heaven sakes find out about Marody and Bear, or Yamamoto and Jones.

Ken Hitchcock inserted Jesse Puljujarvi into the lineup in one of his first moves. I expect we’ll see the coach do the same with at least one more Condor in the immediate future.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy, fun morning with interesting guests. It all starts at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll chat about tonight’s game, a world without McDavid and the current wingers.
  • Jon Campbell, Oddshark. College football bets, Gonzaga’s college basketball success, favourites currently for Seattle’s NHL nickname, how much does McDavid being out of the lineup impact Oilers odds.
  • Chris Daniels, King5 Seattle. Seattle’s NHL expansion.

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

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Kinger_Oil.redux

– Lots of positive: gritty win. Talbot showing up helps. We not talking Fuhr Moog combo but still…

– Squint a little but with games in hand with 2 wins we are point out of 2nd in conference,

– Playing Minny at home, they on a 2nd of B2B next game

– Good pacing for December: only the Peg then back to home the next day is tough(but vs Phily).

– Game-dayoff-Game for awhile will give a routine, some time off over Christmas, very little travel

– Then a nice Cali/Sun road trip in the New Year, before a long homestead in Jan.

– Things will be a lot different Fab. 1: you’ll see

russ99

SwedishPoster:
Ugly game but I’ll take the two points.

The Oilers passing game is dreadful, almost no clean passes at all, it’s just a lot of pucks along the boards, forced plays, broken up plays, blind pucks thrown in front of the net, halfassed two feet passes into a forest of players and it either ends up with lost possession or a shot from the blue line.It’s been issue for a long time and is the main reason they rarely find any open ice offensively imo. I lost count on the number of 1 on 3s for primarily McDavid but other oilers as well, which imo is a sign that the team game and passing offensively is seriously lacking. It’s extra frustratimg because with McDavid even a 1 on 2 would be a so much better opportunity. The terrible passing really kills both the transition and the offensive zone time.
I don’t think it’s just about the quality of the passer either since this is an issue when the team loads up with all their high end passers on one line as well. Which tells me it’s systemical. The forward group as a whole must find better ice and work better as a group. Hopefully Hitch has recognized the problem. Because as of now they make every opposing team look like those old defensive masterclass Devils teams. Just no room to wheel for the best offensive player in the world which is a travesty in itself.

For me the biggest thing to get past in our offensive game the constant throwing back of the puck to the point or ringing it around the boards.

The only way to clear space with the way defenses are playing us is to move players and the puck. Gaining the zone and having space to make a play to clear ice and get clean looks is the third or fourth thing these guys look for, when it should be first, and outlets or board play to keep possession should be last.

IMO, McLellan ingrained this into their heads for three years of volume shooting so it will take some time to lose it.

Glovjuice

Wilde: This is a nagging injury, too, if my eyes are right.

I noticed during the Nov. 29 game he wasn’t skating normally towards the end.

It’s troubling because injuries and opportunity are the only two things that could stop him from having a good NHL career.

Risky pick, as was Benson and Bouchard.

Wilde

Also thank you to the two who left me kind comments yesterday.

Wilde

OriginalPouzar:

He’s got a lower body injury – he left Saturday’s game and didn’t return.
Woodcroft said yesterday that it isn’t serious – shouldn’t be out past the weekend.

This is a nagging injury, too, if my eyes are right.

I noticed during the Nov. 29 game he wasn’t skating normally towards the end.

It’s troubling because injuries and opportunity are the only two things that could stop him from having a good NHL career.

OriginalPouzar

106 and 106:
Why was Yamamoto scratched in the AHL game last night? Banged up? No Bear either.

Our prospect cupboard is bare with #1 and #2 out.

He’s got a lower body injury – he left Saturday’s game and didn’t return.

Woodcroft said yesterday that it isn’t serious – shouldn’t be out past the weekend.

Bear played last night.

SwedishPoster

Ugly game but I’ll take the two points.

The Oilers passing game is dreadful, almost no clean passes at all, it’s just a lot of pucks along the boards, forced plays, broken up plays, blind pucks thrown in front of the net, halfassed two feet passes into a forest of players and it either ends up with lost possession or a shot from the blue line.
It’s been issue for a long time and is the main reason they rarely find any open ice offensively imo. I lost count on the number of 1 on 3s for primarily McDavid but other oilers as well, which imo is a sign that the team game and passing offensively is seriously lacking. It’s extra frustratimg because with McDavid even a 1 on 2 would be a so much better opportunity. The terrible passing really kills both the transition and the offensive zone time.
I don’t think it’s just about the quality of the passer either since this is an issue when the team loads up with all their high end passers on one line as well. Which tells me it’s systemical. The forward group as a whole must find better ice and work better as a group. Hopefully Hitch has recognized the problem. Because as of now they make every opposing team look like those old defensive masterclass Devils teams. Just no room to wheel for the best offensive player in the world which is a travesty in itself.

106 and 106

Why was Yamamoto scratched in the AHL game last night? Banged up? No Bear either.

Our prospect cupboard is bare with #1 and #2 out.

Oz

who:
I think the Blues had as many grade A scoring chances in the first as Edmonton had all game but the Oilers hung in there. Good game by Talbot.
Some random observations:
1. Time to separate McDavid and Drai.Drai is not moving his feet again. Seems like this is inevitable over time when they play together.
2. Nuge, JP and Khairawere the Oilers best line tonight.Great game by Khaira.
3. Rattie was good tonight. Took Hitchcock too long to swap him with Chiasson.
4. Mcdavid and Drai are a hot mess in their own end. Putting them out there for a dzone draw with 30 seconds left seems, at best, risky.
5. You know, if you put a skilled center between Lucic and Kassian you might have something. Even Spooner. Every rush or cycle from that line seems to die on Brodziaks stick. Plays just end when he touches the puck.

This is true, hope the line changes are made.
Also I admit not being a fan of Gulutzan . Our PP is still not firing. Bring on Manny V.

Suntory Hanzo

Dustylegnd:
Imagine if Nuge had some NHL wingers

He did. And they were fabulous.

But one was bad in the room and was the 3rd best winger behind 2 Ovechkins, and the other was clutch in junior but wasn’t willing to take a hit from Perry and lost us a series. Oh, and cap space which was never used.

Ribs

From Elliot’s 31 Thoughts…

9. St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong’s proclamation that his coaching search would expand into Europe flicked on a lightbulb in the noggin, reminding that it was time to check in on World Cup Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger. There’s been interest in Krueger since that tournament, but his day job — chairman of Southampton Football Club in the Premier League — keeps him at arm’s length. His reply: “I am focused on completing this season in the EPL. I will assess my future soon.” Hmmmmmmmmmn.

So will he be the GM or the Coach of the Oilers next year? Bahaha..

___

Happy Birthday, LT!

Material Elvis

rope-a-dope:
Wow, I have never seen anyone make scoring in the shootout look so easy.

That goal by McDavid was ridiculous.

rope-a-dope

Wow, I have never seen anyone make scoring in the shootout look so easy.

frjohnk

Wow.

Klefbom with 30 minutes.

Drai and McDavid over 28 minutes.

Nuge over 26 minutes.

I know there was OT but Those are huge minutes. Especially for the forwards.

Did Hitch run his other horses like that on previous teams?

Gerta Rauss

frjohnk:
If we are to make the playoffs we need Talbot to play like this whether he is the starter or the backup.
Nice to see him with a good bounce back game.

Hitch was effusive in his praise for Talbot

If Hitch has any say in the matter regarding a Talbot trade, it’d be a big fat no*

*Dr Evil voice

frjohnk

If we are to make the playoffs we need Talbot to play like this whether he is the starter or the backup.
Nice to see him with a good bounce back game.

Gerta Rauss

jtblack:
after tonight. Chicago will have 3 wins in their last 19

VAN with 1 win the last 13

Bank Shot

Dustylegnd:
Imagine if Nuge had some NHL wingers

He’d probably be good for 55 points.

jtblack

Tmac always kept Lucic out late.

Hitch has given J.J. the job. Hitch has an eye for crap (Lucic) and giving young better guys a shot

jtblack

Westchester Oil:
Nice to see a game where the reffing goes our way.

Happy birthday to LT, our gracious, humble and thoughtful leader.

+1 to this !!

to the reffing part … *ducks *

jtblack

after tonight. Chicago will have 3 wins in their last 19

LMHF#1

Glovjuice: Prediction: Marody will succumb to Lander-never-worked-on-skating-Isis

This can and should be fixed by the team.

The lack of pushing skating technique and power skating is baffling. While the effort is on the player, the structure and requirements are on the team…

The amount of guys over the years who the Oilers should have subjected to one, intensive season of power skating is staggering…

Fight between Schemp and Mikhnov in terms of who this was most stark for. Probably Alex – he could really play…or maybe Pancakes. Penner couldn’t skate a lick. I taught 8 year olds with more ability.

Victoria Oil

Nice to see a game where the reffing goes our way.

Happy birthday to LT, our gracious, humble and thoughtful leader.

OriginalPouzar

Glovjuice: Prediction: Marody will succumb to Lander-never-worked-on-skating-Isis

His skating may keep him from playing center at the NHL but it is no prohibitive of an NHL career and that concern that every player that isn’t a plus skater will never make it is far over blown to me.

Glovjuice

OriginalPouzar: They haven’t produced at 5 on 5 together for like 3-4 games now and there is zero reason to keep them together when they stop running hot.

With that said, I think the “cool-off” coincidences with Hitch inexplicably, moving Chiasson up to the line.His reasoning was that Chiasson was running hot so he needs more ice.

To me, that thinking is flawed to start with – If someone is running hot away from McDavid, keep with it, do everything you can to keep it going.

Since Chiasson got moved up, that line has done very little at 5 on 5.

I think we might see Drai/McDavid/Rattie next game and I’d also be fine with Drai being moved.Chiasson moving is a must do.

I’d move Drai for one driver or two solid players now.

OriginalPouzar

who:
I think the Blues had as many grade A scoring chances in the first as Edmonton had all game but the Oilers hung in there. Good game by Talbot.
Some random observations:
1. Time to separate McDavid and Drai.Drai is not moving his feet again. Seems like this is inevitable over time when they play together.

They haven’t produced at 5 on 5 together for like 3-4 games now and there is zero reason to keep them together when they stop running hot.

With that said, I think the “cool-off” coincidences with Hitch inexplicably, moving Chiasson up to the line. His reasoning was that Chiasson was running hot so he needs more ice.

To me, that thinking is flawed to start with – If someone is running hot away from McDavid, keep with it, do everything you can to keep it going.

Since Chiasson got moved up, that line has done very little at 5 on 5.

I think we might see Drai/McDavid/Rattie next game and I’d also be fine with Drai being moved. Chiasson moving is a must do.

Glovjuice

OriginalPouzar:
Lagesson with his 3rd of the season – Marody with his 3rd assist of the night.

Prediction: Marody will succumb to Lander-never-worked-on-skating-Isis

jm363561

Missed the game but just caught up with the comments. Might be a good time to trade Cam.

Crazy Pedestrian

Didn’t watch the game. The oilers actually scored with their net empty??? Huh…

Nice that they won, but it Kinda sucks that the rest of the pacific division is also winning now… so it feels like they are just running in place. SJ and ANA (spits) are both up 2-0 after 1st period.

Glovjuice

Southern Oil:
I had no idea all these years that LT and I share the same bday.Now I know of two famous people born on this day – LT and Walt Disney.Happy birthday LT

Ozzy yesterday

jtblack

Bag of Pucks:
This might be the most bipolar fanbase in the NHL.
First period. Fire the GM!
Second period. Good work boys.
Third period. They’re going lose. Book it.
OT. Pathetic.
Shootout. These guys are amazing!!!

I am scarred by the Dalllas game.

We MIGHT hang in the playoff race. Might. But we also could be picking Top 5 if McD misses more than 8 games +.

BONE207

Zelepukin:
Nuge is basically a sick Connor. Which is still a pretty big compliment.

Which is ironic coming from a guy with pukin in his name

Bag of Pucks

who:
I think the Blues had as many grade A scoring chances in the first as Edmonton had all game but the Oilers hung in there. Good game by Talbot.
Some random observations:
1. Time to separate McDavid and Drai.Drai is not moving his feet again. Seems like this is inevitable over time when they play together.
2. Nuge, JP and Khairawere the Oilers best line tonight.Great game by Khaira.
3. Rattie was good tonight. Took Hitchcock too long to swap him with Chiasson.
4. Mcdavid and Drai are a hot mess in their own end. Putting them out there for a dzone draw with 30 seconds left seems, at best, risky.
5. You know, if you put a skilled center between Lucic and Kassian you might have something. Even Spooner. Every rush or cycle from that line seems to die on Brodziaks stick. Plays just end when he touches the puck.

Agree across the board.

Gerta Rauss

just getting caught up now…

It wasn’t pretty but there’s a saying in golf, “it’s not how, but how many”

I thought when we pulled Talbot we were doomed, shocked that Kbom tied it with the extra attacker

Nuge was terrific, Khaira was good as well. Talbot was the 1st star

another 2 points in the bank

BONE207

Sierra: I’ve missed the posts saying the Oilers are amazing

The Oilers are always amazing when we aren’t swearing at them. Get with the program ?

Zelepukin

Nuge is basically a sick Connor. Which is still a pretty big compliment.

Sierra

Bag of Pucks:
This might be the most bipolar fanbase in the NHL.
First period. Fire the GM!
Second period. Good work boys.
Third period. They’re going lose. Book it.
OT. Pathetic.
Shootout. These guys are amazing!!!

I’ve missed the posts saying the Oilers are amazing

who

I think the Blues had as many grade A scoring chances in the first as Edmonton had all game but the Oilers hung in there. Good game by Talbot.
Some random observations:
1. Time to separate McDavid and Drai. Drai is not moving his feet again. Seems like this is inevitable over time when they play together.
2. Nuge, JP and Khaira were the Oilers best line tonight. Great game by Khaira.
3. Rattie was good tonight. Took Hitchcock too long to swap him with Chiasson.
4. Mcdavid and Drai are a hot mess in their own end. Putting them out there for a dzone draw with 30 seconds left seems, at best, risky.
5. You know, if you put a skilled center between Lucic and Kassian you might have something. Even Spooner. Every rush or cycle from that line seems to die on Brodziaks stick. Plays just end when he touches the puck.

BONE207

Bag of Pucks:
This might be the most bipolar fanbase in the NHL.
First period. Fire the GM!
Second period. Good work boys.
Third period. They’re going lose. Book it.
OT. Pathetic.
Shootout. These guys are amazing!!!

We are a fickle bunch. Too much losing has made us all skiddish. CONNOR, however, is Amazing!

OriginalPouzar

Lagesson with his 3rd of the season – Marody with his 3rd assist of the night.

Bag of Pucks

This might be the most bipolar fanbase in the NHL.
First period. Fire the GM!
Second period. Good work boys.
Third period. They’re going lose. Book it.
OT. Pathetic.
Shootout. These guys are amazing!!!

Dustylegnd

Imagine if Nuge had some NHL wingers

Professor Q

Bling:
RNH and McDavid with some absolute filth.

Great game!

Nuge’s backhander crossbar shot was also ridiculous.

Professor Q

The Blues’ stick boy looks like the genetic merger of McDavid and William Nylander.

Which would be quite the talent mix, too.

BONE207

Southern Oil:
I had no idea all these years that LT and I share the same bday.Now I know of two famous people born on this day – LT and Walt Disney.Happy birthday LT

A SO win on an SO Bday. Enjoy

Ice Sage

Southern Oil:
I had no idea all these years that LT and I share the same bday.Now I know of two famous people born on this day – LT and Walt Disney.Happy birthday LT

And LT used to call Walt ‘Junior’ 😉

BONE207

Considering the poor 1st, Oilers outshot St.Lou 36-30.

Southern Oil

I had no idea all these years that LT and I share the same bday. Now I know of two famous people born on this day – LT and Walt Disney. Happy birthday LT

Ice Sage

Man, that was won the hard way… will take it!