The first game between the Oilers and Calgary Flames came on October 22, 1980. Dave Semenko scored the first goal in what would become the most heated rivalry of the decade, Edmonton eventually winning 5-2 on two goals from Sammy, one from Kevin Lowe, another from Donny Murdoch. Paul Coffey chimed in as well. Ron Low outdueled Daniel Bouchard and the Oilers moved their record to 2-3-1, Calgary sat 3-2-2.
The Flames lead the regular-season series 118-99-18, with Edmonton leading the playoffs 19-11. The two teams have been getting in each other’s way since 1980, although this century’s rivalry has suffered from Edmonton’s setting up shop in the second division. Perhaps this season will see a change in the weather.
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- New Lowetide: I have seen the future of Edmonton’s power play, and its quarterback is Evan Bouchard. Or Joel Persson. Or both!
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody.
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Hitchcock’s turnaround of the Oilers takes another positive step as they climb back to a playoff pace.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect winter 2018: Ethan Bear.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: An early look at Edmonton’s readiness for the 2021 expansion draft.
- Jonathan Willis: An $83 million salary cap opens up possibilities for the Oilers.
- 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 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.
THE HITCHCOCK ZONE
“If you want to win, you’re going to have to plow through distractions. If the distractions lead to frustration or lack of focus, they don’t do any good.”
I don’t have Hitch’s gift for communication, but that is exactly my thinking about running around trying to get even with Matt Tkachuk. Worry about the two points, then engage in the silliness. Better yet, wait until preseason next fall, like Gordie Howe.
Hitch was in glorious form during a media scrum yesterday, his answers to questions here. His comments on Jujhar Khaira, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kevin Gravel are must see.
I asked you for your lines and pairings in 2019-20 and received many suggestions. Through today’s post, I’m going to sprinkle your ideas. Here’s Blackadder, who is in a hurry to get the department of youth going:
Spooner – MacDavid – Yamamoto
Reider – Draisatl – Puljujarvi
Benson – Nuge – Marody
Khaira – MacLeod – Chiasson
Brodziak – Caggiula
Desert1111 is also on the Benson train and loves unicorns, and like Blackadder the McDavid-Yamamoto pairing:
Benson – McDavid – Yamamoto
Rieder – Draisalt – Marody/Cagguila
Zykov – RNH – Puljujarvi
Lucic – Spooner – Chiasson
OILERS AFTER 30
- Oilers in 2015: 13-15-2, 28 points; goal differential -8
- Oilers in 2016: 14-11-5, 33 points; goal differential +5
- Oilers in 2017: 12-16-2, 26 points; goal differential -11
- Oilers in 2018: 15-12-2, 32 points; goal differential -1
This year’s team has a chance to move ahead of the 2016 playoff group with a win tonight, that’s some rare air. Of course, that 2016-17 team would go 33-15-4 from this point through the end of the schedule. I think that’s a little rich for this year’s model. Edmonton’s current pace would see them finish 42-34-6, 90 points. That’s just outside the second season.
OILERS IN DECEMBER
- Oilers in December 2015: 5-0-0, 10 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers in December 2016: 2-1-2, six points; goal differential +1
- Oilers in December 2017: 3-2-0, six points; goal differential +8
- Oilers in December 2018: 3-1-0, six points; goal differential +4
Oilers should just skip November next season, December carries them home. The schedule this week (as we’ll see in a minute) is a bear, but tonight’s game is the major item. Win, and this Oilers team is officially a pain in the ass for the Pacific Division. A win against Calgary signals this team might be something else again under Hitch. However, don’t count your chickens….
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 1-1-0)
- At home to: Minnesota, Calgary (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- 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: 3-1-0, six points in four games
I have tonight as a loss, predicted a 2-2-0 week so the Oilers are playing with house money this evening. I obviously didn’t know that Calgary would be coming to town sans a couple of its major players, so this should be closer than previously thought. The Flames are absolute fire currently, mind.
Kinger suggests grabbing Teravainen (fine player) and then running the two young RW’s on the skill lines, plus placing Nuge on a third line that should be able to play opponents at par and outscore softer opposition.
Caribbeerman also wants an additional scoring winger but appears to have found a cap loophole:
Jeff Skinner – CMD – Drai
Rieder – RNH – Puljujarvi
Kharia – Marody – Yamamoto
Lucic – Brodziak – Kassian
* Spooner * Zykov
WHY IS COOPER MARODY HERE?
In the Hitchcock quotes above, he talks about Jujhar Khaira, seeing him do things in practice that suggested the big man could be of more use than generally believed.
Edmonton is enjoying a nice run here, so Marody is unlikely to get into the lineup. Still, I think it’s worth the investment to give Hitch a look. A righty passer like Marody, inserted on to the power play, may pay dividends and help the young man’s career. At some point, they’ll have to send him down, but there may be some benefit in this recall.
Hitch mentioned a big test this week, as Calgary today, Colorado and Winnipeg are on the schedule. I see this (attached to the coach’s comments) as a time for the entire organization to take stock, to have a long look at areas of weakness. Scoring wingers and the second pairing are the specific items that worry, along with special teams. Could we see a pre-Christmas trade? Don’t count it out.