Game 34 2018-19: Oilers at Canucks

by Lowetide

The first time the Oilers played the Canucks in an NHL game was on October 14, 1979. It was the third game of the season, Edmonton losing to Chicago and tying Detroit before the game against Vancouver. 

Edmonton’s leading goal-scorer through two games? Blair MacDonald (two), Kevin Lowe, Dave Hunter and Mark Messier had single tallies. In the game against Vancouver, Risto Siltanen scored twice, Stan Weir scored his first of the season—and Wayne Gretzky scored the tying goal against Vancouver late in the third period. It was the first of his brilliant NHL career. 

Tonight the Oilers have a chance to move into third place in the Pacific Division stand alone. The currently tight Pacific has Edmonton and San Jose tied for third, with 17 ROW and I believe the Alberta team owns the tiebreaker. Most of the teams in the division play tonight, so we could see some movement. For the Oilers, it’s win and you’re in. 

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: With Oscar Klefbom’s injury, will the Oilers look in unusual places for a solution?
  • New Jonathan Willis: Takeaways from Ken Hitchcock’s lineup decisions for the Oilers against the Flyers. 
  • Lowetide: No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers Alex Chiasson is able to maintain his scoring touch. 
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Connor McDavid became the world’s fastest skater. 
  • Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi as an offensive player and what that tells us about his future with the Oilers. 
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 6 Prospect winter 2018: Cooper Marody
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 5 Prospect winter 2018: Ethan Bear.
  • 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 34

  • Oilers in 2015: 14-18-2, 30 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2016: 17-12-5, 39 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017: 15-17-2, 32 points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in 2018: 18-12-3, 39 points; goal differential +4

The 2018 McDavids are now well clear of everyone but the 2016 playoff team. The 2017 Oilers would win two in a row to run the record to 17-17-2 after 36 games, before finishing 19-23-4 to land 36-40-6, 78 points. It’s such a thin line, the key is to stay away from a losing streak. 

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 6-3-0, 12 points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2016: 4-2-3, 11 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in December 2017: 6-3-0, 12 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in December 2018: 6-1-1, 13 points; goal differential +9

December saved a lot of jobs and there are several Oilers (Mikko Koskinen, Alex Chiasson, Kevin Gravel) who are earning raises here or elsewhere. More on that in a moment. 

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 2-0-0)
  • On the road to: Colorado,Winnipeg(Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-0-1)
  • At home to: Philadelphia (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 6-1-1, 13 points in eight games

If the Oilers win tonight, they will have reached my projected point total (15) with five games to spare! Music! 

This is a player Edmonton should be interested in, I’ve seen him make good NHL defensemen (Jeff Petry) look foolish. Opportunity knocks. 

The problem with acquiring Burakovsky is that he’s making $3 million now and will need a new contract come summer. Edmonton’s list of players needing contracts is already fairly long:

  • Mikko Koskinen, $2.5 million currently and earning a bigger raise with each win. 
  • Alex Chiasson, $650,000 and one of the best (if not the best) value deals in hockey. 
  • Jujhar Khaira, $675,000 and posting strong offense recently in a feature role (2-4-6 in his last eight games). 
  • Tobias Rieder, $2 million this season and playing an important role on the bottom six/PK when healthy. 
  • Cam Talbot, $4.1667 million and possibly heading for a deadline exit. 
  • Kevin Gravel, $700,000 on a one-year and earning the third pairing LH side slot in real time. 

The cap is going up, but the Oilers already have over $67 million (projected) in contracts as they sit idling in the driveway. There’s $36 million for five forwards (McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Lucic, Spooner), about $21 million for five defensemen (Sekera, Klefbom, Larsson, Russell, Nurse) and what will clearly be $5-6 million on goalies. That’s $62-$63 million on 12 men, or about half the roster.  

KLEFBOM OUT 6-8 WEEKS

Another dagger for that blue line, already missing Andrej Sekera (who could return January after a rehab assignment) and Kris Russell (he might play as soon as next Saturday depending on who you’re listening to currently). 

It sounds like the bet by the Oilers is this: Muddle through this week and then, when Russell returns, cobble together a top 4D you can trust. Here’s what I would like to see:

  • Nurse—Larsson. This duo is playing so much right now the numbers are sagging, but there is a solid track record for the pairing. If Hitchcock can reduce their minutes, I believe they will prove to be best available from this group.
  • Russell—Benning. In 166 minutes since 2016, this pairing is 47 percent in shot share and 50 percent in goal share. 
  • Gravel—Jones. It might sound crazy, but this pairing spent time together in Bakersfield and Jones’ wheels are such an advantage over Garrison’s experience. I expect to get some pushback, and that’s fair, but Jones, in my opinion, is a superior option to the slow boots of Garrison. 

At this point, I’m not sure when Wideman sees the ice in an NHL game. He’s vulnerable to waivers when Russell returns, in my opinion. 

531 comments
0

You may also like

0 0 votes
Article Rating
531 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
godot10

ArmchairGM: Temporarily, yes.

How, temporarily?

Bouchard is at least till after next season away from being a 3rd pairing D. Persson and Jones and Berglund is at least till after next season away from being a 2nd pairing away.

And seeing all those guys are on entry level deals, the Oilers need a legit top 4 right D for at least 2.5 seasons.

russ99

OriginalPouzar: They are for now.

Garrison/Benning really struggled last night.

When Russell is back, hopefully Saturday, I think we see:

Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Jones
Russell/Benning

Wideman

I would even waive Garrison to make room on the roster for the Russell activation but they seem hesitant to do so.

Gravel – Benning seems way better together on the third pair than apart.

SK Oiler Fan

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

Nice
I guess if the league is Ok with soccer like acting like we saw from Pettersen and Roussel tonight I guess we’ll have to become comfortable with 97 doing the same in order to keep up with the competition. I’ve been saying for years the Oilers don’t sell calls like most of their opponents. The explaination of lack of calls was always oh they are a young team, have to earn the respect of officials first, vets get the calls, blah blah.

OriginalPouzar

ArmchairGM: New 2nd pairing?

They are for now.

Garrison/Benning really struggled last night.

When Russell is back, hopefully Saturday, I think we see:

Nurse/Larsson
Gravel/Jones
Russell/Benning

Wideman

I would even waive Garrison to make room on the roster for the Russell activation but they seem hesitant to do so.

ArmchairGM

OriginalPouzar: (credit: SuperNova, Stats: Natural Stat)

Jones & Gravel Pair 5×5 tonight

Time on Ice Together 12:54

Corsi 95.24% (20-1)
Fenwick 100% (14-0)
Shots 100% (9-0)
Scoring Chances 100% (12-0)
High Danger SC 100% (3-0)

Also Played 3:52 of that against Pettersson

New 2nd pairing?

ArmchairGM

Bruce McCurdy:
Jones’ 5v5 Corsi tonight: +22 / -2.

And all he has to show for it is a cheap penalty & a -1 on the empty netter. Not fair. He was terrific.

He’s been a revelation. Hopefully we can acquire a top-6 player for the guys Jones is displacing. If Chiarelli can work the fabled 3-for-1 deal for Niederreiter or similar underperforming sniper, some will be forgiven.

ArmchairGM

godot10: We need a top 4 RD more.

Temporarily, yes.

ArmchairGM

Professor Q: Or decides to snowangel on the ice because he wants everyone to have fun.

He always seems to take down an opponent when doing this though, which is completely unsportsmanlike of him. He should be ashamed!

ArmchairGM

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

Someone buy the man a beer!

Oh, and forward this to every league and media contact we can find.

Professor Q

OriginalPouzar:
Lots of posts over the last few years, in particular earlier this year, about the coaching staff never really calling out the refs on the lack of calls on the Oilers in general and, in particular, on McDavid – well coach Hitchcock fixed that in his post-game comments last night. Will be interesting to see if there is any overt effect.

“But Carlyle said we were using Kid Gloves!”

JimmyV1965

OriginalPouzar:
Lots of posts over the last few years, in particular earlier this year, about the coaching staff never really calling out the refs on the lack of calls on the Oilers in general and, in particular, on McDavid – well coach Hitchcock fixed that in his post-game comments last night. Will be interesting to see if there is any overt effect.

I’m not sure if we will start getting calls from the refs, but this will be a msjor talking point in the MSM today, both in Edmonton and nationally.

OriginalPouzar

Bruce McCurdy:
Jones’ 5v5 Corsi tonight: +22 / -2.

And all he has to show for it is a cheap penalty & a -1 on the empty netter. Not fair. He was terrific.

(credit: SuperNova, Stats: Natural Stat)

Jones & Gravel Pair 5×5 tonight

Time on Ice Together 12:54

Corsi 95.24% (20-1)
Fenwick 100% (14-0)
Shots 100% (9-0)
Scoring Chances 100% (12-0)
High Danger SC 100% (3-0)

Also Played 3:52 of that against Pettersson

OriginalPouzar

Lots of posts over the last few years, in particular earlier this year, about the coaching staff never really calling out the refs on the lack of calls on the Oilers in general and, in particular, on McDavid – well coach Hitchcock fixed that in his post-game comments last night. Will be interesting to see if there is any overt effect.

Bruce McCurdy

Jones’ 5v5 Corsi tonight: +22 / -2.

And all he has to show for it is a cheap penalty & a -1 on the empty netter. Not fair. He was terrific.

godot10

GMB3: Isn’t this the truth.

Would have been nice if the team could have pulled this one out for Koski. We need 2 more top 9 forwards.

We need a top 4 RD more.

kgo

I was worried when the league implemented that “Puck over the glass” rule…tonight’s call against Gravel was the worst possible iteration of it….only took what? 8 seasons?

That call was brutal for 3 reasons:

-.the puck wasn’t sitting flat (was it even touching the ice)
– the puck bounced off the glass
– the canuck player’s stick provided all the momentum

Between this and the Kassian breakaway non-call, I turned off the TV because it was obviously not our turn to win….

Bling

Amazing comments by Hitch.

Build the statue now!

JimmyV1965

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

Tmac witnessed this for three years and never said a word

buffalobill

Hi guys and gals, this is only my second post, the first being my prediction of 107 points this year. Really it is good they had this loss, doesn’t have an affect on the standings other than they didn’t get the 2 points but it will bring them down to earth and make them concentrate on Hitches teaching, in the long run it will do them a lot of good and teach them to not take things for granted.

Shane
npanciroli

McDavid only drawing 16 penalties this year so far kind of does feel like a conspiracy/screw job.

Dicky94

dsr29,

Hope he means Simmonds toughness and not Lucic toughness.

Side

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

This is brilliant. It’s nice that the Oilers have a headcoach who is finally calling the refs and league out on this garbage.

I guess it’s not just conspiracy theorist fans who are seeing this.

Professor Q

Jethro Tull: You know what I hate? The plays where McDavid skates into the ozone with possession, then either breaks his stick or throws it away on purpose. I can only assume he’s doing it because he doesn’t think it’s fair that the opposition isn’t ready yet. Even the refs shake their head and remind him “NO”, so as he doesn’t score. Some of the opposition even try to help him by guiding his stick or tapping his gloves gently to cue him to stop.

That must be it.

Or decides to snowangel on the ice because he wants everyone to have fun.

GMB3

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

That is beautiful

dsr29

Perfect

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor.And that really bothers me.Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players.And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today.And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed.And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine.But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold.So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

digger50

Caleb Jones evaluation was a highlight of the game.

HenryDrix

Younger Oil:
On the postgame they literally just showed four blatant penalties against McDavid when thr Canucks announcers talked about how effective the defending against him was…

Can’t stand Canuck broadcasting, infuriating.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Side,

Hitch could make InfoWars a reputable, mainstream source for news.

GMB3

I just took a quick peak at the Bakersfield statistics for the year and it appears both Benson and Hebig have cooled off a little since their torrid start.

Benson with only 3 goals is a little disappointing. We are a playmaker-heavy team.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Hitch:

You know, I’m not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what’s happening to Connor. And that really bothers me. Because we’re a league that’s supposed to showcase our top players. And you don’t want to give them all the freedom, but, the tug-of-war on his was absolutely ridiculous today. And that’s a little bit discouraging to be honest with you; because I can see the whacking and hacking when he’s got the puck but to me it’s all the stuff behind that doesn’t allow him to showcase his speed. And if that’s what we want, then that’s fine. But I think it’s a real disservice to a player like him.

Q: Is this a volume thing where you can’t call everything?

He’s not allowed to play give and go, it’s give and hold. So, we’re going to have to find a way to fight through it or play toughness with them and figure it out from there.

Side

BornInAGretzkyJersey:
OMG the verbal by Hitch about “the tugging on Connor” is magnificent.Calling out the league at the same time as he calls it as he sees it.Brilliant.

Looks like we can add ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ to Hitchcocks resume…

Jethro Tull

Younger Oil:
The ref looking right at McDavid getting hugged away from the puck for 5 seconds and doing nothing sums this game up.

You know what I hate? The plays where McDavid skates into the ozone with possession, then either breaks his stick or throws it away on purpose. I can only assume he’s doing it because he doesn’t think it’s fair that the opposition isn’t ready yet. Even the refs shake their head and remind him “NO”, so as he doesn’t score. Some of the opposition even try to help him by guiding his stick or tapping his gloves gently to cue him to stop.

That must be it.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

OMG the verbal by Hitch about “the tugging on Connor” is magnificent. Calling out the league at the same time as he calls it as he sees it. Brilliant.

SwedishPoster

Disappointing game. Both the result and the quality. One team on a back to back and the other without rythm. On to the next one.

innercitysmytty

Derek,

Hmm don’t think our PDO is actually high. And someone mentioned yesterday it was 102 since Hitch came on board, which isn’t much of a heater at all. Goaltending has been, but not shooting percentage.

JimmyV1965

IMO the Oil weren’t outplayed tonight. They weren’t good though. Jones looks good. Will be on the second pair if he keeps this up. We desperately need a legit top 6 forward for the second line. We simply don’t have enough players who can score.

GMB3

Derek: Old Slippery Pete’s seat is gonna get pretty warm when Edmontons PDO regresses to the meat.

the PDO hasn’t been crazy high under Hitch, but I’m not sure we have the horses to see the shooting % increase when the goaltending cools off a bit.

GMB3

Side: Neither is having your best player getting mugged/slashed constantly without call and then being on PK for the rest of the game from soft calls.

This is precisely why it’s imperative for the Oilers to improve their secondary scoring. If you squint hard enough, JJ and RNH make 2/3rds of a good second line, if we could add a legit top 6 winger there, we might be in business.

Derek

GMB3:
It’s unfortunate that the Pacific division decided they no longer wanted to be the worst division in hockey at the same time the Oilers went on a goaltender induced heater.

Old Slippery Pete’s seat is gonna get pretty warm when Edmontons PDO regresses to the meat.

Professor Q

Younger Oil:
On the postgame they literally just showed four blatant penalties against McDavid when thr Canucks announcers talked about how effective the defending against him was…

Same with the Ducks and Leafs.

Kadri and Kesler “defend” well against McDavid. Apparently so do Canucks players.

GMB3

It’s unfortunate that the Pacific division decided they no longer wanted to be the worst division in hockey at the same time the Oilers went on a goaltender induced heater.

Younger Oil

On the postgame they literally just showed four blatant penalties against McDavid when thr Canucks announcers talked about how effective the defending against him was…

GMB3

SK Oiler Fan:
After watching Jets Bolts this game has negative entertainment value

Isn’t this the truth.

Would have been nice if the team could have pulled this one out for Koski. We need 2 more top 9 forwards.

Side

Réal Goudenyéu:
22 shots in 60 minutes isn’t gonna get you a win most nights.

Neither is having your best player getting mugged/slashed constantly without call and then being on PK for the rest of the game from soft calls.

Dicky94

Hitch won’t like the effort from the boys tonight. They were due for a stinker. Right the ship again on Tuesday.

Derek

SK Oiler Fan:
This is why bad calls matter. Oilers were rolling in the 1st. Boeser and Pettersen were non factors. Two brutal calls later and they are immediately factors in the game on the PP. Then they go into the 5 man turtle shell and the game is porridge

The game completely changed after the Oilers pathetic PP in the first period where they never registered a shot, nor had control in the offensive zone for more than 10 seconds. The calls in the second certainly didn’t help any, but there was plenty of time in this game for the Oilers to take over the game against a team that played the night before.

Instead they made bad decisions with and without the puck all night long, and when they did have opportunities they bobbled the puck. They decided to start playing with 5 minutes left in the game and it wasn’t enough. Bad effort, bad game. Hopefully they’re embarressed and take it out on the next opponent.

Younger Oil

The ref looking right at McDavid getting hugged away from the puck for 5 seconds and doing nothing sums this game up.

thelongdark

22 shots in 60 minutes isn’t gonna get you a win most nights.

Professor Q

OmJo:
Can we start referring to teams getting scored on with the goalie pulled as Oilering?

It unfortunately has an opposing term of Flaming.

Stupid, sexy Flames…