Craig MacTavish used to say teams play well enough to win games right at the end of losing streaks, and the Winnipeg game earlier this week suggested it. Last night in the desert, near the 400 arenas that have been constructed specifically for the Coyotes, Edmonton put the damnable losing streak to sleep.
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- New Lowetide: What could the Oilers acquire in a Jesse Puljujarvi trade?
- New Jonathan Willis: The Edmonton Oilers are one good summer away from being competitive.
- New Daniel Nugent Bowman: Why Joseph Gambardella’s first NHL call-up really hit home.
- Pierre Lebrun: LeBrun Notebook: Chiarelli under pressure to deliver in Edmonton.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Peter Chiarelli’s reasoning for acquiring Brandon Manning doesn’t add up
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 prospect Winter 2018: Joel Persson.
- Lowetide: Oilers acquire Brandon Manning in a Sunday shocker, and this ought to be interesting.
- Lowetide: Oilers acquire Alexander Petrovic from Panthers, flushing Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick in the trade.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 8 prospect Winter 2018: Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 7 prospect Winter 2018: Caleb Jones.
- 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 40 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015: 16-21-3, 35 points; goal differential -22
- Oilers in 2016: 20-13-7, 47 points; goal differential +5
- Oilers in 2017: 17-20-3, 37 points; goal differential -17
- Oilers in 2018: 19-18-3, 41 points; goal differential -6
The 2018 McDavids are on track to finish 82, 39-37-6, 84 points. Miles from the playoffs, but a win on Saturday against Los Angeles and the team will have 43 points at the halfway point in the year. I had them at 90-94 points, they’ll project to 86 points, should they win.
OILERS IN JANUARY
- Oilers in January 2016: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in January 2017: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in January 2018: 0-1-0, no points; goal differential -5
- Oilers in January 2019: 1-0-0, two points; goal differential +1
This game was 50/50, but the Oilers formula (McDavid and McDavid and goalie) worked and we’re on the the west coast. Will we see another fast start to a month?
WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY
- On the road to: Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- At home to: Florida, Arizona, Buffalo (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary, Carolina, Detroit (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-5-2, 10 points in 11 games
- Current results: 1-0-0, two points in one game
Things begin as expected, this game was the easiest win on the road trip. It’ll be tougher in California. How much clean air Hitchcock can find for 97 in those tough barns on the coast?
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Larsson went 11-7 in 14:07, 7-3 shots, 2-0 goals and 5-1 HDSC. Larsson was also 4-4 in 4:04 with Caleb Jones and Nurse was 3-7 in 3:49 (0-1 goals) with Petrovic. Went 10-5 in 7:55 against Richardson-Hinostroza-Panik. Larsson played with an edge defensively, got an assist on the first goal and shoved the puck to Leon to start goal No. 2 on its way. Nurse was effective to my eye with Larsson.
- Manning-Benning went 4-10 in 10:40, 2-4 shots, no goals and 0-4 HDSC. Manning is dirt mean. Went 4-4 in 5:40 against Crouse-Cousins-Archibald. Manning gives the team a different look, I don’t think he’s a better defender than Gravel but he is more physical. Russell’s return Saturday probably means pressbox for one of these men.
- Jones-Petrovic were 10-21 in 15:55, 5-11 shots, no goals and 3-5 in HDSC. Fascinating this pairing played the most minutes as a pair on the night. Went 11-11 in 9:01 against Keller-Galchenyuk-Stepan. Petrovic made some nice defensive plays, I like Jones with a veteran shutdown type.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 29 of 30, .967. He was brilliant.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian went 18-15 in 16:46, 12-10 shots, 2-1 goals and 7-5 HDSC. Were 9-5-1 in Offensive zone starts. Trio was 14-15 against Ekman-Larsson/Hjalmarsson in 13:28, 2-0 goals. This line, along with Koskinen and Larsson, were the keys to victory. Kassian had five HDSC according to Natural Stat Trick. Leon was moving those legs and McDavid was dangerous every shift. The team needed the win and the big men stepped up.
- Lucic-Khaira-Spooner went 5-8 in 9:12, 1-3 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. I thought this line was pretty good, featuring a nice chance from Spooner (Khaira great passing again) and good heavy work by Lucic and Khaira. Were 4-2 in 4:51 against Oesterle-Lyubushkin.
- Gambardella-Brodziak-Rattie went 3-5 in 6:22, 1-3 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC. I like the line’s speed and forechecking, Gambardella made a dangerous escape effort from the slot that could have been a disaster but I liked his effort on the wall and in one desperate a chance to clear the puck. Rattie worked hard, as did Brodziak.
- Rieder-Nuge-Puljujarvi went 6-14 in 11:34, 4-5 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC. I loved Puljujarvi’s game, plenty of jump and he was ramrod again. A lovely pass to Rieder could have been an early goal but it did draw a penalty. Nuge also had a 10-bell chance. Several times JP made a second effort just to get the puck deep. A fine game. Trio went 5-12 in 7:34 against Connauton-Oesterle, 3-5 shots and no goals. The line cycled well and earned a goal that didn’t come.
CHIASSON AND RUSSELL
It sounds like Edmonton will be getting some help as early as Saturday. Alex Chiasson’s return should mean the team can put the band back together on the top line, with Kassian returning to old haunts. Here’s what I’d like to see, with Chiasson and Russell back.
- Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Alex Chiasson
- Jujhar Khaira—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jesse Puljujarvi
- Tobias Rieder—Ryan Spooner—Ty Rattie
- Milan Lucic—Kyle Brodziak—Zack Kassian
- Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
- Caleb Jones—Matt Benning
- Kril Russell—Alex Petrovic
- Mikko Koskinen (Cam Talbot)
Evan Bouchard and Team Canada are out, and now comes the picking apart of what went wrong. I think the Canadians were about equal with several teams in the tournament, lacking a dominant forward. Bouchard was fine not spectacular, and that has absolutely zero impact on his future. Seriously.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we’re rocking and rolling with a strong guest list and a mountain of angst over teenage loss on the coast. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Canada is out at the World Juniors!
- Josh Lewenberg, TSN. Raptors and NBA.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!