Game 49 2018-19: Hurricanes at Oilers

I’ve mentioned this before but a team can get a lot from a losing season. Jesse Puljujarvi qualifies as a lot. The big man got whatever message was sent from Ken Hitchcock and made a difference last night against the Calgary Flames. It was a loss, but the team pushed back in the third period before fading late. That was a fine game by a young NHL player who has struggled much of this season. Well done, young man.

  • Ken Hitchcock on JP: “He had a good night. He played hard, he wanted the puck, He played with confidence and that’s a good sign.”

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: If the Oilers are sellers at the deadline, expect a Condo of Condors heading north.
  • Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s usage of Tyler Benson and other young forwards in Bakersfield is both welcome and encouraging for Edmonton Oilers fans.
  • Tyler Dellow: After 47 games, the Oilers’ 5-on-5 scoring woes stand out.
  • Lowetide: The Oilers’ way forward and the smartest route to finding an impact winger this summer.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
  • Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers should make a decision on Peter Chiarelli this week.
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 10 prospect Winter 2018: Dylan Wells.
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 9 prospect Winter 2018: Joel Persson.
  • 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 49

  • Oilers in 2015: 19-25-5, 43 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2016: 26-15-8, 60 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017: 22-24-3, 47 points; goal differential -29
  • Oilers in 2018: 23-22-3, 49 points; goal differential -10

Despite a much better goal differential, the Oilers have just two more points than last year’s disappointing group (with a game in hand). We talked about surviving until Klefbom returns and the future (including the next two games) will inform us about what survival without 77 looks like. The disappointment is clear, but the organization hasn’t done anything reckless. Yet.

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-4-2, 10 points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in January 2017: 6-3-1, 13 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in January 2018: 5-5-0, 10 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in January 2019: 5-4-0, 10 points; goal differential -3

January is far from a disaster and could end up being one of the better months this season for Edmonton. The team badly needs a result tonight.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY

  • On the road to: Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 2-2-0)
  • At home to: Florida, Arizona, Buffalo (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 2-1-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-4-0, 10 points in nine games

Edmonton can grab four more points before the break and two are up for grabs this evening. I said yesterday that the Calgary game would be the toughest, we’ll see what kind of legs this team has tonight.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Nurse-Russell were 15-5 in 12:04, 6-3 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC. Went 9-4 with McDavid in 6:04, meaning they were 6-1 in six minutes without the captain. Were 10-4 in 7:09 against Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm. I didn’t like Nurse turning over the puck and thought he needed to be more creative on the power play, but the pairing was on for the Nuge goal, with the downbeat being the late PP goal against. Otherwise, good results.
  • Jones-Larsson went 4-6 in 7:57, 1-4 shots, 0-2 goals and 0-1 HDSC. Jones struggled again, but he’s doing his best in a very difficult situation. Were 2-4 in 2:46 with 97, meaning 2-2 in five minutes without. Went 3-5 in 4:28 against Neal-Backlund-Frolik. That’s a difficult night. Went 2-5 in 3:01 against the Gaudreau line, suggesting to me Hitchcock wanted Nurse-Russell against the top line. I wonder if we see Nurse-Larsson tonight.
  • Manning-Benning were 6-10 in 8:21, 4-5 shots, no goals and 2-2 HDSC. Were 5-4 in 2:55 with McDavid, 1-6 without in 5:26. Were 5-3 in 4:49 against Neal-Backlund-Frolik.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 29 of 34, .853. At 5-on-5, he was 12 of 15, .800. He had a couple he’s like back. That said, he made one of the greatest stops I’ve ever seen against Gaudreau near the end of the first period.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Rieder-Brodziak-Kassian went 5-2 in 4:13, 3-2 shots and 0-1 goals. Brodziak lost the faceoff and then was part of the mixed up coverage on the Kylington goal. Were 3-3 in 4:00 against Kylington-Andersson. Rieder didn’t play much, he needs to be more of the story.
  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Chiasson went 15-11 in 10:39 (Leon), 9-9 in 8:42 (Chiasson) and 4-0 in 1:45 (Khaira). They didn’t have it last night, kind of got away from what makes the line tick. 97 was brilliant but the Flames had an answer. Leon gave the puck away far too much. Went 8-7 against Giordano-Brodie. If they don’t have any jump in tonight’s game, bet Hitch splits them up.
  • Khaira-Nuge-Yamamoto went 2-3 in 6:34, 0-2 shots, 0-1 goals. Nuge played 2:24 (2-2 and a goal) with Jesse Puljujarvi. It was a low event line, still hoping they put the Finn there full time. Went 3-2 in 5:05 against Hanifan-Hamonic.
  • Lucic-Cave-Puljujarvi were 3-2 in 3:16, 2-2 shots, no goals and 1-1 HDSC. Both wingers scored, but neither goal came 5-on-5, or with Cave. I like Cave, can skate he’s a useful player. Went 0-2 in 2:04 against Kylington-Andersson.

JANUARY SCORERS

Here are the even-strength points per 60 (and boxcars) for Edmonton’s forwards this month.

  1. Connor McDavid 9, 7-2-9. [3.08]
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 9, 2-4-6 [2.66]
  3. Zack Kassian 9, 2-3-5 [2.61]
  4. Leon Draisaitl 9, 2-3-5 [1.80]
  5. Jesse Puljujarvi 9, 1-2-3 [1.74]
  6. Milan Lucic 9, 3-0-3 [1.64]
  7. Tobias Rieder 9, 0-2-2 [1.28]
  8. Ty Rattie 6, 0-1-1 [0.92]
  9. Kyle Brodziak 9, 0-1-1 [0.77]
  10. Alex Chiasson 8, 0-1-1 [0.50]

Some fascinating numbers here, led by McDavid’s incredible month. Nuge has also played well, Kassian is on a good run after a slow first half. Leon is off but it’s important to remember one point either way can have a major impact in a small sample. Puljujarvi and Lucic have done good work this month, JP receiving third-line minutes and getting results.

CALEB JONES

He made a mistake, but the real story is that he’s 21, in his second year of pro, and surviving on a feature pairing. Survival is success in this case. No need to rip the young man, he’s shown us a tremendous amount during his NHL time.

Remember the point I made at the top? About getting a lot from a losing season? Add Jones to Puljujarvi, maybe there are more on the way.

CONDORS

I’ll be writing about the Oilers farm team today, it’s a “one year after” piece that updates the state of the farm from last January. I can tell you things are going well compared to 12 months ago and it’s showing up everywhere. Here are the top 5 AHL scoring rookies, the only man 20 on the list is Benson.

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434 Responses to "Game 49 2018-19: Hurricanes at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. Glovjuice says:

    OriginalPouzar: Hey, don’t age my wife – she’s 38, I’m 42.

    Hey, Disneyland as adults with no kids is AWESOME – we’ve done it a few times and I’m excited – I will be wearing my mickey ears the entire time.

    Of course, I won’t be eating all the crap but that’s my choice.

    We do lots of hiking during the summer and the Scottsdale trip almost turned in to a week of hiking in the areas in and around Vegas and Phoenix but then we decided to do Japan.

    We have soft plans to do the West Coast Trail at some point.

    A young 38 she is. Hey, still lots of time for kids though. We were both 43 at birth – easy for me to say. She was the volunteer for that deed. West coast is killer.

  2. LMHF#1 says:

    Dicky94:
    LMHF#1,

    Where Mctavish was sitting?

    *shudder*

  3. Drew says:

    HugThePost: The first 3-year subscriptions for the luxury boxes are expiring this year and Gregor reported a couple of weeks ago that there isn’t exactly a lineup of people itching to renew which is going to affect katz’s Bottom line

    I can picture Batman sitting in the moonlight in a room at wayne manor covered in blood pleasuring himself over a pile of 80’s Oilers hockey cards right about now.
    Is the only thing positive about where we are.

  4. Ben says:

    Just realized that tonight was the first night in my entire life of following this team that I consciously decided not to watch when I had no other active interests or engagements.

    I would honestly rather read this blog than watch them waste 97 with my own eyes. Godspeed to us all.

  5. digger50 says:

    Drai as second star and held up as a high point of the game.

    He’s awesome, but he can be even better.

    I thought Kassian was best Oiler tonight.

    Jessie continued to grow. He’s still unpredictable and impatient. He’s often in the right spot but leaves it and soon after the pick arrives.

    Connor – when you continually have to play games where you have to fight just to skate around the rink – you get tired. He looked tired.

    Larson is struggling.

    Remember when Hitch took over there was 40 hits per game? Where did that go?

    There is way too much going on than Klefbom missing.

    I think Hitch should unleash some young energy early in the game, less Connor. Ride Connor later but right now he’s asked for too much. By young energy I’m thinking Yammer / Marody / Benson. Let’s have a look.

  6. Glovjuice says:

    Ben:
    Just realized that tonight was the first night in my entire life of following this team that I consciously decided not to watch when I had no other active interests or engagements.

    I would honestly rather read this blog than watch them waste 97 with my own eyes.Godspeed to us all.

    Mine was the late California game last week or whatever. Forget the team.

  7. Pescador says:

    danny:
    If we are talking TV series, my must-watches are probably mostly-seen, nontheless:

    Black Mirror, The Wire, Sopranos, American Crime Story, Broadchurch, Manhunt: Unabomber, The Missing S1, True Detective S1, Top of The Lake, Fargo S1-S3, Deadwood, Hannibal, Les Revenants

    No Breaking Bad?

  8. Drew says:

    Ben:
    Just realized that tonight was the first night in my entire life of following this team that I consciously decided not to watch when I had no other active interests or engagements.

    I would honestly rather read this blog than watch them waste 97 with my own eyes.Godspeed to us all.

    I haven’t watched a game all year, I only come here for you folks. How sick is that? I used to be a season ticket holder and a diehard fan.

    I take pleasure in thinking Katz is losing his mind right now.

    I think I need help. hahahahahaha

  9. JimmyV1965 says:

    OriginalPouzar: Cap hell alleviates with two years even without moving out any “anchors” – the only anchor contract with real term is Lucic.

    Ya, it may take a year or two but there is a path forward with only cautious and smart moves in that time frame (trying to move out cap but not bleeding assets or committing to dead cap to do so).

    A couple of years seems like a long time but McDavid and Drai and Nurse will be at the beginning of their primes, Nuge will be “a vet” (if he re-signs), Puljujarvi/Yamamoto may have “popped”, Bouchard should be ready to make a real impact and the swarth of just about NHL ready prospects will be truly ready to provide ELC value contracts (not all but chances are one, two or three will make it).

    There is a way forward if management does not make things worse in the interim.

    I’m in agreement with all this, except I think we need to trade for a legit top six forward. At least that gives you a base of four core forwards, decent enough for two top lines. Otherwise, we’re wishing and hoping for one of our kids to pop, in circumstances not ideally suited for kids to pop.

  10. Pescador says:

    Johnny skid: can you think of a coach who could do better with this roster?

    Trotz,
    I’m a fan of Hitch, the roster is garbage

  11. Johnny skid says:

    Pescador: Trotz,
    I’m a fan of Hitch, the roster is garbage

    this roster could make any coach look like a putts.

  12. drglen says:

    The good ship oiler has sunk.

  13. digger50 says:

    Lucic reaction to Kassian hit into the players box is hilarious. It’s like he’s watching and finally slaps Kassian away “would you get going you nut job…”

  14. Sierra says:

    tileguy:
    Anybody still want Hitch to come and grout your bathroom?

    What happened to sound defensive play and cutting down on the goals against? Worked for a couple weeks so I suppose we should be happy

  15. jzed says:

    Goal aside, keeping Gravel out for Manning was the tell. Chia knows he’s done, figured he’d go out on principle. New GM will have to decide how to shed enough salary to acquire D men who can pass. Probably Draisaitl as 8 million and hasn’t lost enough of his luster in this train wreck of a season. Trade out useful bits, Chiasson , Gravel, Kassian etc for picks. Start all over with what’s left and what you can add at draft. Rest of season is about getting captain his scoring title, we know he is the most valuable but he won’t get a sniff for the Hart on this league embarrassment.

  16. Scungilli Slushy says:

    I like Hitch’s demeanour. He’s probably not much better a coach than McLellan, they are doing similar things. McLellan was too dour and seemed depressed, I think it was affecting the players so I’m onboard with the change.

    Hitch is honest but definitely has an end game or two when he’s speaking. I suppose a lot of practice at it. I get that a team to be successful in a Cup run has to be able to play the boards. The refs put the whistle away, teams with thugs will try to play the heavy game if they think it will work.

    Still this isn’t 10 years ago and having the skill they do and McDavid want to see them be the team that invents and is the one to be emulated. I have had a gut full of sluggish skaters, sure the puck moves faster, but the chances of assembling a team of big slow super high IQ players that can compete with savvy against much faster players doesn’t seem likely . Drai and Larsson are enough.

    So I don’t know if Hitch is really so stuck in his ways he wants to play old hockey or like McLellan he doesn’t think has the horses to play a more skilled higher tempo game. Which is on Chiarelli is putting together the biggest team in the league ( with I’m sure the OBC clapping and grinning wildly in the background ) while the league goes speed and skill.

    I like players that win puck battles and have good sticks, now that heavy hitting is dying being huge doesn’t matter. Just getting faster players will help a lot. If they have drive, unlike our buddy Spooner. Faster players with some hockey sense. There are a few that don’t seem to have a natural feel for the game at the highest level.

  17. Wilde says:

    Very similar game to last night’s except for the obvious concern that Carolina is not the quality that Calgary is, although I thought the two teams on the BoA were fairly even at 5v5; Calgary is much better than they showed vs Edmonton.

    That being said, I think Carolina’s skaters are way better than their record and they’d be high on my list of teams to walk into GMing (in a hypothetical sense where I’d magically have the ability and skills to run a team from that chair) as their books were fairly clean even before the massive gains made in the Nino trade.

    I think Puljujärvi acquitted himself of some concerns in the last two games, and Jones did the same tonight. A really impressive comeback game by 82 on a night where his veteran partner might have had his worst game as an Oiler.

    There’s going to be some talk about Leon. The fouler portions of it he won’t deserve. He’s up to 22:04 all sit.per game over 19:18 last year. That is fucking absurd for a guy who kills penalties.

    Witnessing the degradation (of the play of) not only the core players on this team, but some rookies as well, as they try to make up for the veteran supporting cast compiled in entirety by the current manager should provoke his firing this instant.

    Watching the combination of young players in over their head, and the pieces that Chiarelli inherited vastly outperform every target brought in by management is revolting. It’s so gross how pieces that steep prices were paid for are either indistinguishable in quality from random sub-1M free agents and green prospects or very distinguishably worse.

  18. SwedishPoster says:

    Man that Larsson interview on the Oilers site was tough, he was so brutally honest that the reporters didn’t know how to move along. Very north of Sweden type of self critique, I’m bound to it myself. He won’t get a lot of sleep tonight. Hopefully getting Klefbom back gives him a boost because while it’s a very good way to stay honest it sometimes spins out of control until you dig yourself too deep into the ground.

  19. oilfan17 says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Man that Larsson interview on the Oilers site was tough, he was so brutally honest that the reporters didn’t know how to move along. Very north of Sweden type of self critique, I’m bound to it myself. He won’t get a lot of sleep tonight. Hopefully getting Klefbom back gives him a boost because while it’s a very good way to stay honest it sometimes spins out of control until you dig yourself too deep into the ground.

    His father’s death was about this time last year (while visiting Edmonton). That would be weighing him down right now. The first anniversary is tough.

  20. hunter1909 says:

    22nd in the NHL, yet the losers running this team expect the suckers(Tier 1 fans) to buy the fact that they’re competing for the playoffs/cup.

    Come to think of it, there’s a certain poetic irony in the fact that when Katz’s bf’s won the cup there were only 21 teams.

  21. BONE207 says:

    Bad news…this team is shite!!!

    Good news…I didn’t watch last night’s game. This blog & all you Lowetidians were awesome. I haven’t laughed so much in some time. Misery loves company & we are that. What a time to be alive.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: A young 38 she is. Hey, still lots of time for kids though. We were both 43 at birth – easy for me to say. She was the volunteer for that deed. West coast is killer.

    God no, no kids for us – decision made – we are both extremely happy with the decision.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    jzed:
    Goal aside, keeping Gravel out for Manning was the tell. Chia knows he’s done, figured he’d go out on principle.

    Except its not the GM that has been making the decision to play Manning over Gravel – its the coach.

    No, I don’t think the GM is interfering with player deployment decisions as evident by the coach refusing to play other recent GM acquisitions (Zykov, Spooner, etc).

  24. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wilde:

    I think Puljujärvi acquitted himself of some concerns in the last two games, and Jones did the same tonight. A really impressive comeback game by 82 on a night where his veteran partner might have had his worst game as an Oiler.

    There’s going to be some talk about Leon. The fouler portions of it he won’t deserve. He’s up to 22:04 all sit.per game over 19:18 last year. That is fucking absurd for a guy who kills penalties.

    Jones came back well after we was stapled to the bench for 11 minutes of game play.

    Yes, those minutes for Drai are absurd, in particular given the coach was very clear, a couple of times, that, if a forward plays PK (which are tougher minutes), he can’t play bigger minutes overall.

  25. OriginalPouzar says:

    oilfan17: His father’s death was about this time last year (while visiting Edmonton). That would be weighing him down right now. The first anniversary is tough.

    I really felt for Larsson during the “dads games” earlier in the season.

  26. SwedishPoster says:

    oilfan17: His father’s death was about this time last year (while visiting Edmonton). That would be weighing him down right now. The first anniversary is tough.

    Yeah I was thinking that might have something to do with his drop in play, could be affecting him without him being really aware of it. Hope he has people around him who recognize it if that’s the case.

  27. GMB3 says:

    Sierra: What happened to sound defensive play and cutting down on the goals against?Worked for a couple weeks so I suppose we should be happy

    Yeah that was on the goalies more than the systems imo

  28. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Can we start fantasizing about life without Chiarelli? Can we date other ppl yet? I’m getting antsy.

  29. russ99 says:

    Pescador,

    The roster is garbage, but made worse by forcing kids onto it before they’re ready.

    And you can debate who’s behind that, but my money is on Chia, since McLellan wouldn’t play them but all of a sudden, Hitch is on board.

    What NHL team is going to succeed this way?

    Fans love to rip on Manning, but he had a good couple of games and he’s one of our few D who can put the puck on net from the point instead of wide by a few feet. There’s lots more to rip than our #6/7D who is automatically hated because of the McDavid hit and cause fans hate our GM and everything he does.

  30. Pescador says:

    Admiral Ackbar:
    Can we start fantasizing about life without Chiarelli? Can we date other ppl yet? I’m getting antsy.

    Maximum of 32 more games, I wish it was 0
    I’ve already started seeing someone

  31. russ99 says:

    JimmyV1965: I’m in agreement with all this, except I think we need to trade for a legit top six forward. At least that gives you a base of four core forwards, decent enough for two top lines. Otherwise, we’re wishing and hoping for one of our kids to pop, in circumstances not ideally suited for kids to pop.

    Agree. we need to end this vicious cycle of draft, rush, sell low, draft, rush, sell low. Draft and develop only works if we develop.

    A top 6 forward trade is necessary, not for this year, but for next year.

  32. CrazyCoach says:

    oilfan17: His father’s death was about this time last year (while visiting Edmonton). That would be weighing him down right now. The first anniversary is tough.

    Yes as one who just passed the second anniversary of my Dad’s own passing, it weighs very heavily on your mind.

  33. pts2pndr says:

    OriginalPouzar: Its not the only way – its your preferred way and I don’t think its the best way.

    I am not willing to bleed a bunch of draft picks and assets and to create dead cap hits to dispose of contracts that fall away by their terms within a few years.

    I’ve explained my position a bunch of times including in the posts above.

    To try and press to dispose of contracts by bleeding assets and value will, in my opinion, risks prolonging the “dead period” and lowers the ultimate ceiling.

    You are correct but your timeing for this is not the best. I understand the anger by everyone but now more than ever is not the time to panic!

  34. maudite says:

    Jan 31st, 2007 oilers vs columbus. Had tickets to game. Threw them out. Realized I had better things to do then watch a team collapse. Game in pack before that I had “fire lowe” banners and recieved a lot of grief in the building from security about it.

    Outside buying some playoff tickets to take my niece and nephew to a game each and see playoff Oilers atmosphere…I haven’t bought another ticket ever again.

    Still haven’t really fired lowe…team still making rash decisions, tar and feathering players on the way out, reading pages from the ron low guide “How to manage tough love for euros (a guide to devaluing and under developing or the case study of Miro Satan)”…it stinks. The same paper cuts over and over.

    For the life of me I don’t understand how that manning deal didn’t get PC canned…he’s floundering and screwing it forward is going to sink our chances of getting out of this mess next year.

    t

    Ben:
    Just realized that tonight was the first night in my entire life of following this team that I consciously decided not to watch when I had no other active interests or engagements.

    I would honestly rather read this blog than watch them waste 97 with my own eyes.Godspeed to us all.

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