Game 52 2018-19: Oilers at Canadiens

The Oilers began the second half with a maddening yet hopeful effort against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. A dynamic 5-on-5 afternoon was wasted by a poor performance on the 4-on-5, and the troops march into Montreal badly in need of two points. On the positive side of things, Connor McDavid is the only player in the league who goes to 11, and the secondary scoring had a nice afternoon in the sun. A win today puts Edmonton in ninth, two points behind Vancouver (tied with Colorado, Avs with a game in hand) and the best player on the planet wearing the oildrop.

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton brought it yesterday, there’s a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Entry deal AHL forwards give the Oilers an excellent trade pool (will link).
  • Lowetide: If fast is the new big, how do the Edmonton Oilers get there in a hurry?
  • Jonathan Willis: Analyzing how well Peter Chiarelli and Keith Gretzky restocked the Oilers with their draft work
  • Lowetide: Finding a path to the playoffs may involve reckless use of future assets by the Oilers
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL free agency period
  • Tyler Dellow: A deeper look at Connor McDavid and the Oilers’ 5-on-5 offensive changes under Ken Hitchcock
  • Corey Pronman: 2019 NHL Draft midseason rankings
  • Jonathan Willis: An Oilers blueprint for the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Lowetide: Edmonton’s 2019 entry draft plans may change with new GM but needs are clear
  • Lowetide: Caleb Jones has impressive first showing in the NHL with Oilers.
  • Tyler Dellow: Four questions that the Oilers should be asking candidates for the GM job
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: New Oilers caretaker Keith Gretzky caught between earning playoff berth and keeping future assets
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018

OILERS AFTER 52

  • Oilers in 2015: 21-26-5, 47 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2016: 28-16-8, 64 points; goal differential +14
  • Oilers in 2017: 23-25-4, 50 points; goal differential -27
  • Oilers in 2018: 23-24-4, 50 points; goal differential -14

This year’s team has settled in and joined the 2015 and 2017 clubs as also-rans. The goal differential (my numbers do not include EN goals) suggest a better outcome should have been expected, but if wishes were horses beggars would ride. This race should have been locked up by St. Louis and or Colorado by now, but the Oilers absolutely have a chance.

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 1-1-0, two points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in February 2017: 0-2-0, 0 points; goal differential -3
  • Oilers in February 2018: 1-0-1, three points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in February 2019: 0-0-1, one point; goal differential -1

No fast starts to February, although this year’s team would benefit from a similar start to the 2017-18 group. Need that win today in order to stay within screaming distance of the second season.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-1)
  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Pittsburgh, Carolina, NY Islanders (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Arizona, NY Islanders, Anaheim (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Nashville, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 1-2-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 0-0-1, one point in one game

Impossible to predict this team game to game, but the 5-on-5 performance in Philly was encouraging. I will say no more.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

  • Gravel-Larsson were 13-7 in 13:43, 7-3 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-0 HDSC. In what is going to be a theme, these guys had a good day 5-on-5. Larsson scored on the anniversary of his Dad’s passing, a bittersweet moment in a season awash in angst and melancholy. Went 10-2 in 7:49 against Laughton-Patrick-Simmonds.
  • Manning-Benning went 11-10 in 6:52, 8-6 shots, 2-0 goals and 3-2 HDSC. Easily the third pair in deployment, the 5-on-5 results were terrific. Benning’s errant throw around the boards on a late PK was a tragedy and resulted almost immediately in the tying goal. Were 6-3 in 3:12 against JVR-Giroux-Konecny.
  • Nurse-Russell were 18-20 in 13:48, 11-11 shots, no goals and 4-7 in HDSC. Edmonton’s top pairing based on minutes has a tough time getting the puck out under control. Were 14-10 in 5:24 against
    JVR-Giroux-Konecny.
  • NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

  • Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 15-4 in 8:34, 10-1 shots, 1-0 goals and 4-0 HDSC. Leon driving a line has long been a priority, it sure looked like he could on this day. LD turned over the puck a couple of times but I liked the line. Went 11-8 against Hagg-Gudas in 6:01.
  • Lucic-McDavid-Rattie went 12-11 in 10:22, 6-6 shots, 1-0 goals and 3-2 HDSC. McDavid’s goal will live forever, this line lasted longer than I thought it would and may have a chance. Rattie lost his man in overtime but I think we’ll see this trio today. 97 was 12-11 against Provorov-Sanheim, 2-0 goals. Looch’s two penalties were four minutes too many. He is playing better with the puck but holy lord ML that hurt the team.
  • Khaira-Nuge-Kassian were 8-6 in 8:42, 5-4 shots, no goals and 2-1 HDSC. I thought the line played well, both wingers getting a point. Nuge took an early penalty, I still don’t know why, but drew one later. Were 5-3 in 5:25 against Gost-MacDonald. Kassian took a dumb penalty 10 miles from danger and he’s been doing it a lot. Season on the line, time to use the big part of the brain.
  • Cave-Brodziak-Puljuarvi were 10-11 in 7:28, 7-6 shots, no goals and 1-2 HDSC. They played quite a lot, I like the trio. Pulju looked real good to my eye. Were 5-5 in 3:19 against Hagg-Gudas.
  • Cam Talbot was stunning with eight seconds left, I mean incredible. Should have had the second goal. Stopped all 22 5-on-5 shots, but 34 of 39 overall, .872.

The Oilers would be interested, all 31 teams would have to be doing their due diligence on such a player. The bigger question might be ‘does Taylor Hall have any interest in returning?’ and that’s not a question anyone can answer with certainty. Hockey players are a loyal bunch, but I think Hall would probably prefer a contender. Interesting wrinkle on summer.

One of these statements is true: The Oilers want to hire Kelly McCrimmon, or the Oilers have no plans to name a general manager until given an opportunity to talk to Kelly McCrimmon. Edmonton’s management telegraphs like it’s 1870. That’s my belief.

STOP TAKING PENALTIES

Veterans, the guys a coach needs to lead, took a mountain of penalties in Philly yesterday. I know the refs were cross-eyed and (the opposite of) painless, but my goodness veterans should know by the third period which way the wind blows.

THE PLAYOFFS

Don’t let anyone tell you different, this team has a chance to make the postseason. They’ll need a goalie to step up and that special teams mess can’t happen. There’s 30 games left and the Oilers are close. That is a fact.

Price point is an issue, but Chiasson has shown some hands this year. I would love to see the Oilers overhaul the entire left and right side, but it isn’t possible because long-term contracts prevail. That said, reasonable deals for guys like Chiasson make sense.

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417 Responses to "Game 52 2018-19: Oilers at Canadiens"

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  1. jp says:

    LMHF#1,

    I’ll try to have a look.

  2. godot10 says:

    Professor Q: As was Dallas Eakins. He did really well with the Marlies, and was one of the Rising Stars of the league.

    If this was a vacuum, of course.

    The firings of Krueger and Nelson will always leave a sour taste.

    Dallas Eakins has a Toronto-based PR hype machine. Todd Nelson did not.

  3. JimmyV1965 says:

    On the bright side, if we end up drafting Hughes, we can trade Drai for someone with character. LOL. Although I guess it doesn’t matter much when you have the best passer in the league playing with someone who has zero goals. Here’s a breakaway for you Reider. If you don’t mind please, try to get a shot on net.

  4. Bruce McCurdy says:

    JimmyV1965:
    On the bright side, if we end up drafting Hughes, we can trade Drai for someone with character. LOL. Although I guess it doesn’t matter much when you have the best passer in the league playing with someone who has zero goals. Here’s a breakaway for you Reider. If you don’t mind please, try to get a shot on net.

    I counted 3 great chances in the low slot for Rieder in addition to that breakaway. 0 shots on net in the game. Maybe as you say he needs passes with more character.

  5. digger50 says:

    €√¥£€^$: Like I mentioned yesterday & OP mentioned here today, JJ & JP are better options, as would be Kassian & Reider.Slow boots are death in OT(as Jethro mentioned)

    No, no they are not

  6. jtblack says:

    DING DONG THE WITCH IS GONE

  7. Ribs says:

    The situation is humourous.

    We fired the GM, but no one cares.

    It’s a tough spot for us fans. When does change come? The deadline? The draft? Nothing at all seems imminent other than the wasting of another year of McDavid/Draisatl.

    Nicholson needs to be doing more damage control than he has been doing. Oilers fans aren’t going to settle for lame excuses anymore. Something needs to be done that makes this group look like a legit NHL team.

    I hope for the best.

  8. Wilde says:

    Ribs: Nicholson needs to be doing more damage control than he has been doing. Oilers fans aren’t going to settle for lame excuses anymore. Something needs to be done that makes this group look like a legit NHL team.

    Nicholson’s damage needs to be controlled. He and Lowe as the chief agents for these hirings is malpractice.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    Good decision of consequence:

    – Signing McDavid for 8 years

    – Drafting Drai over Bennett

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    Glovjuice: The objective of trading for a starting goalie is for him to be good for more than once every three years. Tha only projects at 30-40 % of his contact/career.

    Again, the trade was material in the Oilers being a top 10 team and being within a period of Western Conference Finals. This was a decision of cosequence and, given the acquisition costs, unless you are concerned about Jonas Siegenthaler and his 24 NHL games, was a plus decision – a correct decision of consequence.

  11. Professor Q says:

    godot10: Dallas Eakins has a Toronto-based PR hype machine.Todd Nelson did not.

    Now, now. No moving goalposts.

    Your criteria specified hires without connections to the Oilers.

    The Toronto media do not count as connections to the Oilers.

  12. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    LMHF#1: I’d be speaking to the technical aspects of skating. The ability to do things properly and therefore move around the ice most efficiently.

    Russell looks like he’s moving a lot…but he is not a strong technical skater and often is essentially running in place because of this. He’s also a horrendous backwards skater which is one of the reasons he has to turn around all the time.

    You can look and even in some ways be quick out there, but actually be a bad skater. Russell gets turned around, knocked off of pucks, and beaten by players that can use their edges and start/stop better than he can.

    Hard to say who is better skater since Russell spends most of his time laying on the ice

  13. LMHF#1 says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick: Hard to say who is better skater since Russell spends most of his time laying on the ice

    This is a relevant point as well. Most of us had this coached out in Peewee.

  14. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Glovjuice: Talbot has been terrible in 60% of his time here.

    Glovjuice: I have no words to counter this.

    – Do you think that with better D Talbot would be better? I do.

    – I think Talbot’s like a lot of goalies that performs well behind solid D

    – Sek Larsson and Klefbom will be up to well over 200 games missed last two season.

    – I agree he’s been more poor than good and can’t be relied upon as a starter.

    -Or do you see it differently?

  15. Pescador says:

    leadfarmer: Would very highly doubt it.He’s just a filler on the pp, and will likely not get pp time over Bouchard Klef in future.He does not pass the puck well.Extrapolating is how we end up with a backup goalie making starter money with partial NTC
    Nurse is a 30 point guy.That’s ok.If he works on his defense

    I would hope to see Nurse on that abysmal 2nd unit PP next season,
    That would be an improvement over any D that gets thrown out there now.
    The reps he is getting today will go a long long way tomorrow.
    Bouchard needs to start next season in the minors

  16. Pescador says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Good decision of consequence:

    – Signing McDavid for 8 years

    – Drafting Drai over Bennett

    Draisaitl contract is looking better every day.
    Pace for what?
    40 G
    100 P.

  17. godot10 says:

    Professor Q: Now, now. No moving goalposts.

    Your criteria specified hires without connections to the Oilers.

    The Toronto media do not count as connections to the Oilers.

    It wasn’t my question. Eakins was hired without a thorough search and interview process, for a job which wasn’t even available, and a whim.

    Nelson was hired after a meaningful hiring process by Tambellini.

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