Game 56 2018-19: Oilers at Penguins

The first time the NHL Oilers played against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was a bloodbath in Pennsylvania. Edmonton won 5-2 (nine points for the Callighen-Gretzky-MacDonald line). If you look at the summary linked, you’ll see an actual mountain of penalties in the second period. I reached out to Cam Connor, whose name is spread liberally throughout the game’s penalty notations.

  • Cam Connor: “In the middle of the second period, Gretzky came over the Penguins blue line and walked defenseman Kim Clackson. I knew what Clackson was going to do, because he always slashed the oncoming forward on that play. Clackson whacked Gretzky on the side of the head, and Wayne went down. Dave Semenko, who could beat Clackson, went right after him. Pat Hughes and I ended up pairing off. Semenko told me he and Clackson fought five times during the melee. At the end of the fight, the linesman began splitting them up, and Semenko turned his head for an instant. In that moment, Clackson came over the top of the linesman and landed a punch on Semenko’s left eye.”

I believe this video is from that night. Based on the video, Mr. Connor did a helluva lot more than “pair off” but it looked like an incredible game. ūüôā

THE ATHLETIC!

The Athletic Edmonton features 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 Jonathan Willis: Taking stock of Oilers positives as they enter the final third of a dismal 2018-19 season.
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Keith Gretzky on the Oilers trade deadline plan, Andrej Sekera‚Äôs return and Jesse Puljujarvi‚Äôs season
  • New Lowetide:¬†Oilers‚Äô¬†potential roster upheaval¬†might set a record for summer activity
  • New Jonathan Willis:¬†Teams¬†should beware¬†of these players at the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman:¬†Will he stay or¬†will he go? Possible trade destination for Cam Talbot.
  • Lowetide:¬†Comparing¬†Oilers prospects¬†Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto
  • Lowetide:¬†Is Ken Hitchcock¬†helping Jesse Puljujarvi¬†find his way as an NHL player?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman:¬†What¬†Connor McDavid‚Äôs¬†evolving leadership qualities mean to the Oilers.
  • Lowetide:¬†It‚Äôs time for Oilers¬†owner Daryl Katz¬†to stand and deliver a winning organization.
  • Lowetide:¬†Setting the Oilers‚Äô¬†expected keeper list¬†for the next GM
  • Lowetide: Entry deal AHL forwards¬†give the Oilers¬†an excellent trade pool.
  • 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
  • Corey Pronman:¬†2019¬†NHL Draft¬†midseason rankings
  • Jonathan Willis: An¬†Oilers blueprint¬†for the 2019 NHL trade deadline.
  • Lowetide:¬†Edmonton‚Äôs¬†2019 entry draft plans¬†may change with new GM but needs are clear
  • Lowetide:¬†Complete Oilers¬†top 20 prospects, Winter 2018

OILERS AFTER 56

  • Oilers in 2015: 22-29-5, 49 points; goal differential -27
  • Oilers in 2016: 29-19-8, 66 points; goal differential +7
  • Oilers in 2017: 23-29-4, 50 points; goal differential -33
  • Oilers in 2018: 24-26-5, 53 points; goal differential -20

I don’t think the playoffs or 90 points are realistic at this point, but 82 (point-per-game) is within reach. Edmonton has reached 82 points just once since 2009, that was the 103-point season in 2016-17.

OILERS IN FEBRUARY

  • Oilers in February 2016: 2-4-0, four points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in February 2017: 3-3-0, six points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2018: 1-4-1, three points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in February 2019: 1-2-2, four points; goal differential -7

WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY

  • On the road to: Philadelphia, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-2)
  • At home to: Chicago (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: Minnesota (Expected 0-0-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: San Jose (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-1-0)
  • 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: 1-2-2, four points in five games

This is the point in the month where I thought the Oilers would go on a bit of a roll. I thought Klefbom and Sekera would be back, and also thought the team would have added a scorer. Good for them, staying the course is the right call. My prediction for the month as a whole is well within range.

CURRENT ROSTER

Andrej Sekera plays tonight for the Condors and based on reports he’s very close to being NHL-ready. In Daniel Nugent-Bowman’s interview with interim general manager Keith Gretzky (a must read) he says “it won’t be pretty” but they can get under the cap. Koskinen starts, he needs to be November Mikko. Folks, I don’t think they make it, but improving on last year remains a noble goal.

Insider Trading has the Oiler trying to deal Brandon Manning and Alex Petrovic, with no takers at this time. Frank Seravalli suggested both being placed on waivers is a possible solution, Oilers fans reacted online with derision. Now? It might be the likely plan. What a waste of assets.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning, we’ll cover a lot of bases between 10 and noon, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Oilers buyers or sellers?
  • Matthew Scianitti, TSN. A wild day in CFL free agency.
  • Jon Campbell, OddsShark. NHL playoff odds, NFL odds early days and the Alliance.
  • Corey Pronman, The Athletic. His mid-season rankings feature two “special” players and four “elite” players. We’ll talk about this year’s draft.

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408 Responses to "Game 56 2018-19: Oilers at Penguins"

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  1. drglen says:

    so, that’s about it then.

  2. ArmchairGM says:

    hunter1909:
    Oilers’ looking like they’re throwing the season for the coveted 2nd last place lottery spot:

    Oilers 53 points
    LAKings 51
    Anaheim 51
    Detroit 51
    Taylor Hall 50
    Ottawa look like a McDavidless Oilers, they lead the field with 47

    OBC like Hitler in the Bunker right now ‚Äď scheming to acquire a top 3 draft pick to save the Reich.

    Don’t look now, but those Ducks won last night putting them into a tie with the Oilers. Game in hand for us.

    The Kings and Red Wings are 2 points back but they’ve been playing better recently: 5-3-2 and 5-5-0 in the past 10 vs 2-6-2 for the Oilers. Even the Sens (6 points back) have gained 2 points on us in the past 10, going 4-6-0.

    At this rate we’ll be challenging Ottawa for last place before long.

  3. Dustylegnd says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Dube and Benson are completely different type of players.

    Dube is a quicker/faster offence first type player whereas Benson is the more high hockey IQ, high skill responsible puck distributor.

    The fact that Dube is PPG in the AHL is totally irrelevant to what Benson’s career as a pro will look like and his potential impact as an Oiler.

    Hmmmm, maybe Treliving rushed Dube by having him in the NHL for half a year?

    Dube is a far far far superior skater and dishin magician….a very very high level passer/play maker who can also play center…Benson has nothing on him hockey IQ wise…and Dube can kill penalties and had chemistry with Drai in Junior…makes perfect sense we passed on him

    Also…just a slightly tougher team to make and stick with than Edmonton

  4. russ99 says:

    godot10,

    The problem is every time RNH is on wing with Connor, he gets caught too far up ice and is frequently the last forward back. Plus RNH seems to be our only player who can still put up points with weak wingers. He’s more effective at both ends of the ice at center.

    The only way I see that working is RNH at center and Connor at wing.

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m going to stop short of anointing Dillon Dube the vastly superior player who will have a materially higher impact in the NHL based off him being a better skater and slightly better AHL stats. These are both very highly skilled rookie pro prospects and we don’t know how it will turn out. Yes, Tyler Benson is high skill – considered for exceptional status in to the WHL.

    I can imagine how much farther ahead of Dube Benson would likely be if he didn’t miss the better part of two full development seasons…..

    Not even sure why I’m responding to this – I’m not sure why I can’t get excited about Tyler Benson’s progress, the season he is having and his future without reference to Dillon Dube.

  6. Dustylegnd says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Nobody is saying you cant get excited about Benson….feel free….get excited about the fact that we made some late round picks that are actually performing well in the AHL…have at er

    What I am saying is that Benson was a sub optimal draft pick….the Oil drafted him based on his record breaking Bantam AAA season playing in a very weak North division (I will note, he broke Rattie’s ABHL AAA record)

    Benson was injured the majority of his WHL career…..drafting him that high was gross speculation by the Oilers

    neither you or I know how either prospect will ultimately turn out….but I do know in today’s NHL if you are a non plus skater……it is one more obstacle to overcome in a series of endless obstacles

    Based on WHL and AHL stats….to suggest that Dube isn’t an excellent play maker is not accurate….I will also note Dube was often injured during his WHL career as well

  7. Jethro Tull says:

    godot10: Someone has been suggesting Nugent-Hopkins and Rieder for McDavid, two speedy defensively aware wingers.People have forgotten that Gretzky let Kurri and Tikkanen do most of the defensive work on the line.

    One’s a Hall of Famer and the other one should be, but fair comparison……not. Maybe if Nuge starts tearing it up, he might be mentioned in the same context as Kurri and Tikkanen. Maybe.

  8. Bank Shot says:

    Dustylegnd:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Nobody is saying you cant get excited about Benson….feel free….get excited about the fact that we made some late round picks that are actually performing well in the AHL…have at er

    What I am saying is that Benson was a sub optimal draft pick….the Oil drafted him based on his record breaking Bantam AAA season playing in a very weak North division (I will note, he broke Rattie’s ABHL AAA record)

    Benson was injured the majority of his WHL career…..drafting him that high was gross speculation by the Oilers

    neither you or I know how either prospect will ultimately turn out….but I do know in today’s NHL if you are a non plus skater……it is one more obstacle to overcome in a series of endless obstacles

    Based on WHL and AHL stats….to suggest that Dube isn’t an excellent play maker is not accurate….I will also note Dube was often injured during his WHL career as well

    Dube is so overrated because he had a good preseason.

    He’s the worst.

    Flames fans had Baerstchi pegged as the next Hossa so I’d take their hype machine with a grain of salt. Hah.

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