I’d give this Oilers team a 35 percent chance to win this evening. It’s an away game, a team that mopped the floor with Edmonton mere days ago and is coming off a disappointing loss.
If the Oilers can get a point tonight, and especially if they win, I think all fans will take notice. The national media may have to change hammers (from sledge to rubber). In this way, tonight’s opponent is a gift, an opportunity. It’s Hockey Night in Canada, and it’s rarely meant as much in the last decade.
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: The Oilers aren’t good, but this group has more potential than teams from the decade of darkness
- New Lowetide: Bob Nicholson’s search continues for the Oilers new tomorrow, but at a leisurely pace.
- Jonathan Willis: Potential GM candidates and why Edmonton needs to consider those with varied experiences.
- Lowetide: Identifying Oilers roster needs reveals a familiar list
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Leon Draisaitl has found ‘another level’ by matching offensive wizardry with sound positioning.
- Lowetide: How many future NHL goal scorers are playing for the Bakersfield Condors this season?
- Lowetide: The career destination for Oilers phenom Jesse Puljujarvi remains unknown.
- Jonathan Willis: Learning from a flawed argument I made about Leon Draisaitl in 2016.
- Black Dog Pat: How the Oilers can emerge from the Bob Pulford-like era they’re stuck in.
- Lowetide: The Oilers’ deadline decisions inform what may come in spring and summer
- Jonathan Willis: From Mikko Koskinen to Bakersfield, the next two months will reveal a lot about the Oilers
- Lowetide: The Edmonton Oilers and the OHL.
- Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018
OILERS AFTER 68
- Oilers in 2015: 26-35-7, 59 points; goal differential -30
- Oilers in 2016: 35-24-9, 79 points; goal differential +10
- Oilers in 2017: 30-34-4, 64 points; goal differential -35
- Oilers in 2018: 30-30-7, 67 points; goal differential -20
The Oilers are seven points behind the Minnesota Wild with two games in hand, so if they can win those two games it’ll be a three point deficit. I don’t think Edmonton makes it, but will say that a win tonight against a formidable Toronto team would turn a lot of agnostics into believers.
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 3-1-0, six points; goal differential +3
- Oilers in March 2017: 1-2-1, three points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in March 2018: 2-2-0, four points; goal differential -2
- Oilers in March 2019: 3-0-0, six points; goal differential +6
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MARCH
- On the road to: Columbus, Buffalo (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Toronto, NY Rangers, Minnesota (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Arizona, Vegas, St. Louis (Expected: 0-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Columbus, Ottawa, Los Angeles, Dallas, Anaheim (Expected: 3-1-1) (Actual)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-4, 14 points in 14 games
- Current results: 3-0-0, six points in three games
OILERS FORWARDS, LAST 10 GP
- The Oilers have been very successful in the last 10 games, for a couple of reasons shown here.
- Connor McDavid is simply the best, something we should never take for granted.
- Leon’s at 2.04, Gagner is doing fine and a couple veteran wingers are posting some crooked numbers.
- It isn’t perfect but it is better. Wing needs an overhaul this summer.
OILERS DEFENSE, LAST 10 GP
- I’m the last man standing on Corsi Rel but it gives me a feeling for the group and confirms my concern about the second pair.
- Mikko Koskinen has been getting credit (and he should) for these last 10 games, but it’s important to note his .927 SP at 5-on-5 ranks no. 19 among starters in this time frame.
- All numbers via NaturalStatTrick.
THE CARLTON SHOWBAND
The Toronto Maple Leafs occupy a unique place in Canadian culture. Previous to 1970, the Leafs spent many decades as the only English Canadian hockey team in the NHL, effectively giving the club a captive audience by default. Additionally, the 1960’s saw the team win several Stanley’s, making the enormous population of Leafs nation vocal, jubilant and unavoidable. In 1967, when Toronto would win its fourth championship in six years, the Maple Leafs were the hockey equivalent of modern sports franchises like the New York Yankees or New England Patriots of fairly recent vintage.
If the Leafs win the Stanley this spring, the combination of social media, online aggression, enormous pockets of Leafs fandom across all precincts, and decades of fire targeted from and toward Toronto may explode across the nation like a wildfire. The result could be the undoing of all the good work (over a century ago), a time when building the railway connected the entire nation and brought the jewel of confederation into Canada.
What’s even more worrisome? Pierre Berton isn’t here to write an exhausting tome to chronicle the event for history.