The Edmonton Oilers had dynamic moments last night but were unable to cash enough of them against an excellent Toronto team. Secondary scoring was an issue (there wasn’t any) and the home team spent too much time in its own zone. If you need someone to blame, point the finger at roster decisions as opposed to any of them men who bled and sweat for the Oilers last night. The Maple Leafs consistent outlet passes tape to tape serves as an outstanding reminder that constant defending means you aren’t winning the game.
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 Lowetide: How the emergence of William Lagesson in Bakersfield complicates Edmonton’s 2019-20 depth chart.
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers aren’t good, but this group has more potential than teams from the decade of darkness
- 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: 30-31-7, 67 points; goal differential -21
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: 3-1-0, six points; goal differential +5
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, NJD (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- 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: 3-1-0, six points in four games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Klefbom-Larsson went 15-16 in 13:31, 11-11 shots, no goals and 0-4 HDSC. Klefbom scored and Larsson damn near did, and the pairing was quality for the most part. Couldn’t overcome some nice skill on the third goal, but didn’t get any help on the trailer either. Went 11-7 in 6:15 against Hyman-Tavares-Marner.
- Sekera-Benning went 6-9 in 9:19, Sekera also played with Russell (1:10, a goal against), Larsson (3-0 shots in 2:04), Klefbom (1-2 shots in 1:10) and Nurse (0-1 shots in 49 seconds). Benning got the job done, Sekera’s passing was on display but he seemed hesitant on the second Tavares goal.
- Nurse-Russell were 12-24 in 12:21, Hitchcock finally pulling the plug on the pairing mid-game. Nurse played a quiet 2:43 with Larsson (on shots either way, one Corsi event for and none against), Russell was 0-5 Corsi with Klefbom in 1:48, and was a saloon door on the second Tavares goal.
- Anthony Stolarz was solid, absolutely stood in well. Stopped 37 of 40, .925.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian were 10-9 in 8:28, 7-5 shots, no goals and 1-3 HDSC. 29 and 97 had quality evenings but the Toronto goalie was quite splendid and made a difference. I saw this trio as more productive than the other 97 group.
- Nuge-McDavid-Kassian were 5-11 in 6:12, 3-8 shots, no goals and 0-3 HDSC. Nuge scored a great goal to cue the late comeback, but this line didn’t enter the Toronto zone under control with a full head of steam enough on the night.
- Gagner-Draisaitl-Chiasson were 7-12 in 5:31, 4-5 shots, no goals and 0-2 HDSC. Some nice moments (89 can pass) but Leon was destined to play much of the game with another trio.
- Khaira-Cave-Currie were 1-3 in 3:46, 1-3 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-1 HDSC. Khaira had some looks.
- Rieder-Nuge-Gagner went 5-2 in 2:46, 2-2, no goals and 1-1 HDSC. I like the results, I wonder if we see them again.
FIRST PAIR V. SECOND PAIR
We don’t have the Puck IQ binning available yet but these two pairings will have faced the toughest opposition this season. In shot and goal suppression, they are alike. To give you an idea about the pairings and how they would compare to other duos, Calgary’s Giordano-Brodie are 26.01 SA/60 5-on-5 and 2.00 GA/60.
The Nurse pairing has the superior GF number but the Klefbom pairing are stronger in shots for in 5-on-5. Again using Giordano-Brodie, the Flames pair is 32.96 in shots for and 2.96 in goals for.
Lots of moving parts, but the bottom line is Klefbom-Larsson are over 50 percent in shot differential and getting caved in goal differential. One area that favors the Swedes: 146-148 (-2) in high danger scoring chances, compared to 122-160 for Nurse-Russell (-38).
I think we see Sekera slide up to the second pair in the coming days. Question: Which current blue should he replace, Nurse or Russell?
Benson now has 50 points on the season and an NHLE of 35.5. Oilers are going to have a helluva time keeping him down on the farm next season. Ostap Safin played his first QMJHL game since November 25 last night, no points but three shots on goal.