In the end, it was a good night for the boys. It could have ended poorly, there were certainly moments when things could have gone sideways. Ken Hitchcock loaded up the McDavid-Draisaitl train and that train is bound for glory. No matter what tomorrow brings, this was a big win for an organization that has endured 40 miles of bad road.
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 Oilers can build a contender during Connor McDavid’s prime.
- 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 69 GAMES
- Oilers in 2015: 26-36-7, 59 points; goal differential -33
- Oilers in 2016: 36-24-9, 81 points; goal differential +16
- Oilers in 2017: 30-35-4, 64 points; goal differential -36
- Oilers in 2018: 31-31-7, 69 points; goal differential -20
This year’s Oilers are 16 goals better (EN goals taken out of the goal salad) and with a strong push this year’s team might be able to stretch the goal improvement past 20. There are 13 games left, can Edmonton go 8-4-1? That would put them 39-35-8, 86 points.
OILERS IN MARCH
- Oilers in March 2016: 3-2-0, six points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in March 2017: 2-2-1, five points; goal differential +4
- Oilers in March 2018: 3-2-0, four points; goal differential 0
- Oilers in March 2019: 4-1-0, eight points; goal differential +6
March McDavid has never looked better, the Oilers are ripping through the early portion of the final month of the year. Need Klefbom back though, he played Game No. 49 last night. He’s having a ‘Serge Savard GP’ early portion of his career.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 2-1-0)
- 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: 4-1-0, eight points in five games
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Andrej Sekera went 11-4 in 10:06 with Adam Larsson, 7-2 in 6:10 with Matt Benning, 3-4 in 6:07 with Kris Russell. Sekera-Larsson were 6-1 HDSC’s together.
- Matt Benning scored and took a head hit. He was 7-2 in 6:10 with Sekera, 6-6 in 3:31 with Darnell Nurse.
- Adam Larsson went 11-4 in 10:06 with Adam Larsson, 9-4 with Darnell Nurse, 2-6 in 4:40 with Oscar.
- Darnell Nurse went 16-14 in 14:21 with Kris Russell, 9-4 with Adam Larsson, 6-6 in 3:31 with Matt Benning,
- Kris Russell went 16-14 in 14:21 with Darnell Nurse, 3-4 in 6:06 with Andrej Sekera.
- The first goal against featured a terrible pass by Russell followed by a tip on a long shot by Russell (I believe) and the between period folks blaming the goalie. The second goal really came down to Tobias Rieder not being able to find the puck. Poor guy.
- Hitch said he thought the defensemen did a great job, mentioning Larsson, Nurse and Russell.
- Mikko Koskinen stopped 28 of 30, .933. He made some excellent saves.
- NaturalStatTrick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT
- Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian were 13-15 in 17:28, 7-11 shots, 1-1 goals and 1-7 HDSC. The HD number is a fright, but 29 and 97 are so good together and had five points.
- Khaira-Nuge-Gagner were 14-5 in 11:40, 6-3 shots no goals and 7-0 HDSC. I like this line.
- Rieder-Cave-Chiasson went 13-9 in 9:46, 6-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 6-2 HDSC. Cave is a chance machine but can’t score for love nor money.
- Malone-Brodziak-Currie were 4-3 in 5:03, 4-3 shots, no goals and 0-1 HDSC.
- Ken Hitchcock: “The thing that has helped his game is patience with the puck. He’s hung on to the puck and made good plays under pressure rather than force the play and have to skate back 200 feet. It’s allowed him to have more offensive zone time, more control of the hockey game. He’s a 200-foot player with the puck now, because he’s able to control the game, buy time, wait for help, it’s allowed him to keep the puck in the zone and it’s worn out people.”
Apparently the Oilers are also making a major push. McKenzie tweeted he’s 23, right shot, 6 foot, 180-pound, senior forward who had 13 goals, 37 points in 31 games for Princeton. Senators putting on the full court press.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun day with much to discuss. Are the Oilers going to get within three points of the playoffs this week? Will NFL free agency actually blow your mind? At 10, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. We’ll talk Oilers playoffs, the GM search and some of the subjects that came up yesterday in our The Athletic-Edmonton QandA.
- Keegan Matheson, Baseball Toronto. How do the Jays look? Guerrero ETA.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!