What the HELL was that?

It was April 27, 1975. The Montreal Canadiens, perennial Stanley Cup favourites, met in Game One of third round playoff action in Buffalo. I wasn’t sure who would win (Buffalo was a quality team by then) but was certain Ken Dryden wouldn’t allow more than two goals.

He allowed six, including the overtime winner by Danny Gare (boxscore is here). Point being, you never know. If you’re surprised Edmonton allowed five goals last night, it will happen again. If you’re surprised Edmonton won the game, well, that’s a little more understandable.

Dave Tippett was happy with the two points, while pointing out there’s lots of work to do. Two in the bank is better than two leaving on a jet plane beside that Dustin Brown, I’m sure we all agree.

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 Athletic, we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary this week. To mark the occasion, you can get 40% off subscriptions here.

  • New Lowetide: A shift-by-shift analysis of Ethan Bear in the Oilers’ season opener
  • New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Looking at how the Oilers can manage on defence without Adam Larsson
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: No need to temper expectations after Connor McDavid’s season debut for Oilers
  • Lowetide: Ken Holland has a plan for the Oilers’ top prospects.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: At home with Ken Holland: Packing away the championship memories and preparing for a new challenge
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oscar Klefbom on being a mentor, his strategy for staying healthy and saying goodbye to a friend.
  • Daniel and Jon: Ten bold (and not so bold) predictions for the Oilers this season
  • Lowetide: The Oilers are poised to break a 25-year-old franchise record this season
  • Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s Bakersfield Condors might be bound for glory
  • Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
  • Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.

OILERS IN OCTOBER

  • Oilers in October 20150-2-0, goal differential -4
  • Oilers in October 2016: 2-0-0, goal differential +5
  • Oilers in October 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential +2
  • Oilers in October 2018: 0-2-0, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2019: 2-0-0, goal differential +2

Last night’s win ties the best start by the team since Connor McDavid arrived in 2015. The other year, 2016, Edmonton would make the postseason. Bank those October points!

WHAT TO EXPECT IN OCTOBER

  • At home to: Vancouver, Los Angeles (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • On the road to: NYI, NJD, NYR, CHI (Expected 2-1-1) 
  • At home to: Philadelphia, Detroit (Expected 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg, Minnesota (Expected 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Washington, Florida (Expected 1-1-0) 
  • On the road to: Detroit, Columbus (Expected 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-1, 15 points in 14 games 
  • Current results: 2-0-0, 4 points after 2 games

Now the team heads out on the road and this should be a fascinating. I think the coach will have to improve his center depth by running 97, 29 and 93 up the middle. Man this team has pure gold on one end and something else at the other.

THE STORY

It was a bizarre night, can’t explain the story without Natural Stat Trick. All numbers five-on-five unless otherwise indicated.

LINE 1 Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian were 12-8 Corsi in 12:37, the line was splendid throughout the game. They were 7-7 shots, 2-2 goals, 4-2 HDSC.

Leon Draisaitl (2 assists, both five-on-five), played 26 minutes and skated miles. Every offensive sortie is dangerous. Connor McDavid (four points, 1-1-2 at five-on-five) was dominant from the start. Lost Kopitar on the 3-2 goal. He was very involved, I think Drew Doughty’s presence is good for 97. Zack Kassian is going to post some crazy crooked numbers this season, his goal seemed to settle the team down for a time. He scored, now has two in two games. Great work by this line, the trio now has 13 points in two games.

LINE 2 Joakim Nygard-Nuge-James Neal played 10:31, going 8-6 Corsi, going 4-4 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-2 HDSC.

Joakim Nygard scored his first NHL goal, it was huge and required skill. He had three (two at five-on-five) HDSC and three shots on goal. Very involved. Oilers don’t win that game without his goal. Nuge has been quiet offensively through two games, but helps in other ways. James Neal scored twice, including the winner. He didn’t get a lot done at five-on-five, but the power play ability was a massive part of the game. He’s going to make Ken Holland look like a friggin’ genius at this rate.

LINE 3 Markus Granlund-Gaetan Haas-Tomas Jurco played 8:04, going just 4-9 Corsi, 2-3 shots, 1-0 goals 1-4 HDSC.

Markus Granlund played just over 10 minutes at five-on-five and took five hits. He had a shot, hit someone, blocked a shot. He needs to do more. Gaetan Haas had a solid game, picking up his first NHL assist on the Nygard goal. He had two HDSC and won five of nine faceoffs. He’s climbing the Mattherhorn one step at a time. Tomas Jurco made a brilliant move on the Nurse goal, the guy has true skill.

LINE 4 Jujhar Khaira-Colby Cave-Patrick Russell played 5:09, 3-7 Corsi and 3-3 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-0 HDSC.

Khaira had his stick broken on the PK (just before a GA) and had two shots. Cave was in chase mode and a hair unlucky on the Michael Amadio goal. He played just 5:49, but did win three of four faceoffs. Russell had a HDSC, blocked a couple of shots and showed well enough to get another game.

PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear played 14:49 together, going 10-13 Corsi, 7-8 shots, 1-2 goals and 4-3 HDSC.

I thought Darnell Nurse played well, scored a goal while also blocking Smith on the Doughty goal. His passing seemed a hair better with his new partner. Nurse played 6:51 against Kopitar, 2-7 Corsi and 0-1 goals, Bear 5:25, 2-5 Corsi and 0-1 goals. Ethan Bear outlets well, has good positioning most of the time, and has great anticipation (three takeaways). I liked the pairing, with the understanding it was their first night and the opponent wasn’t a strong one.

PAIRING TWO Oscar Klefbom and Joel Person played 12:48, going 14-14 Corsi, 10-9 shots, 1-2 goals and 3-3 HDSC.

Oscar Klefbom had three assists (two on the power play) and is at his dreamy best as the 2019-20 season begins. He did have two giveaways, but on a night where there were 23 by both teams combined at five-on-five, that seems about right. Joel Persson was mostly good, he was slow to recognize danger a couple of times and got walked by a role player later on. Klefbom played 5:48 against Kopitar, 8-5 Corsi and 1-1 goals. He is Edmonton’s best defenseman. Persson played 5:01 versus Kopitar, 6-4 Corsi and 0-1 goals. I prefer Bear on this pairing but it’s one game and Persson’s wheels and offensive talents are clearly there.

PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Matt Benning played 11:45 together, 8-9 Corsi, 3-2 shots, no goals and 2-3 HDSC.

Kris Russell was high event, two takeaways and three giveaways. The fact he played just 2:22 against Kopitar is a tell, and we’ll have to monitor as the team heads out on the road. Russell had five defensive and one offensive zone faceoff. Matt Benning moved the puck well, defended well, but couldn’t impact the game. That isn’t a normal happening, Benning is good at getting shots through and helping with outlets. Was +1 due to a four second shift with Klefbom.

Goalie Mike Smith authored his own tragedy early, conducting actual tomfoolery on NHL ice. His TWO gaffes outside the crease made this game a close one to the end. On the other hand, he stopped eight of nine HDSC’s and won the game. I don’t buy the idea that Smith’s puckhandling is an overall positive, he zips the puck past a capable defenseman quite a bit. I’d hope his passing is more adept than we’ve seen in both games so far this season.

We’re on to Nassau County. Or Barclays.

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242 Responses to "What the HELL was that?"

« Older Comments
  1. hunter1909 says:

    Jethro Tull: What does it matter to you if it matters to me?

    Ken won’t bury him, he’s too honest.

    What makes you a Lowetide stalwart Jethro is your incredible sense of fair play.

  2. Reja says:

    I like Chase he can play up and down the line-up at a moments notice. Chase has a sneaky good shot and he can go on a streak he’ll get his 15-18! goals and cover his contract. Against the Nucks he easily could of scored a couple. I just don’t get the hate for someone that’s eating 1.7% of the cap that plays hard can score and is well liked by teammates.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    As far as traditional plus/minus goes, the players on the ice giving up a SH goal get a minus.

  4. OriginalPouzar says:

    geowal:
    Funny that Remenda was adamant that Nygard goal was off a set play that they work on in practice. Turns out talking to Haas that he did it on his own and Nygard just went to the net, all he said is “now it’s showtime” but essentially came up with it on his own. Tippett hadn’t seen it before. I guess that’s just more stuff Drew says.

    Not just “Showtime” but “European Showtime”.

    Maybe that’s a code for “Lets use that faceoff play we use over in Europe”……

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Jethro Tull: What does it matter to you if it matters to me?

    Ken won’t bury him, he’s too honest.

    He may not bury him but I don’t imagine it has anything to do with the contract being one way.

    See Sam Gagner.

  6. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Sounds like, with Sheahan returning, he’s going to put “that line” back together – I think that means Granlund/Sheahan/Archibald which is a line I like but thought that Granlund may be one to come out of the lineup with 3 guys coming in (Archibald and Chiasson as well).

    Isn’t “that line” Khaira-Sheahan-Archibald?

  7. Abbeef says:

    jp: Isn’t “that line” Khaira-Sheahan-Archibald?

    That was my thought. If all the forwards are healthy I have Cave going down, Granlund and Russell in the pressbox.

  8. jp says:

    Harpers Hair: The Chiasson, Granlund contracts and a Gagner buyout could buy you a decent winger.

    This is true. The Sekera buyout still needed to happen for it to work though.

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: Isn’t “that line” Khaira-Sheahan-Archibald?

    Aghhh, yes, I think you might be right.

  10. jp says:

    Abbeef: That was my thought. If all the forwards are healthy I have Cave going down, Granlund and Russell in the pressbox.

    OriginalPouzar: Aghhh, yes, I think you might be right.

    That was the line all preseason, so I assume that’s Tippett’s plan. Cave or Russell to Bakersfield (my guess is Russell) and Granlund to the PB.

    It will be interesting to see who gets 2LW and who lines up with Haas. My guess is Jurco to 2LW and Nygard-Haas-Chiasson. Maybe that’s Chiasson’s role, seems like a line that might just work.

  11. who says:

    OriginalPouzar: Nice post and I agree.

    I was also ready to use Bear as the Sweetener for the Lucic trade but not Jones or Lagesson.

    I had Bear below both of those other guys but he is not the same player than he was even at the end of last year.

    I had his ceiling as the 3RD and PP guy but, clearly, his ceiling is top 4.

    Miles to go but he’s been a great story for this year so far.

    I’m pulling for the kid but I think it’s a little early to say he has clear top 4 potential. I’ll need to see more than 2 games.
    Right now, this team has 1 top 4 righty dman in Larsson, and a bunch of 3rd pairing guys. We can hope that both Bear and Persson can handle top 4 minutes but it’s a bad bet.

  12. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m not saying he’s definitely going to be a legit top 4 guy but that he has the potential to be one.

    Its like saying Maskimov has the potential to be a top 6 goal scoring winger – he very well might not get there but he’s go the potential.

  13. Ryan says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I’m not saying he’s definitely going to be a legit top 4 guy but that he has the potential to be one.

    Its like saying Maskimov has the potential to be a top 6 goal scoring winger – he very well might not get there but he’s go the potential.

    Hockey’s Future separates “probability of success” from “talent score.”

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/ethan-bear/

  14. GMB3 says:

    Jethro Tull: What does it matter to you if it matters to me?

    Ken won’t bury him, he’s too honest.

    It doesn’t matter to me, I just don’t see why it’s relevant to the conversation I guess. Unless you don’t understand the difference between 1-way and 2-way contracts

  15. Numenius says:

    OriginalPouzar: Not just “Showtime” but “European Showtime”.

    Haas said he said “It’s showtime” in his interview.

    Tippet is the one who said they were talking about “European showtime” in his interview.

  16. Pescador says:

    who: I’m pulling for the kid but I think it’s a little early to say he has clear top 4 potential. I’ll need to see more than 2 games.
    Right now, this team has 1 top 4 righty dman in Larsson, and a bunch of 3rd pairing guys. We can hope that both Bear and Persson can handle top 4 minutes but it’s a bad bet.

    Who among us can say without reserva that they know exactly what “top 4 potential” actually looks like?
    Fuck it, I’ll go on record and say Yes,
    Ethan Bear is top 4 quality today & tomorrow

  17. jp says:

    Numenius: Haas said he said “It’s showtime” in his interview.

    Tippet is the one who said they were talking about “European showtime” in his interview.

    Nygard also said “European showtime” in his interview FWIW.

  18. Lightgestalt says:

    hunter1909,

    the Nationalmannschaft suffered quite a steep decline since then …

  19. barry.moore23 says:

    Reja, Yes it’s a fun place to watch a game. Easy access, crowd is energetic but OK with visiting fans, affordable.

  20. Reja says:

    barry.moore23:
    Reja, Yes it’s a fun place to watch a game. Easy access, crowd is energetic but OK with visiting fans, affordable.

    Thanks. If I’m ever in that part of the world I’ll definitely catch a game.

  21. ArmchairGM says:

    Woodguy v2.0:
    So…….

    St. Ralph’s Sabers are 2-0 with a +7 goal diff eh?

    ………

    I would caution reading too much into a 2 game sample. Or even a 25 game sample.

    http://www.nhl.com/stats/team?aggregate=1&reportType=game&dateFrom=2018-10-03&dateTo=2018-11-27&gameType=2&filter=gamesPlayed,gte,1&sort=points,wins

    That’s right, after 25 games last year Buffalo was the 1st place team in the league.

    Godspeed, Ralph.

  22. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    Sounds like, with Sheahan returning, he’s going to put “that line” back together – I think that means Granlund/Sheahan/Archibald which is a line I like but thought that Granlund may be one to come out of the lineup with 3 guys coming in (Archibald and Chiasson as well).

    I thought it was Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald?

  23. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    ArmchairGM: I would caution reading too much into a 2 game sample. Or even a 25 game sample.

    http://www.nhl.com/stats/team?aggregate=1&reportType=game&dateFrom=2018-10-03&dateTo=2018-11-27&gameType=2&filter=gamesPlayed,gte,1&sort=points,wins

    That’s right, after 25 games last year Buffalo was the 1st place team in the league.

    Godspeed,Ralph.

    – Remember in Jan St-Louis was going to sell everything, worst record in Hockey

    – It’s quaint the “inferences” being made using “math”, based on 2 wins to make pronouncements on players, systems, team. Wait untill we lose 2 games in a row….Just win baby

  24. Abbeef says:

    GMB3: It doesn’t matter to me, I just don’t see why it’s relevant to the conversation I guess. Unless you don’t understand the difference between 1-way and 2-way contracts

    He just gets snarky every time he responds to OP. I don’t know if OP kicked his dog or what but I have never seen him respond civilly to OP.

  25. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    ArmchairGM: I would caution reading too much into a 2 game sample. Or even a 25 game sample.

    http://www.nhl.com/stats/team?aggregate=1&reportType=game&dateFrom=2018-10-03&dateTo=2018-11-27&gameType=2&filter=gamesPlayed,gte,1&sort=points,wins

    That’s right, after 25 games last year Buffalo was the 1st place team in the league.

    Godspeed,Ralph.

    So where am I reading too much into a 2 game sample?

  26. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Kinger_Oil.redux,

    – It’s quaint the “inferences” being made using “math”, based on 2 wins to make pronouncements on players, systems, team. Wait untill we lose 2 games in a row….Just win baby

    I re-read the thread an no one is making pronouncements about anything.

    Why do you have to ascribe thoughts and ideas to others that they don’t have simply so you can deride them?

    Its almost every post you make here.

    You should see someone about that. It can’t be healthy.

  27. ArmchairGM says:

    OriginalPouzar: I don’t see it that way.

    Neal was a legit top 6 goal scorer for 10 consecutive years and has had one off-year.

    He played a solid 5 on 5 game last night, away from McDavid.

    Yes, McDavid was on the ice for his 2 PP goals but they weren’t really “McDavid induced goals” but somewhat standard team PP goals, the type of goal I assume he scored many of as a Penguin, Pred, etc.

    Yeah, Neal has a history of scoring so it’s not a perfect simile, but I see a big, strong, physical player with soft hands, poor skating and low expectations and I think of Maroon’s timely 27-goal season and how much the Oilers need a guy like that this year… I think the similarities are somewhat uncanny.

  28. Glovjuice says:

    WG either has LT dad delete a post (or he did it himsel) at 7 in the morning- brutal. What with some of you. Too much booze?

  29. ArmchairGM says:

    Woodguy v2.0: So where am I reading too much into a 2 game sample?

    Oh, lighten up a bit. I was just pointing out that the Sabres started hot last year too, I hope the best for Ralph but I don’t think we’ll know if the team has turned a corner until they have demonstrated consistency over a much longer period than 25 games.

  30. OriginalPouzar says:

    Numenius: Haas said he said “It’s showtime” in his interview.

    Tippet is the one who said they were talking about “European showtime” in his interview.

    I heard one interview from either Haas or Nygard that mentioned European Showtime.

    It doesn’t really matter – I was just being funny, or failing to be.

  31. OriginalPouzar says:

    barry.moore23:
    Reja, Yes it’s a fun place to watch a game. Easy access, crowd is energetic but OK with visiting fans, affordable.

    Both times I’ve bought tickets, I recall being surprised at how expensive they were – definitely over US$200/ticket.

    I was buying good seats mind you.

  32. OriginalPouzar says:

    ArmchairGM: Yeah, Neal has a history of scoring so it’s not a perfect simile, but I see a big, strong, physical player with soft hands, poor skating and low expectations and I think of Maroon’s timely 27-goal season and how much the Oilers need a guy like that this year… I think the similarities are somewhat uncanny.

    Cool, fair enough.

    I though you were equating Neal to guy that comes in, zoomed by McDavid, and has a big year.

    I can see the similarities you talk about.

  33. Lowetide says:

    New for The Athletic: Keeping an eye on Jesse Puljujarvi: Which teams could emerge as potential trade partners?

    https://theathletic.com/1269721/2019/10/07/keeping-an-eye-on-jesse-puljujarvi-which-teams-could-emerge-as-potential-trade-partners/

  34. Jethro Tull says:

    hunter1909: What makes you a Lowetide stalwart Jethro is your incredible sense of fair play.

    As I posted the other day, some people are very binary and have trouble with abstracts.

    Otherwise competent people can do incompetent things and vice versa.

    I DO try to be fair. But over 13 years of benefit of the doubt can leave one a tad jaded.

  35. Pescador says:

    Glovjuice:
    WG either has LT dad delete a post (or he did it himsel) at 7 in the morning- brutal. What with some of you. Too much booze?

    Good, I’m glad it’s not just me.
    I won’t have booze being bad mouthed, not here
    Not anywhere

  36. Lowetide says:

    Glovjuice:
    WG either has LT dad delete a post (or he did it himsel) at 7 in the morning- brutal. What with some of you. Too much booze?

    WG didn’t have me delete anything and his 7am post is still there.

  37. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Lowetide: WG didn’t have me delete anything and his 7am post is still there.

    I deleted one and then re-wrote it.

  38. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Glovjuice:
    WG either has LT dad delete a post (or he did it himsel) at 7 in the morning- brutal. What with some of you. Too much booze?

    I can’t delete and then re-write a post now?

    Get bent.

  39. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    Glovjuice,

    Your response reminds me of this reply on twitter:


    @Woodguy55

    Oct 21, 2017
    has SN mentioned that 97 has missed two shifts now? I don’t have the sound on

    Your response:

    @Glovjuice
    Replying to
    @Woodguy55
    some of you Lowetide blog contributors are such arrogant, negative pricks.

    I was curious if the announcers had noticed that 97 missed two shifts and your respond like that.

    Amazing.

  40. VanIsleOil says:

    Glovjuice:
    WG either has LT dad delete a post (or he did it himsel) at 7 in the morning- brutal. What with some of you. Too much booze?

    too much booze? Is that you, Glovbooze? 🙂

  41. Side says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Now you’ve done it. You’re going to hear it from Glovjuice and their multiple accounts now.

  42. Sierra says:

    This thread unnecessarily took a snarky turn.

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