The Edmonton Oilers didn’t play very well in Chicago. The young blue were exposed, the bottom six didn’t execute, the team’s best players missed some 10-bell chances. There’s not much to fret over, Edmonton was running some fine luck through five games and maybe didn’t get enough in the Windy City. They wasted a fabulous Mike Smith performance, but other than that I’d say it was a night where the correct team got the two points. There’s justice in that, if not satisfaction.
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, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.
- New Dom Luszczyszyn: Is the Oilers’ hot start for real?
- New Lowetide: How will the Oilers compensate when James Neal’s scoring cools off?
- New Lowetide: Raphael Lavoie delivers high-octane offence to lead Oilers prospect performances.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Mike Smith is charged up, and that’s a big reason behind the Oilers’ surprising 5-0 start
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 4 positives in the Oilers’ 4 wins that may not be sustainable
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Oscar Klefbom playing tough minutes with inexperienced partners — and looking good doing it
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He’s addicted to getting better’: What the Oilers are saying about Connor McDavid’s amazing start
- Eric Duhatschek: The lasting impact of The Gretzky Effect, 40 years after his NHL debut
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers who could win (or lose) NHL jobs early in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Several unproven players are earning NHL jobs and increasing roster quality and depth. No balance photo, but some traction early.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why Riley Sheahan could be a key ingredient the Oilers have been missing
- Jonathan Willis: Bet on James Neal rebounding with Oilers, just not all the way
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Joel Persson went from being a part-time teacher three years ago to patrolling the Oilers blue line (this is exceptional).
- Lowetide: Keeping an eye on Jesse Puljujarvi: Which teams could emerge as potential trade partners?
- 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
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
OILERS IN OCTOBER
- Oilers in October 2015: 2-4-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2016: 5-1-0, goal differential +7
- Oilers in October 2017: 2-4-0, goal differential -7
- Oilers in October 2018: 3-3-0, goal differential -6
- Oilers in October 2019: 5-1-0, goal differential +6
Yesterday in this section I wrote “at some point the Oilers will run into bad luck early and the game will get away from them, and we’ll see an “L”. Edmonton would appear to be the better team based on early results, but you never know” and it happened just this way. The key for Dave Tippett and his Oilers? Don’t turn one loss into five. A big game tomorrow in Edmonton, another on Friday.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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) Actual (3-1-0)
- 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: 5-1-0, 10 points after 6 games
I predicted the Oilers would start 3-2-1 (seven points) and the team romped to a 5-1-0 (10 points) record in the opening chapters. Don’t you dare walk around gloom and doom, this is a fabulous start. I once saw a presentation by a man named W. Mitchell and it was maybe the most emotional life story I’ve ever witnessed. If you’re feeling bad about the Oilers, read that damned book. This has been a good start.
This was a fun game to watch because all of those new players faced some tough moments and had to put bad shifts behind them and perform well the next turn. Not all succeeded. NTS has the stats, everything is five-on-five unless noted, B flat and follow the changes.
LINE 1 Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian played 15:40 together, 14-20 Corsi, 8-11 shots, no goals and 5-3 HDSC’s.
Leon Draisaitl had an assist, two HDSC and three shots on goal. Connor McDavid had three HDSC, skated miles and played over 26 minutes (as did Leon). Both big men looked exhausted at times, but in Tippett’s defense they had five HDSC’s between them. Zack Kassian had three shots, one HDSC and was very physical.
LINE 2 Tomas Jurco-Nuge-James Neal played 8:11 together, 8-5 Corsi, 5-5 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC.
Tomas Jurco had a HDSC and man he drove to the net under heavy fire at least once. This is a man trying to establish himself. You have to respect that, but he needs to score. Nuge had a PP assist, PK’d like a demon and delivered a Nuge night overall. James Neal scored again, now eight in six games. My goodness Flames fans are going to be having nightmares about that damned trade this winter.
LINE 3 Jujhar Khaira-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald played 7:13 together, going 9-7 Corsi, 7-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-3 HDSC. This line was on the ice for the Kane goal.
Jujhar Khaira had a shot, was physical, but also hesitant and slow to recognize danger. Took 4 pims. Riley Sheahan had a great early chance, I would have rated it high danger. Solid on the dot. Josh Archibald had a stunning point blank chance and missed the net. His mark (Patrick Kane) got the first goal with Archibald also in photo. He’s not a fan favourite three games in.
LINE 4 Joakim Nygard-Markus Granlund-Alex Chiasson played 5:52 together, 5-7 Corsi, 4-2 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC.
Joakim Nygard played an aggressive game, had a shot and a takeaway. His speed is wasted on a depth line. Markus Granlund had two shots, a HDSC and won three of four faceoffs. Alex Chiasson had a shot, a couple of looks and a blocked shot. He did spend time with McDavid and showed well in a depth role.
PAIRING ONE Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear spent 16:30 together, going 16-21 Corsi, 13-10 shots, no goals and 6-5 HDSC. Nurse spent 8:15 with McDavid, just over seven minutes against Kane.
Darnell Nurse had two shots, a giveaway, drew a penalty, took a penalty, blocked a shot. His coach loves him and man does he make opponents pay. Ethan Bear had a tough night with the skilled Hawks, including Kane and DeBrincat. That play where the defenseman can’t let the winger drive to the net off the wing is played out dozens of times a week, Bear didn’t get caught but he did give up the lane. He remains a refreshing outlet passer.
PAIRING TWO Oscar Klefbom and Joel Persson played 11:40 together, going 8-14 Corsi, 2-9 shots, 0-1 goals and 1-3 HDSC. Klefbom spent 8:15 with McDavid, 2:19 against Kane.
Oscar Klefbom had one shot and two blocked shots, this pairing was under fire despite playing with 97 and not playing against the Kane trio. Joined McDavid and Draisaitl in looking a little tired at the end of a road trip. Joel Persson struggled, had a giveaway and got run over a couple of times. I think there’s a hitch in his giddyup when it comes to recognizing danger. How quickly he can adjust will dictate usage. I’d stay the course.
PAIRING THREE Kris Russell and Matt Benning played 9:51, going 9-9 Corsi, 7-5 shots, 0-1 goals and 2-1 HDSC.
Kris Russell is his usual self, played a little RH side and showed he is better on the left. Matt Benning played well enough to grab more time that never came. I think Tippett should give some of the Nurse minutes to this pair.
GOALIE Mike Smith was the team’s best player, stopping 32 of 34, .941. Stopped 8 of 9 HDSCs and the Oilers wasted a strong goaltending performance. He played the second goal strangely.
CONDORS GAME TODAY
Bakersfield is in action tonight, Kailer Yamamoto is announcing his presence with authority in California. The skill lines are populated currently with Zack Kassian and Tomas Jurco, and Yamamoto is one of the men who could put pressure on one or both all season long. Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody are off to good starts, and the defensive pairings are still figuring themselves out. Sounds like Shane Starrett will be out for a time, look for Stuart Skinner tonight and yesterday’s recall Dylan Wells to get increased time. Would you like a GDT for tonight’s game?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we start a short week with Jonathan Willis from The Athletic. Oilers first loss, possible lineup changes, can James Neal score 109 goals this season? Dom Luszczyszyn has an excellent article at The Athletic on the Oilers chances (link above) and he’ll join us shortly after 11 to discuss. Then, Corey Graham and Andrew Peard stop by the studio to talk about a strong weekend for the Oil Kings. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!