2019-20 Game 32: Sabres at Oilers

Half of the active Pacific Division (Calgary, Vancouver) held serve on Saturday, with the other half (Los Angeles and San Jose) losing more ground. Today, Anaheim (v. Jets), San Jose (v. Panthers), Vegas (v. Rangers), Arizona (‘Hawks) and Edmonton (v. Sabres) are all in action and by the time the Oilers game ends we could see some major changes in the standings. There are just five points between Edmonton at the top (39) and Calgary at No. 5 overall (34). This won’t change between now and April, and that’s if things break right. With Nuge and Kassian returning and the schedule somewhat inviting, now would be a good time to start a five-game heater.

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, less than two coffees a month offer here. 

  • New Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 5 prospect, Winter 2019 — Raphael Lavoie
  • New Jonathan Willis: Dave Tippett rewarded for his bets on the resilience of Mikko Koskinen, Oilers
  • New Lowetide: How many value contracts do the Oilers have and are any more on the way?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland responds to allegations that Mike Babcock mistreated players in Detroit
  • Jonathan Willis: How will Hart voters choose between Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl?
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How the Oilers turned team defence from a weakness into a strength
  • Lowetide: Analyzing the Oilers’ latest roster shuffle and the defencemen involved
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 4 prospect winter 2019: Tyler Benson
  • Minnia Feng: Unsolicited advice for the Oilers: Chinese proverbs edition
  • Jonathan Willis: Are the Oilers good now? Subtle changes add up to sustainable gain
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Mikko Koskinen is seizing his opportunity to take over the Oilers’ crease
  • Lowetide: Eight assets the Oilers could use to acquire Taylor Hall
  • Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 prospect winter 2019: Ethan Bear
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 2 prospect winter 2019: Philip Broberg
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 1 prospect winter 2019: Evan Bouchard

OILERS AFTER 32 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015: 14-16-2, 30 points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in 2016: 15-12-5, 35 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017: 13-17-2, 28 points; goal differential -10
  • Oilers in 2018: 17-12-3, 37 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in 2019: 18-10-3, 39 points; goal differential +6

A win tonight gets Edmonton to 41 points after 32 games. The Oilers could win just one point per game moving forward (should they win tonight) and still finish with 91 points on the campaign. Now, it’s possible 94+ points will be required to make the postseason unless a couple of teams fall away, but the key takeaway this morning is that the dogs are barking, the chase is on, and the Oilers remain in a good spot.

OILERS IN DECEMBER

  • Oilers in December 2015: 4-0-0, eight points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2016: 2-0-2, six points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in December 2017: 2-2-0, four points; goal differential +3
  • Oilers in December 2018: 3-1-0, six points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in December 2019: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential -1

Oilers have been solid to excellent in the first week or so of December and this year’s team could set the foundation for a strong month with a win tonight. Sabres played yesterday afternoon so they could tired by the third period. Edmonton’s reinforcements include (apparently) Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN DECEMBER

  • On the road to: VAN (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: OTT, LAK, BUF, CAR (Expected 2-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: MIN (Expected 1-0-0)
  • At home to: TOR (Expected 0-1-0)
  • On the road to: DAL, STL (Expected 0-2-0)
  • At home to: PIT, MTL (Expected 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: VAN (Expected 0-0-1)
  • At home to: CAL, NYR (Expected 1-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 6-6-2, 14 points in 14 games
  • Current results: 2-1-0, 4 points in 3 games

After tonight’s game, the club will play the Hurricanes, Wild, Leafs, Stars and Blues. How many points from that run? I predicted one win and four losses. If Dave Tippett can find a way to grab five points from those games, Edmonton should be able to finish December inside the top three in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles (24 points) and Anaheim (28) are close to losing touch with the leaders, and if San Jose (32) doesn’t fix their goaltending then California slides into the ocean for the 2019-20 playoff race.

OILERS 2019-20

Coach Tippett survived the Nuge absence (3-3-0) and now you’d like to see the team go on a run to ensure December is a success (I have six wins as the line in the sand, a win today gets the team to three victories for the month). Effective Larsson, Nuge and Kassian would be a fantastic lift for the team and a strong Mike Smith performance would be welcome, too.

CONDORS 2019-20

Jay Woodcroft is finding his chemistry up front, the Marody line is starting to roll again. You’d like more offense from everyone but goaltending is the primary issue currently. Defensively, I lined Jones and Bouchard up together, but Lagesson-Bouchard was a tandem a couple of times last night.

TAYLOR HALL

Today’s cover photo is of Taylor Hall during the lockout. The Oilers would be foolish to pass on an opportunity to find out asset cost on this player. I expect they’ll inquire, perhaps make an offer, and then move on to other options.

I think Hall makes more sense as a free-agent acquisition for Ken Holland. Trading for the player could cost Jesse Puljujarvi plus a quality prospect plus a high pick. Edmonton’s current standing has them picking No. 25 and No. 56. Even if the team offers No. 56, JP and (say) William Lagesson, the odds of another team offering a single player with more potential is quite high. Even if you added another item (Kailer Yamamoto?) it’s not going to be enough. You’re just adding in seven’s and nine’s while trading for a king. Someone is going to make an offer that includes one clearly better player and then the package becomes less than ideal.

I think Holland considers Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg and the 2020 first-round pick off limits for trade. I’m not sure if he would move Tyler Benson just because the team badly needs a left winger in the near future. After that, I think you can pile young players to the sky and not reach a package that another team would have trouble exceeding. Someone will offer better.

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443 Responses to "2019-20 Game 32: Sabres at Oilers"

« Older Comments
  1. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Drai is taking really long shifts they pointed out. The I’m not a fan of that, they both look gassed far too often. Especially OT. I’d rather see them fresh and hungry. Maybe the infantrymen are getting it going and Tip will actually do it.

  2. StixMalone says:

    Killer instinct is what we need. Unfortunately no coach has ever got this out of the Oil since Sather…..

  3. hunter1909 says:

    Yet another loss. Discuss.

  4. verdad2.0 says:

    Gut these scum
    Another disgrace

    Put half of this team on waivers tomorrow

    Face reality

    Holland is an idle idiot

  5. jp says:

    Wilde:

    They definitely earn part of their poor PDO, but yes I’d say they are. A good look into their defiencies, though, is to look at how hard they botched a third period that they entered down multiple goals, they literally lost the Fenwick battle 5-on-5 despite tilting in the ice in the prior two periods

    Yeah, they’ve had a few collapses too IIRC. Not the look of a mature team despite having a number of veterans. I’d forgotten that underperforming their possession was also part of the team identity. Were they doing that to the same extent last year (when things were humming overall)?

  6. yeraslob says:

    John Chambers:
    Well now we’re due for a W against Carolina to fulfill LT’s prophecy of a 2-1-1 homestand.

    Aho coming off a 5-point game… should be interesting

  7. tileguy says:

    verdad2.0,

    Which 12 players do you suggest and who would replace them asshole.

  8. geowal says:

    Got our loss poem right on schedule

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Drai is taking really long shifts they pointed out. The I’m not a fan of that, they both look gassed far too often. Especially OT. I’d rather see them fresh and hungry. Maybe the infantrymen are getting it going and Tip will actually do it.

    It’s not a new development. A few games ago when Leon was gunning for an empty net goal to complete a hat trick he took a 2 minute and 17 second shift to end the game.

  10. tileguy says:

    geowal:
    The OT strategy is broken. Coasting the whole time so they’ll be able to play a 4.5 minute ot. Need to get Nuge a regular partner and practice it a lot so McDrai can actually attack.

    Nuge, JJ and Nurse would work.

  11. Réal Goudenyéu says:

    verdad2.0:
    Gut these scum
    Another disgrace

    Put half of this team on waivers tomorrow

    Face reality

    Holland is an idle idiot

    The art of trolling is truly dead.

  12. hunter1909 says:

    verdad2.0:
    Gut these scum
    Another disgrace

    Put half of this team on waivers tomorrow

    Face reality

    Holland is an idle idiot

    A cool head. Finally.

  13. Harpers Hair says:

    Réal Goudenyéu: The art of trolling is truly dead.

    Not so fast.

  14. geowal says:

    tileguy: Nuge, JJ and Nurse would work.

    Sure. I’d be open to Kassian too, not a fan of Neal here.

  15. SVR says:

    geowal: Sure. I’d be open to Kassian too, not a fan of Neal here.

    I thought line 2 played well tonight, including Neale. Several good chances and lots of zone time..

  16. Harpers Hair says:

    SVR: I thought line 2 played well tonight, including Neale. Several good chances and lots of zone time..

    The line had 3 SOG.

  17. geowal says:

    SVR: I thought line 2 played well tonight, including Neale. Several good chances and lots of zone time..

    Sure, I saw some good shifts by him. My point though is that Tippett needs to put together an OT pair he trusts and then convince McDrai to get off after 45-60 and sit for 30. I don’t really care who that pair is frankly, they just need to have some speed and puck control abilities.

  18. Pouzar says:

    Hard to be mad at the leading scorer but Drai was terrible tonight.

  19. verdad2.0 says:

    Wake up
    A real team does not lose this game

    Re-invent this game asap

    Delusional to think this team is on anything course other than meltdown

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    RealGoudenyéu:
    Sabres 5 wins in their last 20, 2nd game of a back to back, lost in Calgary, lost in Vancouver, started their backup, and Holy shit we are absolutely shit in overtime this year.

    They started their starter tonight.

    Well, the two split the game but Ullmark has been the superior goalie.

  21. Pouzar says:

    Bill Riley…playing coach for the St. Johns Capitals of the Newfoundland Senior Hockey league back in the day. Saw him many times against my beloved Stephenville Jets. He lead the Caps to the Herder Memorial trophy in his first year in ’86-87. I watched a lot of games from the visitor bench area…lets just say he put up with a lot of BS and didn’t flinch. Great story.

  22. verdad2.0 says:

    tileguy,

    This team has no more than 4 NHL forwards

    Anything would be an improvement

    Start by trading Smith Nurse Russell Larsson

    And waive thisr forwards

  23. Younger Oil says:

    Went to the game tonight, only get to one every couple of years or so, and had a very disappointing experience (gameplay aside).

    Three or four people in the immediate vicinity using the game as an opportunity to promote their bowling alley stand up act.

    Obnoxious Buffalo fans in front and behind me, trying to taunt and goad people into a confrontation, even when nobody showed any interest in engaging with them.

    People constantly standing up and walking across the aisle during play.

    Groups of twenty somethings constantly yelling swears and other vulgarity, even with young children directly near them.

    This all culminated with an Oiler fan pushing one of the obnoxious Buffalo fans when he was trying to walk across the aisle during play, causing him to land in the row below on top of a little girl, who was distraught. Adults acting like children ruined what was supposed to be a really special night for a young family.

    I don’t know if all of this is par for the course, having gone to so few games, but this was my worst experience by far. I’ve had no complaints about any other game I’ve been to, and usually have the time of my life, but tonight was a huge letdown.

    Hope this night was just an anomaly, and I haven’t just been exceptionally lucky in all of the other games I’ve been to.

  24. Wilde says:

    (Just deleted this post to move it to the front)

    Bakersfield Condors v. Stockton Heat; December 7th; Game Totals; 5-on-5:

    54 CF – 34 CA / / (+20) 61.36%
    29 FF – 22 FA / / (+13) 56.86%
    1 GF – 4 GA / / (-3) 20.00%

    Three Squares:

    Lagesson (1.59 GS) – 7 shots, 2 shot assists, 34.62 contribution %, 1 goal / / 26CF – 13CA, 1GF – 2GA, -1 penalty differential

    Bouchard (1.28 GS) – 5 shots, 1 shot assist, 25.00 contribution %, 1 (primary) assist / / 24CF – 13CA, 1GF – 3GA, 0 penalty differential

    Marody (1.07 GS) – 3 shots, 5 assists, 40.00 contribution % / / 20CF – 7CA, 0GF – 1GA, +1 penalty differential

    (Runner up: Yamamoto, ~0.05 lower GS than Marody, higher shot differential, kept his absurd penalty differential going)

  25. Wilde says:

    jp: Yeah, they’ve had a few collapses too IIRC. Not the look of a mature team despite having a number of veterans. I’d forgotten that underperforming their possession was also part of the team identity. Were they doing that to the same extent last year (when things were humming overall)?

    They weren’t. It’s a very curious phenomenon, and of course with my bias I think some of it has to do with point plays. I can’t recall how many games were played when I did this, but about a month ago I put the numbers together and saw that they were up 8 or 9 percent in the share of shots-for that were attempted by defensemen this year over last

  26. geowal says:

    Younger Oil:
    I don’t know if all of this is par for the course, having gone to so few games, but this was my worst experience by far. I’ve had no complaints about any other game I’ve been to, and usually have the time of my life, but tonight was a huge letdown.

    I only go to one or two games most years, but so haven’t had issues like that, sorry to hear.

  27. Pescador says:

    Wilde,

    Thank you Wilde,
    I greatly appreciate your updates regarding the Condors
    Fantastic stuff

  28. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    Her message is dedicated to leaders of business and politics, not the 99% who get it. These are the ones who might get it, but choose not to act. They have the power, but they need to be shamed into doing something.

    I was on the streets of Montreal with 500 000 people and Greta was the headliner. You’re simply looking in the wrong direction. Young people need leaders but they have been let down so they are casting their own.

  29. Admiral Ackbar says:

    verdad2.0:
    tileguy,

    This team has no more than 4 NHL forwards

    Anything would be an improvement

    Start by trading Smith Nurse Russell Larsson

    And waive thisr forwards

    **walks up to bar, looks at raving lunatic**

    “I’ll have what he’s having”

    Whatever you’re on Verdad, I’m sure it’d give me memory loss. I’d like that about now.

  30. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Pouzar:
    Hard to be mad at the leading scorer but Drai was terrible tonight.

    Long shifts, not able to move his legs as he used to, then he gets frustrated that he’s not creating chances or finding the same space. I saw him poorly tonight too. On another note, Buffalo’s D played a bloody hard nosed game. They really leaned on the Oilers. Pretty impressive for a second half of a back-to-back

  31. Admiral Ackbar says:

    leadfarmer: Can someone explain to me the hatred of a teenage girl trying to make the world a better place

    Hatred? She may also be on the spectrum and she’s from a different country where facial & body expression are different. I try to look at her with a clean slate, no matter the content coming out of her mouth.

  32. godot10 says:

    Younger Oil:
    Went to the game tonight, only get to one every couple of years or so, and had a very disappointing experience (gameplay aside).

    Three or four people in the immediate vicinity using the game as an opportunity to promote their bowling alley stand up act.

    Obnoxious Buffalo fans in front and behind me, trying to taunt and goad people into a confrontation, even when nobody showed any interest in engaging with them.

    People constantly standing up and walking across the aisle during play.

    Groups of twenty somethings constantly yelling swears and other vulgarity, even with young children directly near them.

    This all culminated with an Oiler fan pushing one of the obnoxious Buffalo fans when he was trying to walk across the aisle during play, causing him to land in the row below on top of a little girl, who was distraught. Adults acting like children ruined what was supposed to be a really special night for a young family.

    I don’t know if all of this is par for the course, having gone to so few games, but this was my worst experience by far. I’ve had no complaints about any other game I’ve been to, and usually have the time of my life, but tonight was a huge letdown.

    Hope this night was just an anomaly, and I haven’t just been exceptionally lucky in all of the other games I’ve been to.

    Before every game, the Oilers make an announcement and post a number to TEXT on the scoreboard where complaints about fans behaviour can be made for the ushers and security to deal with.

    You see those multiple kissing cameras. They are really security cameras that can be aimed at any seat in the building.

    i.e. you can basically make a complaint anonymously, and eyes can be put on the problem. You are not powerless.

    The building is not exactly full these days. You can also go to Guest Services, explain the problem, and ask if you can be moved.

  33. Wilde says:

    Pescador:
    Wilde,

    Thank you Wilde,
    I greatly appreciate your updates regarding the Condors
    Fantastic stuff

    yw

  34. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Extractivism is a death cult.

  35. jp says:

    Wilde: They weren’t. It’s a very curious phenomenon, and of course with my bias I think some of it has to do with point plays. I can’t recall how many games were played when I did this, but about a month ago I put the numbers together and saw that they were up 8 or 9 percent in the share of shots-for that were attempted by defensemen this year over last

    Yeah that could account for it. A bit of an odd tactical change year over year. Maybe Woodcroft thinks his D is a strength, so get them the puck more? Or maybe it’s a bastardized/failing version of the big clubs system?

  36. frjohnk says:

    Nice we got some depth scoring last night but have we won a game this year when McDavid and Drai dont have a point?

  37. Wilde says:

    Early morning tracking, did a game from this time last year-

    Bakersfield Condors v. Iowa Wild; November 10th (2018); Game Totals; 5-on-5:

    56 CF – 59 CA / / (-3) 48.70%
    34 FF – 32 FA / / (+2) 51.52%
    3 GF – 3 GA / / (0) 50.00%

    Three Stars:

    Benson (2.48 GS) – 5 shots, 6 shot assists, 50.00 contribution %, 1 goal, 1 (primary) assist / / 22CF – 19CA, 2GF – 0GA, 0 penalty differential

    Marody (1.62 GS) – 3 shots, 6 shot assist, 40.91 contribution %, 1 (primary) assist / / 22CF – 16CA, 2GF – 0GA, -1 penalty differential

    Jones (1.13 GS) – 5 shots, 2 assists, 30.43 contribution %, 1 goal / / 23CF – 23CA, 1GF – 1GA, 0 penalty differential

  38. Lowetide says:

    I’ve had to delete a series of posts, including an excellent one by Wilde you should have read. Here’s the thing: I’m not a political blog. I won’t be a political blog. If you keep writing political stuff in here, I’m going to time you out, ban you and if necessary close down the comments section.

    Stop. Posting. Politics. No one is timed out, but beginning now I will as required.

  39. OriginalPouzar says:

    Klef didn’t PK last night and his minutes were down again – seems he is dealing with a foot issue from a blocked shot against Ottawa.

  40. Jethro Tull says:

    Younger Oil:
    Went to the game tonight, only get to one every couple of years or so, and had a very disappointing experience (gameplay aside).

    Three or four people in the immediate vicinity using the game as an opportunity to promote their bowling alley stand up act.

    Obnoxious Buffalo fans in front and behind me, trying to taunt and goad people into a confrontation, even when nobody showed any interest in engaging with them.

    People constantly standing up and walking across the aisle during play.

    Groups of twenty somethings constantly yelling swears and other vulgarity, even with young children directly near them.

    This all culminated with an Oiler fan pushing one of the obnoxious Buffalo fans when he was trying to walk across the aisle during play, causing him to land in the row below on top of a little girl, who was distraught. Adults acting like children ruined what was supposed to be a really special night for a young family.

    I don’t know if all of this is par for the course, having gone to so few games, but this was my worst experience by far. I’ve had no complaints about any other game I’ve been to, and usually have the time of my life, but tonight was a huge letdown.

    Hope this night was just an anomaly, and I haven’t just been exceptionally lucky in all of the other games I’ve been to.

    This makes me sad, but also I get the impression that the OEG would very much like to hear about this.

    I don’t know who you can contact, but maybe look on their website ad a phone call or email may at least be in order.

    I hope any future trips to a game are a lot better for you and yours.

  41. Pescador says:

    Lowetide:
    I’ve had to delete a series of posts, including an excellent one by Wilde you should have read. Here’s the thing: I’m not a political blog. I won’t be a political blog. If you keep writing political stuff in here, I’m going to time you out, ban you and if necessary close down the comments section.

    Stop. Posting. Politics. No one is timed out, but beginning now I will as required.

    This was the politically correct thing to do

  42. Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville says:

    Lowetide:
    I’ve had to delete a series of posts, including an excellent one by Wilde you should have read. Here’s the thing: I’m not a political blog. I won’t be a political blog. If you keep writing political stuff in here, I’m going to time you out, ban you and if necessary close down the comments section.

    Stop. Posting. Politics. No one is timed out, but beginning now I will as required.

    Sad it had to come to this. I personally never really minded most of the political banter as I often learned some new insights and perspectives on many subjects. However, I do feel this is the thought right decision since it seems to have taken a life of it’s own lately.

    I saw the post by Wilde that you are referencing before you deleted it and it is unfortunate most others never saw it, but it was real and it was spectacular. Kudos to him for that response.

    Now back to hockey and booze!

  43. godot10 says:

    Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville:

    I saw the post by Wilde that you are referencing before you deleted it and it is unfortunate most others never saw it,but it was real and it was spectacular.Kudos to him for that response.

    If it was real and spectacular, someone please send it to godot10 at gmail dot com.

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