2019-20 Game 68: Oilers at Blackhawks

We’re reaching a point in the season where we can begin to talk about playoff lines and pairings. Two impact scoring lines, a third “checking” line (although all lines check now, at least if they want to stay in the league) and then a fourth line that resembles my shed in summer (lawn mower, rake, paint, varsol, 400 gloves, beer bottles, random two by four, rabbit who has spent years with me and never paid a day’s rent). Four defensemen who you can go to war with, a goalie you can count on and a goalie you can hotwire in a pinch. We’re almost there.


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: Reasonable expectations for Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis over the next 15 games. (will link)
  • New Jonathan Willis: Ryan McLeod offers the Oilers size and speed. But will he score in the NHL?
  • New Jonathan Willis: Which players pose the biggest threat to Leon Draisaitl winning the Hart Trophy?
  • Lowetide: How the Oilers deadline deals might alter summer plans
  • Jonathan Willis: Splitting Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl saved the Oilers’ season
  • Lowetide: Is the OHL still the Oilers’ primary resource at the draft?
  • Lowetide: The Oilers’ 2017 draft and the value of waiting five years
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ AHL factory has produced three NHL defencemen, with more on the way
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Are Oilers poised for a long playoff run after Ken Holland’s deadline moves?
  • Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers forward depth chart for the summer
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Stepping out and up, Leon Draisaitl puts himself in the Hart Trophy mix in Connor McDavid’s absence
  • Lowetide: Making sense of the Oilers defensive depth chart for the stretch run and the summer


  • Oilers in 2015-16: 26-35-7, 59 points; goal differential -30
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 35-24-9, 79 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 30-34-4, 64 points; goal differential -35
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 30-31-7, 67 points; goal differential -21
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 36-23-8, 80 points; goal differential +7

I don’t believe this year’s team will finish with 103 points (the final total of the 2016-17 team) but this has been an enjoyable ride since the new year. What a tremendous 9 1/2 weeks. I would not be shocked if Edmonton won the division, that’s how strong January-March has been for this team. Not yet balanced, but wildly effective in specific game states and slivers of five on five.


  • First 10 games: 7-2-1
  • Second 10 games: 5-4-1
  • Third 10 games: 5-4-1
  • Fourth 10 games: 3-6-1
  • Fifth 10 games: 6-2-2
  • Sixth 10 games: 6-3-1
  • Current 10 games: 4-2-1


  • Oilers in March 2016: 2-1-0, four points; goal differential +2
  • Oilers in March 2017: 1-1-1, three points; goal differential -1
  • Oilers in March 2018: 1-2-0, two points; goal differential -2
  • Oilers in March 2019: 3-0-0, six points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in March 2020: 2-0-0, two points; goal differential +6


  • On the road to: NAS, DAL, CHI (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 2-0-0)
  • At home to: CBJ, WPG, VEG, NYI (Expected 2-2-0)
  • On the road to: PHI, WAS, OTT (Expected 1-1-1)
  • At home to: TBY, ANA, COL, SJS, ANA, VEG (Expected: 3-2-1)
  • Overall expected result: 7-6-3, 17 points in 16 games
  • Current results: 2-0-0, 4 points in two games

Chicago has been pushing in recent days, the team is just 5-5-0 in its last 10 but have won three in a row. Edmonton will be at home for most of the rest of the season after tonight, playing 10 of the final 14 at home.

OILERS 2019-20

I’m hopeful coach Tippett shakes up the McDavid line, options include moving up Zack Kassian to replace Josh Archibald and my guess is James Neal will also be under consideration. Also hopeful Oscar Klefbom returns, I’d like to see Klefbom-Larsson, Nurse-Bear and Jones-Benning. Your mileage may vary.

Lots of room to wheel if the cap goes to $85 million, Edmonton could sign Bear long term or sign goalie Robin Lehner as a free agent. Above, I traded Adam Larsson to Toronto, Jesse Puljujarvi, William Lagesson and two members of Mahogany Rush to Ottawa. I attempted to do what Ken Holland might try to accomplish as opposed to my own wishes (I wouldn’t return Mike Smith or Kris Russell).

We should be headed for an Edmonton-Vancouver opening round series but the goalie woes on the left coast combined with a smart run by the Flames have this looking like a BOA (and no, not Black Oak Arkansas) spring.

The first playoff game between the two teams went down April 14, 1983 with the Oilers winning 6-3 on four Mark Messier goals. Boxscore is here.


The week is roaring to a conclusion, we get a head start at 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll be joined by Michael Hurley from CBS Boston and will talk Brady leaving the Patriots, Bruins chances at Stanley, Red Sox 2020 and more. Frank Seravalli from TSN pops in a little after 11 to chat about cap, coronavirus and first-round playoff matchups. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!

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415 Responses to "2019-20 Game 68: Oilers at Blackhawks"

« Older Comments
  1. russ99 says:


    That was a good chance, they should have tried more of that later in the period, all the cycling with few shots didn’t help the cause.

  2. Munny says:

    Had to miss the opening frame and started to watch not quite half way through the game, and the first thought in my head, after like two shifts, was oh my Gord we look so slow. Losing out on puck chases, gap control was non-existent, couldn’t catch anyone to hit’em, couldn’t beat anyone with speed…

    And for everyone that remembers the Gretzky quote about hands going first when you’re tired, look at our passing tonight. Absolutely abysmal.

    I will put this one down to the second straight game of playing 3 in 4, nine different cities in a row, travel, etc, and I will get on my knees and thank the Hockey Gords we got outta Chitown without an injury.

  3. Munny says:


    That was a good chance, they should have tried more of that later in the period, all the cycling with few shots didn’t help the cause.

    Too bad the schedule-makers screwed you tonight. You’ve haven’t had the greatest luck in your attended games recently.

  4. Munny says:

    jp: For me the line should be if it’s potentially dangerous it should remain a penalty. If it’s incidental, it should not.

    So high sticking, slashing, boarding, etc. would remain penalties. Tripping, hooking, too many men, etc. should disappear.

    (not to pick on your comment)

    It’s always a penalty when play continues. If the League didn’t do so, it would leave the game open to moral hazard.

    What I don’t understand is why Toronto can’t stop play if a score has been missed.

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oh well, was hoping they could find a way to grind out a point or even two but that was a tough tough game to gain points in – its been a tough stretch of travel and hockey.

    At least the travel is limited from here on out.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Gerta Rauss:
    Well, fun 3rd period but that wasn’t meant to be and we got what we deserved

    Signs of life from AA so that’s something

    I’ll take a 2-1-0 road trip

    He was sure dangerous in the 2nd half of the game – both ways.

    Some nice offensive plays and a couple high event turnovers (i.e. opposition blue leading to a fast break back).

  7. Munny says:

    delooper: Is Schroedinger’s cat alive or dead?


  8. Gerta Rauss says:

    Munny: What I don’t understand is why Toronto can’t stop play if a score has been missed

    I think they were working on it

    When the whistle did blow…45 seconds..???…after the Yamo goal, the “horn from above” sounded immediately, so I think at that point the league knew the puck was in the net

    If the play had continued any longer, I think/hope the “horn from above” would have sounded and stopped play, but I may be giving the league too much credit

  9. jp says:

    On the Smith/Koskinen debate…

    Since the All-star break:
    Smith —- 2.93 .907
    Koskinen 2.46 .923

    Of course that’s not the whole story:
    Smith — 12GP 7-2-3
    Koskinen 8GP 3-4-0

    Also, pretty much the whole gap in SV% is due to the Dallas game and tonight. Still, it’s interesting to see this gap opening up again on the year.

    Smith — 38 19-11-6 2.94 .903 (32nd and 33rd of 43 goalies with 30+ games)
    Koskinen 36 17-13-2 2.80 .913 (24th and 17th of 43 goalies; 16th and 11th of the 30 goalies with 35+ games)

    I feel like Koskinen’s in range of average at least, and is passable for next year. And I don’t see him being bad enough to warrant buyout consideration, as has been suggested.

  10. Munny says:

    Gerta Rauss: I may be giving the league too much credit

    Lol, always a danger.

    I wonder if this is something that might become simpler to expedite with the new puck-tracking technology?

    One imagines Budweiser has already bought the licensing… and red lights in man caves all across the country will light up whether the ref is jabbing his finger at the net or not.

  11. Pescador says:

    Thanks for posting the numbers,
    Koskiinen starts next game for me,
    Will be interesting to see who Tippet runs in,
    Whichever goalie he picks, I trust his gut above all

  12. Pescador says:

    Minnesota are up 3-1 with 17 mins left to go in the 3rd.
    They will jump from 11th to sole possession of 7th if they hang on & get the 2 pts.
    Pushing Dys down to a precarious hold on 8th.

  13. Munny says:

    Leafs – Kings end regulation with neither team scoring a goal.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m quite proud of the boys to battle back in the 3rd like they did given how dead they must be from all the travel over the last few weeks. That was a whopper of a last seven games in 7 different arenas. Two games in a row that constitute the 3rd in 4 nights?

    I’ll certainly take 2-1 on that road trip and beating the two teams that have realistic wild card hopes.

    Now, time to take advantage of less travel through the rest of the month.

  15. Jaxon says:

    Nurse 5-on-5 scoring update going back to March 14, 2017. 245 game sample size (1 short of 3 full 82 game seasons):

    1. Josi 102
    2. Carlson 101
    3. Burns 97
    4. Karlsson 87
    5. Rielly 85
    6. Barrie 83
    7. Nurse 82
    8. Hedman 81
    9. Giordano 81
    10. Pietrangelo 79
    11. Hamilton 78

    After last night Nurse moved into sole possession of 7th overall in 5-on-5 scoring over 3 seasons. He’s burning right now and could possibly move into 4th overall by season’s end.

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