2020 Playoffs: Pre-playoff Game 1 Oilers and Flames

I didn’t know if we’d get here, so ran with a combination of draft, 2020 offseason and playoff posts for about 100 days. Thanks for hanging in. We now return you to regular programming.

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PREDICTIONS SEPTEMBER 2019

I like predicting opening night rosters a few weeks before the coach makes his final cuts. It’s usually close but there’s always a late story plot that sends the entire process sideways. Here’s what I predicted for opening night 2019-20 on September 10, 2019:

  • Leon Draisaitl—Connor McDavid—Zack Kassian
  • James Neal—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Alex Chiasson
  • Jujhar Khaira—Riley Sheahan—Josh Archibald
  • Markus Granlund—Gaetan Haas—Sam Gagner
  • Joakim Nygard, Colby Cave
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Joel Persson
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Caleb Jones
  • Mikko Koskinen (Mike Smith)

I missed on a few. Riley Sheahan was injured, he would play on October 8, seven days after the opener. Joel Persson made the team but was on IR opening night, returning October 5.

Sam Gagner started the season in the minors, recalled for the October 24 game. Caleb Jones also began in Bakersfield, making it to Edmonton on November 14.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER, LINES AND PAIRINGS

  • James Neal—Connor McDavid—Joakim Nygard
  • Leon Draisaitl—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Zack Kassian
  • Jujhar Khaira—Colby Cave—Josh Archibald
  • Markus Granlund—Gaetan Haas—Alex Chiasson
  • Tomas Jurco, Patrick Russell
  • Darnell Nurse—Adam Larsson
  • Oscar Klefbom—Ethan Bear
  • Kris Russell—Matt Benning
  • Brandon Manning
  • Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)

Ethan Bear made the club and started game one, he was partnered with Klefbom. What a story. Mike Smith started the first game, Joakim Nygard’s first shift came with McDavid and Neal.

Bear, Yamamoto and Jones were exactly what the McDavid cluster needed. Can Ken Holland find three more useful pieces in the offseason?

JESSE PULJUJARVI

Ken Holland told Bob Stauffer “we’ll see where it goes” and the two sides have talked more than once. I see Puljujarvi as being able to slide onto the roster on right wing, behind Yamamoto and Kassian. I think he could land a No. 3 right wing job on the 2020-21 Oilers, with Josh Archibald as the other regular on the starboard side. I don’t see him on a skill line to start, but that big body and skill set are going to be useful to an NHL team for a long time. Personally, I’d love to see him as an Oilers winger in 2020-21, but the bottom line is the young man should find his place in the sun. We don’t know where that will be, or when. However, it appears closer today than yesterday.

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269 Responses to "2020 Playoffs: Pre-playoff Game 1 Oilers and Flames"

« Older Comments
  1. fries n gravy says:

    flyfish1168,

    Mild scurvy to them all.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    Smith with a great glove stop for his first save – tough save.

  3. jp says:

    OilClog: it literally looks like he’s taking something personal. The death glare, he’s about to make some defensemen famous on the highlights.

    Hehe, nice

  4. jp says:

    Tippett keeps giving Broberg TOI.

    He’s going to see a real game or two, I think…

  5. N64 says:

    jp:
    Tippett keeps giving Broberg TOI.

    He’s going to see a real game or two, I think…

    Hope we don’t lose that many D.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Yes – 200 posts and on to a fresh page – hockey is back and the LT comments section are back (this is the second time in the last few days, the first two times in months I believe).

  7. Younger Oil says:

    Patrick Kane intercepting some of these sloppy passes may make or break this series.

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp:
    Tippett keeps giving Broberg TOI.

    He’s going to see a real game or two, I think…

    He is getting a ton of TOI.

    I don’t imagine he plays a second in the post-season,

    He has settled in from a tough first 3-4 shifts.

  9. Younger Oil says:

    Nurse really needs to cut out the habit of shoving forwards into our goalie and giving them excuses to get away with some interference.

    Flashbacks to the Anaheim series there.

  10. oilersfan says:

    What an awful period

    Oilers lacking intensity, losing battles, can’t kill off the final 5 seconds

    Chiasson/Neal line on for the shift where Larsson gets the penalty lost battle after battle for loose pucks

    I really wish there were 3/4 pre season games like the nba is having

  11. oilersfan says:

    Nurse barely shoved tkaxhuk ans the turtle embellished the fall onto smith to create the interference

  12. €√¥£€^$ says:

    striatic:
    Gerta Rauss

    Has anyone seen players from other teams in the stands? They are allowed to come watch the games in person from the limited seating but I haven’t heard mention of any players doing so yet.

    I think each team has access to a luxury box, so you won’t like see this. The cameras are focused on the ice action.

  13. jp says:

    N64: Hope we don’t lose that many D.

    Ha! I hope so too. But I don’t think he’s many injuries away.

    Tippett isn’t giving him this kind of TOI to help his development. This game is too important to give those minutes to a player who isn’t in the plans, IMO.

    The 13F P. Russell has 3:28 through 2. Broberg has played 7:25. Just a few seconds shy of Benning. If it was a development start he’d only have gotten a few shifts.

    He can’t have passed Jones, I don’t think. But I kinda do think he may have passed Lagesson and Bouchard..

    Not saying I think this is the right decision btw, just reading the tea leaves.

  14. €√¥£€^$ says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Smith embellished? To me it looked like he did a belly flop once he felt contact. He didn’t seem to focus on stopping the puck, otherwise I would think he’d have tried to stick his left pad in the air, as I’ve seen him do before.

  15. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: He is getting a ton of TOI.

    I don’t imagine he plays a second in the post-season,

    He has settled in from a tough first 3-4 shifts.

    I dunno. I don’t think Tippett would give him courtesy minutes. This game is too important for getting the team ready to go on Saturday. I think he’s 1 or 2 injuries from a spot in the lineup (otherwise Tippett wouldn’t be playing him).

    Also, I’m not sure what Smith could do in the 3rd to claw back that start on Saturday (IMO). Mikko didn’t blink, maybe he never does.

  16. €√¥£€^$ says:

    Other then when he tripped on his own feet, Haas looks solid out there. He hasn’t been knocked on his ass, like he tended to be 3-4x per game during the season. Good for him to adjust!

  17. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: Ha! I hope so too. But I don’t think he’s many injuries away.

    Tippett isn’t giving him this kind of TOI to help his development. This game is too important to give those minutes to a player who isn’t in the plans, IMO.

    The 13F P. Russell has 3:28 through 2. Broberg has played 7:25. Just a few seconds shy of Benning. If it was a development start he’d only have gotten a few shifts.

    He can’t have passed Jones, I don’t think. But I kinda do think he may have passed Lagesson and Bouchard..

    Not saying I think this is the right decision btw, just reading the tea leaves.

    I believe that his appearance in tonight’s game and his ice time is really a reward for agreeing to come over just for training camp (the initial understanding was that he would head back to Sweden before Stage 4) and then having a very nice camp.

    I don’t believe he’s moved up to #8 on the depth chart (but, of course, I’m just a fan sitting in a condo in Canmore)….

  18. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Top 2 lines look like they aren’t trying like they’ll need to.

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    jp: I dunno. I don’t think Tippett would give him courtesy minutes. This game is too important for getting the team ready to go on Saturday. I think he’s 1 or 2 injuries from a spot in the lineup (otherwise Tippett wouldn’t be playing him).

    Also, I’m not sure what Smith could do in the 3rd to claw back that start on Saturday (IMO). Mikko didn’t blink, maybe he never does.

    See my previous post on the subject.

    I think they do want to get a look before the player disappears across the pond until the spring (well, except the World Juniors).

    If it was truly only about getting ready on this point, wouldn’t we see Jones who is almost assured of playing time?

  20. OriginalPouzar says:

    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
    Top 2 lines look like they aren’t trying like they’ll need to.

    The showed in the first period what happens when they try against a team like the flames….

  21. OriginalPouzar says:

    Wow – massive Smith save.

  22. jp says:

    That was an absurd save!

  23. oilersfan says:

    I think the Draisaitl line is better with Nuge on it

    Would prefer to swap Ennis with Nuge for the rest of the third

  24. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    OriginalPouzar: The showed in the first period what happens when they try against a team like the flames….

    Cool, still don’t like that they didn’t keep the foot on the gas pedal at least a bit. I get it’s an exhibition and I certainly don’t mind McDavid easing off his puck rushes for such a game, but there’s a difference between not playing recklessly and trying.

  25. Munny says:

    Some pucks on their net would be nice…

  26. Oil2Oilers says:

    Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

  27. jp says:

    OriginalPouzar: See my previous post on the subject.

    I think they do want to get a look before the player disappears across the pond until the spring (well, except the World Juniors).

    If it was truly only about getting ready on this point, wouldn’t we see Jones who is almost assured of playing time?

    We’ll see I guess, maybe I’m way off base.

    I think it’s highly unlikely Tippett would put Broberg in the lineup purely as a reward. And I think it’s even more unlikely that he’d continue playing him in full rotation as a reward. I just don’t see it.

    He’s played both sides too. I find it a bit difficult to believe but maybe Broberg has actually passed Jones as #7D? For better or worse.

  28. OriginalPouzar says:

    P. Russell can put the puck in the next in an NHL arena……

  29. jp says:

    1st goal!!!!!! (sorta)

  30. Munny says:

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquirussel!

    lol now McDavid.

  31. Ice Sage says:

    jp:
    1st goal!!!!!!(sorta)

    yeah, he looked so stoked

  32. OriginalPouzar says:

    McDavid can also put the puck in the next in an NHL arena.

    P. Russell/McDavid – maybe we have a new 1RW………

  33. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Of course Russell gets his first goal here.

  34. striatic says:

    Nuge with the pitching wedge, sticking the green.

  35. Oil2Oilers says:

    McDavid is being Covid19 smart in this game, it doesn’t look like he’s broken a sweat or will need a shower after the game.

  36. godot10 says:

    P. Russell eating Kassian’s lunch.

  37. OilClog says:

    David should of stocked his flip after that one.

  38. Gerta Rauss says:

    P Russell still doesn’t have an official NHL goal LoL…..

    Nice play to finish that

  39. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    Alright, the last few shifts I can say I take no issue with the compete level here. Both lines started playing their games. I’m the jackass.

  40. GordieHoweHatTrick says:

    What is Russell”s points per 60
    With McDavid?

    Vs without McDavid?

    😜

  41. dcsj says:

    Oh yeah. The boys are back

  42. Younger Oil says:

    Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

  43. N64 says:

    jp: This game is too important to give those minutes to a player who isn’t in the plans, IMO.

    I’d agree most years. But if you dress a rookie covid insurance D prepare him with some TOi

  44. godot10 says:

    Younger Oil:
    Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

    No fans. It shouldn’t be that hard. They never have to open the doors to the arena.

    No fans also means they can keep the arena cold.

    The community rink is always cold. The ice is fantastic.

  45. N64 says:

    jp: I find it a bit difficult to believe

    Period

  46. jp says:

    Nice game. I enjoyed that!

  47. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Oh McPrecious, how I’ve missed you…

  48. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Younger Oil:
    Really curious how the ice is going to hold up when there are three games in a day, especially if there are games that go to OT. Seems to be taking some crazy bounces just in this third period.

    I honestly wonder what they’ll do if a game goes to 4OTs..

  49. Admiral Ackbar says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

    Sign that boy! 6 yrs x $2.9 per? Am I being cheap?

  50. OriginalPouzar says:

    oilersfan:
    I think the Draisaitl line is better with Nuge on it

    Would prefer to swap Ennis with Nuge for the rest of the third

    Well, yes, Nuge is better than Ennis so that would make sense.

    With that said, Ennis has played very well through the scrimmages on the Drai line and, when that line was trying in the first period, they dominated and Ennis made the primary skill play on the Yamamoto goal.

  51. jp says:

    N64: I’d agree most years. But if you dress a rookie covid insurance D prepare him with some TOi

    N64: Period

    Could be. We’ll see.

    I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

  52. Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual says:

    jp,

    I agree with the other guy. He wanted to see what he has in his #10 D whereas he knows what the rest can bring. This #10 D has never played on NHL ice before so keeping him around to let him get a feel for it and let Tippett know what he can expect of the player if it comes to needing him. Philly did the same with Zamula earlier today.

  53. N64 says:

    jp:
    Could be. We’ll see.

    I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

    Why not? It’s an exhibition game. Easier to argue against dressing him. But if you dress him you give him time. For all players with just one exhibition. But year Covid this is your chance to prepare him if you dress him

  54. N64 says:

    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
    jp,

    I agree with the other guy. He wanted to see what he has in his #10 D whereas he knows what the rest can bring. This #10 D has never played on NHL ice before so keeping him around to let him get a feel for it and let Tippett know what he can expect of the player if it comes to needing him. Philly did the same with Zamula earlier today.

    If I’m the coach I throw out the first bunch of wobbly shifts and give him enough time to leave them behind

  55. jp says:

    GordieHoweHatTrick:
    What is Russell”s points per 60
    With McDavid?

    Vs without McDavid?

    😜

    Turns out one of his regular season points was alongside McDavid (thought I remembered that!). So in the regular season he scored:
    1.42P/60 with McDavid
    0.57P/60 without McDavid

    Add in tonight (40 second shift?) he’s scored:
    4.19P/60 with McDavid
    0.56P/60 without McDavid

    🙂

  56. jp says:

    Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual,

    N64,

    I’m happy to be wrong on this. Whatever Tippett thinks is best is cool with me.

    IMO he views this as a really important game though. We’ll see soon enough what he really thinks (well, or not).

    And again, this is just my opinion based on what I think Tippett would/wouldn’t do here.

  57. Munny says:

    Smith just confirmed neither of them know who is starting and they are taking it day-by-day. Tipp has indicated that he expects both will play during the playoffs.

  58. defmn says:

    jp:
    Could be. We’ll see.

    I don’t personally have a preference, just trying to read what Tippett would do. I don’t think he’d play the #9 or #10 D in this game. Much less give him the minutes Broberg got (27 seconds more than Benning in the end).

    What’s Bouchard thinking right now? I know they are not competing for the same spot but there was one extra guy who got to play tonight and they chose the younger guy.

  59. Munny says:

    jp,

    I don’t think it is a bad read, JP. There’s something there, we just don’t know exactly what.

    Perhaps Tipp will enlighten us during the post-game… assuming there’s a member of the media smart enough to ask the question.

    One thing is for sure though… no way is he going to rank his D for the benefit of us poor schmos lol.

  60. Munny says:

    defmn,

    Precisely.

  61. OriginalPouzar says:

    Tip says post-game that the reason for playing Broberg was simply to ensure that every d-man in the bubble has played an NHL game – really didn’t sound like he was on the verge to getting in a post-season game.

  62. OriginalPouzar says:

    defmn: What’s Bouchard thinking right now? I know they are not competing for the same spot but there was one extra guy who got to play tonight and they chose the younger guy.

    Tip just said why Broberg played tonight – Bouch has NHL games on his resume and Broberg didn’t and they wanted to ensure he got one in.

  63. Munny says:

    Tipp:

    Liked both goalies, liked two of the powerplays, other parts of the game, thinks (in general) they still have some kinks to work out before Saturday.

    Hoping Sheahan is ready Thurs, but quite pleased with Haas’s work on the PP.

    Jonesy was not available today but was scheduled to play. Wanted to give Broberg the start because out of all the remaining D he was the only one who hadn’t played any game at all at this level.

  64. Munny says:

    Oil2Oilers:
    Bear plays like he has been in the league 10 years, not one.

    Rob Brown just said the exact same thing in the post-game.

    Loubardias too was raving about both him and Nurse on Flames radio earlier.

  65. Munny says:

    Bear: “…both teams hate each other…”

    Make this kid Mayor or something.

  66. jp says:

    Munny:

    Jonesy was not available today but was scheduled to play.Wanted to give Broberg the start because out of all the remaining D he was the only one who hadn’t played any game at all at this level.

    That sounds far less conspicuous than starting Broberg over Jones straight out. Works for me.

  67. Fuge Udvar says:

    Can players leave the bubble roster before they are eliminated? If we go deep and it is pretty clear that Broberg isn’t going to suit up for a game. Can he leave early to make for the start of the SHL on Sept. 19?

  68. OriginalPouzar says:

    Fuge Udvar:
    Can players leave the bubble roster before they are eliminated? If we go deep and it is pretty clear that Broberg isn’t going to suit up for a game. Can he leave early to make for the start of the SHL on Sept. 19?

    Anybody can leave – its not jail.

    Of course, unless a player is on an approved leave, coming back would be an issue (and, even if approved, there would be strict protocols).

    Yes, they could release Broberg at any time they want. There likely is a chance that they could release him mid playoffs to get him back to his club team but I think he’ll stay for the duration – Holland did say he spoke with Broberg, his Agent and the Skeleftea GM re: staying for phase 4.

    I don’t disagree that releasing him at some point may make sense – if they aren’t getting banged up on the back-end.

  69. ArmchairGM says:

    The AA – Haas – Archibald line played very well together last night. Should they stick together for game 1?

    The heavy line didn’t have a good game, Chiasson in particular. Could that line be Sheahan’s landing spot? If Tippett sits Chiasson he could run Sheahan – Khaira – Neal on the 4th.

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