First Blush

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers played the only tuneup game on the schedule last night and will now prepare for the first game of the series against Chicago. It was an interesting game. I took notes.

THE ATHLETIC!

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THE LINEUP

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
Tyler Ennis – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
Andreas Athanasiou – Gaetan Haas – Josh Archibald
James Neal – Jujhar Khaira – Alex Chiasson
Patrick Russell

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Kris Russell – Matt Benning
Philip Broberg

Mikko Koskinen
Mike Smith

FIRST PERIOD NOTES

The goals were typical high-flying Oilers, Draisaitl gains the zone, Ennis pass to Klefbom for the hammer, Yamamoto cleans up on the rebound. The McDavid goal came on the usual insane power-play movement, the Oilers move the puck so quickly it’s dizzying to watch let alone defend. I liked Bear’s first period, solid in his own zone and moving the puck smartly. Jujhar Khaira had a great look, Koskinen stopped all eight shots. PK was solid, noticed Haas did good work there as did Archibald. It was 12-5 Edmonton five on five shots.

SECOND PERIOD THOUGHTS

A much better second period by the Flames, a better test for Edmonton’s goalies. Koskinen played the first half of the second period and was quality, Mike Smith was very active (too active?) but I wouldn’t blame him for the goal (Tkachuk interfered, Nurse took Tkachuk off the hook by cross-checking him). Very physical period, I really liked the Athanasiou-Haas-Archibald line. Klefbom-Larsson are ready. Broberg looked a little unready at times but also played 2:28 against Tkachuk-Backlund-Mangiapane. Shots 9-4 Calgary.

THIRD PERIOD THOUGHTS

Mike Smith made the stop of the game against Sam Bennett early in the third period and was very busy in his 30 minutes. Haas earned a spot in the starting lineup, don’t know if he’ll get it, Archibald and Athanasiou had moments but AA has to get to more plays. Connor McDavid scored twice, I’m sure the Flames felt they had him for most of the night. Them’s the breaks.

TOTALS

  • Shots five on five: 24-22 Calgary (52 percent)
  • Corsi five on five: 40-37 Calgary (52 percent)
  • Power play: One goal each
  • Oilers five on five save percentage: .1000 (24 of 24)
  • Flames five on five save percentage: .864 (19 of 22)

LINES

  • Nuge-McDavid-Kassian: 9:37, 9-5 Corsi, 6-3 shots, no goals
  • Ennis-Draisaitl-Yamamoto: 8:37, 4-11 Corsi, 2-9 shots, 1-0 goals
  • Neal-Khaira-Chiasson: 6:19, 1-7 Corsi, 0-3 shots, no goals
  • Athanasiou-Haas-Archibald: 4:51, 8-3 Corsi, 3-2 shots, no goals

I liked the McDavid line and the Haas line, the Draisaitl line struck early but didn’t dominate. Give the Flames credit and it was clearly not a night to push the impact players for results. I’d love to see two more games before the playoffs. Bet Dave Tippett would agree. Nice to see Patrick Russell score. Chiasson was probably the least effective forward, looked slow, but I’d keep him in the lineup. Veterans be veterans.

PAIRINGS

  • Klefbom-Larsson: 9:06, 8-7 Corsi, 4-5 shots, 1-0 goals
  • Nurse-Bear: 11:34, 10-10 Corsi, 9-7 shots, no goals
  • Russell-Benning: 7:42, 10-8 Corsi, 5-4 shots, 1-0 goals
  • Broberg-Larsson: 3:04, 0-4 Corsi, 0-2 shots, no goals

I think Tippett genuinely wanted to see Broberg, and the young man played a lot against good Calgary opposition. Saved a goal, I think Jones is No. 7 and after that we’ll see among Broberg, Bouchard and Lagesson. The Swedish tandem is ready, Bear is exceptional, Nurse had that one play but was solid otherwise. Bear got time in all three disciplines, playing 19:33 and finishing third behind Nurse and Klebom.

GOALIES

  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 17 of 17
  • Mike Smith stopped 18 of 19

I would start Koskinen. He has better numbers, he played well and his game looks repeatable. That said, Dave Tippett has been to war with Smith, so maybe that wins the day. We wait.

PHILIP BROBERG

Dave Tippett played him and the young man was out against Calgary’s top line for five minutes, outshot 5-0 and chasing all night. Tippett said he played Broberg because he’s the only man on defense who hadn’t before last night. I believe him. Broberg showed some good things (speed, recovery, blocked a sure goal) but I think Jones is No. 7 if healthy.

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Brantford Boy

Words can’t describe how good that felt… Soulshine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDIQ7Otf1mw

Bear was the best player on the ice for the full game – sign this player now!
Broberg needs to go even with the save – enjoy your coffee kid, you just had a shift with McDavid
Thought Benning secured his spot – we’ll see
Mikko – gotta be the guy right? Then Smith makes that save… boom controversy
Haas looked great – need more faceoff wins

Watched the Leafs-Habs game, and it was no where near as quick and intense as the BOA, great sign, I think the boys are ready. Just need some more work in a few areas after the break.

Bring on the Hawks!

smellyglove

Also this is very cool about Bear: Bear honouring Ochapowace roots with Cree jersey nameplate

https://regina.ctvnews.ca/sask-nhler-honouring-ochapowace-roots-with-cree-jersey-nameplate-1.5042780

Ethan’s name plate looks badass, wore it through the game.

LadiesloveSmid

Broberg looked lost, as one would expect. I don’t know why he’s gotten such a media push. Would have preferred Bouchard play, he’s 2 years closer.

N64

Coach says he put Bro in ahead of Bouch because Bro needed an NHL game. Being an exhibition gane TOI was shared widely. That gave Bro lots of time after those lost looking first few shifts to start adjusting. Will help a bit in case we have to break glass

defmn

It was good to see Smith demonstrate why he deserves to be in the conversation for starting goalie but I still go with Koskinen if nothing changes before Saturday. The big man looked calm and in control through his half. He got lucky on the one sequence when Broberg had to play goal and Smith got a bit unlucky on the one he let in but both looked sharp imo.

I thought the team let Calgary get too much momentum through the 2nd period. It seems to me that whenever Edmonton beats Calgary it’s because they out skill them but when Calgary wins it is because they outwork the Oilers. Edmonton let Calgary outwork them through the 2nd period and until about half way through the third before they responded.

I know, just an exhibition game, but the lull went on for too long for Tippett to be happy I would think.

A bit sloppy, a bit chippy but was it ever nice to see a game after all these months.

ArmchairGM

So… if you keep Chiasson in the lineup because veteran, who comes out for Sheahan? Do you keep the 3rd line intact and run Neal – Sheahan – Chiasson on the 4th and sit Khaira?

jtblack

Crawford is going to have to stand on his head if Chi is going to take down Edmonton. I like this team. Can’t wait for Saturday.

TheOrangeDesk

ArmchairGM,

has to be Khaira. that guy cannot play hockey at 5v5.

OriginalPouzar

I’ve been thinking that Coach Tip would start “his guy” in Mike Smith unless there was pure separation in camp.

Even though Smith got lit up in the scrimmages (he did face the tougher team and chances), I was surprised to see him get “the start” last night. He then let in zero goals and made a couple plus saves.

Mike Smith was also very good last night, with a couple of 5-bell saves, however, Koski was the better goalie down the stretch, the better goalie through camp and didn’t let in a goal last night. Unless Tippett’s decision was made the day the RTP format was announced, I would think its got to be Mikko.

It’ll probably be Smith.

OriginalPouzar

Solid preparation game for the Oilers:

– dominated early and took the lead

– not surprisingly, seemed to let up a bit after the initial intesnity wayned and the flames took over the puck a bit.

– decided to play for a few shifts in the third and McDavid put the game away.

– both tenders solid-great

– no apparent injuries

– PP looks great

– PK did give up a goal……

– 2nd and 4th lines did get caved in possession but I think that’s a function of the early lead and kind of playing out the rest of the game.

JOFA

Ennis and Nuge need to switch ahora mismo!

Eh Team

OriginalPouzar: 2nd and 4th lines did get caved in possession but I think that’s a function of the early lead and kind of playing out the rest of the game.

I don’t worry about the second line, but the Neal-Khaira-Chiasson line is so slow. I don’t think you can play that line together. And Haas on the PK probably means Sheehan is not getting in the lineup.

In the Chicago series, lines 1 and 2 will get an extra three minutes each anyway.

Harpers Hair

Hockey East (@hockey_east) Tweeted:
Hockey East has announced its intent to play the 2020-21 season by prioritizing league play in both the men’s and women’s leagues.

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Melman

Tippett has said both goalies will continue to play – and why not it’s worked all season. Be wise of his history with Smith, does that make it easier to give the net to Koskinen first as Smith May take the news better?

Ennis and Yamo are too much the same on that line – need someone else to step up into 1L or 2L and then it could be a long summer run. Clap clap

dustrock

LadiesloveSmid:
Broberg looked lost, as one would expect. I don’t know why he’s gotten such a media push. Would have preferred Bouchard play, he’s 2 years closer.

Yes, what N64 said. Once you’re in the bubble, there is a small chance you might be playing.

Better to get your first taste of NHL hockey in an exhibition game than being thrown to the wolves in a playoff game where every mistake is illuminated.

godot10

ArmchairGM:
So… if you keep Chiasson in the lineup because veteran, who comes out for Sheahan? Do you keep the 3rd line intact and run Neal – Sheahan – Chiasson on the 4th and sit Khaira?

You keep Chiasson in because of the PP. You keep Khaira in because of the PK.

Special teams are a key component of the Oilers winning formula. NOT the 4th line outperforming the other teams 4th line.

rocket

Honestly, the first period looked sloppy for both teams. Oilers get two quick goals. 2nd period and halfway through 3rd the Flames got plenty of scoring changes, outshot Oilers during one stretch 22-2 and only the Oiler goalies prevented the Flames from taking the lead. Lucky bounce and Russell scores and game over with McDavid goal. Oilers have to play much better if they want to defeat the Hawks imho.

flyfish1168

Haas in for Sheahan. Haas faster on forecheck and is a menace who can draw penalties.

godot10

Play Koskinen in game 1. Play Smith in game 2.

Koskinen going first focuses Smith. If Koskinen plays well, Smith has to match it. If the Oilers lose, than Smith is facing a must win.

If the Oilers win both, continue alternating.

Smith was more focused yesterday, because Koskinen was very good.

godot10

rocket:
Honestly, the first period looked sloppy for both teams.Oilers get two quick goals.2nd period and halfway through 3rd the Flames got plenty of scoring changes, outshot Oilers during one stretch 22-2 and only the Oiler goalies prevented the Flames from taking the lead.Lucky bounce and Russell scores and game over with McDavid goal.Oilers have to play much better if they want to defeat the Hawks imho.

Score effects.

Durag

LadiesloveSmid:
Broberg looked lost, as one would expect. I don’t know why he’s gotten such a media push. Would have preferred Bouchard play, he’s 2 years closer.

From Daniel Nugent-Bowman’s piece on the Athletic

“Broberg got the nod over William Lagesson and Evan Bouchard on Tuesday, Tippett said, because the latter two players have NHL experience. He wanted Broberg to have an NHL game – albeit an exhibition one – under his belt in the event the Oilers need his services in the postseason.”
:

JOFA

rocket:
Honestly, the first period looked sloppy for both teams.Oilers get two quick goals.2nd period and halfway through 3rd the Flames got plenty of scoring changes, outshot Oilers during one stretch 22-2 and only the Oiler goalies prevented the Flames from taking the lead.Lucky bounce and Russell scores and game over with McDavid goal.Oilers have to play much better if they want to defeat the Hawks imho.

Yes Sir

ArmchairGM

godot10: You keep Chiasson in because of the PP.You keep Khaira in because of the PK.

Special teams are a key component of the Oilers winning formula.NOT the 4th line outperforming the other teams 4th line.

So you leave Sheahan out? Or sit Haas?

hunter1909

Hunter1909 2020 Playoff Death March™

Enter Now!

https://oilersdeathmarch.com/playoffs-2020/

Returning Players: Use your original names for continuity purposes.

godot10

ArmchairGM: So you leave Sheahan out? Or sit Haas?

If Sheahan is healthy, I think Tippett will give him the start.

But Haas is putting a lot of people on notice.

Elgin R

Oilers played ok in the first, got the lead and then played to not get hurt. Should players battle really hard in a preseason game against an enemy that you will not play in the playoffs?

Nurse: The crosscheck on Turtle reminded me of the crosscheck on Kesler in 2017. Nurse has to stop doing this and start using his head.

JimmyV1965

I was certainly concerned about their play following the first period, but it seemed to me they took their foot off the gas pedal. But this can be an issue as well. You have to bring it for 60 minutes per game. I’m just happy no one got hurt and the Oil looked good when it mattered.

Tesla's Hair

“Mike Smith was very active (too active?)” LOL

Its like we spot the other team a gimmee goal when Mike Smith starts. Luckily we can spot our team 2 points when McDavid starts. Bring on the Smith and McDavid. #PourSomeOffenceOnMe

RumBurgundy

Elgin R:
Oilers played ok in the first, got the lead and then played to not get hurt.Should players battle really hard in a preseason game against an enemy that you will not play in the playoffs?

Nurse:The crosscheck on Turtle reminded me of the crosscheck on Kesler in 2017.Nurse has to stop doing this and start using his head.

Agreed. Defense is for the Byrds.

“A time to box out, a time to tie up
A time to tie hook, a time to slash
A time to cross check in the back,
A time to refrain from crosschecking.”

MA Bergeron should have also listened to the radio.

Munny

RumBurgundy,

That part is actually Ecclesiastes. The rest was written by Pete Seeger, not The Byrds. They merely covered the song.

/musicalpedantry

John Chambers

Durag,

Exposing Broberg to this level of competition is a nice ingredient for his development.

Best thing for him would be to practice with the Oilers during their playoff run, then go back to Sweden in October to play a big role on his club.

He might need a half-year in the AHL, but by the time the calendar flips to 2022 this guy is an NHL defenseman.

RumBurgundy

Munny:
RumBurgundy,

That part is actually Ecclesiastes.The rest was written by Pete Seeger, not The Byrds.They merely covered the song.

/musicalpredantry

Thanks for the info (sincerely). The Byrds still sounds more quippy. 🙂

pts2pndr

Elgin R:
Oilers played ok in the first, got the lead and then played to not get hurt.Should players battle really hard in a preseason game against an enemy that you will not play in the playoffs?

Nurse:The crosscheck on Turtle reminded me of the crosscheck on Kesler in 2017.Nurse has to stop doing this and start using his head.

Head butting isn’t allowed either.😇

Munny

Poor Connor. I fear he’s going to be seeing a turnstile at LW through the playoffs.

Ennis is not the ideal Third Man for the Dry Line.

And if AA can’t get un-tangled, the bottom 6 is going to struggle to score at EVs… again… still.

Sheahan is probable for Saturday. I expect he draws in. If only to get him to game speed.

I’d be tempted to switch Haas and Khaira though.

In fact my L4 would be Nygard, Haas, Neal.

That said, I’m okay if Tipp wants to sit most of the NHL Playoff noobs for Gm1 to give them a feel for it before throwing them into the breach: Koski, Nygard, Haas, Jones, Broberg etc.

Just not Mr. Bear.

Munny

RumBurgundy: The Byrds still sounds more quippy

No, it doesn’t seem to work with the other names, does it lol.

It’s just one of those songs where one rendition became so dominant that no one realizes it was a cover…

Like This Flight Tonight (orig Joni), or Black Magic Woman (orig Fleetwood Mac)…

Oilman99

flyfish1168Sheahan’s ability on face offs is the over riding factor, specially when killing penalty’s.

GordieHoweHatTrick

N64:
Coach says he put Bro in ahead of Bouchbecause Bro needed an NHL game. Being an exhibition gane TOI was shared widely. That gave Bro lots of time after those lost looking first few shifts to start adjusting. Will help a bit in case we have to break glass

Totally. If for some crazy reason they need to call on Broberg in the weeks (months!! :)) ahead, they do not want that first game to his first ever NHL game. Right call to get him out there in the exhibition game. Had Green stayed he would already be back in Sweden. This is us. Expectations in the long run have to remain reasonable…

All things considered – The Oilers look ready (as ready as they can be). I was pleased with individual and team performance last night. When necessary they raised their level (5th gear), but also kept for the most part in 4th gear…

Oilman99

John Chambers,

If he gets big minutes on his team this year, he could possibly jump straight up to the big club.

GordieHoweHatTrick

godot10:
Play Koskinen in game 1.Play Smith in game 2.

Koskinen going first focuses Smith.If Koskinen plays well, Smith has to match it.If the Oilers lose, than Smith is facing a must win.

If the Oilers win both, continue alternating.

Smith was more focused yesterday, because Koskinen was very good.

Yes. This is my vote too

GordieHoweHatTrick

godot10: If Sheahan is healthy, I think Tippett will give him the start.

But Haas is putting a lot of people on notice.

Isn’t some depth nice!?!

EDIT: It is nice to have depth in the line up…finally.

Oilman99

godot10,

Not so sure you keep Chiasson in because of the power play, Neal is just as physical, and has softer hands.

Oilman99

Munny,

The playoffs are a different style of hockey, Khaira’s size is valuable as the play is mich more physical.

defmn

This in from Jesse Puljujarvi talked to Tampere Iltalehti, his strongest statement yet that he’s backed off the notion he’ll never again play for the Edmonton Oilers and is thinking of coming back: “You can never say no. I have grown and I see things a little differently. There’s now a different GM and head coach out there. Build a winning team in Edmonton. It may be possible that I will still be playing there.”

The time for solutions is in the coming days. Or in the coming weeks, Puljujärvi says mysteriously.

Munny

defmn,

Huge step.

defmn

Oilman99:
Munny,

The playoffs are a different style of hockey, Khaira’s size is valuable as the play is mich more physical.

And it is a credit to Holland that Tippett has choices depending on the opposition they encounter through the playoffs.

Oil2Oilers

godot10:
Play Koskinen in game 1.Play Smith in game 2.

Koskinen going first focuses Smith.If Koskinen plays well, Smith has to match it.If the Oilers lose, than Smith is facing a must win.

If the Oilers win both, continue alternating.

Smith was more focused yesterday, because Koskinen was very good.

This seems the wisest course of action.

defmn

Munny:
defmn,

Huge.

Google translation is always an adventure but, yeah.

cowboy bill

It appeared the Oilers could score at will . They popped two quickies in the first , to put the Flames behind he eight ball , then coasted to victory behind stellar goaltending . Even with a raw rookie defenseman in the lineup , the defense was sound enough to handle the Flames even while they were forced to play catch up all night . Only when they scored a PP goal , with Tkachuk ‘s interference on Smith , did the Oilers decide it was time to score again . If that’s the script the Oilers follow through the playoffs , so be it . But I suspect it won’t be that easy . Interesting tune up for sure .

Elgin R

RumBurgundy,

Very, very funny. Needed the laugh this morning as it is going to feel like a long 3 days until real hockey.

Munny

Oilman99:

The playoffs are a different style of hockey, Khaira’s size is valuable as the play is mich more physical.

I’ve been watching them since 1972. Moving one’s feet is also important. He isn’t Phil Esposito.