In the words of the great philosopher Izzy Mandelbaum, “it’s go time” for the Edmonton Oilers tonight. In a best of five series, each game is double and double again. Expect a fantastic effort. Expecting a win? I can’t go that far.
This Oilers team is good enough to run the table, but have to get out of their own way. All facets of the game need to improve, beginning with attention to detail. It’s a tall order, friends.
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
- New Lowetide: Ethan Bear’s playoff baptism produces uneven effort
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why Dave Tippett must start Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers in Game 2
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Just not good enough’: The Oilers have a lot to fix after disastrous Game 1
- Lowetide: Homegrown Oilers players will again take a featured playoff role
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bang for your buck: Ranking the Oilers based on contract expectations
- Lowetide: Could Oilers’ lack of centre depth mean postseason roster shuffle?
- Daniel Nugent Bowman: What the Oilers should be thinking after watching Chicago in exhibition
- Lowetide: Splitting the Draisaitl line may create hot August nights in Edmonton
- Jonathan Willis: Is Philip Broberg on track to be a top-pairing defenceman?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ productive prospect pipeline a welcome change for playoffs
- Lowetide: Imagining the city of Edmonton with the Oilers in a deep playoff run
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options over the next five months
There isn’t much to say about this game. The Oilers had the better season, finished in the top two in the Pacific and if the season had been allowed to finish we’d be having a different conversation. However, no one can or will use that as an excuse on the Edmonton side and I expect we’ll see a strong performance tonight.
The problem, as I see it, is that this club has rarely played a full 60 minutes and that might be required against Chicago this evening. I expect Edmonton arrives at this game with horses at full gallop ala the chariot race scene in Ben-Hur.
LINES (Five on Five)
Nuge-McDavid-Kassian: 11:48, 7-18 Corsi (28 percent); 4-10 shots (29 percent); 0-3 goals 2-4 HDSC.
Ennis-Draisaitl-Yamamoto: 10:28, 10-11 Corsi (43 percent); 5-7- shots (42 percent); no goals 2-2 HDSC.
The Oilers have to get more than four HDSC from these two lines and can’t get outscored 3-0 when they’re on the ice. Even if Tippett moves Nuge back to the Draisaitl line (he won’t, at least to start the game) to get the magic going, Edmonton cannot let this five on five badness stand. Man.
Athanasiou-Sheahan-Archibald: 5:30, 4-3 Corsi (57 percent); 3-2 shots (60 percent); no goals or high dangers.
Neal-Khaira-Chiasson: 7:04, 7-3 Corsi (70 percent); 3-2 shots (60 percent); no goals or high dangers.
The bottom two lines did exactly what is expected: Low event minutes and no goals against. Tippett will take these numbers all day. A goal for would be nice, Athanasiou and Neal have that ability.
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson: 12:00, 5-14 Corsi (26 percent); 1-11 shots (8 percent); 0-2 goals and 0-3 HDSC. Oilers were 26-29 Corsi, 14-15 shots, 0-1 goals and 4-3 HDSC with the Swedish duo off the ice.
Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear: 17:16, 12-17 Corsi (41 percent); 7-9 shots (44 percent); 0-1 goals and 3-3 HDSC.
Kris Russell-Matt Benning: 9:42, 12-8 Corsi (60 percent); 6-4 shots (60 percent); no goals and 1-0 HDSC.
I don’t think Klefbom-Larsson will have a game like that one again, if they struggle early tonight Tippett will pull the plug and we could see Klefbom-Bear. That’s the story morning glory.
Mike Smith: 21 minutes five on five; 14 saves on 17 shots (.824); Mikko Koskinen: 27 minutes five on five; 10 saves on 10 shots (1.000).
Look, I wish we weren’t talking about it either, but we’re here bitches. The Oilers could draft No. 1 overall, and that’s beyond incredible. IF Edmonton wins the lottery in 2020, my prediction is that the next lottery will not be a lottery at all. It will be a horse race, with all of the teams eligible represented by a specific horse. The race will start the moment Gary Bettman cocks his gun and shoots Edmonton’s horse. Here’s my top 20 for 2020:
1 L Alexis Lafreniere, QMJHL. NHL ready, fleet scorer who plays with an edge.
2 LC Quinton Byfield, OHL. August 2002, 6.04, 215. Big, powerful winger, excellent speed.
3 LC Tim Stutzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense. Tremendous skater.
4 LC Marco Rossi, OHL. Good speed, exciting, range of skills. Exceptional talent.
5 RHD Jamie Drysdale, OHL. Great speed, passing and instincts, instant offense from the blue.
6 LC Cole Perfetti, OHL. Outstanding talent, not as fast as top forwards, has tremendous skill.
7 RW Alexander Holtz, SHL. First-shot scorer with a range of skills, he’s an electric player.
8 LW Lucas Raymond, SHL. Smart player who has ridiculous skill. March 2002. Fine skater.
9 RW Jack Quinn OHL. Impressive offensive winger was a late breaker. Pure goal scorer.
10 RW Dawson Mercer, QMJHL. Impressive player who is both scorer and playmaker.
11 RC Mavrik Bourque, QMJHL. Creative center, great passer, great shot. Plays in tough areas.
12 LC Connor Zary, WHL. Quick, smart two-way center effective across 200 feet.
13 LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. Smart, fast two-way defenseman has complete skill set.
14 LC Anton Lundell, Liiga. Complete skill set, average speed but improving.
15 RC Seth Jarvis, WHL. Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. Big second half.
16 RW Noel Gunler, SHL. Has a great release and an impressive resume. Attractive option.
17 G Yaroslav Askarov, VHL. He plays an unusual style. June 2002, .923 VHL SP.
18 RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
19 LC Jan Mysak, OHL. Skilled and is effective in all areas. Major move in second half.
20 LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and full skill set.