The Edmonton Oilers were under the gun, and (led by Connor McDavid) delivered a strong effort against the Chicago Blackhawks last night. The series is tied 1-1, we can discuss a new No. 1 line, a massive goal by James Neal, fine goaltending (especially in the first period) by Mikko Koskinen and some solid defensive play. What won’t we discuss? The draft.
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: How Dave Tippett’s lineup tweaks propelled Oilers to Game 2 win
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If Game 2 wasn’t Connor McDavid at his best, it was damn near close
- 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
- New Mark Lazerus and Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Breaking down storylines, scouting reports and X-factors for Blackhawks-Oilers
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers scrimmage: Colby Cave gets Maurice Richard treatment in fitting tribute
- 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
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Inside the bubble: Details on where and how NHL players will live in Edmonton
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Connor McDavid in the playoffs?
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s postseason strategy against the Blackhawks
Line 1 five on five: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Connor McDavid-Josh Archibald played 9:28, going 15-5 Corsi five on five, 6-4 shots, 2-1 goals and 5-1 HDSC.
McDavid was fantastic from the start of the game, giving Edmonton a 2-0 lead before the couch seats were warm and playing a strong game overall. His second goal was impossible. If attention to detail was an issue for the Oilers in game one, 97’s precision and excellence early set the tone for the rest of the game. I know math and stats and analytics don’t value ‘rising to the moment’ but in the lore of McDavid this game is a building block for the story we’ll write in our mind’s eye. Incredible talent. Nuge had three assists, Archibald is a game rooster, 97 is a superhero.
Line 2 five on five: Tyler Ennis-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto: played 9:31, going 13-7 Corsi, 6-5 shots, 1-2 goals and 5-1 HDSC.
Ennis scored a big goal and had four shots on net. He also had three high-danger chances. Yamamoto had two high-danger chances and made a key play on the Ennis goal (should have gotten an assist). A rare quiet game for Draisaitl offensively, but he was effective, skated miles and had several good chances.
Line 3 five on five: Andreas Athanasiou-Riley Sheahan-Zack Kassian played 7:19, 9-6 Corsi, 5-3 shots, no goals and 1-0 HDSC.
Athanasiou was impressive, I honestly had to check myself to identify who was doing these great things on the Sheahan line. Kassian’s presence may have made a difference, but AA had a HDSC and drew a penalty. If this line gets rolling, the Oilers have a story to tell.
Line 4 five on five: James Neal-Jujhar Khaira-Alex Chiasson. The line played 7:13, 5-7 Corsi, 5-2 shots, 1-0 goals and 2-3 HDSC.
The James Neal goal was massive. Khaira was a wrecking ball, three HDSC on the night and four shots on goal. Chiasson’s goal came when the game was secure but offered more insurance and in 2020 more insurance is a great idea.
Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson played 15:33, going 11-11 Corsi, 4-6 shots, 1-0 goals and 5-4 HDSC.
The outlet usage above might be an anomaly, but we should follow it this series. I haven’t seen any indication Klefbom is less than 100 percent, so it might be planned or a reaction to Chicago’s forecheck. This pairing was on the good side of the puck often, recovering from a tough outing in Game 1.
Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear played 15:12, going 21-13 Corsi, 13-7 shots, 2-2 goals and 8-2 HDSC.
Nurse had an assist, a takeaway, two blocked shots and some good work along the wall. He wasn’t able to stop the pass net front to Kane on the first goal, Bear had defended the original sortie and didn’t recognize danger (nor did McDavid) on time. Bear drew a penalty and his fabulous outlet passing (found AA from two towns away) was on display.
Kris Russell-Matt Benning played 8:55, going 12-9 Corsi, 7-3 shots, 1-1 goals, 3-2 HDSC.
Russell tipped a shot that meandered into the Edmonton net, fans online hammered him senseless but the puck was heading in a good direction for the most part with him on the ice. Had a nice look, blocked a shot. Benning had a shot, blocked four shots, was credited with a big hit and took a penalty the Oilers could ill afford to take.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 23 of 26, .895. That doesn’t really tell the story, Koskinen faced half a dozen 10-bell chances in the first period and gave up just one goal. I would play him again on Wednesday.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we’re back! At 10:20, Joaquin Gage from 2-guys and a goalie podcast will join us to talk Koskinen and Smith performances early in the Chicago series. At 11, Murat Ates from The Athletic will talk about the compelling Jets-Flames series. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!