2020-21 Game 9: Maple Leafs at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers face a fast, skilled group tonight at Rogers. The Toronto Maple Leafs routinely make three short passes to get out of their zone under control and their forwards are fast and skilled.

Oilers coach Dave Tippett has yet to settle on a lineup, the third and fourth lines and bottom two pairings keeping him up late watching Seinfeld or Law & Order reruns. Dave Tippett, it’s time for another edition of “Who do you Trust?”

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

THE OILERS IN MONTH NO. 1

  • Oilers in October 2015: 3-6-0, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in October 2017: 3-5-1, goal differential -8
  • Oilers in October 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential -4
  • Oilers in October 2019: 7-1-1, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in Month 1 2021: 3-5-0, goal differential -5

It’s likely the 2016-17 and 2019-20 teams are already gone, but the Oilers have had some impressive winning streaks over recent seasons. A win tonight puts the 2020-21 crew ahead of 2015-16 and 2017-18. A loss? You could be looking at the least impressive start by an Oilers team since Connor McDavid arrived in the city.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MONTH NO. 1

  • At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-2-0)
  • On the road to: Toronto, Toronto, Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 2-2-0)
  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
  • Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 3-5-0, 6 points after eight games

I think it’s early for “must win” but the Oilers need to win two of their last three games before the end of the month. We can assume the Sens game is an auto W, but the Ottawa silver seven tend to be a tough out in this northern town. A big game tonight.

OILERS A YEAR AGO

The goaltending was miles ahead one year ago, Oscar Klefbom was playing big minutes and Ethan Bear was emerging as a quality rookie. Up front, McDavid and Draisaitl were gone baby gone and James Neal had nine goals. The bottom six had the look of a good ship and crew in peril. No one on LW past Leon was pissing a drop, either.

OILERS CURRENTLY

The goalie gap year over year is massive, it’s fair to suggest Koskinen’s workload has had an impact on his results. After nine games a year ago, Edmonton was 30-20 (+10) in goals, had an overall save percentage of .929 and a shooting percentage of 12.3 in all disciplines.

Through eight games this season, Edmonton is 23-29 (-6) in goals, have an overall save percentage of .893 and a shooting percentage of 8.95. The current Oilers are do for a hot streak based on the team’s top-end talent.

The next transaction is likely to be Troy Grosenick added to the roster, and he could play in the next week or so (possibly Ottawa).

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, so we’ll be talking mental health and encouraging you to help raise dollars by doing any of the above between now and midnight. We’re on TSN1260 at 10 this morning with Michael Landsberg from TSN1050 will talk about his journey and the importance of being open about mental health. Frank Seravalli from TSN will talk Oilers, Jim Rutherford and a three-way trade in the NHL. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

385 comments
6

You may also like

4.6 10 votes
Article Rating
385 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DevilsLettuce

How many young defenders will it take to trade for Konecny?

Kinger_Oil.redux

– Boys played hard. Got some bad breaks. Showed some battle. Just need to tighten up. Don’t let up. Pipeline looks good: players know they have to earn ice time. So many waiting to move up. They are starting to gel. Some great teaching moments. If one of this PP goals went in. Koski probably wished he could have a few back. Tough with all the new players that came with no pre-season. There’s a lot of belief. A lot of positives.

SwedishPoster

Reffing tried to win the Oil the game but goalkeeping and PK lost it.

I’d add PP as well for all the wasted opportunities but hard to put a loss on them when they still end up scoring twice bit they got some serious ref support to do so.

Despite a not so pretty sv% I’d say that was the first one this year that Koskinen truly lost. Showing signs of being worn out the last two games.

Things are looking really grim, overall an ok game but finding ways to throw the game awaw is never a good sign going forward.

The Archibald penalty when you just made it 2-2 and you know the refs are looking to even things out is press box worthy.

To salvage the season they’ll probably have to drive McDrai to the ground for the next few weeks in a desperate attempt to get less murdered in the bottom six. Going with 11 forwards makes a lot of sense at this point. Let McDavid, Draisaitl and at times Nuge double shift on the fourth line with Nygård and whoever is left, I guess Haas when he comes back, would love to see Benson get a shot in such a role but that doesn’t seem to be in the plans this season.

But unless they get special teams into gear any moves 5v5 will just be lipstick on a pig. The way this team is constructed they have to be a quality team on the PP. Can’t count on the PK to be as good but giving up five goals in the last two games is killer, I know officially it’s just two but three were scored just as time ran out so really is due to a struggling PK.

11/7 would also give them a chance to see what Bouchard can do. If he shows well it might be time to see if Barrie can cash some ok bottom six forward. It’s still early in terms of games but he’s not a fit so far and this season is quickly running out of runway.

The obvious move is to reunite Nuge-Drai-Yama but it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s Tippett’s hill to die on. So I won’t hold out hope for that to happen any time soon.

They’ve dug themselves some hole now. I would argue that the chance to save the season is coming up the next stretch of games. If they can find a way to beat Toronto and then sweep a dreadful looking Ottawa team they are back in the race but for that to happen a lot of things have to start clicking awfully fast. Not looking likely at this point but stranger thingshave happened. Surprise me dear Oilers surprise me.

rickithebear

4.00 ga and flat earthers are worried about replacing offence next yr.
L.O.L.

jp

Aren’t Larsson and Russell rickibox D?

Why are they 4GF-11GA on the year?

striker

It’s 3D chess. Not the 2D kind you play. You just don’t understand is all.

DevilsLettuce

It’s because they’re not paired together 35min a night, rickibox to the moon!

rickithebear

80’s off Dmen (Rovers) = Flat Earth Hockey Analytics.
L.O.L.
less than 2.00 GAA in 4 gm wins championships.
25 years and counting!

striker

What?

Cassandra

There is a plus vote for this? Someone should be deeply ashamed. Ricki is an ignorant fool who thinks he’s a genius.

Over and over again his theories are ripped apart on every ground possible.

DevilsLettuce

Can you turn down the space lasers

Bling

Just another thought here, second game in a row where some opportunism would have completely changed the complexion of the game.

Last game against the Jets, Kassian had some golden opportunities and couldn’t cash.

Today, it was Kahun in the first period with two very good chances and an excellent feed to Drai for a deflection. Yamo had a brilliant chance that he knocked wide in the third.

It’s overall a pretty good effort against a very good, and very deep Leafs team.

fistycuff

Yup. It’s a morale victory.

Harpers Hair

See, the thing is…talented players finish those chances…plugs don’t.

It’s the difference between winning and losing.

striker

You should drop by after a big win sometimes too. The mood’s a whole lot different then. On second thought…don’t.

Harpers Hair

Big wins are very rare events.

You would miss me.

striker

“You would miss me.”

This could be the funniest thing you’ve ever said.

hunter1909

In case Oilers are going to 3-7 next game, etc,

Anyone want to choose an old timey original 6 team from Canada(2 choices) they lead the Canadian division

Montreal Canadiens

Toronto Maple Leafs

striker

Nah, I’m good. You go ahead.

Btw, how’s the Death March coming along?

Last edited 2 months ago by striker
Harpers Hair

One the Jets get PLD in the lineup, they will also be in that conversation.

JimmyV1965

Probably the best game they played this year – and they still lose. Frustrating.

fistycuff

But, it was a morale victory…we just need to be patient. Turris is going to turn it around. We’re playing better every game and eventually those pucks are going to go in…we just gotta bear down a bit…it’s still early and we could have really used those preseason games….

Last edited 2 months ago by fistycuff
jp

So… we should off ourselves?

fistycuff

Only if the water don’t get you first…😳

jp

That’s pretty good 🙂

hunter1909

Leaf fans are out trolling lol

hunter1909

Its probably good that the season started late, so Oilers fans wont have to suffer so long before the draft

Bouchard’s already injury prone with the worst possible back injury LOL just like Larsson this franchise is so fucked.

striker

Nah, they’ll make the playoffs.

hunter1909

Btw, what excuses are looking like being ready for next season? Chiarelli’s cap problems are supposed to be finished, right?

Harpers Hair

Actually no.

Nuge will be leaving…good luck with replacing him.

The Oilers have zero NHL goaltenders once Koskinen gets exposed this season and will have to spend big money to get TWO.

They still don’t have any top pairing D…and they aren’t cheap.

And the bottom 6 is a hot mess.

Other than that, they’re fine. 🙂

McSorley33

Bright side…at least we are not Buffalo.

Jeff Skinner is only in year 2 of his mammoth contract that pays him 9 million per year!

Jeff has 1 more point than goalie Carter Hutton so far in 8 games.

That contract only runs until 26/27…

Harpers Hair

Buffalo is 3-3-2 on the season.

While Skinner is an anchor…so are Neal and Kassian.

Bling

Tipp didn’t like that guys didn’t get into lanes on the last two PP GA. I agree with him.

I noticed that with Jones. He was really in no man’s land. If he doesn’t feel comfortable laying out, at least rush Matthews.

That’s not going to win you favour with the coach or your teammates.

Scungilli Slushy

Anyone got some skates I can borrow?

I can do what 92.5% of those guys do, which is not play NHL calibre hockey consistently or ever, and I’ll be the happiest locker room glue in the world, for making league minimum.

I’ll spit polish Connor and Leon’s skates before every game and practice too on the house.

Scungilli Slushy

I’ll also get in lanes even if they’re shooting the puck out of a bazooka.

Scungilli Slushy

Because I like winning sports games.

hunter1909

When exactly does the team expect to be good?

Not with generational players
Not with multiple 1st overall picks
Not with a salary cap
Not without a salary cap
Not in case there is a “play in” before the playoffs start
Not in case there is a shortened coronavirus season

fishman

Sadly fair questions!

tileguy

So, who was the worst D on the ice tonight?

hunter1909

Wild Guess- one of the Oilers?

hags9k

This franchise is incredibly still trying to find its way out of the darkness.

hunter1909

There might still be fans incredibly, still waiting and believing for this to happen.

ps: paging “Harpers Hair”

Harpers Hair

You called?

Didn’t I tell you so?

Yes I did.

hunter1909

Ha ha ha

fishman

Wow that was some display of crap officiating! Called like a no hit international game with amateur ref’s

JOFA

Ah well….there’s always next year😊

fistycuff

We need to be patient…

jp

I tell you what, this isn’t very good.

As good a game as they played tonight the team needs to start winning these. 3-6-0 is quite a bit of a hole. And no soft spots in the schedule it seems!

Ice Sage

As LT sagely wrote, in what is now the quote of the season ‘…then YOU are the soft spot’
Sigh, new reclamation players, seasoned GM and coach, stars in their prime, Canadian division…still turning out as always.

jp

Yup, great quote by LT.

I don’t know. They looked good tonight, they just didn’t get it done.

striker

Agree on both counts

They looked good for the most part. Koskinen is getting overplayed.

Last edited 2 months ago by striker
Harpers Hair

Fully expecting tomorrow’s post musical accompaniment to be…

“Slip Sliding Away”.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

During the DoD my favourite game was to spot the best opposing player not part of that team’s inner core. A juicy trade target who would be an upgrade here.

Ilya Mikheyev is that player from TOR.

hunter1909

Is everybody happy?

Sierra

Everybody or anybody?

dsr29

Nice

Last edited 2 months ago by dsr29
Bling

Good game, they battled.

The Matthews PP goal, Yamamoto missed a clearing attempt and Jones missed one before that.

Jones was also caught in no man’s land when Matthews released that shot.

who

Yeah. I couldn’t tell if Yamamoto got that puck off the ice or not. Jones made a nice play to chip it to him.
Would have liked to see Jones get in the shooting lane on Matthews.
Saw some signs of life tonight. Turris made a hell of a play on that grenade from Larsson. And Kassian finally got one, although he was pretty much shit up till then.
Liked Jones tonight.

Bling

It’s a tough way to lose to a good team.

The first GA was a gift, and I’d argue that last PP GA was as well. Really have to bear down on those.

Archibald -2 tonight and took a penalty leading to PP GA.

How many times do we have to look and see that it’s a bottom six guy or line that is costing the team games?

SK Oiler Fan

Tips sleeping on that icing call

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Is it just me or can we never seem to establish momentum this season?

Tough to win when you’re constantly on the back foot, or playing reactive instead of proactive hockey.

Ice Sage

So predictable, although to the Oilers credit they did try to make a game of it. Leafs in a cakewalk next game.
When do Ottawa come to town?

BONE207

Saturday

BONE207

Maybe not. Leafs again

Ice Sage

Well, good for the Senators – a team they can compete with!
The battle of the northern basement

jp

Worst part is the Oilers always ‘play down’ to the basement teams.

Leafs on Saturday.
Senators on Sunday.
Senators on Tuesday.

Sens played tonight, off until they the game on Sunday.

Numenius

Unbelievable how the Oil shoot themselves in the foot when things start going their way.

When the refs are calling such a tight game you can’t take such chances. I’d sit Archibald next game for sure.

jp

Breaking: “Muzzin may have gotten away with a hold”

OriginalPouzar

Kahun creating offence from distance – learning from Nuge I guess.

David

Completely inexcusable for Yamo not to get the puck out.

BONE207

This team…couple of mm from the blue line & next thing you know, they are running around the d zone. I seriously need to start drinking game nights

dsr29

Another turnover at the blueline leads to a chance.

Sierra

Oilers are brutal at getting the puck out of their end.

theDjdj

Surely one of the worst in the league

OriginalPouzar

Turris with some nice puck skills in the neutral zone now – maybe his offensive game is starting to come?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I remember thinking of Peca being a bust, then he hit his groove and took off. Hoping #8 can… Turris season around.

Last edited 2 months ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
jp

A much better game tonight. Signs of life at the very least.

tileguy

Is that you Gino?

fishman

Unbelievable….

theDjdj

Kosi looks tired

SK Oiler Fan

He’s playing inside of his net

JOFA

Weird 😉

Sierra

That didn’t last long…again.

Burnt by failed clearing attempts.

Ice Sage

Rinse repeat, Lucy pulls the football!
To be an Oiler fan is to suffer

Bling

Yamamoto and Jones have to get that puck out. Man.

Bulging Twine

that was unbelievably horrible clearing attempt by Yamamoto

godot10

Yamo’s only major weakness.

OriginalPouzar

Damn, was that Jones that didn’t get the clear when he had possession?

OriginalPouzar

No, it was Kailer.

SK Oiler Fan

Nice finish by Kas, but man this is a low emotion team compared to most. Their so called energy guy gets the biggest goal of the year and it’s ho hum

jp

Could be that McDavid and Draisaitl don’t like the guys to celebrate. They deadpan most of their own goals.

I get them not wanting guys to lose their minds over a garbage goal, but maybe it’s contributing to a low emotion team beyond that?

SK Oiler Fan

It’s weird. You see highlights around the league of guys fist pumping and the bench jumping around. I get the Oiler studs are quiet guys, but the whole team? I think emotion can lead to energy and momentum. I miss Ryan Smyth

jp

Agree on all this. And imagine Ryan Smyth on this team picking up the garbage? Never mind the emotion he’d bring. Seems like it would have been a perfect fit.

Anyway, I was just wondering whether the teams leadership is actually encouraging guys to stay reserved after scoring goals (directly or indirectly). It’s true you don’t want to over-celebrate your goals, especially on a losing team like the Oilers have been more often than not. Having fun when you’re losing is akin to accepting losing after all.

And the Oilers are struggling badly. That’s not a carefree goal.

It’s total speculation on my part. And I’m not actually sure it’s a bad thing even if it were true.

OriginalPouzar

I can’t see that at all – McDavid celebrates many of his goals.

jp

He doesn’t spend a lot of time smiling though, fair?

hags9k

Kassian with his first of the year, ties the game in the third and the reaction is oh cool high five. All the deadpan by the leaders is contagious I guess. Watch the Capitals highlights to see a team rolling with positive emotion. We don’t ever have that vibe. That team is having fun and is united and going hard for each other vibe. If you watched those Oilers teams battle the Stars and Avs back in the late 90s, you know what I’m trying to say.

jp

I absolutely know what you’re saying, it would be damn nice to see. Just an observation/guess that maybe the general seriousness of McDavid/Draisaitl (and Nuge for that matter) may be contagious. And maybe not in a good way, in terms of getting the rest of the team into the game.

norm_klassen

Stupid refs wow Bear

OriginalPouzar

Geezus – more penalties.

Aww, man, that one is weak.

Come on.

Bulging Twine

traffic in front!

McSorley33

Good play by Turris. Nice finish by Kass….

OriginalPouzar

Prior to that a great play by Adam Larsson.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

It was the goat play of the game…

norm_klassen

kassian s back

OriginalPouzar

Deployed in the proper spot in the lineup with proper minutes!

Sierra

Agreed. Now if he would only play with some more controlled aggression.

OriginalPouzar

Whoa, lets not get crazy now……..

Sierra

Real solid Ozone shift cumulating with Kass scoring.

Bling

What a play by Turris, getting that shot off his skate. And the finish by Kass!

EAT IT RAY

Gerta Rauss

The Marshmallow man

Last edited 2 months ago by Gerta Rauss
jp

That was a nice goal!