The Edmonton Oilers played a strong game against the Ottawa Senators last night, and won 3-1 over a talented but youthful team in the capital. Leon Draisaitl scored, as did Tyler Ennis and Josh Archibald, all goals at even strength and two at five on five (current season total: 29-34, -5). The two teams play again tonight.
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.
- New Lowetide: Mike Smith’s return calms the Oilers goalie hysteria — for now
- Lowetide: Bakersfield Condors are back, but true NHL prospects a roster rarity
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway caps strong NCAA season with Hobey Baker nomination
- Lowetide: Oilers rookie Evan Bouchard’s 2021 NHL debut — a shift-by-shift review
- Lowetide: Edmonton Oilers report card for January
- Lowetide: Oilers’ line chemistry finally coming into view
- Lowetide: Some of the Oilers’ Russian prospects less than a year from the NHL
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers need misfiring elements to come together — and fast
- Lowetide: 3 auditioning Oilers who should be given time to find their groove
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi is ready for his No. 1 line audition
- Lowetide: Oilers’ scoring wing prospects having an impact.
- Lowetide: Oilers Kailer Yamamoto is the real deal.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers risers and fallers: Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones among those stumbling early
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
- Lowetide: Will Ken Holland let it ride in goal for the Oilers this season?
OILERS AFTER 15 GAMES
- Oilers 2015-16: 5-10-0, 10 points; goal differential -8
- Oilers 2016-17: 9-5-1, 19 points; goal differential +6
- Oilers 2017-18: 6-8-1, 13 points; goal differential -11
- Oilers 2018-19: 8-6-1, 17 points; goal differential -2
- Oilers 2019-20: 10-4-1, 21 points; goal differential +8
- Oilers 2020-21: 7-7-0, 14 points, goal differential -1
A win tonight and the Oilers get close to the 2018-19 club for the first time this season. Edmonton played its fourteenth game of the season last night, that’s 25 percent of the year. I always track success in ‘games over .500’, Edmonton currently at .500 even and last year’s team (10-4-1) would have been 6.5 games over. The Oilers need a winning streak, another three in a row now would be a nice result.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY?
- At home to: Ottawa (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary, Ottawa, Ottawa, Montreal (Expected: 2-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- At home to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Toronto (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-4-1, 15 points in 12 games
- Current results: 2-1-0, 4 points in 3 games
I expect we’re heading for a 2-2-0 week, so the Oilers will be a little over a point-per-game for the month by Sunday morning. I think 62-64 points gets you in the playoffs and the Oilers were under .500 in the first month of the year. Burning daylight.
LINES, LAST NIGHT
- Kahun-Draisaitl-Yamamoto had a strong game five on five, playing 11 minutes, 8-3 shots, 1-0 goals, 4-1 HDSC and 15-5 Corsi. That’s a linescore to be proud of, and Draisaitl (1-1-2) scored the tying goal that seemed it might never arrive and helped set up the winner. Kahun worked hard for his assist, spiriting it to 29 for the rifle, plus he had 2 HDSC and a takeaway. Yamamoto also had a great chance, this line was effective.
- Nuge-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 10:04, 6-3 shots, no goals, 4-2 HDSC and 10-10 Corsi five on five. I cannot believe JP didn’t cash on that feed from 97, McDavid was fire all night but the church bell would not chime. McDavid got his assist on an EN goal by Archibald. Nuge had one great look and drew a penalty, JP 2 HD and McDavid 2 HDSC, drew a penalty and won 57 percent of his faceoffs (all of these numbers five on five and via NST).
- Ennis-Khaira-Archibald played nine minutes, 3-2 shots, 1-0 goals, 1-0 HDSC and 10-5 Corsi five on five. Ennis and Archibald scored, and I thought Khaira played well, too, including 1:25 on the PK. Not sure we’ll ever see this line again but they played well.
- James Neal played 12:28, one shot at five on five and a giveway, two great looks on the power play.
- Zack Kassian got in a fight early in the game and did not return. As he is one of the 12 best forwards on the team, losing him because of a fight doesn’t seem wise.
- Kyle Turris played 10:34, eight minutes at five on five and didn’t get noticed in any major way.
PAIRINGS AND GOALIE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Barrie played 15:28, 16-10 shots, 1-0 goals, 5-1 HDSC and 19-17 Corsi. Played 11 minutes with Draisaitl and the rest with McDavid, this is a marquee pairing. Nurse had five shots, Barrie also have five shots, two HDSC and drew a penalty. Smith’s quick puck movement seemed to help this duo.
- Lagesson-Larsson played 13:57, 5-2 shots, 1-1 goals, 3-1 HDSC and 12-7 Corsi. Lagesson picked up a nice assist on the Ennis goal, Larsson scored an own-goal and took a penalty. I keep wondering if Caleb Jones, who is a more dynamic and talented defender than Lagesson, is losing his job to the Swede. This is concerning.
- Russell-Bouchard played 12:18, going 3-6 shots, no goals, 3-2 HDSC and 10-10 Corsi. Bouchard is so talented with the puck, he had three shots, could have scored and one takeaway. I’d love to see him run for 20 games with Jones. Russell was effective on the PK, and covered well, but is not a good partner for Bouchard.
- Mike Smith was rock solid. He stopped 27 of 28, .964, including six seven HDSC. At five on five, he stopped 21 of 22, .955, including three of four HDSC. The Larsson own-goal was counted as high danger, guess they don’t have a treason column over at NST.
This is five on five per 60 (forwards), Corsi five on five (defensemen) and overall save percentage (goalies).
You want your top-six forwards ideally to score at 2.00 per 60, so Draisaitl, McDavid and Yamamoto clear the bar and the rest have work to do. Ennis, Khaira and I would say Neal are productive bottom-six forwards.
Nurse, Bear, Jones and Bouchard are all above 50 percent Corsi. That’s a terrific future, I’m increasingly curious about Jones usage or lack of same. Not yet alarming, but math adores him. The goalie numbers speak for themselves.
I’m hopeful Ethan Bear returns to the lineup, and would replace Russell with Jones tonight.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we got a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. We’ll spend the first segment (10:20) breaking down last night’s game and placing Smith’s performance in context. By then we should have lines and pairings from Ottawa. John Horn pops in at 10:40, our tennis expert will talk Aussie Open and update all five Canadians who are playing today. Scott Mitchell pops in at 11 and talks about the Blue Jays Top 50 prospects and who we might see on the diamond this summer. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!