2020-21 Game 15: Oilers at Senators

by Lowetide

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.

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.

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.

OILERS ROSTER

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!

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McSorley33

They can’t all be Rembrandt’s…..let’s take the 2 points and look to Montreal.

OriginalPouzar

Ottawa outplayed the Oilers for half a game – Oilers got better goaltending a won to beat Ottawa for the 4th straight time in less than two weeks.

The Oilers got zero points from Drai and McDavid and won for the first time since 2017.

The Oilers biggest issue this season, the goaltending, helped them win a game.

The Oilers had 3 d-men score goals for the first time since 2018 a continuation of plus offence from the d-group all year.

John Chambers

Three goals from defensemen
Contributions from the bottom of the lineup
Young players earning spots in the lineup by outplaying vets
It feels like the tide is turning
As long as the goaltending can hold up

hunter1909

JP + Bouchard are both currently top new players only a tool would argue otherwise.

RNH continues to play “good enough” hockey, as he slowly matures like wine.

In a cap situation down the road methinks RNH is going to have to leave so JP + Bouchard can get pay raises. That was why I hypothetically and got shot down lol for offering an 8 year contract.

Okay, instead of 5 million for 8 years make it 6.5 million for 3 years.

Scungilli Slushy

Connor needs responsible finishers, and it can’t be Leon for the Team’s well being.

IMHO

Nuge is not a finisher. Bottom net or low blocker and that’s it almost always.

I think both he and JP need to adjust their sticks to accommodate what they are needing to do right now.

Nuge needs loft and velocity, JP needs a quicker release.

They don’t have to do it, but not finishing comes at a price in the world’s best league.

hunter1909

RNH as a rookie was dynamic. Its hard to maintain that level, like when you are trying to hit on someone who thinks you’re not worth worrying about.

Scungilli Slushy

My point was he has a shortish stick with not enough loft, so I guess we mean the same thing?

wolf8888

hahaha

jzed

JP is figuring out that when he runs into people, they feel it. Saw McDavid running interference on a Ottawa player trying to wind up. Brought a smile to my face, although expected to see him get a penalty from the ever vigilant zebras.

OriginalPouzar

Thankfully he’s running in to the opposition now – at least most of the time

kgo

JP continues to improve…
Bouch continues to improve…
Laggeson continues to improve but his footspeed drastically limits his ceiling…

McD and Drai held pointless and we still get 2 points in regulation! How many times has that happened in the past 4 seasons? Anyone care to look?

Old Jujhar Khaira is back and pushes Turris to 4LW…that’s invaluable.

Barrie with 40 seconds left almost gives the game away…Koski comes up huge…

Tarkus

I believe Jack said in the postgame the last time the Oilers won without 97 or 29 getting a point was November 2017.

OriginalPouzar

Not since 2017 have they won a game when neither 97 nor 29 had a point.

OriginalPouzar

Habs play tomorrow which is great as the Oilers are going to be fighting fatigue with their 4th in 6th with travel east.

Material Elvis

You keep pushing the fatigue narrative but it really doesn’t make sense. These are professional athletes in their 20’s. Conditioning is a non-factor. And you keep ignoring the fact that the other teams are playing similar schedules.

OriginalPouzar

Fatigue isn’t a factor for professional athletes? Not according to professional athletes.

Anyways, I don’t really care. The Oilers won, their 5th win in 6 games. They got outplayed in the 2nd half of the game – oh well, they won. The outplayed a team handsomely on the weekend and lost.

Material Elvis

According to professional athletes? I rarely, if ever, hear a professional athlete using fatigue as an excuse for losing. Can you even provide one instance this season of any NHL player citing fatigue in a post-game interview? The only Oiler who could legitimately make that claim is Mikko Koskinen and he played his best game of the year tonight — he has not mentioned fatigue even once this year. And why isn’t Ottawa fatigued? From an Oilers team perspective, there is nothing wrong with them physically. Mentally, they were not focused, had zero desperation, and took the Senators way too lightly. Winning three-in-a-row against Ottawa is the real reason they turned in that performance tonight. The shot shares for the second line tonight are inexplicably bad. Corsi 0-16. Scoring chances 0-11. Rel xGF% -43.29. High danger chances 0-5. The coach needs to recognize this and make an in game adjustment rather than continuing to watch the carnage unfold.

Last edited 15 days ago by Material Elvis
OriginalPouzar

Jason Strudwick, Joaquin Gage, Rob Brown, off the top of my head, all spoken about fatigue on their various platforms this year. Studs specifically talking about how much more difficult 3 on 4 is that simple back to backs with a few days – that 4th game is a slog.

I’ve didn’t think that athlete fatigue during a heavy schedule was a contentious point – thought it was universally accepted.

Yup, though game in the fancies for the Drai line – I wonder if Drai playing close to 30 minutes on Saturday, flying east across the country, losing two hours, playing another 23 minutes and then the next night had anything to do with that.

Material Elvis

Ok then. This time last year, after playing 56 games, the Oilers flew to Florida and played the Lightning, Panthers, and Hurricanes three games in four nights. Eastern time zone. Draisaitl had 6 points in three games and averaged over 24 minutes per game. So now he can’t do it 15 games into a season because fatigue. No way.

Harpers Hair

This is just a ridiculous take.

All teams are facing identical schedules…stop making excuses.

kgo

An excellent interview from 2 years ago….an excellent perspective from a track and field coach.

https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/sky-high-ice-time-oilers-stars-cause-concern/

Last edited 15 days ago by kgo
pts2pndr

So says the master of making excuses. Sometimes you should just say nothing and you might appear more intelligent.

tsunami

sometimes ?

meanashell11

intelligent?

Side

Wasn’t it like two games ago where you made a strength of schedule post saying it was unfavorable towards the Oilers?

Do you often lose your glasses and find them on your head?

tsunami

he’s bitter, the Oilers won 🙂

Scungilli Slushy

The game against the Habs has less to do with them, and all to do with what version of the Oilers shows up.

The good Oilers can beat any team they want to. The issue is that they can’t as a group of players choose to do the job that is being asked. At least Connor and Leon are more on board this season, and we are seeing the herd follow in tiny herd steps. Those that can or will.

Connor needs better players on his line.

fishman

Really happy for Jujar K! I think most of us had given up on him. Hopefully he can continue his strong play. Really makes a difference on the PK and another big body when required.. 2nd star!!!

OriginalPouzar

3 straight really solid games – his first period tonight was exceptional.

Reja

If sitting on the taxi squad in a contract year doesn’t light a fire under your ass nothing will. When J.J tries he’s very effective here’s hoping he can keep it going.

Redbird62

McDavid and Draisaitl are saving it for the Montreal game. Khaira’s line played very well. Larsson looks very good in a physical game.

Material Elvis

Dreadful performance by the team. Koskinen won it for them. Not sure what Tippett is thinking about those top two lines. He won’t break up line two no matter how shitty they play. It’s very concerning.

Last edited 15 days ago by Material Elvis
OriginalPouzar

Dreadful performance but I believe based on fatigue – 3 in 4 with travel east.

Yup, Mikko was the 1st start for the Oilers and won the game. He lost the game in Calgary or else the Oilers would have been on a 5 game winning streak…….

leadfarmer

Sens played 3 in 4 nights as well.
thankfully the Sens played an ECHL goalie

Sierra

Correct on both accounts.

OriginalPouzar

They didn’t travel across the country and lose time in the process.

Travel is a major factor.

Material Elvis

Ottawa finished their western road trip, flew across the country and beat Montreal. Three nights later badly outplayed the Oilers but lost.

hunter1909

Usually I am concerned after a loss.

For some reason, winning changes everything.

OriginalPouzar

I really hope the verbal isn’t too hard on these guys.

They were not good in the 2nd half of the game but I really feel it was exhaustion given 3 games in 4 nights with travel east in the middle – that’s super tough.

They gutted out the two points (in regulation) and their goalie helped in the 3rd.

A win with ZERO points from the top 6 – that’s heaven.

5 wins in their last 6 (and the one loss was mainly tending, team played well).

Going to be tough in MTL on Thursday – going to be fatigued – three days off after.

Harpers Hair

And the excuses continue to flow.
If Ottawa had an NHL goaltender this was an emphatic loss for the Oilers.

wolf8888

If wishes were fishes…..

greenshifter

Who’s giving excuses here?

Abbeef

An excuse for winning?

tsunami

if if if… now who’s making excuses ?

Sierra

Mikko .952

Crazy Pedestrian

Wow… Ottawa basically doubled the oilers in shots. Not a great look that’s for sure.

but hey guys! Oilers finally broke the .500 barrier! Only took 15 games to do it, but they did it!

Last edited 15 days ago by Crazy Pedestrian
Reja

It’s hard to beat a team 4 times in a row in regulation in such a short period of time. I know the Flames will not do this against Ottawa.

Gerta Rauss

Well it wasn’t pretty but take the 2 points and move on

leadfarmer

Koskinen had a good game
tough tip goal in high slot and breakaway goal but swallowed a lot of pucks

SK Oiler Fan

Yep. He was real good. Way to many HD and traffic

Tarkus

So McDavid’s and Draisaitl’s streaks end, but the Oilers get the W.

I’ll take that tradeoff anytime.

Thus ends a streak of five games playing vs. Tkachuks.

jp

4 of 5 vs. Tkachuks works for me, doesn’t have to be pretty.

Darth Tu

OOOFT. Drai off the post. so close.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I’d much rather see Nurse cover the Chuck at the crease than try his best goalie impression.

That said, he was a beast in the corner a moment prior.

OriginalPouzar

Koski comes up huge in the last few minutes.

Don’t care about the 97/29 points streaks.

Care about a regulation win.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Empty net, quick put out Archibald!

Crazy Pedestrian

No get both McDavid and Drai out! They need their points!

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Even better, all three!
ha

It was a good try by all.

Sierra

What the phack was Barrie doing with that flip. Stupid play

Reja

Barrie’s impersonation of Guy Lapointe was a big fail.

Gerta Rauss

Holy frack what in hell was that

fishman

Geez Barrie what were you thinking!!!!!

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

This is gonna be some OP brand speculation, but do you guys get the impression that Nuge doesn’t trust Jesse? I’ve seen a lot of rushes on which JP had a clearer path or a better angle when Nuge had the puck and I never see him make the play.

OriginalPouzar

I haven’t noticed that but I have noticed a growing confidence in Jesse by McDavid and some others (Barrie, etc.) – in particular McDavid.

Darth Tu

I dunno, I feel like he’s been getting played in quite a lot. I feel like Nuge is maybe trying a bit too hard to find scoring opportunities for himself. Like OP says, McDavid is certainly making plays to Jesse.

wolf8888

I think Nuge looks off. He seems slower to the puck and less aggressive on the stick checking. Maybe has a little injury or maybe frustrated by his slump

JOFA

Not at all. Jesse has been setting up Nuge with brilliant passes every game and Nuge hasn’t cashed. I think Nuge trusts Jesse plenty😊

Darth Tu

Jesse sheer power of skating made Tkachuk fall down behind the Oilers net. That was hilarious.

Tarkus

It’s like #13 thought he was back in Finland playing bandy.

OriginalPouzar

Damn, Archie doesn’t have a plus release…..

Numenius

He did get a slap shot in the hand last game.

OriginalPouzar

Koekkoek backs in Russell style. I find him to be a very similar player – praised for his effort and toughness (blocking shots, etc.) but, really, there isn’t much else there and, frankly, he’s a worse defender than Rusty.

hunter1909

In their defence, the Oilers are trying to play like they’re a good team toying with a bad one.

Crazy Pedestrian

Still no points for Draisaitl or McDavid… 9 game point streaks on the line!

SK Oiler Fan

This won’t end well

Sierra

Barely hanging on

BornInAGretzkyJersey

McDavid has had a decently physical game tonight. He’s been finishing his checks more consistently this whole season, at least by eye.

OriginalPouzar

Need to gut it out the last 10 minutes – team is tired and fading.

Got this one out and gut out Thursday with a point and get a 3 day break.

wolf8888

need to spend some time in the offensive zone, not just dumping it out.

OriginalPouzar

The 3 in 4 with travel east might be catching up to the Oil right now…..

hunter1909

Draisaitl, Nurse and McDavid were up late bonging it up from the overall look of all three of their games tonight.

Sierra

Too many minutes

OriginalPouzar

That play by Nurse on White on the defensive side-boards – done multiple times per game with no fan-fare. The mistakes get pointed out, and they have been vastly reduced this year, but not the consistent solid plays.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Must be all those open corsis that people are so focused on.

Tarkus

Um, that was Mr. Slate, Jack.

Gerta Rauss

We need to lock this down

Enough of this fartin’ around

fishman

I know Koski is a middle of the pack NHL goalie but I just can’t help feeling that every shot on him is going in! Certainly not fair but hard guy to have a lot of confidence in. Koski please prove me wrong….

tileguy

.952 save pct. tonight

hunter1909

Proof Oilers aren’t anywhere near a good team yet: Allowing Ottawa to turn a walk in the park kind of game, a laugher into a hard fought game. Playing like dorks lol

Last edited 15 days ago by hunter1909
Yeti

Your positivity is uplifting in these dark times. When the clouds circle, I think of Hunter and then birds tweet sweet songs in my ears and all is well despite the lingering storm. Have you considered working in counselling?

hunter1909

ha ha ha

Sometimes this team looks terrific.

Last edited 15 days ago by hunter1909
BornInAGretzkyJersey

Larsson just filthy on Stutzle.

leadfarmer

Kookoo did a good job killing penalties
but a ricki D letting a guy behind him in a 2 goal lead is no bueno

OriginalPouzar

Nice one on one D by Larsson.

Redbird62

That 2nd Ottawa goal is the reason Tippett tends to trust Russell more. No excuse for KoekKoek to let that happen with a 3-1 lead in the 3rd.

OriginalPouzar

Koekkoek should be solidly 9th on the depth chart – behind Russell.

Last edited 15 days ago by OriginalPouzar
wolf8888

He hasn’t looked great tonight. I’m not sure what he was up to on that last goal.

OriginalPouzar

He hasn’t looked good since the first week of the season – in my opinion.

Darth Tu

I thought he was a find and a half based on the first few games. Now. Eh…….

Plus side, Jones should be getting a chance again really soon.

OriginalPouzar

That’s what I thought prior to tonight……

Crazy Pedestrian

Oilers need to start playing to win instead of playing to not lose. Ottawa has been pushing.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Nice play there by Archie driving to the net.

Sierra

PP was not good.

rickithebear

LT: you failed to exclude all 0% chance Corsi caused by defence from your data.

Telling us the LD open shot and med danger open shot and high danger shot counts dependent on x,y release and y,z location allows us to know the xSave% baseline the defence established to this point.
Know if the goalie performance is +ve or -ve.

A 4-5 yr old figured this out at a Clarke, leach Bombers game.
Was unable to articulate this until 05-06 to 07-08.
Thanks to education on this site.

OriginalPouzar

Feel free to present the data after each period in the way that you think is best representative. Allow others to present what they feel is representative.

The “you failed to” is very disrespectful of the host of the forum you are provided for free.

OilClog

I went to rickisbearbox. Com for your real time advanced stats but instead I’ve been blinded. Your education has scarred me.

Darth Tu

sign us all up for that. I want the open/closed shot stats after each period!

OriginalPouzar

Chiasson – sigh.

OriginalPouzar

Who is the 4th forward on PP1? Better not be Chiasson.