2020-21 Game 21: Oilers at Canucks

by Lowetide

The first time the Edmonton Oilers played the Vancouver Canucks was right at the beginning of the Alberta team’s arrival in the NHL, fall 1979. The Oilers lost to Chicago on the road October 10, came back home and tied Detroit on the 13th, and then played the Canucks on the 14th (also a home game).

Wayne Gretzky scored his first NHL goal late to tie it at four, that’s how the game ended. Jim Matheson had 99 struggling during the game and saying about the goal “I fanned on it, just like I did last year on my first WHA goal in Indy.” Article is here.


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 in 2015-16: 7-13-1, 15 points; goal differential -9
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 12-8-1, 25 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 7-12-2, 16 points; goal differential -18
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 10-10-1, 21 points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 13-6-2, 28 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 12-8-0, 24 points; goal differential +10

The three +10 goal differential seasons are breaking away from the pack and they key is winning consistently. Edmonton is on a 9-2-0 run since the 3-6-0 start.


  • 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 3-1-0)
  • At home to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Calgary (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 7-2-0, 14 points in 9 games

The team has already covered my bet on them with three games remaining. I have them going 2-1-0 in the final trio, meaning the record would be 9-3-0 at the end of February and 14-9-0 overall (28 points in 23 games). That projects to 68 points in a 56-game season and a sure playoff berth. Things are trending up. It’s a weird year though, I watched Calgary play an awful game on Saturday and then a brilliant one against TML last night. Momentum sways like a drunken sailor.

OILERS 2020-21

I do this once every few weeks during the season, zero idea if anyone enjoys it. There are 372 forwards (12 times 31) who have played 95 or more minutes at five on five this season. There are 93 forwards at the top who represent top-line performance, while players 94-186 are a No. 2 line and on it goes. Here are the totals for each line on the Edmonton roster at this time (95 or more minutes):

  • No. 1 line (4.49 to 2.11 points per 60): Khaira (No. 5); McDavid (No. 9); Draisaitl (No. 28); Tyler Ennis (No. 73); Chiasson (No. 82).
  • No. 2 line (2.11 to 1.49 points per 60): Puljujarvi (No. 143); Yamamoto (No. 151); Neal (No. 161); Nuge (No. 183).
  • No. 3 line (1.49 to 1.04 points per 60): Archibald (No. 242); Kahun (No. 250); Kassian (No. 256).
  • No. 4 line (1.03 to 0.00 points-per-60): Turris (No. 285).

Edmonton is enjoying a strong surge of five on five scoring, so McDavid and Draisaitl are joined by some players who are posting numbers from the depth lines that rank among the league’s best. Those numbers will slide, but support offense is a thing on this year’s Oilers.


It’ll be a busy morning on the Lowdown, we start at 10, TSN1260. We should get roster updates from the Oilers during the show, as of this instant it looks like Caleb Jones will be in the lineup. Irfaan Gaffar from the Fourth Period will give us the latest on the Canucks at 10:20, and at 11 our tour of USA teams lands on the Buffalo Sabres with Bill Hoppe from the Olean Times-Herald. Chris Peters from “Hockey Sense” talks 2021 draft and his new career path at 11:25. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!


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You knew eventually it was going to happen. Hrudey’s jacket button explodes off a hundred miles an hour..and its on camera…his reaction ..priceless


Best part was how the broadcast team was talking about how good the Canucks looked.

How they were looking more like the Canucks team “everyone expected at start of season” – when they were up 3-1 in 2nd intermission.

-1 super odd early goal for
-A Shotgun spread of post hits all barely not goal side type

Yup these Canucks sure are taking it to the oilers….

It was justice the narrative collapsed.


Renaud Lavoie

Claude Julien and Kirk Muller have been fired @CanadiensMTL


Wow, that is shocking

Ice Sage

Well one Canuck is having a good day, Burrows hired as temporary AC.
Short season, short leash


I wonder how much Prices 893 SV% comes into play here?


Great game, for the first time in a long time I was sure they were going to come back.
Weird feeling.

So not a surprise to me that Caleb Jones was awesome.

KR/Lars have been good soldiers on that 2nd pair but we are playing with fire here.
Too much defending and not enough puck moving. Get well soon Bear, ditto Lags.


Roussel should get 2-3 games for his assault on JP.

Nurse similarly attacked Roman Polak a few years back and got a 2 game suspension if memory serves…albeit Polak had recently ran Hendricks from behind and rightfully deserved some kind of retribution.

It looked like JP caught Roussel’s head with a glancing blow which set him off…Roussel has a history of conkys in the NHL and had a short fuse even before his cranial issues. I assume this bush league will do nothing, but a 2-3 game suspension should be coming down the pipe.

Last edited 8 months ago by kgo

Speaking of Roman Polak……..

Everyone raise a glass and toast the fact that Polak is no longer playing in the NHL…one of the greasiest nastiest dirtiest players I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching play NHL puck…this slug would consistently endanger forwards by tripping or shoving them into the end board in the danger zone, and act like an innocent bystander…good riddance


After getting fed by Roussel Jesse threw a hit that rivalled the one he threw against Calgary. Didn’t catch who he absolutely pancaked into the boards tonight but it was a beautiful thing.

Use your aggressive feelings, boy.
Let the hate flow through you!

comment image

Last edited 8 months ago by Munny

Before you downvote this post…I’ve put a lot of thought (and beer) into this analogy…

Adam Larsson = Jason Smith
Darnell Nurse = Frugal Man’s Chris Pronger
Tyson Barrie = Jaroslav Spacek
Kris Russell = Steve Staios
Bear = Ulanov without the hip-checks (I’m reaching on this one)

Kailer Yamamoto = Sergei Samsonov
Khaira + Archibald / Hass = Paisani + Stoll * Torres
Chaisson = Moreau
Ennis = Dvorak
Smith = Roloson (but Smith shoots the puck up ice without a wild bat swing)
Puljujarvi = Smyth
Draisaitl = Horcoff squared (perhaps cubed)
McDavid = Hemsky if he didn’t drink and smoke cigs like a sailor
Kassian = Laraque minus one testicle and one ventricle
Wild Bill = Matt Greene
Patrick Russell = Toby Peterson
RNH = Mike Peca and Rem the Gem combined….

I haven’t stepped foot in a Boston Pizza since Game 7 2006….Lord knows if we make it that far again I’ll travel 1200km and sit in the exact same bar stool in the exact same BP’s to break that curse.

Notice there’s no 5’8″ French Canadian Dman on this roster….



Oilers continue to roll toward the top.

Currently on 69.3 rate

Death March Players with 69 prediction are the new leaders of 2021 Death March.

They are:

-Yeti(top rated player)
-TOML(top rated player)
-Agent sid

Congratulations to the current leaders.

Please make all comments arguments and pleadings to the main Death March site. Make a comment and it will be dealt with. Thank you for your cooperation.






Tonight’s game reminds me of the ol’ Oilers magic from the pre-DoD days when the team would go into the third down by a couple goals (often against a better team) and gut out a win in the dying seconds or OT.

Never felt quite out of it when they were only a couple good shots from a tie game.


You mean this?


(you said pre-DoD, not Dynasty)


Not quite what I had in mind, but those were among the sweetest of victories. God, I still hate DAL. And his toe was in the crease, they stole their Cup.

I was thinking of the early 2000s era. When the team had no right to win but somehow they would wake up in the 3rd and roar back for a win in a dazzling display.


Anyone else think that both Barrie and Nurse looked a little tired tonight? I mean it’s not surprising if that’s the case, especially for Barrie as I doubt he’s ever played the kind of minutes he has the last few games.


Barrie averaged over 23 min/game a couple of seasons in Colorado.

Foege Foegele Torpe

I think Barrie looked suspect defensively.
But that is every shift.
so kinda hard to tell
Nurse could’ve played another game after the 3rd period.
Not sure what you were watching

Last edited 8 months ago by Foege Foegele Torpe

About 2hrs north of me on Vancouver Island there are some goal posts tied up in a musty garage currently being beaten.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Screaming obscenities, eyes welled with tears


1A/1B Goalie Demko with a 0.862 tonight.

Number 2 goalie Mike Smith with a 0.909 tonight

Elite #1 D Quinn Hughes -1

Worst 1st line LHD in the North Division, Nurse, was +1

Foege Foegele Torpe

Quinn Hughes is an excellent skater.
Invisible? Yes
Non-factor? Yes
Quinn Hughes is an excellent skater.


I was gonna quip ‘at least Quinn Hughes picked up a 2nd assist tonight’. But he didn’t.

Quinn Hughes is an excellent skater.


When Nuge jumped in for Jesse like a madman with no concern for his own well being he gained himself the most loyal of smiling Jesse’s for the rest of his life. If anyone touches Nuge, Jesse will bite some knee caps off.


I don’t know why players seem to be teeing off on our sweet Jesse. He’s like a giant golden retriever.


They’ll eventually turn him into a Cane Corso, they’ll be sorry they did.


More like Norwegian elk hound…


I loved to see that. There are many, many things I like about Nuge and there’s another one.


He’s not f**king leaving!

Dicaprio gif.


Leading by example. Pay the man!


Don’t tell anyone, but Oilers now tied for 2nd in the NHL in points.

Crazy Pedestrian

I know right!? Although Boston, Carolina and Florida (currently the best in the NHL by Winning% – seriously, no joke) have played 4-5 less games.


Legitimately 3rd in the North and 10th in the NHL in winning%.

And 3rd in the North, tied for 8th in the NHL in goal differential.

I’ll take ‘top 10’ after 21 games (after a 3-6 start) all day long.


Hass + Kharia >>>>> Turris + Shore


By a factor of 3.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Haas will keep Turris exactly where he belongs.
I feel bad saying it, KT is a fantastic guy. But he is a #6 center at best

Bulging Twine

Khaira with another 5×5 point, unstoppable!


You can’t be stopped when you have the power of Fernando Pisani within you.

Bulging Twine

Great to see the emotion from Connor on the tying goal

Last edited 8 months ago by Bulging Twine

Oilers hockey is back!

-The opposition gets lots of grade A chances to score while Oilers goalie makes 1 more save than theirs.

-Best players unstoppable.

-Defence shaping up fast. Nurse flattening that Canuck who meekly skated away lol; Larson’s excellent 2 way play(he might want to remain an Oiler, now that he’s out of the limelight). Bouchard already a top 4 NHLer.

-Flames fans starting to realise their worst nightmare about to unfold.


Maybe you should run a Flames Death March next season.

And great post btw.


Remember when I said, “when Smith doesn’t have it early, he doesn’t find it”? Ya, that was stupid.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Props for your honesty


I questioned Tippets decision to keep Smith in after goal the third, fully expecting a 4th. How silly.

Bulging Twine

Impressive win. Not necessarily impressive game but impressive win.

In fact that is two impressive wins in a row. Facing desperate opponents.


Okay – this is a good hockey team. They’ve proven it and won in a variety of ways.

It’s time for Holland to get them some additional help. This is go-for-it time now. You don’t wait for a slump – you do it from a position of strength. Fortify. Add a gun or two.

They have a semi-competent GM now – get after it. Move money – and a pick or two if you need.

Great spot to be in – but you never sit still.


Only this place could react negatively to saying the team should get better.

You guys are still hockey-traumatized.


A few things to potentially not agree with in that post.

1) Trading picks in a year the team doesn’t have a 2nd, 3rd or 5th and the asset arriving likely isn’t available for 6-7 games after the trade

2) The implication that is would be easy to just “move money out” – it would make the acquisition cost that much higher in order to move money out.

Bank Shot

To add to 1, there is a distinct possibility that the 2021 draft will be postponed until next season.

I believe that makes the value of draft picks increase as more late bloomers will emerge.

Our Edmonton Operation

I agree with your sentiment to fortify and seize the day, though I don’t have the answers. I hit the + sign to agree with you but it made it more negative. I hit the – sign to counteract what I did and then it made it even more negative. Sigh. I stopped.





They definitely could use an impact winger for either side. Theres nothing wrong with bumping down either of the wings on the second line for a more river pushing player.

I hit the + 👍


What exactly are you suggesting? Move what for who? and based on what reasoning? Surely not to just show you’re doing something? What are you thinking LMHF#1?


Not knowing what is out there because we don’t run in NHL GM circles, but also knowing from watching the league over the years that there is always quality out there, this is difficult and not particularly useful to nail down…we might hear things like today’s speculation on Montour etc, but we don’t know specific people before things happen. We do know you can at any time improve your team.

I’ll put it this way – whoever their Spacek and Samsonov are – that’s the kind of boost this team needs right now and could propel them the rest of the way. The Oilers haven’t done this in forever and it’s been a mistake.

I’m also a first round pick trader – which doesn’t get a lot of positive attention around here and that’s fine…doesn’t change what approach I’d take.

There is a really interesting group coming on defence…taking what’s on the roster now and turning it into both the ideal group for a high end stretch run and a super strong starting 8 next year is an exciting proposition…but it won’t happen by sitting still.

I’m also crazy enough to be open to making a move for a #1 goalie, even if the current two keep their pace up, and trading a player or two who might be peaking to capitalize on their value…but that’s on the further reaches.


Interesting thoughts. I will mention though that you can also make your team worse by being very aggressive in the trade market. Not all trades work out and there is something to be said for team chemistry. I like the feel of this team right now. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to a great trade but I support Holland in being careful.


I’ll put it this way – whoever their Spacek and Samsonov are – that’s the kind of boost this team needs right now and could propel them the rest of the way. The Oilers haven’t done this in forever and it’s been a mistake.

I don’t entirely disagree with your overall point, and I’m a bit surprised at the reaction you got.

But in terms of the bit I highlighted, I’ll note that Holland kinda did do this last season (not a first round pick, but 2 seconds and some other stuff).

Didn’t really work out at all. That’s the other side of the coin you’re holding.


Have to say not a big fan of the “defensive” power play late in the 3 rd.


So is this game one of those where you won only because you’re at the end of a winning streak or just a lull because of a desperate opposition?


Idk, I just felt confident Edmonton would win even when they were down 3. Maybe this is just a good team


You sir are a believer!

Foege Foegele Torpe

No, that will be the next win


Great character win.

Crazy Pedestrian

That was a great way finish off my Birthday. Thought they were going to lay a stinker near the end of the 1st, but man what a comeback! And in regulation too!


Victoria Oil

My birthday too. Nice present for us.


effing sweet. that was beautiful. almost kinda… retro.


Love how happy Smith was when the buzzer rang


He owes everyone supper


Ennis owes Smith supper


Guaranteed Canucks win my ass, the all world talent prevails yet again!


Connor could have had 4 goals tonight. Too bad that post, crossbar and breakaway didn’t go in…


Austen would’ve hit twice as many bars.


And to think this man was being contained!


We needed the big boys, and we got the big boys


Great come back by the Oilers! Big W!


Got to give massive credit not only to Mike Smith but to Dave Tippett for sticking with Mike Smith. Mike Smith was massive on that one PK in the 2nd period and on the SH breakaway shortly after – in addition to simply being rock solid after those 3 goals.

Do the Oilers win if Mikko comes in cold in the first like I wanted? Probably not.

What a massive win – not only a big regulation win but a massively demoralizing loss for the Canucks.


I don’t understand Tip’s nerve with goaleurs. Sometimes it’s mad, sometimes it’s inhuman. Does he throw darts at a board beforehand? How?


Well earned road win after a wobbly start.


Smith with a strong game after that stinker to start the game


Well that was awesome!

Hell of a game by Smith after the first.

Gerta Rauss

That’s a sweet win

This team is in full flight now


Between their passing and those jerseys the Canucks look like a damn beer league team


What a great game by hass.


Just as I predicted!


Wow nice come back win!!!!

Chief Inspector

Nice comeback


terrible PP. Canucks were the more dangerous team


Always hate when fans pick on late PPs when the team is up. They aren’t gonna play the same way, they need to be careful. Van was pushing, they played it pretty well.


myers be like”wth that wasnt a penalty on thess guys before!”


Good call. Absolutely that’s interference


Myers is absolutely terrible


Huge interference – what a ridiculously stupid play by Myers.


Is it just me or is Haas twice as fast in third periods?


It’s like he’s saying “Haasta luego” on his way out the building.


Can skate at 20km/h?


I feel like Larson has had a strong 6-8 game run. Defending well, reading the game better. And demonstrating that absolute bull strength of his. And his activations have been quite well executed.


Larsson has had a great 20 game run for the most part. A couple visible mistakes that led to goals in the first week but, overall, he’s made very few mistakes that have led to high danger chances against – all year.


We often discuss the impact of injuries on player performance but I do wonder what the impact of Larson’s father dying so suddenly last year had on the mental space of Larsson. Then followed by the pandemic. The bloke would have been hurting no doubt.


Larsson’s father passed in Feb. 2018.

Crazy Pedestrian

It is a contract year for him.


A time honoured Oilers tradition


He constantly refuses to pass the puck to 29, he can walk on.


Nurse looking a little like Gator there, standing over the Canuck.


I love that look.

SK Oiler Fan

Barrie should just convert to a forward once the other team has possession. Anybody else would defend better. Smith has been great in periods 2-3


Yep Smith has shut the door. I thought they should yank him but once again Tipp makes the right call!!