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.
- New Lowetide: Revisiting our preseason predictions for the Oilers after 20 games
- New Lowetide: Oilers begin to separate from prairie teams in Scotia North
- New Lowetide: If Dylan Holloway turns pro this spring, will it be with the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Could an Ethan Bear trade improve the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Is Oilers centre Kyle Turris playing himself out of the NHL?
- Lowetide: Tinkering with the Oilers’ top six — what are the best line combinations?
- Lowetide: Philip Broberg and the Oilers’ Leftorium
- Lowetide: Jujhar Khaira, a waiver reset and the Oilers’ future at No. 3 centre
- Lowetide: What to do with the Oilers defence now that the rookies have arrived
- 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: 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: Oilers Kailer Yamamoto is the real deal.
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
OILERS AFTER 21 GAMES
- 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.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 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.
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.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
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!