2020-21 Game 26: Flames at Oilers

by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers have a huge game with the Calgary Flames tonight. The Oilers have a four-point lead over Calgary, with the southern club holding one game in hand. A win gives the home team a six-point gap, still having played one more game. The alternative? What would amount to a tie in the Canadian division.

Thing is, I’m not certain we know what kind of effort we’ll get from either team. Last I checked, Edmonton is the favourite but this game has a weird feel to it. It feels ‘unusual’. Like either Puljujarvi scores a hat trick or Andrew Mangiapane does. Or one of the goalies stops 50 and wins. In a year where momentum is a phantom, these two teams badly need a consistent 10-game run. I have no idea who comes out of this game victorious. Mystery meed riddle meet Saturday night BOA.

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 26 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 9-15-2, 20 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 14-10-2, 30 points; goal differential +8
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 10-14-2, 22 points; goal differential -14
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 13-11-2, 28 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 16-7-3, 35 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 14-11-0, 28 points; goal differential +1

Two of the six McDavid seasons (15-16, 17-18) are in the trail position and this year’s club will either match 2016-17 (win) or 2018-19 (loss) later tonight. A week ago we saw some clearance, but the Oilers are now back in the nightmare pool of three teams (Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary) fighting for two playoff spots. Two of those three teams have fired their coach, and the other coach spent time yelling at his team Friday. Don’t you just love the Canadian division?

WHAT TO EXPECT IN NOVEMBER

  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Calgary (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual 0-2-0)
  • At home to: Ottawa, Ottawa, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver, Calgary, Calgary (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Montreal, Montreal (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Toronto, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Overall expected result: 9-6-1, 19 points in 16 games
  • Current results: 0-2-0, 0 points in two games

The Oilers should get healthy in the coming week, but in the last 10 games the Edmonton record (6-4-0) is just slightly better than Ottawa (5-5-0) and Calgary (4-5-1). It’s a close division for everyone but Toronto.

I have Edmonton going 2-1-0 in the next three games, that would bring the team to the halfway point with a record of 16-12-0, 32 points after 28 games. Is 64 points a playoff team? I think it is.

OILERS 2020-21

This is five on five points-per-60 (forwards); five on five shot differential (defense) and five on five save percentage (goalies).

This represents practice lines and pairings from yesterday. I’m a little baffled by the extremely short run given Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto, who scored in their only game together.

The argument for keeping Nuge on the McDavid line surrounds a defensive conscience and someone who pulls the chute on the offence before the jailbreak. That should show up in the five on five numbers (percentage):

  • Nuge with McDavid 2020-21: 60.9 expected goals; 59.9 scoring chances
  • Nuge w/o McDavid 2020-21: 53.7 expected goals; 58.1 scoring chances
  • McDavid w/o Nuge 2020-21: 54.0 expected goals; 48.9 scoring chances

There’s a significant dip in scoring chances without Nuge, the duo has delivered strong totals together. The weird thing is the five on five goal differential: together the duo is 14-15, McDavid apart is 7-5, Nuge apart is 5-2. Small sample alert.

On defense, looks like Bear sits, Jones too. Bear is a favourite of mine but he posted a haggard effort the other night and I can’t reasonably argue against a healthy scratch. Long term, I’d keep him with Nurse.

CONDORS

Bakersfield plays today, I’ve been watching most of the games and there are some good stories. Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson and Ryan McLeod are enjoying some chem, Markus Niemelainen has been a revelation, and Stuart Skinner is finally finding the range in the AHL. Some of those AHL signings like Yanni Kaldis and Janis Jaks are working out well. And Ostap Safin made an appearance and showed well. I’ll have a few notes in tomorrow’s post on the game.

Also, I’m writing a “pre-deadline” Top 20 prospects for The Athletic, it should be published later today or tomorrow.

It’s a big damn day for this franchise.

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dangilitis

Great “character win,” don’t know how else to describe it. Don’t have to all be Picassos.

Sorry to be negative, but the indifference about empty net goals has to stop. If the superstars were as passionate about scoring them as Archibald, I could unclench a lot earlier in these one goal games. In this case, at least 2 grade A chances to hit the empty net, with the last one leading to Gaudreau alone in tight in dying seconds.

But a win against the Flames is always reason to rejoice!

Bank Shot

Ryan McLeod showed up McDavid with a 4 point night tonight.

OriginalPouzar

I watched the Condors’ game yesterday (and will again this aft) and that was McLeod’s best pro game (well, European games notwithstanding). He showed a ton of confidence carrying the puck, showed some puck skills in the offensive zone and was getting to the hard areas (his goal was scored net front).

He’s been up and down in my eye this year but last night was highly encouraging – I expect that play from him nightly (well, not 4 points, but that type of game).

Benson is a legit prospect still and Marody is a great player at the AHL level.

Munny

Connor’s post game talk has come leaps and bounds.

Hemskyish

I agree whole heartedly, there is an amount of care and pride that is really fun to see. Being honest should be more allowed. Leon started it.

Munny

Rob Brown: (paraphrased)

Tkachuk was going full Tkachuk in the first period and was very effective, but the Oilers just ignored him and that’s how you have to play him. And as the game went on he became less effective because he was being ignored, until in the 3rd he had make a play on the edge and took a penalty to get noticed.

That said, under Sutter, he’s likely to get even more license to play the game the way he wants to.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

As the adage goes: “don’t feed the troll.”

Turtle gets the validation he seeks through goading others into reacting. He gets energy knowing guys are paying attention to him instead of playing hockey.

Munny

Well Brown is forgetting a fight in there, where he wasn’t ignored, but that also took Tkachuk out of the rest of the period.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
BornInAGretzkyJersey

That’s just it though, Turtle doesn’t reciprocate honourably by engaging donnybrooks often. He avoids tilts he’s sure to lose instead of facing the music for his transgressions.

His preferred modus operandi is to distract the opposition from his team’s game plan and focus on an individual game of retribution.

JimmyV1965

Nice to get the win. Both teams looked meh for the first two periods. Oil played hockey for the first time in a week in the third period. The Flames are not a good team. Gaudreau played 20 minutes, scored a goal and I never noticed him the entire game.

Foege Foegele Torpe

That’s funny, I was wondering if Gaudreau got benched by the interm coach in the 3rd.
Nope, just invisible

Munny

On the doorstep with less than 10 seconds to play? Missed the hole above Smith’s shoulder.

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
Foege Foegele Torpe

Right you are, I did see that.
I was wondering about JG when there was about 4 min left in the 3rd.
Which is not a good sign.
Yamamoto>>Gaudreau

Munny

To tell you the truth it was hard to really notice any Flame in the 3rd. As much as they had us in the 1st we were equally as good in the 3rd. Caught up and passed them in shots.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Kelly Hrudey is the Ted Cruz of HNIC
Pretty sure his nickname in high-school was
fuck-face

Last edited 7 months ago by Foege Foegele Torpe
wolf8888

He changed it from when he was in junior high when is was shit head?

Munny

I was thinking Hrudey is the Nancy Pelosi of HNIC…

but same nickname.

🙂

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
BONE207

I believe you mean his nickname at home.

drglen

Ted Cruz is cool and bleeds truth.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Haha, you know it!

Oilerguy

Jasper Place High West Edmonton and yes I bet it was. I would not truly know as he has 5 or 6 yrs on me when I went there.

Rebillled

What a game! Now we love then again!

Rebillled

m is for Haas

flyfish1168

Now for the senators to open a can of whoop-ass tomorrow.

Reja

Hrudey works for the Flames Cassie is married to the Flames at least Bieksa is professional enough not to show his bias and he’s funny.

OriginalPouzar

Hrudey works for Sportsnet.

DeBrusk would do national broadcasts in addition to color on the Oilers regional games – its the same thing – well, except for Louie actually being good at the job.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Ha, that’s funny because it’s actually true.

Material Elvis

Hrudey looked like he was going to cry after the game.

quade

Good!

drglen

honestly I dont mind her at all. I must be deaf i’m not hearing these things. She seems fine. Better or equal to Craig Simpson imo. Bieksa is awesome and very refreshing.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

She’s fine in a store brand mustard kind of way. Average at best, will do in a pinch, but nothing to write home about.

The level of insight is lacking for someone who played the game at such a high level for so long. The blatant homerism is glaring, especially on a national broadcast. Louie, as an example, is pro-Oilers but at least makes an attempt to call things in a balanced manner.

Not Remenda or Garrett level bad, in any way shape or form. Just not close to good enough to get the nod over Louie on a national game when it’s being played in Edmonton, for instance.

Munny

Hrudey is actually a Uke born in Edmonton.

But I have to admit he sure doesn’t rep that.

Reja

He’s a west ender he’s still pouting from when Sather ran up the score on him in the finals 35 odd years ago.

Oilerguy

Completely

pts2pndr

I thought he might be related to HH.😉

Oilerguy

Yes my wife dug that up tonight Cassie is the Flames assistant GM

Reja

She’s sleeping with the enemy

VanIsleOil

Good to see Hrudey with his new “one size larger” suit jacket.His jacket buttons are thankful too.

Munny

Stauffer wants Smith in net Monday against the Sens.

OriginalPouzar

He was better than Markstrom tonight.

wolf8888

That’s crazy IMO. Smith will get burnt out and Koski will be stone cold and then what?

drglen

ride the hot goalie. agree with him. He’ll cool off or pull muscle or something..

Bling

Kris Russell was magnificent. Two apples; one a nickel, the other an absolute dime.

drglen

ya gotta eat my words hear. He looked like team canada world juniors kris tonight.

Crazy Pedestrian

Finally snapped that losing streak. Good job Oilers.

P.S. – how is it the oilers lose three games straight the Toronto only scoring 1 goal total, while Vancouver has now beaten them in 2 games straight? Oilers must have softened them up or something???

drglen

they must have taken canucks lightly..

LMHF#1

The Oilers played *THAT* bad. Seriously.

Material Elvis

Oilers played poorly coming off an 11-2 streak. Plus the Leafs got spectacular goaltending.

Munny

What team wouldn’t have a letdown after playing at their highest level against the hottest team in the entire League, and featuring the League’s two best players?

treevojo

Fuck Calgary.

Sutter is Hitchcock.

Hitchcock is Sutter.

Let those assholes suffer for 3 more years.

Bling

lol. Love that movie.

OriginalPouzar

Oilers won the tender battle tonight.

godot10
drglen

and also the shooter battle. Toronto was scoring on those chances.

Gerta Rauss

I’m so glad Gaudreau missed that short side late

That’s a big win for this team

theDjdj

lol Drai can’t buy a goal at the moment. Good bounce back win for the team. Shame Tippett had to double stack the top line to get it done but I understand the necessity of it. Here’s hoping its the start of the team navigating out of the scoring slump.

Foege Foegele Torpe

Not a shame,
good coaching as both players needed that push

Sierra

Agreed, same with Yamo.

Foege Foegele Torpe

He was brilliant yet again.
I can’t believe so many posters were so down on this player on draft day & draft +1.
dinosaur-itis?

theDjdj

Shame in the sense that the team couldn’t get it done in it’s more sustainable arrangement. Agree that it was a good decision by Tippett to ignite the players.

pts2pndr

The coaching strategy was fabulous. In the first Calgary did a reasonable imitation of the Toronto game plan triple team Connor and Leon. In the third Tippet put the dynamic duo together with Yamo and said “ let’s see how effective your triple team works now boys” .

drglen

Big Win. multiple big saves from Smith. Calgary though, should have won based on open looks in the slot. Bear looked better in 3rd period.

flyfish1168

Not much is better than seeing phlegms lose.

Material Elvis

Only a game between the Leafs and Flames where both teams lose.

SK Oiler Fan

Mike Smith 1st star. Lots not to like but big W

Reja

Have no fear Mike Smith is here.

leadfarmer

Well that was much needed

Sierra

Good job by Bear to block out

drglen

good play by Bear hear… move Matthew

Sierra

Why is RNH icing the puck?

SK Oiler Fan

Call your time out tips

leadfarmer

I like Yamamoto on that line.
I don’t know how Maroon scored that many goals as Mcdavid tends to out skate his support and it doesn’t take much to out skate maroon but Yamamoto goes straight to the front

theDjdj

Perhaps Tip switches Nuge and Yamamoto. Drai needs Nuge’s passing and deft skating to be set up to score. Draisaitl one of the best goal scorers in the league with no set up man.

drglen

I don’t think he’s touching that line now to be honest. I does feel like we are one top six short..

OriginalPouzar

I anticipate the lines will be back to “normal” to start on Monday – they may not finish that way but I don’t see McDavid/Drai starting on a line.

LMHF#1

You will not see a better wrist shot goal. Wow.

Nearly Gretzky slapper over Vernon’s shoulder level, minus a playoff game being on the line but still. Perfection.

drglen

Lafleur v cheevers.

Sierra

What a shot, and the assist to Yamo!

Last edited 7 months ago by Sierra
BornInAGretzkyJersey

McCaptain!

OriginalPouzar

Yamamoto has had a good third period after his mistake early and general meh first period.

Munny

I might have yelled

drglen

lol same

Material Elvis

Same.

Rebillled

Big yell. My dog ran in from the outside. Its nice to leave the door open early March.

drglen

oh oh oh MAN WHAT A GOAL !!!!!!!!!!

Gerta Rauss

In McDavid we trust

Material Elvis

Wow. What a shot from McDavid!

BONE207

CONNOR

treevojo

Mcmagic

OriginalPouzar

That’s a big goal by the captain!

leadfarmer

If someone offers a first round pick for Barrie you have to take it.

BONE207

Hell, I’d send them Turris as a token of appreciation

fistycuff

This is good!

Munny

“Here. Have a Turris gift basket. Complimentary with every trade.”

Foege Foegele Torpe

I would take a second as we have not a..

Munny

Two 2nds or Ekholm.

Munny

someone buy Mike Smith a beer for me later

BONE207

Pescador is behind him with a margarita

Foege Foegele Torpe

Beergarita

so polar

Let’s hear the GWG guesses. I’ll take RNH.

drglen

I dunno man… mangiopani.. always dangerous. Oilers, Id’ say JP

wolf8888

Drai fakes a pass and shoots…He SCORES!

drglen

geez we are so lucky there.. point blank save by smith.

Material Elvis

Barrie with an ugly Dzone giveaway.

BONE207

Barrie is full of them.

Rebillled

As Dennis Hopper would say.

This.Is.It.

drglen

kenny loggins

Munny

F-14 Tomcats

Rebillled

I don’t get any of these references but woo hoooooooo

drglen

lol sigh.. when did I get old.

drglen
Munny

“This is It” is a song by Loggins who also sang the top single off Top Gun which is a movie about F-14s. I thought if Glen was going to play word association, then…

Munny

Damn, usually Nuge’s second attempt works.

Nice shooting gallery PP but gotta get one by numbnuts

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
drglen

markstrom stands ground

Material Elvis

Did the ref blow the play dead for no reason?

Sierra

Yes

quade

Think he thought markstrom caught it…but really annoying

quade

Man, the quick whistles…

drglen

oooh… sometimes drei just needs to shoot

Munny

Fucking Drai is so sly

Almost too much for his own good but a blast to watch

Last edited 7 months ago by Munny
SK Oiler Fan

About damn time that gets called. Been launching himself into the air like that all night

Todd Macallan

*all career