2020-21 Game 30: Oilers at Canucks

by Lowetide

The Oilers started the second half of the season with a solid 6-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The visitors were in a foul mood and played well enough to keep the game tied well into the contest, but the top line and secondary trios got rolling and (once again) defensemen chipped in substantially on offense. Edmonton has played well since the week from hell (TML), and get another test tonight on the left coast.

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 30 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 13-15-2, 28 points; goal differential -8
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 14-11-5, 33 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 12-16-2, 26 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 16-12-2, 34 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 17-10-3, 37 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 18-11-0, 36 points; goal differential +13

The Tippett seasons are rolling now, marching basically in lock step and delivering the two best starts of McDavid’s career. A win tonight gets Edmonton to 38 points after 30 games, that’s a 71-point trajectory. Definite playoff team.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MARCH

  • At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Calgary (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual 1-2-0)
  • At home to: Ottawa, Ottawa, Ottawa (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 3-0-0)
  • 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: 4-2-0, 8 points in six games

Through 29 games, and especially considering the 3-6-0 start, I think this Oilers teams has earned some credit. Some strange happenings in the first half, but the February run (9-3-0) set the team on a course for the post season and March looks promising. The tough driving is straight ahead. Folks, this team will be flat out exhausted this time next week.

LINES, LAST NIGHT

  • Draisaitl-McDavid-Yamamoto played 14:19, going 10-10 shots, 2-1 goals, 6-4 HDSC and 16-16 Corsi five on five. Draisaitl went 1-2-3 with 10 shot attempts and 3 takeaways, he had some jump, plus six HDSC scoring chances, three at five on five and three on the power play. McDavid went 1-2-3 despite being manhandled by the Senators and ignored by the refs. How he doesn’t go off in every post-game avail is a mystery. His pass to Barrie just before the goal was majestic. Yamamoto had an assist and two stunning scoring chances, four HDSC at five on five in total. This line, man. Yamamoto’s Game 82 last night, 19-27-46. Eberle’s first 82 games: 21-33-54. Considering KY’s first 26 games were teenage auditions, I’d say those two players have some things in common.
  • Shore-Khaira-P. Russell played 10:34, going 8-6 shots, 1-0 goals, 1-3 HDSC and 13-10 Corsi five on five. Tippett is using this as his second line now, don’t know how long that last but it’s a surprising tweak. Shore was quiet offensively but made smart plays all over the ice. He’s a good interceptor of passes, although less than an aggressive forechecker and more of a stealth puck hawk in the neutral zone. Khaira had two shots, a takeaway and won six of 11 in the dot. I barely recognize the player now compared to a year ago. Confidence and a well defined role have Mr. Khaira delivering consistent quality. He was on the penalty kill when Ottawa scored, but was quality otherwise. Russell picked up an assist and had a takeaway. The coach trusts him, played Russell 11:49 at even strength.
  • Ennis-Nuge-Puljujarvi played 9:52, 7-5 shots, 1-0 goals, 5-2 HDSC and 8-14 Corsi five on five. Ennis scored a goal by being in the areas where goals are scored, that’s his third of the year in Game 20. Oilers should play him more. Also had an assist. Nuge got an assist on the Ennis goal, had one great chance of his own, and continues to look a little out of sync. Was alongside Khaira on the goal against with Edmonton on the PK. Puljujarvi roamed the earth freely, making just one misstep (went back into his zone twice and couldn’t overcome the forecheck. He hit the post on a lovely goal mouth pass by Ennis and used his giant frame effectively. He is 12-6 five on five on-ice goal differential since the beginning of February.
  • Neal-Haas-Chiasson played 8:33, 1-3 shots, 0-3 HDSC and 4-10 Corsi five on five. This line was a little shy by the numbers but one of the three had a good night. Neal had three shots, Haas scored a fabulous goal and Chiasson blocked a shot and had a quiet evening offensively.

PAIRS, AND GOALIE

  • Nurse-Barrie played 15:30, going 12-10 shots, 2-1 goals, 5-4 HDSC and 19-16 Corsi five on five. Nurse had a goal, a takeaway and two blocked shots, also went 3-0 shots and 1-0 goals in 1:45 with Ethan Bear (who is settling in now). Barrie scored and had an assist, and had chaos with him on several shifts during the game. He’s a great talent, the shot on his goal was inspired, but he’s pretty loose with the puck for a guy playing a feature role. The playoffs are going to be dead man’s curve.
  • Lagesson-Larsson played 15:13, going 8-9 shots, 2-0 goals and 5-5 HDSC and 14-25 Corsi five on five. Larsson had an assist and drew a penalty, he’s playing so well now it’s amazing. That back must give him fits, and that makes him a risky signing, but I’m a fan. Lagesson had a HDSC, and a giveaway, but mostly provided consistent defense and mistake free handling of the puck.
  • Jones-Bear played 13:07, going 7-3 shots, 4-2 HDSC and 11-7 Corsi five on five. Jones is so mobile, his pinches are well timed and he had a takeaway on Friday night. He earned another game. We’ll see. Bear is getting closer to normal but he had a couple of giveaways on the night. I think this duo for a third pairing could be very strong come playoff time.
  • Mike Smith stopped 23 of 25, .920. His save percentage for the season is .927 and he ranks No. 8 in five on five SP (.936).

BAKERSFIELD NOTES

Stuart Skinner leads AHL starters with a 1.56 goals-against average and is third in the league with a .940 save percentage. He posted an .892 SP last season, his first full campaign in the league. His career path as a pro is a little offbeat, I thought at the time the turmoil on defense in 2019-20 might be skewing the numbers. Is that it? Or does the defensive six that is Ryan Stanton, Kevin Gravel, Vincent Desharnais, Markus Niemelainen, Yanni Kaldis and Janis Jaks so strong Skinner has it easy every night? This is a story worth following all season.

Marody leads the AHL in points, Benson inside the top-5 scorers despite missing a few games. Ryan McLeod is 5-5-10 after 12 games. Prospects who deliver this much normally get a recall, the Covid-19 restrictions make it unlikely. That means the story will roll out in the fall at training camp. Fascinating all three are flourishing and on the same line.

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hunter1909

HUNTER1909’s Death March™ 

Update: from Hunter1909’s Death March Regular Season 2021™(since 2014)

With Oilers now on pace for a 67 point finish, here are the current leaders in the Death March game which might pay out to all winners at the end of the season. 

JRizzer25; Hazwasted; KGB; Oilnc79; Unjustenrichment; Whale 

Will replace previous leaders:

Boil-in-the-Oil; Cowboy; Z Mac; Crazy Pedestrian 

Want to play the Death March™ experience first hand? Follow the link:  http://www.oilersdeathmarch.com

jake70

Nuge gets the puck at 9.5 seconds left, a nice little counter-clockwise spin around with a backhand shuffle to the front of net to create where 3 oilers were situated might have been a nice option given they were blocking everything in that whole sequence.

SwedishPoster

Kind of an expected loss but losing still sucks. They were visibly tired in the third yet managed to make a late push so that’s good.

If loading up the first line with McDrai power the Nuge line has to create more, they manage to get some zone time and a few chances off scramble plays but not much in terms of clean looks. I maintain that Ennis is a bad fit, him and Nuge are way too vanilla together and happy just keeping play alive on the outside not trying anything more creative to open up the middle of the ice. They had a couple of plays where there was an opportunity to make a play that was more difficult but would have created a grade A chance but instead opted for a safer pass that just lead to another board battle. Neither really takes the puck through traffic with any consistency either. Jesse hasn’t gotten hold of the puck much at all but when he does he at least looks to make a plus play or for the quickest route to the net, something actually happens.

Munny

Ennis and Nuge comment is dead on.

All the radio guys are unhappy 97 and 29 are together… The duo’s not looking like it’s going to last much longer, but on the other hand, all this emphasizes the need for a top 6 LW.

Munny

Would you trade Larsson for Hall right now?

DevilsLettuce

Yes.

UnjustEnrichment

Absolutely not!

UnjustEnrichment

Hall is poorly motivated and over-paid, and past his prime. Larson and Lagesson are an excellent pairing that can really shut down other teams, and are worth their weight in gold.

wolf8888

no

Bank Shot

Macleod with a couple of points tonight. I wonder when Tulio draws in?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Rishaug can’t even pose a question when Draisaitl asks him what his question was. Wow.

Munny

So much pressure to publish immediately everyone pre-writes their shit.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Nah.

Nobody in their right mind would ramble that down in ink then ask it so poorly.

He screwed up and (to his credit) took it on the chin like a man. Just so happened to fail when he subsequently got his chance for redemption when Leon asked what his question was, then couldn’t rephrase as an actual interrogative.

Not to mention, Rishaug doesn’t write much more than 140 characters at a time these days, does he? Most of his work is on air (that I’m aware of). So deadlines would be more of the following day on tv/radio spot variety.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Spector doubling down on his narrative with the same question being posed in drag to Leon after trying it on for size with Bear prior.

GMB3

What question?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Essentially how would you respond if I said the team played a good game but lost?

He’s baiting a reply, fishing for quotes to help him write his article tonight.

Did the same thing with Tippett but got cut off half way through the question.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an unfair angle… he’s just not working much to gain a unique angle or an ounce of authenticity with his line of questioning.

Munny

defmn nailed it the other day:

Lazy.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Is he lazy though? Or just not equipped to do much beyond surface level sports reporting?

Munny

Oh there are a lot of issues.

Political. Ie caters to his own personal interests.

It all comes down to shallowness and selfishness really but revealed in different ways.

Cassandra

Someone downvoted this? How is that possible?

Shallow and selfish should be written on Spector’s gravestone. It captures him perfectly.

Munny

What is the most scoring we can obtain at LW for the least cost?

And it seems like Holland’s criteria is somone who can help beyond this year. I think he felt AA was that guy last year.

Harpers Hair

Demko .971

BornInAGretzkyJersey

And yet, the result doesn’t matter.

The Oilers aren’t on the brink of losing a playoff spot, nor is VCR on the cusp of gaining one either.

Bank Shot

Lol loser comment as always.

Harpers Hair

What a sad bunch of puppies.

DevilsLettuce

This fella is a sad lonely old dog.

OriginalPouzar
Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

Kahun and Kass replacing Shore and P. Russell should help.

Kahun/McDavid/Jesse
Nuge/Drai/Yamamoto
Ennis/Khaira/Archie
Kass/Haas/Chiasson – not a fan of Kass moving to the left, mind you

OR

Drai/McDavid/Yamamoto
Kahun/Nuge/Jesse
Same
Same

Wouldn’t mind swapping Kailer and Jesse in that formation.

Munny

They will play Archie at LW over Kass every day of the week

OriginalPouzar

They should put that 3rd line back together – I’d much rather Archie at 3RW than on the left side.

Munny

Last year when he played the left side more, I thought Archie was better over there. He really likes to be on his offwing attacking the net. Tipp plays him there over Kass every day.

However I do agree with putting Sweet Khaira line back together. That doesn’t mean Kassian plays the left side on another line though.

Going to be very interesting how Tipp manages this, actually.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Munny

Two teams trying to out road game each other and the other team backed into the lead. I liked our try and composure at the end; they looked calm and assured down 1 with under a minute to go.

It happens. No great loss. Sometimes the finish isn’t there and the refs ain’t helpin neither.. Get the next one.

There’s really no shame in losing a game to the 1987 Washington Redskins. After all they won the Super Bowl.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Bling

Good game. Lots of quality chances, defended really well, just a bit unlucky IMO.

tapper

Dominant performance. 2 posts. 2 sets of rules.

OmJo

Unfortunate.

Munny

Lakonia is proud of you.

OmJo

I don’t get it

LMHF#1

6-on-4 you need to get one of 97 and 29 in close. Having them both on the outside doesn’t work.

Weak loss. No excuses for that. Dammit. Not going to catch the Leafs doing that.

SK Oiler Fan

Not sure why nuge didn’t one time that puck. Not alot of confidence there at the moment

OriginalPouzar

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Nuge one-time a puck….

Munny

sorry, what?

couldn’t quite hear that…

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Well, shit.

leadfarmer

just push the whole pile in the net

Munny

ref took his damn time calling that icing.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Hooooo my sphincter.

Munny

Nuge’s fan.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Barrie should have passed to Leon instead of shooting.

tapper

should be 5-on-2 after all those take-downs

Munny

A fortuitous turn of events…

Score, dammit.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
hunter1909

The team is coasting to defeat lol

LMHF#1

Whole lot of nothing from forwards not in the top 5 tonight. These combos aren’t generating attack time, and Ennis is throwing a wrench into 93 and 13.

GMB3

Yeah. Feel like tonight would have been a nice game to work in Kahun and Nygard, get some fresh legs.

GMB3

Second game of a back to back and all.

LMHF#1

I’m a big believer in using the whole roster this year – it’s massively important to use your extra access to fresh players in order to keep things going.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Ennis played well tonight.

But he’s better off being the straw that stirs the drink on the JJ line.

dsr29

Nuge is showing his value. Great player. Not worth $7 million per.

hunter1909

Since rookie season I have difficulty remembering anything RNH did that was noteworthy. Once he got rocked by a couple of bigtime hits which originally came down to fucktarded management that rushed his 14 year old’s strength into the NHL ffs.

dsr29

Had a prime scoring chance at the end and looked off for Mcdrai!

OriginalPouzar

He was top 5 in NHL scoring from Jan 1, 2020 until the shutdown 2.5 months later.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Smoking the drapes again, Hunter?

I can easily recall baby rookie Nuge rocking Brendan Morrow on his ass and into the LTIR with a back injury from a clean hit with that so-called “14 year old’s strength.”

Nuge just does so many things well that he makes it all look casual. That is a hallmark skill of an adroit professional.

Munny

Pujo jumping too soon, just like a puppy…

SK Oiler Fan

Not enough pucks and Oilers to the net. They should know Pushing the G into the net is a good goal.

Munny

Scare–eeee-oh-ee-ohhs

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate how pEnnis just dominated Hughes on the boards there, multiple times, by using puck skill and body positioning.

OriginalPouzar

i was going to mention that if Hughes didn’t foil Nuge later in the shift for a clear.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

That was a different play.

Tyler earned credit for making a series of solid plays.

OriginalPouzar

Time to load up a line….oh, wait….

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Yeah, I’m not a fan of playing the Dynamic Duo together as line mates for sustained stretches.

The team is better off with them on separate lines.

Munny

this is until the trade deadline at the latest is my guess.

OriginalPouzar

Trade deadline? I wouldn’t be surprised if its over after tonight.

Munny

at the latest

could end any time

trade deadline is latest i think we will have to put up with it

BornInAGretzkyJersey

That’s too late. Next game would be a better time for a reversion.

Focus on pairs and rotate the third wheel as an interchangeable part based on opponent and performance.

I’d maybe even look to shift Nuge to 3C and go for unicorns when Kassian comes back.

Munny

If they get another winger they have a far better chance of pulling that off.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Agreed.

Though if you squint just right, a return to health amongst the forward corps would go a long way (and maybe pave a path with reliable chemistry amongst forward pairs) to make unicorns viable.

Last edited 1 month ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
Munny

Kassian ain’t gonna help the left side though

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I would put JP on his off side before Kassian.

SK Oiler Fan

Shore with the failed clear then indifference with his D having the puck

LMHF#1

This has not been a strong 3rd period. No sustained pressure.

Munny

Well that changes things.

OriginalPouzar

Failed clearing attempt by Shore….. wait, Bear

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
Munny

good job Koski

(way out there on three mile island)

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Reja

He didn’t move until it was by him

Munny

The save before the goal 14 feet outside his crease

Munny

The pressure’s on them to win, no?

We can take the tie and rely on our chances in the showcase showdown.

Munny

What i mean is, don’t they have to be taking more risks?

OriginalPouzar

Luckey they didn’t call that on Pronger-Light there.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Virtanen going down awkwardly because he wasn’t protecting himself is a personal problem.

Fuck that guy.

OriginalPouzar

Nurse hit him directly in the numbers.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I have zero sympathy for a clown who went headhunting against Connor in a rookie prospect tournament, trying to make a name for himself.

OriginalPouzar

That’s nice but I’m not sure what it has to do with Nurse being lucky he didn’t get called for that.

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
BornInAGretzkyJersey

Maybe you missed the point of my original reply. Reread it. He didn’t protect himself appropriately. He was turning into Nurse when he got hit.

Virtanen is a goon and he can eat shit.

Comeuppance is a bitch and I have a long memory.

OriginalPouzar

Which doesn’t derogate from my original point (which you were responding to) that Nurse hit him in the numbers and was lucky not to get called.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Virtanen going down awkwardly because he wasn’t protecting himself is a personal problem.

Woosh.

OriginalPouzar

Condescending ass is here so I’m out.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

LOL

Your sarcasm meter needs a tune up man.

And you still miss the thrust of my initial reply. Virtanen was turning into the check. He knew Nurse was there and didn’t protect himself. Personal problem, and fuck that clown because karma.

Unless I missed something but that’s what it looked like in real time.

Reja

Yesterday you said you were fine with Connor being run if it put a player out of position and there needed be any reply for the cheap shot blindside hit by Dadonov

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Watching Larsson hit guys makes me happy.

OriginalPouzar

Drai was exhausted at the end of that shift……. fatigue catching up I think. Shorter shifts boys.

OriginalPouzar

Geez, a couple good looks for the Nuck’s skill – tighten up boys and, thank you Mikko.

OriginalPouzar

Seems like a concerted effort in the 3rd to get “pucks towards the net”.

Munny

What a shift.

Can I punch Hughson?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Nice blocker save by Koskinen on that rush.

OriginalPouzar

Big save there by Mikko on Hoglander.

GordieHoweHatTrick

JP2.0 just needs to work on his Finnish
🤪

leadfarmer

Kutcherov is practicing on the ice already.
there’s no way the league can look the other way

Reja

Beiska finally showing his true colours he must have a bet on tonight’s game