2020-21 Game 42: Oilers at Flames

by Lowetide
Photo by Noah Fuchs

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have been going in different directions since Valentine’s Day. On February 14, Edmonton was 9-7-0 (18 points) and had a three point lead on the Flames (7-6-1, 15 points) but two games in hand.

Since then, the Oilers have delivered a scorching 16-7-2 record (34 points in 25 games); Calgary 9-15-2 (20 points) and have a game in hand. For this season, it’s all over but the trade deadline.

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 42 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-22-3, 37 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 21-14-7, 49 points; goal differential +5
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 18-21-3, 39 points; goal differential -21
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 20-19-3, 43 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 21-17-4, 46 points; goal differential -7
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 25-14-2, 52 points; goal differential +15

I think the strength this team has shown will compel general manager Ken Holland to add something, no idea what it might be. I don’t know what he’ll address. More worrisome, no one knows what will spring a leak after the deadline.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN APRIL

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa, Calgary (Expected: 3-1-0) (Actual 2-0-1)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vancouver (make up game) (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Expected April record: 8-4-0, 16 points in 12 games
  • Actual April record: 3-0-1, 7 points in 4 games

I expect a physical game by Calgary tonight, lots of effort and Edmonton will earn the two points should they land on the Oilers side of the ledger. Blowout? I don’t think so.

POSSIBLE LINEUP TONIGHT

  • Draisaitl [2.82]; McDavid [3.09]; Puljujarvi [1.12]
  • Shore [1.45]; Khaira [2.25]; Archibald [0.92]
  • Kahun [1.31]; Turris [1.16]; Yamamoto [1.60]
  • Kassian [1.10]; Haas [0.78]; Chiasson [1.09]

This is five on five pts-60 and the lines Dave Tippett ran in the third period against Ottawa. If the decision to keep 97-29 together holds, then I think this is probably the best possible arrangement. If they split the big men, I’ll be fascinated to see who runs on LW on the top two lines.

  • Nurse [49.80]; Barrie [48.34]
  • Russell [45.77]; Larsson [45.05]
  • Jones [53.72]; Bear [52.76]

This is five on five shot differential and the Oilers have been going the wrong way for some time. From February 1 to March 15, Nurse (52.14) and Barrie (53.32) posted strong shot totals but things have gone awry in the last few weeks. For the season, the Russell-Larsson pairing have a 44 percent shot differential and are 6-7 goals. Jones-Bear has good possession numbers and are 1-3 goals in 100 minutes. I’d like to see Jones-Larsson and Russell-Bear for a stretch.

Lavoie (now No. 50) scored his first AHL goal in his third game last night, it was a nice goal. Max Gildon is worth trading for, he’s excellent with the puck and has a real presence. Markus Nielemainen got hurt early. Ryan McLeod owns the puck for long stretches, even on nights when he doesn’t score.

FIRST 40 GAMES AS A REGULAR

I don’t write about it much anymore, but have always believed NHL teams owe a full shot to their legit prospects. I used to say “teams need to give prospects 500 at-bats” which is a full season, but the nature of the NHL today is 250 at-bats might be all the coach can afford. Here are Edmonton’s legit forward prospects since Sam Gagner, and the two latest entries ranked alongside the last 14 seasons. Not all of these are rookie seasons, I’m listing the first year a player was given a full chance as an actual regular:

  • Connor McDavid 2015-16: 40, 14-29-43
  • Leon Draisaitl 2015-16: 40, 12-25-37
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011-12: 40, 13-22-35
  • Jordan Eberle 2010-11: 40, 9-16-25
  • Taylor Hall 2010-11: 40, 12-11-23
  • Nail Yakupov 2012-13: 40, 10-13-23
  • Linus Omark 2010-11: 40, 3-16-19
  • Kailer Yamamoto 2020-21: 39, 8-10-18
  • Sam Gagner 2007-08: 40, 3-13-16
  • Jesse Puljujarvi 2020-21: 40, 9-6-15
  • Jujhar Khaira 2017-18: 40, 8-7-15
  • Magnus Paajarvi 2010-11: 40, 4-11-15

This a wildly unfair list of course, most of the names were either No. 1 overall or top 5 picks. That said, both emerging RW’s will need to find ways to pump their offensive totals in order to remain on a skill line. One final question: Why couldn’t the Oilers make it work with Yakupov and Omark? I know both men lacked a complete skill set, but a more mature club would have found a way. I believe that to be true. You can’t just let offense walk, it’s too valuable.

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hunter1909

Oilers can afford that loss. Fuck the Flames.

DevilsLettuce

https://mobile.twitter.com/zjlaing/status/1381107747287011329

Hearts and Minds are exhausted, meaningless game even against the Flames.

Sierra

Exactly.

NHL should not have scheduled the game, and the Oilers should never have accepted it.

kgo

Good on the Captain for calling out the league on this poorly scheduled game. This is likely the closest he will ever get to using the words “bush league” in the press. So much palpable grief in that locker room today.

Admiral Ackbar

I know we want to throw the game tape out on this one but I see a storm in the distance: without Nuge, this team can’t piss a drop. They looked bad in Ott too and got outplayed. It’s a depth thing. I hope Holland plugs that leak quickly along with a LD and a top 6 winger. Yep. That’s a lot of needs.

I know I say this at the risk of fueling our resident Tucker Carlson…

Last edited 27 days ago by Admiral Ackbar
TheGreatBigMac

Your right but leave Tucker out of it

Numenius

I wouldn’t worry too much about that game.

The team had just attended Colby Cave’s funeral (celebration of life) in the morning. Not surprising they came out flat.

OriginalPouzar

That was unpleasant.

Oh well, 16 days locked up in hotels in the last three weeks.

Time to get home, rest up mentally, get a couple good practices in and get back at er.

KnightRain

Put that game tape in the garbage. We’ll be a much better team on Friday, I bet. No injuries except to Smiths goals against. Hope we rest up and rotate players from now until the end of the reg season. Hard to believe we are talking about playoffs with this much of the season left! lol I remember being out of the playoffs with this many games left but never vise versa since the 80’s…

hunter1909

HUNTER1909’s Death March™ 

Update: Oilers losing to the Flames

With Oilers now or else soon  on pace for a 69 point finish, here are the current/future  leaders in the Death March game which might pay out to all winners at the end of the season. 

Yeti; TOML;  agent_sid ; BONE207; PerryK; Indy; hunter9

Will replace previous various leaders:

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

JRizzer25; Hazwasted; KGB; Oilnc79; Unjustenrichment; Whale 

BONE207

Hunter…just hand out our prize already. What is it anyway? Old straw hats, mummified body parts or stinky jocks?

hunter1909

Only winners at the end of the season get prizes.

None of the prizes will be like the ones you are asking for.

Last edited 27 days ago by hunter1909
Material Elvis

Smith with a true stinker.

Tarkus

[The Count voice]

Three! Three goals through Smith’s wickets! Ah ah ah!

Material Elvis

Harnaryan and Cassie sound like they could be narrating Antiques Roadshow.

Harpers Hair

The Oilers always get the C team.

Sierra

Another garbage PP.

2 PP and Zero shots on goal..

LMHF#1

I can understand an occasional mailed in night during a long season.

It isn’t ever acceptable against the Calgary Flames. This is pathetic.

SK Oiler Fan

Time to park the Ferraris in the garage for the night

Oil2Oilers

Unsurprisingly, the Oilers players are trying to get Nuge a pay raise

Ben

They’re tired, sure, but this is pretty much the game they’ve been playing for the past couple of weeks.

Not enough detail in the D-zone, everything on the outside in the O-zone. Won’t be good enough in the playoffs.

OriginalPouzar

Ego shot off the post.

winchester

Did I hear that right?

Cassie “ you have to
play McDavid close. Anytime you can take a shot on McDavid, you do it”. And they show McDavid getting a punch in the face.

Wow

OriginalPouzar

Lets not forget about the “dog days of the season”.

Playoffs locked up.
In fact, playoff opponent all but set.
Another week spent on the road not far removed from 10 days on the road.
3rd in 4 with travel and the last game of a trip before home and 2 full days off before a practice.

Even the Avs and Lightning of the league have games like this at this point in the season.

The Avs lost 8-3 the other night.

Harpers Hair

The Oilers are no JFK.

See Dan Quayle for reference.

66 hertz rental

Well HH is no OP either TBF.

Oilers lay a stinker and the bed pooper comes in to bring us his words of wisdom. Desiccated, bitter and spiteful words but then again knowing the pain that Oiler victories bring to our fair haired cox-comb we must allow for the happiness an Oiler loss must bring.

KnightRain

Oilers crapping the bed and everyone is ready to throw them in the garbage. Geez. Lighten up, everyone. I see a tired team in need of some r&r. Just can’t get it into gear, anywhere. Let’s get outta this game without injuries and recharge the batteries. More bottom six and less top six, please. Play Bear and Jones 10 minutes and let’s get outta dodge

winchester

I have not read the thread today but curious, after tonight they have only 4call ups from taxi squad?

So was anything done for tonight’s game to take advantage of a last free call up?

OriginalPouzar

No, that’s after 1pm on Monday – the trade deadline.

They did one thing already – they put Nuge on IR and called up a player and the can activate Nuge next week and keep that player if they have the cap room (no roster limit after Monday a 1 – although cap applies.

BONE207

Well tabernac Saturday could be worse, believe it or not. There could be 18000 glass bangers too. Maybe that would drown out these putrid commentators. Turtle out for the game is the only ray of light (Smiths 5 hole notwithstanding)…yay

winchester

If this is the NHL interpretation of cross checking and interference the Oilers will have to change tactics

tapper

Ah, but that’s the trouble, they’ve never been allowed to defend with quiet the same vigor. Oilers D start smashing people down, knocking feet out, or any kind of take down and it’s like, “Oh, they’re scrambling, must be in trouble”. And they’re off to the box. It’s partly why they’ve never been good at breaking a cycle. It’s been conditioned. Which is fine, it’s the way the game should be. For both teams though.

Problem is, at the other end, the attitude has been, for as long as I can remember, “The big boys just gotta learn to play though it.”

So I wouldn’t hold my breath for a change of tactics. I just watch and enjoy Connor and Leon. Treat the score as the (often) meaningless decoration that it is.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Had to turn it off. Flames look like the playoff team. It’s not the losing that is the worry, it’s the way you are losing.

flyfish1168

A team with a week off and a team playing 3 game in 4 nights and its showing

Sierra

Larsson not happy with 29 taking his feet out, has a few words with the refs.

winchester

Jessie also having words with ref after he was held / interfered

thelongdark

nice to see the team taking the night off.

this team isn’t getting out of round one.

StixMalone

Hope they realize what happened last season against Chicago….

Oil2Oilers

That’s the sort of 4th goal that gets a goalie benched, not this goalie and not this coach but on other teams

hags9k

The good guys are playing very poorly tonight.

StixMalone

McDavids line is bad….

OriginalPouzar

Ennis has not fit in well tonight….. none of the three have been good, individually or a as a group.

Sierra

they have been poor.

Sierra

UGLY

Tarkus

Back-to-back goals thru ye olde 5-hole.

Material Elvis

Smith has to stop that. I think that’s the game.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t understand why, or how, Kass is so poor in puck battles on the boards, in all zones.

SK Oiler Fan

Just gives up so easy. It’s like he loses track of the puck and assumes it is out of his reach.
Basically the opposite of Yamamoto – a guy half his size

Sierra

I haven’t been hard on Kass as I see him for what he is and am able to ignore his contract, but he really accomplishes nothing out there. If he’s not hitting, banging and agitating he shouldn’t be in the line up.

Last edited 27 days ago by Sierra
Sierra

Power play was not at all sharp.

Durag

Is a loss where Tkachuk gets hurt really a loss?

Sierra

Is he hurt or faking in hopes of drawing a penalty?

Reja

Looks like a separated shoulder to me.

Sierra

And look who’s back on the ice.

Material Elvis

Another costly offensive zone penalty by Yamamoto.

Tarkus

Like a pint-sized Benoit Pouliot.

Bling

Poulette?

Oil2Oilers

This Tabernac Saturday Night has a distinct afternoon game in Arizona feel to it.

David

Not many bigger Yamo fans than me, but that was a boneheaded penalty to take.

Derek

Meh.

You really gotta lean on your goalie and your special teams to win games that are 3 in 4. Smith doesn’t look up to the task and Sutter teams generally get the benefit of the doubt and then some when it comes to infractions.

Never say never when you’ve got two if the best forwards in the league on your roster though.

OriginalPouzar

Question now if will McDavid and Drai go full time before the end of the 2nd or not until the start of the 3rd?

StixMalone

Brutal

Material Elvis

Fuckin Johnny. McDavid got caught puck watching a bit there.

Sierra

Yup, Oilers standing around.

OriginalPouzar

Hell of a pass and shot but Smith was VERY slow getting across on that one, no?

kgo

The ice looks rough tonight. Tennis ball hockey…without fans or events the ice should be top notch in these arenas. Shutter probably messing with the humidistat

SK Oiler Fan

Agreed. Rexall has been poor at times to. I don’t get it. Can keep the lights off all day nobody uses the ice, no humidity from the crowds. Should be ideal

OriginalPouzar

Beautiful insurance goal for the Condors – a stretch pass off the boards by Kesselring that Hamblin chases down and a beauty pass to the slot for a streaking Stukel who buries it.

Marody with the empty netter.

Last edited 27 days ago by OriginalPouzar
oilsnc79

This might turn into a shitshow men.

Material Elvis

Tippett already didn’t trust that defensive pairing. That goal against won’t help either guy.

OriginalPouzar

Bear has made three dangerous mistakes so far tonight – to my eye.

Sierra

Not good enough.

Ben

Bad luck for Jones there. Hope he doesn’t get disappeared for it.

who

Bad luck on his desperation clear.
He made 2 horrible hockey plays before that though.
First he throws a grenade over to Bear at the Calgary blue line, then he stands on the blueline watching as 88 slips in behind him while Bear is battling for a 50/50 puck.

Material Elvis

Also took a poor line on Mangiapane which led to the awkward recovery.

who

Yeah, he took a bad angle, but there’s no way 88 should get behind him at all there.
If your partner is battling for the puck you can’t be letting people slip in behind you.
That just indicates a lack of hockey sense to me.
I like the player, but there’s just been too many big brain farts this year.

Material Elvis

Yeah I agree that he didn’t anticipate the danger and should have been covering for his partner.

Someone

I think the Oilers are training to be mimes in their downtime, the defensive blueline is an invisible wall some shifts.

OriginalPouzar

After the full width of the ice beauty pass by Yamamto to Drai in the first, Kahun makes a lengthy pass right on the stick to Drai in the 2nd.

OriginalPouzar

Great eye by Cassie Campbell there – plus play by Larsson in the defensive zone.

OriginalPouzar

I thought Kailer was the best of the “skill forwards”.

Material Elvis

Draisaitl line had a 57% CF; pretty solid in my opinion. The 4th line had good possession metrics, too, in limited minutes. Interestingly enough, when Draisaitl and McDavid were reunited, the ice tipped in favor of the Lames.