2020-21 Game 44: Canadiens at Oilers

by Lowetide

When you follow a good team, recalls matter. The Oilers are getting there. The list of rookies recalled from Bakersfield over the last two seasons—Ethan Bear, Kailer Yamamoto, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Evan Bouchard—have for the most part hit the ground running upon arrival in Edmonton. The newest farmhand is Ryan McLeod, the second man from the 2018 draft (Bouchard) to get the call. Was this expected?

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 44 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-23-4, 38 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 22-15-7, 51 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 18-23-3, 39 points; goal differential -25
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 21-20-3, 45 points; goal differential -11
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 22-17-5, 49 points; goal differential -6
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 26-15-2, 54 points; goal differential +13

This is the last chance any of the trailing teams will have a chance to make the Oilers sweat. If Montreal wins the next two games, the Habs will trail Edmonton by three points with a game in hand. If the home team sweeps, Montreal will trail by 11 points with that meager one game in hand.

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 2-1-1)
  • On the road to: Winnipeg (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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)
  • Expected April record: 7-4-0, 14 points in 11 games
  • Actual April record: 4-1-1, 9 points in 6 games

From the Oilers point of view, the current record this season against Montreal is 1-3-1. Edmonton was a winning record against everyone but Toronto and the Habs, and can’t do anything about the TML. In what has been a weird season, suspect coach Dave Tippett will be talking about those previous five games against the Canadiens.

RYAN MCLEOD

Ryan McLeod was drafted on June 23, 2018. He has been recalled during his draft plus three season, albeit later on in the year. How many recent centers drafted by the Oilers have made it to the NHL as quickly?

Since 2010, the team has enjoyed three high selections used on centers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid. All arrived in the NHL immediately. After that, the list of centers drafted who made their NHL debut shows a substantial gap:

  • Ryan Martindale third round 2010: Never made the NHL
  • Travis Ewanyk third round 2011: Never made the NHL
  • Jujhar Khaira third round 2012: (1252 days). Drafted June 23, 2012 and made his NHL debut November 28, 2015.
  • Marco Roy second round 2013: Never made the NHL
  • Bogdan Yakimov third round 2013: (472 days). Drafted June 30, 2013 and made his NHL debut on October 14, 2014.
  • Aapeli Rasanen sixth round 2016: Never made the NHL
  • Ryan McLeod second round 2018: (1,031 days) Drafted June 23, 2018 and recalled April 18, 2021.

McLeod has to wait seven days and then there’s no guarantee he’ll play, but you’d have to think the club didn’t bring him here for nothing.

NHLE

McLeod is one of four Condors prospect forwards who are having an impact run this season.

Benson and Marody are stuck in the middle a little, having proven they have the skill to play in the AHL but both lacking the foot speed Oilers management and coaching believes is needed for skill lines. Since the turn of the century, exactly two players have emerged as Oilers regulars of note from the spot Benson and Marody find themselves: Kyle Brodziak and Ethan Bear.

Both men spent an entire offseason working on weakness (speed, quickness) and arrived in camp with eye popping fitness levels. I have Benson as a lock for next year’s team (value contract, he can play third or fourth line LW) but Marody is behind a more established group of RW’s (Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Archibald, Kassian) at this time.

Lavoie is the wildcard. The AHL goaltenders don’t appear to be having any more luck against him than the QMJHL or Allsvenskan guardiens. He has four goals in his last six AHL games. If Lavoie finishes the season with crazy scoring rates, they won’t keep him on the farm in 2021-22.

TONIGHT

Oilers have had a tough time against the Habs and we don’t know if Nuge will be back for the game. Montreal’s forwards are a filthy combination of speed, skill and size, so there will be matchups that are frightening. The skill wingers (Tyler Toffoli, Jonathan Drouin, Josh Anderson) are potential nightmares, and their young centers are elusive and skilled. Eric Staal does not appear to be the gift we all imagined, but it’s early days. Expect Jeff Petry to shine, he always does.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we hit the ground running with a preview of tonight’s game. Ryan Holt, Bakersfield Condors play-by-play broadcaster, will join us to talk about Ryan McLeod’s recall and the strong play that earned that valuable transaction. Jason Gregor pops in at 11 and we’ll chat about McLeod, Nuge, Haas, and what the defensive pairings might look like when Dmitry Kulikov joins the group. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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Boil-in-the-Oil

Could it be? Is it possible our Oilers are beginning a run to peak performance? On their way into the playoffs and they are peaking at just the right time? Was it the plan all along?

Brilliantly designed, mission achieved? I want to believe.

PunkInDrublic

This team, this year, is like watching Neo become the One. This team believes now.

Material Elvis

These latest Oilers victories are fantastic troll repellent.

yeraslob

He also trolls Oiler stories on Sportsnet where he’s a flames fan. Same M.O., moving goalposts, multiple accounts, master baiter, ridiculous posts. Just today he was saying how the Oilers didn’t make the playoffs last season. I believe he’s brought that up here as well.

Oilerguy

Many like to believe that.

JimmyV1965

Full marks for that win tonight. I think the boys were pissed and made the Habs pay in the third. It’s also possible to think it was a good, exciting, intense game and still think the reffing was an abomination. 

Good players will get hurt in games like this. And we have two of the best in the world. Shitty reffing helps teams like the Habs. And it hurts teams like the Oil. Oh ya, it hurts the league as well. 

Hyman is out for two weeks for the knee on knee hit last night. McDavid didn’t even draw a fuckin penalty for the same play tonight. No one plays through this shit. No one plays through the head shot Jones took tonight either. You either get hurt or you get lucky and skate away. 

I enjoy a strong, physical game as much as the next guy. But trips, interference, hooking and dirty plays have nothing to do with physical hockey. It’s what bad teams do to beat good, more talented teams. It’s what bad league allow because they are clueless about what drives fans to the league. 

GMB3

Pretty much. How does the league change this though? Does the NHLPA have to take a stand?

hunter1909

Oilers 1 point behind Winnipeg with a game in hand.

Win the next game Oilers, and start making yourself a reputation for excellence.

hunter1909

HUNTER1909’s Death March™ 

Update:

With Oilers now on pace for a 71 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. 

They are:

Meanashell11

Teach3

They will replace previous(various) leaders:

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

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

JRizzer25; Hazwasted; KGB; Oilnc79; Unjustenrichment; Whale 

hunter1909

No idea what makes people bother to press –

Fuge Udvar

*claims others are snowflakes*

*gets outraged at meaningless negative votes*

Yeti

Isn’t it obvious? I was winning. Now I’m not. What the hell was the – button invented for if not to protest this terrible turn of events?

OriginalPouzar

After his two assist and plus 3 debut for the Panthers, newly acquired Sam Bennett gets his 1st goal as a Panther to go along with a fight.

That’s OK though, Flames fans still have the awards ceremony to look forward to where Markstrom will take him the Vezina and Valimaki the Calder – i was told this earlier this year.

yeraslob

And highly rated prospect Borgnine Raffletree would play 60 games this year… we were told to “book it”. He should just man up and admit he knows nothing about hockey. Comic relief is really all he’s good for around here.

tsunami

admit ? clearly you don’t know the guy ;)…

hunter1909

Perfect “statement” game.

Now Montreal can go back to their drawing board. lol

Material Elvis

It’s going to be very difficult to fall asleep tonight.

OriginalPouzar

Also, his name is not mentioned but the only goal Smith let in was one that was guided in with a skate. Smith was fantastic again tonight – my goodness!

OriginalPouzar

Take away his two points and Jesse Puljujarvi still had a major positive impact on that game and that third period. He just makes positive plays with his body and stick – what a specimen and I think he’s still growing in to that body.

Material Elvis

His coordination has improved immensely in the last 4 years; no sign of him plateauing yet.

OriginalPouzar

Justin Bourne
@jtbourne
·
49m
Montreal/Edmonton third has been just about the most one-sided periods of hockey I’ve ever seen. I think the only Canadiens’ name I’ve heard is Allen.

OriginalPouzar

Ethan Bear at 5 on 5:

24-8 Coris
16-3 Shots
2-0 Goals

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

This just in: Ethan Bear do good hockey. More news at 11!

oilsnc79

Impressive

fishman

Habs have a large very physical defence core. When the officiating lets them play the filthy game they give the Oiler forwards a tough go. I think the 3 rd game in 4 nights caught up to them in the 3 rd. I suspect the officiating will be more strict on Wed and we will see a tamer game. On the other hand that was a fun game tonight!!!

Boil-in-the-Oil

It was 1-0 for far too long…for me, some very nervous moments.

Then came the 3rd. Wow, just wow. Talk about explosion, I saw great performances up & down the lineup. Connor oh Connor, what a rush. Bear with his 1st, perfect timing. And then there’s Jesse, I love to watch this young man’s speed as he stretches those long legs and handles the puck so deftly with his long reach…what a sight to see his absolute joy when he scores.

What a satisfying win. Wednesday, rinse & repeat. GO OILERS

hunter1909

Although I have yet to see the highlights, Oilers curb stomped those rotten french francophones from Quebec.

And before any of you snowflakes start calling me racist against the French – am 50% pure Cajun.

wolf8888

50% pure…Love it!

90s fan

At the very least, you seam to be an equal opportunity hitter?

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Dear god,

Please tell Tip/Playfair to go:
Nurse-Bear
Jones-Larsson
Kulikov-Barrie.

Thanks!

(I am getting hot thinking about these pairings. I also think I showed some restraint in my request by not suggesting Kulikov-Bouchard)

Last edited 6 months ago by Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve
OriginalPouzar

Unless there is injury, its almost assuredly going to be Jones out, not Russell.

I anticipate that Tip/Playfair will be going to the new Nurse/Bear deployment full time but you never know.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I am hoping for divine intervention to open the eyes of the coaching staff!

Material Elvis

Jones played well and likely left a good impression on Tippett. I could see him subbing in for Russell if Kris stumbles down the stretch.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

JP is finally getting some bounces. You love to see it!

tcho

I wonder if we could trade him and a couple of first round picks to the Nucks for Brogan Rafferty.

JOFA

I hope Khaira gets healthy soon.

Sierra

Of course, but I suspect we will not see him for a while

Whaler Slamamoto

Essentially 2 KOs in a few weeks, hate seeing that. Get well JJ

hunter1909

I had to go when the score was 1-1 with 6 or something minutes left.

Happy Day!

Material Elvis

You didn’t miss much….

jm363561

A fair minded person might note fatigue from playing 3 in 4 (or 5 in 8) but fuck that. The Khaira injury seemed to result in McDavid and Drai being separated and the team looked better balanced, at a price of both playing about 25 minutes. Ethan Bear fantastic; JP swoon. Jack Michaels lucky not to burst a blood vessel.

JOFA

Thornton hahahaha

GMB3

Ethan Bear… what a god damn hockey player.

the best RHD we’ve had in years

Material Elvis

That Bear looked like an All-Star.

tileguy

For those gnashing their teeth over the reffing, get used to it, playoffs are played and reffed this way. Always has been, always will be.

Rich M

There is a lot of truth in this.

hunter1909

Hockey morphed from an indian game. Indians play rough, and so it’s meant to be rough as hell.

Teams what cannot defend themselves go to the NYR side of the loser pile. Nice polite teams with skill but no grit. Vancouver in 2011 is the poster child for this mentality.

Oilers have some grit. Kassian, Khaira, Nurse and others are anything but wall flowers.

Oh yeah. And Ethan Bear also.

Last edited 6 months ago by hunter1909
90s fan

Hockey was from India?

Last edited 6 months ago by 90s fan
Oilerguy

Hunter go to bed you are drunk.

SK Oiler Fan

It’s sad really. Coli Campbell lit a cigar after this one, but calling the infractions as they occurred would not take away from the entertainment imo.
If this was 2 lesser skilled and slower teams it would have been a snoozer

Bling

I really enjoy McDavid’s avails.

He said something about Bear being really good at those “middle” plays. Yes he is!

OriginalPouzar

Of note, the Oilers massive 3rd period tonight (arguably their best period of the year) coincided with Tip/Playfair switching up the d-pairs for the period:

Nurse/Bear
Jones/Larsson
Russell/Barrie

Ethan Bear was unreal good tonight and I think this deployment makes a lot of sense (likely see Kulkiov in for Jones come Monday).

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

I noticed that also. Those two looked great together. Hope to see more of that pair.

JOFA

I hope it’s Russell, but you’re probably right.

fishman

Other than when he took the high cheap shot I really didn’t notice Jones that much tonight. Wonder how much he played? Maybe not being noticeable was a good thing?

OriginalPouzar

Jones played 11 minutes at evens and 55 seconds on the PK (Nurse took that penalty).

UnjustEnrichment

Bear was beary good.

UnjustEnrichment

I can’t wait to see what Ryan McLeod can do. With Nuge and Khaira both injured, McLeod has an amazing opportunity. I think he is going to take advantage of it and that his days in the AHL are forever behind him.

Material Elvis

Some of his AHL highlights are pretty spectacular. He has real afterburners on his skates.

OriginalPouzar

From watching pretty much all the Condors’ games, he is full marks for all the verbal he is getting. He has taking massive steps in his play with the puck, skating it through the natural zone and in to the offensive zone and skilled/smart plays in the offensive zone. He’s getting to the net and scoring both from distance with his shot as well as being net front and, of course, a few breakaways.

Top PK guy as well.

I really hope JJ is OK but his skill-set fills the role for now – if it translates.

N64

North final preview. Leafs don’t hab the goalers

Last edited 6 months ago by N64
tsg

It really was an amazing game. Intense. Both teams brought it. The trifecta of McDavid, Puljujarvi and Bear absolutely dominated the last half of the third period. It was great to watch.

With the emergence of Puljujarvi over the last while, I think you can legitimately go Nuge-Drai-Yamo as a second line moving forward.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Props to Montreal … that was one hell of an effort for a third in four nights.

doritogrande

Was texting back and forth with a friend that’s a Habs legacy fan. I’d love a 7 game series like that game with competent referees.

ashley

WOW. It’s like they are trying to make up for 10 years of awful hockey all in one game.

Hats off to both teams tonight. That’s the kind of game that forever keeps us coming back.

JOFA

Wow! I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did. Even you HH;)

winchester

Does it get any better?

fantastic game, absolutely fantastic game tonight!

then they cut just in time to see the turtle turn it over and flames lose….haha

Great Oiler game tonight, they came together for that one.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

That, for me, was easily the best game of the season.

LMHF#1

SN flips to the Cgy-Ott game and the loser himself ends the Flames chances.

That’s called a cherry on top.

David

It just doesn’t get any better.

tcho

I’m just watching the replay of the goals. From the reaction of the team after the goals, this seems like it’s a really big team win. They. Were. Pumped. I was also really encouraged to see how unbridled Puju’s joy was after McDavid’s goal, and how that was shared. I was worried he wasn’t fully accepted by the team yet, but I think he’s good.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid called him “Jess” the other day – clearly besties!

JOFA

Lol:)

Sierra

Excellent post. We had the same thoughts at our place

Solly

That’s the type of game you prayed to remember to hit the record button on the VCR.
That VHS doesn’t leave the machine for the next 20 years.

fishman

Calgary goes down in FLAMES to Sens. Perfect night…..

Last edited 6 months ago by fishman
JimmyV1965

Big boy win. They deserved that big time. The awful awful reffing won’t get a second thought. Same old. Same old.

Material Elvis

Some icing on top of the cherry: they switch to the Flames game, Tkachuk promptly turns it over and the Sens score. I could cry.

Solly

It’s days like this where your dog could shit on your rug, and you just laugh it off.
Silly pup!

Oilerguy

Haha mine did!

N64

Tkachuk. lol.

SK Oiler Fan

Haaaaaaahaa. Kafuk just blew it for the Lames. What a night

OriginalPouzar

Connor Brown with the empty netter – free bingo points disappearing in to the rubber road.

wolf8888

4 flat rubbers meet the road

Gerta Rauss

This team is rolling right now

I like what I see and Kulikov and Mcleod are on their way

Last edited 6 months ago by Gerta Rauss
Sierra

Great win for the Oilers. Continues with the character building.

I think the ice baths will have line-up tonight.

Minister D-

What a fantastic game.

Pretendergast

Broke the dam. That was fun.

Tarkus

When the levee breaks / Connor, you gotta move

Bling

Funniest thing about the Bear and McDavid goals is that Puljujarvi was so jacked up I thought he was going to knock both of them down.

Sierra

For sure. You have to love his enthusiasm and excitement, and it’s so genuine.

fishman

Wow gutsy game by the Oil!!!!! That was play off hockey.