2020-21 Game 45 Canadiens at Oilers

by Lowetide
Photo by Rob Ferguson

I like the two-way centers. Blame Dave Keon. In order to be a productive skill player, 1.75 pts-60 is a reasonable line in the sand at five on five. This is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tenth NHL season. He has been at or above 1.75 pts-60 just five times, but three of those (1.96, 1.75 and 2.23) led into the 2020-21 season.

He is at 1.18 pts-60 five on five. Nuge needs the mother of all heaters in the final 11 games of the year. The final Steve Austin is down and out. There is a way. We can rebuild him.

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 45 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 17-23-5, 39 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 23-15-7, 53 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 19-23-3, 41 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 21-21-3, 45 points; goal differential -12
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 23-17-5, 51 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 27-15-2, 56 points; goal differential +15

Oilers are just one point shy of the Winnipeg Jets with a game in hand. A win tonight and the Oilers will be in second place, three points back of the TML with a game in hand. Things could get interesting. Damn shame the Oilers don’t play again until Monday.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-1-1, 11 points in 7 games

I had Edmonton splitting the Montreal series at home, doing the same on the road in Winnipeg and then ending the month with a victory over the Calgary Flames. If that happens, the Oilers will finish 7-3-1, slightly better than my projection.

POSSIBLE LINES TONIGHT

  • Archibald-McDavid-Puljujarvi: seven minutes 21 seconds; 9-1 shots, 3-0 goals, 94.8 expected goals (all five on five)
  • Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto: 349 minutes, 53 percent shots; 30-11 goals (73.2 percent); 54.8 expected goals (all five on five)

It isn’t a lock we’ll see these lines but in the interests of getting Nuge unlocked this is a reasonable option. A year ago, RNH was scoring from longer range, his snap shot had extra torque. He seems to have returned to mere mortal status in this area, so the heady days of rocking a 2.23 pts-60 are not likely to return. However, his current total reflects what is not far from a lost season. Nuge has been spending time with skill (4-3-7 in 384 minutes with CMD, that’s 1.09 pts-60) and not delivering. McDavid with Nuge? 6-10-16, 2.50 pts-60. Time to put the band back together, methinks. Nuge needs a push.

HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES

I use Natural Stat Trick constantly, it’s a major resource for anyone checking under the hood. I’m not sure about their individual HDSC’s, and don’t use it as a compilation tool at this time (although do report individual HDSC in game summaries). Why? Well, Leon Draisaitl ranks No. 13 among Oilers forwards with 1.68 chances per-60. He trails Kyle Turris. I value NST heavily, but wonder about individual HDSC’s.

BAKERSFIELD CONDORS

Not everyone will graduate, but there are some exceptional performances going on in the AHL this season. Ryan McLeod has been recalled, here are some others who should get a full lash at an NHL job in the fall:

  • Ryan McLeod is a point-per-game (14-14-28 in 28gp) and may not return.
  • Tyler Benson (9-21-30) in 27 games is a top flight AHL winger. I think he makes the NHL next season.
  • Cooper Marody (18-13-31 in 29 games) is tearing up the blacktop and his time is now.
  • Raphael Lavoie is 4-3-7 in nine games and a constant scoring threat.
  • Stuart Skinner has a .913 SP in 23 games.
  • Markus Niemelainen (21 gp, 2-4-6) is injured now but impressed with speed and wingspan.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

TSN 1260 at 10 this morning, we’ll tee up tonight’s game with Bruce McCurdy of the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk mlb early season, NHL after the deadline and more. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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jake70

I am one who likes these 2 games. That was “big boy ” hockey as Kass put it last year. They are making the playoffs, and getting a good taste of this hockey (beat around, bad reffing) is vital so when they take the North division and start round 3, they will be battle tested ;-). As long as noone is injured. Once seeding is established, give 29 and 97 a night off here and there a la baseball – rest/recovery time and allows others to get some icetime.

The Trade Guy

Should be a good rallying cry for the team. The cops job you. That’s what they do. Us against the world.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

The NHL is demonstrably corrupt and they were flat out caught match fixing only weeks ago. The thing with liars and thieves though, catch them, and they almost always double down. Tonights “game” should surprise no one. If not for McD and Drai I would not waste my time on this joke of a league.

Reja

Holland should of added some muscle there might not be anything left of Connor and Leon by the time the playoffs roll around. The game plan is out on the Oilers get physical and you’ll wear them down Holloway McLeod and Lavoie can’t get here soon enough.

OriginalPouzar

Neither McLeod nor Lavoie are physical players.

Reja

There big and can take more of the physical play in the goal scoring areas and not disappear like the hobbits. You can correct me if I’m wrong because you’ve seen more of him but Lavoie seems to have a bit of a temper when getting mugged which is exactly what’s needed in dirty games like the last two with the Habs

Oilerguy

You are not wrong.

OriginalPouzar

One of the things that McLeod is actively working on is getting to the dirty areas and, as they say, “staying in the battle”. Taking physical play in the goal scoring areas has been a noted deficiency of his. Its noted and he’s working on it but its not his forte.

Lavoie has made a few dirty plays in his career but, again, taking punishment in the goal scoring areas is not his forte. He is mostly a shooter and works to find soft ice – not right in front of the goalie.

Oilerguy

Disagree no they are not the PWF per say but they can both hold there own quite well.

Wilde

No player on the Oilers side will stop Montreal from playing the game they need to play. Fouling McDavid doesn’t become less effective based on who’s in our lineup.

Side

More muscle = more finished checks = more penalties against the Oilers for interference.

No thanks.

TheGreatBigMac

Indeed, if the powers that be want to tilt the ice in Montreal’s favor there is little that can be done on ice to change it. Change has to happen at the league level. Unfortunately the league seems to operate more like the UN, the crooks get an equal say if not more.

Last edited 16 days ago by TheGreatBigMac
Bling

I was a little disappointed with the DYN line. You gotta give it some more time, but I thought all three guys were having trouble winning pucks and making plays.

Pescador

Nothing more than a testament to the relentless pressure game Mtl played.
Highly effective

Solly

Actual refs have said they can’t call interference on McD…otherwise every game in its entirety would be a PP for the Oilers.
Why? Because we’re not the TML?

They actually admitted publicly they won’t do their jobs…
Then they call McD for touching Perry and interference on Drai’s clean hit. So basically, interference can only be called against us.

I’m not even mad we lost.

This league should have to answer for its pathetic abuse of it’s two best players.

Bling

This is about as pissed as I’ve seen Tipp about refs.

Sierra

Anyone have a link?

tapper

Letting Weber (there were plenty more but he was so noticeable I’m picking on him) defend with an entirely different set of rules, it’s…just bizarre.

Then add the other set of rules that saw Leon’s hit as a penalty.

So there’s guys that get away with more, there’s the actual rules, and there’s guys that get away with less.

It’s kinda nuts.

They should have different colored helmets or something.

Maybe there’s like pre-game buffs and de-buffs that get handed out that we don’t know about?

TheGreatBigMac

They do have different color helmets 😉

Prairie_Sentinel

Long time reader, infrequent commentator here – to my eye, the Draisaitl penalty was a real killer. Just watch the play, a frustrated Drai spots Edmundson in the corner with the puck, he takes a couple of strides and levels Edmundson with a hard, clean check just after Edmundson fires the puck away – and Drai gets binned for it (interference of all things). The kick in the nards is Toffoli scoring on the ensuing power play to make it 3-1.

I’m an official myself, even do some teaching/instructing, especially of the younger guys (gotta give back to the game). It’s just sad that one of the first thing I tell young officials is “whatever you do, don’t call a game like the NHL officials call it”. Players get so frustrated when you’re not consistent with your calls, and tonight was a prime example.

Bling

The craziest part of this game is that the Draisaitl penalty and subsequent PP goal against should never have happened.

Drai was getting mauled all game and got called for finishing a check.

Oilerguy

Yeah pretty disgusting and shameful on the league as a whole

winchester

I don’t understand how they review that game, watch the infractions everywhere and determine both Connor and Leon were culprits deserving penalties. Astounding.

SK Oiler Fan

What a debacle these last two games have been. This has to have been mandated by the league to have such a drastic change in the standard – the old let the boys play now we’re getting close to playoffs.
My question is why the change? It’s never perfect, but why go back to this? Are the tv numbers down? Do they think a Battle Royale is what is needed to improve viewership?

MADOIL

Is Stauffer also paid by the refs? How come he is trying to be so politically correct and have nary a complaint against the shabby job by the stripes?

LMHF#1

Because they all look after each other.

It’s a BS system where no one calls out anyone – maintaining “access” that doesn’t actually matter.

winchester

Wait, I thought Stauffer was the only one who stepped up between periods there.

SK Oiler Fan

I thought Stauffer said enough for it to get noticed

MADOIL

Good at least Rob Brown mentions the refrees putting away the whistles. And how it is unfair to a team like to Oilers.

SK Oiler Fan

The whole tv crew mentioned the officiating quite a bit. It was the main talking point between periods and for most of the third.
They’ll probably get a nasty email from old Coli tonight

Numenius

Stauffer spoke strongly against the lack of calls on cross checking in the 2nd intermission.

flyfish1168

I’m sure Shea can crosscheck or trip a ref and he wouldn’t get called

flyfish1168

Game management by the nhl refs is what makes hockey a joke.

KnightRain

Oilers desperation wasn’t enough to overcome the refs. I though they would call back the Puljujarvi goal for interference cuz he was blocking the goalies view. Wouldn’t have surprised me.
Good job, refs. Your single handedly getting the Habs towards the playoffs. I might, for the first time in my life, tune in to the Flamerz game just to see the spectacular reffing I’m now expecting to see. 👍🏽

LMHF#1

Hell of an effort at the end by the top end of the squad.

Useless effort from the supporting cast tonight.

I’ll keep saying it until it isn’t true any longer – not adding at the deadline when you have a good team is *always* a mistake. They lack depth.

Material Elvis

Shea Weber is given the game’s third star? 🖕

winchester

And one for the horse he rode in on

Side

A star for every dozen cross checks to Draisaitl’s back.

Bling

That’s an excellent game. Forget the score.

Lots and lots to like.

Side

I liked the parts where a player was able to climb out of the pile of tangled up bodies before getting cross checked back down the ice again. Corey Perry flailing his head whenever the a breeze passed him by was pretty awesome too.

jp

The refs did the Oilers zero favors, but IMO the Oilers lost that game regardless.

The Canadiens shut them down until the last few minutes. The Oil will need to be better than that to go anywhere.

Side

I couldn’t care less that the Oilers lost this one, truthfully. Mostly because I know the Oilers can play better and I have confidence they will be better come playoffs.

I have zero confidence that the officiating will get better, though. In fact, people seem eager to remind everyone about how this is what the playoffs will be like. It’s only going downhill from here, officiating wise.

Which means the Oilers will not only have to focus on playing better, but also focus on how to game the refs where teams like Montreal don’t have to even think about it. McDavid will be wondering if trying to pre-emptively stop himself from being mugged will get him a penalty, and Draisaitl will be thinking about whether he should finish his check.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the refs didn’t make it so blatantly obvious they are managing the game in one team’s favour.

Brutal, brutal officiating.

jp

I should really have replied to Bling since my post was largely in reply to ‘excellent game’, ‘lots and lots to like’. I didn’t see that, aside from the last 3 minutes.

I replied to you instead since the main talk has been about officiating, and your post was about the officials. I don’t think officiating is the reason the Oilers lost tonight.

We agree the Oilers can, and hopefully will, be better come playoff time. And we agree the officiating isn’t likely to get a ton better.

If I’m being honest, I don’t totally hate the officials putting their whistles away. It’s consistent in a sense (each year). That’s how I felt about the first 2 periods (though my wife was also chatting with me, so I wasn’t paying close attention). The 3rd, well hopefully it’s not like that every game going forward.

delooper

That was an odd game. Refs almost lost.

StixMalone

Too little too late but nice effort in the last 3 min.

Side

The only thing that would salvage this shit show is if Draisaitl fired a shot which deflected off of each refs head and into the net.

BONE207

I’d pay $$$ for that

Keeper_13

*gets wallet out, adds $50 to the pot*

Sierra

That’s what happens when Weber isn’t cross checking the shit out of the guy in front of the net.

Material Elvis

That went off JP’s stick for sure.

tcho

Yes. F U refs and Habs.

oilinthepeg

HAHAHAHA this just makes the horseshit officiating that much more sad.

LMHF#1

Well – this has team defining potential.

jp

Great to see Nuge snipe one.

Nice to see Chiasson get one 🙂

jp

Or Pujljuarvi, whatever

delooper

We have a hockey game.

SK Oiler Fan

That Smith F up looking huge now

OriginalPouzar

The Archibald…..

Sierra

What was the Smith F up?

gregsaint

He could have easily covered that puck for a whistle, the typical thing to do on a PK…instead he tries to keep it alive right onto Tinfoils stick.

Reja

Are you seriously blaming Smith give your head a shake.

gregsaint

solid point, I shall shake my head – you sure showed me

Material Elvis

Wow. Let’s go Hockey Gords!

LMHF#1

If by that you mean effort and skill…

No luck currently involved.

delooper

Are the “fan noises” all CGI?

LMHF#1

It’s all piped in. Very silly.

LMHF#1

Barrie’s had a weak night. He’s boat anchored by a horrible D partner, but still…needs to be better.

Last edited 16 days ago by LMHF#1
Sierra

Great to see Nuge snipe one.

Material Elvis

Nuge with a confidence booster after a quiet night for him.

StixMalone

This team has to fight through this crap. If they don’t the playoffs could be over quick. Of course line juggling and putting Neal in doesn’t help …

thelongdark

the standard of officiating in a professional sports league has to be higher. this is indefensible.

flyfish1168

there were 2 possible calls there. Yet we get neither.

LMHF#1

Haas is a massively overrated bum who can skate a bit.

There – I said it. Sick of watching him play 3C/4C.

OriginalPouzar

The non-calls on the crosscheks and trips, etc. are one thing but the egregious referee moment was the call on Drai for a good, hard clean body check.

tcho

Agreed. The replay didn’t do the referees any favours – clean check just a part of a second after he played the puck.

jp

On one of the replays I thought I heard a whistle (after Allen was hit in the mask). That’s the only way that call makes ANY sense.

Even if that’s the reason for the call it was borderline. And the reffing in the 3rd has been shocking regardless.

Minister D-

No justice tonight. Thuggery and no skill wins the day. Just what the NHL wants…I guess?

tcho

I don’t often say this, but from here on in it’s just time for the Oilers to go out and try and hurt some Canadiens. Send a message. What a joke of a game. It’s like roller derby out there.

tcho

Like roller derby EXCEPT (mysteriously) for Drai’s penalty.

LMHF#1

Okay – go kick Allen’s stick away.

Better yet – grab it and chuck in into the stands.

Material Elvis

This game is a joke. Shameful job by the officiating crew.

oilinthepeg

LOLOLOLOL.

KnightRain

Pathetic reffing display. They should be ashamed of themselves. I never complain about refs cuz it usually evens out but this is beyond ridiculous. Not even trying to be sneaky, just blatant…smh…

SK Oiler Fan

Anderson is where the interference call is. Knocked his stick out

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

The refs tonight make Tim Donaghy look like a saint.

Material Elvis

Draisaitl tripped behind the net by Petry. No call, of course.

BONE207

Consider it a carbon tax on dirty oil. Change the name to Edmonton Solars & the results will differ

flyfish1168

petry is like weber cant do anything that can be called

Sierra

No trip by Petry on Drai