2020-21 Game 50: Oilers at Canucks

by Lowetide
Evan Bouchard photo by Mark Williams

This is a fun time of year for fans of hockey teams in playoff contention. The day-to-day activity of the season holds sway and the first sleepy stretches of the offseason can be heard from a distance.

In the past, Edmonton’s announcements were mostly about distant bells coming over from Europe (“Oilers sign Anton Belov!”) or someone the pro scouts loved at the World Championships and thought they were a solution for the top-four blue (“Oilers sign Anton Belov!”).

This spring there’s some real talent outside the NHL, from the taxi squad in Edmonton to the bonny bonny banks of Pardubice, better known in these parts as a town called Hemsky.

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 50 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 19-26-5, 43 points; goal differential -28
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 27-15-8, 62 points; goal differential +14
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 22-24-4, 48 points; goal differential -27
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 23-24-3, 49 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 26-18-6, 57 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 30-17-2, 62 points; goal differential +19

Just look at the 2016-17 record and goal differential. That team caught fire around game 47 and are at this point in the season an actual rocket. The 2020-21 team is 27-11-2 in the last 40, that’s damned good.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MAY

  • At home to: Calgary (Expected: 1-0-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected 1-0-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • At home to: Vancouver (Expected 1-0-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
  • Expected May record: 4-2-2, 10 points in 8 games
  • Actual May record: 1-0-0, 2 points in 1 game

It’s difficult to predict these games, as I assume we’ll begin seeing veterans rested and a caravan of part-timers thrown into the mix. There’s also a big part of the future (Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg) on the taxi squad and Bouchard is eligible for the playoffs. I imagine the coaching staff will want to make sure he can still skate backwards (he’s excellent at it by the way).

WHERE WILL THEY LAND?

This is one of my favourite times of year because we can begin to jigsaw puzzle the opening night roster together for the fall. Over the next week or so, I’m going to fill in my guess for opening night in Edmonton and Bakersfield. I’ll start with the men who are prospects on my top 20 list and we’ll play things out (RFA, UFA, trades) over the week.

OILERS GRADUATES FROM THE FARM

I don’t see a lot of youngsters playing for Edmonton opening night 2021-22. I see the club deploying three men on the roster who are not yet established as NHL players. Bouchard won’t be a rookie, McLeod and Benson will be eligible for the Calder Trophy.

GRADUATES TO THE FARM

I don’t see the Oilers running Holloway on a checking line in the NHL and suspect the No. 2 LW job will go to an expensive free agent. I have Holloway starting the season in Bakersfield.

Samorukov and Broberg start in California because Bouchard is the plug and play defenseman for the first 30 or so games. Konovalov is likely to spend the first season in Bakersfield.

THE POINT AFTER

It started before Holland arrived, but the general manager has changed the pace for prospects to graduate. The slower rate of ascension is galling to many fans, and I understand the frustration over Bouchard’s second half of 2020-21, but overall the benefits are coming into view.

We’re not talking Anton Belov today but rather we’re discussing Samorukov and Broberg. These are (possibly) five and ten year solutions. Same with Benson. People are down on him because he doesn’t project as a top-six winger, but it’s possible he arrives on the third line and moves up as he finds ways to use his skills at the highest level.

My projection has Benson replacing Jesse Puljujarvi from the opening night 2020-21 roster as No. 3 left wing, McLeod replacing Turris, Bouchard replacing one of the current trio as No. 3 RHD.

On the farm, the next group of very talented players are matriculating. This is normal, this is proper. It’s been so long for Oilers fans, they’ve witnessed so many fast-track graduations, normal looks radical.

This is the way.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN 1260, we tee up the Canucks-Oilers and talk expansion draft. Daniel Nugent-Bowman from The Athletic will discuss his article on Edmonton’s Kraken decisions and the most likely loss, and Jason Gregor from TSN 1260 will preview tonight’s game at 11. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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rickithebear

My father Lead feild designer: Avro Arrow, Appollo, Landsat, First self guided SAM, Sub tracking SAT, …. taught me.
-might be is a direct path to failure.
-less than 100% success in machine design kills ( dreams, people)

“Nurse might be a good def dman.”

then he makes a bottom 5 def play like that!
not good enough for final 4 def.

Ben

Amuse-Bouch, right through the trou normand!

jzed

Yammo is a playmaker, unlucky to finish

jzed

I am sick and tired of seeing players battling it out and then having to account for an official ‘getting out of the way’. Get out of the freaking way, it’s not like you actually see anything down there. 2 linesmen and 4 eyes in the sky with whistle buzzers. Anyone(Wilson) wanting to scrum, can call out the # of games suspended over the loud speakers in real time 😉

jake70

I made a comment before Calgary game about load management and 97 getting 100 and how that could work. I suggested he could get 5 vs Calgary and a couple of 4 pointers to really set him up to do it and maybe resting him ab it. He doesn’t do exactly that but man, he gets 3 + 4 for 7points in next 2 games. Man – just crazy.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

Crazy prediction: In remaining games, Toronto goes 1-3 and the Oilers go 5-1, giving the Oilers (1) the Jets (4) in the opening round anyway.

OriginalPouzar

Flames are 10 points back with 6 games left – are they still a really good bet to make the playoffs? I’m sure I read that somewhere like 2-3 days ago.

yeraslob

Must’ve been written by a dimwit…

KnightRain

This is such a weird feeling? Making the playoffs with 6 games to go? I can’t ever remember…I was a lil kid the last time, I guess…
What do I do now? Do I watch the games? Do I just check the score and highlights? I’m at a loss…
Good game. Really liked our second line. More please. Top line was just having fun out there. Barely broke a sweat.
I know everyone feels for the Nucks and so do I except on the ice. If it was us nobody would give us free wins. Keep up the tempo and don’t get complacent.
Connor…4 points and never really went all “Connor”. Thank you Hockey Gords, again, for the 1758th time, I think.

Dre

No one feels for the Canucks. Fuck those guys. Seriously, fuck em.

Reja

I wanted Connor to Chris Pronger that ridiculous question about who the MVP should be.

Material Elvis

What a dumb question to ask Connor. And there is no debate; what the hell is he talking about?

jojonoshow

What’s the reference?

Bling

Some will say that this game was sloppy and that Vancouver was hobbled, but I saw some high level execution out there.

We had two tic-tac-toe goals, one 97 supernova rush, and a heads up garbage goal from Barrie.

The first line was stupefying and could have had another couple of goals.

Material Elvis

Connor has 20 points in the last 7 games. That’s 2.86 points per game. Would translate to 235 points over 82 games. There are no words.

OriginalPouzar

Who gets the rest for Bouchard’s lineup spot tomorrow night?

Barrie?

I bet Bear.

fishman

Doesn’t matter. Just get him in there. Sit Barrie one night and Bear the next. Kid needs to get a few games in.

KnightRain

Rotate sitting Bear and Barrie and play Bouch every game til the end.
This is the way.

OriginalPouzar

TOI:

Leon: 19:30
McDavid: 18:40

Love it!

Nurse: 23:31 – doesn’t seem that low but, for Nurse, that’s a light night.

fishman

Nice clinch of a play off spot! Not really looking forward to another 3 games against a seriously under manned Canucks team though.

DevilsLettuce

After the DOD, Eakins, and everything else. I hope they absolutely smash Vancouver every minute available.

fishman

Well since you put it that way….. Go Oil!

Reja

Why would anybody feel sorry for the Canucks unless their hiding in the closet.

Admiral Ackbar

Man, tbh the Oil didn’t play a great game there. That was a beat up opponent. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out that there were a few Covid long-haulers in that dressing room.

Still, I’ll take those 4 pts Mr. McDiety!

delooper

Oilers won, but it wasn’t exactly a good game for them. Vancouver looks like an empty shell.

OriginalPouzar

The games this week are going to be a slog for the Oilers – they are just trying to get through them healthy and without losing their competitive edge.

Neither Leon nor McDavid were even close to full intensity – McDavid has 3 or 4 more gears – he didn’t reamp it up even once.

OriginalPouzar

That is playoffs – show me the X

Dee Dee

X Marks the Spot!

KnightRain

Guess I can’t complain about another McDavid point, but…🤷🏻‍♂️ you’ll get another chance, McLeod. 👍🏽

Gerta Rauss

We should get another goalie pull here…

*edit-nope

Last edited 12 days ago by Gerta Rauss
OriginalPouzar

No chance that Archie or Drai were going to make an attempt at the net without McDavid first touching that puck.

Prairie_Sentinel

Moar McPoints

Material Elvis

Louie said, “No chance for Koskinen there”. What is he watching? Koskinen missed it blocker side.

KnightRain

Wicked shot. Looks like the goalie is gonna get pulled. Time for the McLeod confidence builder

OriginalPouzar

All that good work by the 2nd line and a lost draw is in the net.

A snipe.

SK Oiler Fan

93 lost 2 in n a row clean

OriginalPouzar

Very nice backcheck by Khaira there – he’s really settled in after a tough first period.

KnightRain

If the Nucks pull the goalie I hope they put McLeods line on. Empty netter will be top shelf breakaway to his grandkids. 👍🏽

godot10

So Wilson pummelled one defenseless Rangers’ head into the ice. And pile drived Panarin’s helmetless head into the ice, and then continued to rag doll him. And then brought the game into disrespect with his taunting in the penalty box.

Time for him to be kicked out of the NHL permanently.

tcho

Despicable

Reja

That’s why we have Kassian

Sierra

For what?

Reja

Can’t win a cup with a team full of hobbits and sisters you need some blue collar workers to stifle the Reeves and Wilson’s of the league.

OriginalPouzar

sisters?

JimmyV1965

Worst comment I’ve read since forever.

Darth Tu

I keep saying this. Be better.

Material Elvis

I just saw it. Wilson is out of control. Piece of shit going after a couple of small, skilled Russians who don’t fight.

Admiral Ackbar

Geesh, James Neal. Always a day late or a buck short on the half-boards. Stick a fork in this guy….

Admiral Ackbar

Broberg>Brogan

OriginalPouzar

That 3rd line looks better but would Kass over Archie, some more offensive skill, make a difference?

Ennis/McLeod/Kass
Archie/Khaira/Chiasson

David

Depends which Kassian you get. Archibald is fairly consistently better than what Kassian has brought this season. But Kassian has a higher level that hopefully isn’t only in the past.

OriginalPouzar

Archie stays in the lineup though and its Neal (likely) that comes out.

OriginalPouzar

We got the 2nd line goal. This period, I would like to see:

3rd line get a goal
Jones make a stop and stretch pass to set up an odd-man break

Bank Shot

I wanna see a point by Highlander

OriginalPouzar

That’s the plan – at some point, if he continues to go pointless, no matter how much praise he gets from the coaches and media, his confidence will start to drop.

OriginalPouzar

Great tenacity by Kahun and Yamamoto and Nuge with a quick break strike – nice move but no cash – great stuff though.

fishman

Geez watching McLeod replays he can really skate with the puck. If he finds a scoring touch he is going to be a monster addition over the next few years!

Admiral Ackbar

He really looks like Todd Marchant 2.0 out there. Killer wheels.

KnightRain

Starting to like that second line. They’re playing to their strength by farting in and out and making quick little plays. Up two I hope we see the bottom six take a bigger share of ice time. They’re playing decent and it’s a good time to give them reps to build their chemistry and confidence.
Mikko is solid tonight.

OriginalPouzar

haha!

tileguy

They look good ina no hitter, not so sure how good they will be against Montreal.

KnightRain

i Would wanna see how they match up. Quick players who can make players miss and take penalties.

Durag

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I thought that was going to be a good line when a lot of people thought it didn’t pass the smell test. They’re really cooking with gas tonight

geowal

Pure gold Jerry! golden cheese

Material Elvis

Vancouver is lucky that Edmonton isn’t even playing their A game tonight. The skill mismatch is very obvious out there.

OriginalPouzar

I still don’t think McDavid has even kicked it in to 2nd gear yet.

Material Elvis

Agreed. He looks like he’s at public skating….by his standards. And still destroying the Canucks.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not so sure Adam Larsson isn’t the best player on the team.

Ok, well, no, but damn, Adam Larsson.

Reja

Barrie sounds like he has the resigning contract sitting on the coffee table at home ready to signed.

Bling

Top 6: +4
Bottom 6: -2

Fix that bottom six!!!!

OriginalPouzar

McLeod with a rookie mistake – still getting stronger physically and he’ll learn.

godot10

It was more Archibald’s fault than McLeod. Chaos after Barrie screwed up in the neutral zone.

OriginalPouzar

Barrie’s play stepping up aggressively was just fine – got the man, and had plenty of cover.

godot10

He didn’t touch his man. He waved at him.

OriginalPouzar

He stepped up on Hoglander who never moved past him and was not part of the play – please!

godot10

Barrie didn’t check him. And let Hoglander pass the puck forward sending the Oilers defenders scrambling. Barrie pinch was useless. He did nothing except put himself out of position, and his teammates at a disadvantage.

OriginalPouzar

Nobody needed to scramble – it was essentially a 2 on 3 after that puck got past Barrie but McLeod made a rookie mistake and didn’t recognize anything and Archie stopped skating.

There was no danger – the centerman was back and the center – he just didn’t do his job.

Material Elvis

I hate when defensemen pinch in the neutral zone. You don’t gain much if you stop the opposing forward, but a miss often creates odd man chances against and Dzone breakdowns.

jojonoshow

Bad pass tho

oilsnc79

Young yessa has gone from puppy dog to hound dog in one hell of a hurry.

Bling

Kahun, what a bust! On pace for ~14 goals/82, no PP time, 2 penalty minutes all year, ~900k cap hit.

Nuge has looked great. Engaged stick and making all kinds of plays. I’ve liked that second line quite a bit.

Chief Inspector

The best I’ve seen Nuge this season.

wolf8888

Sweden eliminates US at U18. Will play Canada next

jm363561

What a GOAL from line 2. Was not expecting anything like that. Shame Yamo did not get an assist.

Last edited 12 days ago by jm363561
OriginalPouzar

Line two and the 2nd pairing – Kulkikov with a great pass!

Material Elvis

Amazing pass by Kulikov. At first glance, I actually thought it was Draisaitl.

OriginalPouzar

That 2nd line was fantastic in the 2nd period – my goodness.

tcho

Other than the goal, I haven’t been too impressed with Kahun to be honest, but Nuge and Yams have been great

Leroy Draisdale

Edler is going to have nightmares of Jesse’s big butt. Nailed him twice with a reverse hit.

Last edited 12 days ago by Leroy Draisdale
godot10

I like big butts, and I cannot lie.

Gerta Rauss

Yam fry did some fine work on that but will get nothing to show for his troubles

Kahun from Nugget and a nice pass from Kulikov

Bling

Yup that was stellar work.

Larsson absolutely erased a Canucks player in the corner to kick start that play as well.

Sierra

Yes, a fine pass by Kulikov

Solly

That goal was gorgeous!

KnightRain

BOOM!!! Lil Kahuna with the finish!!! Liking the skill on that line!!!

KnightRain

There’s your second line goal, OP. 👍🏽

delooper

Lovely goal by Kahun, after elaborate setup.

OriginalPouzar

What a pass by Kulikov and great finish by Kahun.

There is that middle six goal requested.

fishman

Kahun Baby!!!

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