2020-21 Game 52: Canucks at Oilers

by Lowetide

It’s customary for a team to lose focus after clinching a playoff spot but this year’s Oilers have been able to continue playing well after the fact. Part of the reason is no doubt Connor McDavid’s push for 100 points but there are other chores as well.

One of them: Adam Larsson and his new partner Dmitry Kulikov. Statistically, it is an early success. Visually, it looks structured but there have been comedic moments plunked in to keep interest levels up. Can this pairing play the tough minutes?

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 52 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 21-26-5, 47 points; goal differential -19
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 28-16-8, 64 points; goal differential +13
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 23-25-4, 50 points; goal differential -24
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 23-24-5, 51 points; goal differential -15
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 28-18-6, 62 points; goal differential +6
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 32-17-2, 66 points; goal differential +23

Pulling the Bettman, the records by year are: 21-31; 28-24; 23-29; 23-29; 28-24 and 32-19. This may or may not be the best Oilers team in the group, but the wins have made it more enjoyable to watch.

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 2-0-0)
  • 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: 3-0-0, 6 points in 3 games

At this point I’m not sure the Oilers will lose against the Canucks despite all the games scheduled. Montreal is a different matter. I’ll be interested in seeing the lineup against the Habs and do wonder if the coach approaches those Montreal games differently if third place is still being contested.

OILERS SKILL FORWARDS

Those McDavid boxcars are historic, people will refer to them for a long time. Did you know that Bobby Orr posted 102 assists in 1970-71? If you’re a sports fan, some numbers, the special ones, stay. Wayne Gretzky, 92 goals in 1981-82. McDavid’s 100 in 56 may become a foundation piece in the legend and lore of 97, if he gets there.

PROJECTED OILERS 2021-22

This has Mikko Koskinen dealt, James Neal bought out and William Lagesson in Seattle (I protected Jones) and a stunning amount of cap space ($27 million) in order to acquire a complete overhaul of the No. 2 line and second pairing. Not all acquisitions will be via free agency and there should be several returning UFA’s aside from Mike Smith. There was some retention on the Koskinen deal, but it was a good place for him, he’ll get to run free in a meadow every day. Next stop: Free agency.

PROJECTED CONDORS 2021-22

The Condors are back to being similar to the 2017-18 team, strong on young blue (Bear, Jones) and a little low on forwards who we can project into the NHL at this time. Holloway may not spend the entire year in Bakersfield (hell he might make the Oilers) and I do believe Lavoie has the skill to play in the NHL soon. Coach Jay Woodcroft had good things to say about Ostap Safin last night, he’s recovered and then some over the season.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning we hit the ground running on TSN1260 Edmonton. Andrew Stoeten will talk Toronto Blue Jays and their 8th inning explosion last night. At 11, Frank Seravalli from TSN will discuss Oilers in the playoffs and the circus at Madison Square Garden. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you soon!

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hunter1909

Leading up to the playoffs…

Maybe play Smith for the 1st period. Every game.

Second period insert Koskinen. Hope for the best.

If Koskinen can hold it together for 2 -3 games everything will be alright. Smith gets his rest lol

PS: This is a horrible, horrible idea.

Last edited 1 month ago by hunter1909
Rondo

Oilers are creating bad habits, they need to get more competitive . They haven’t been playing their best hockey.

Reja

Koskinen 12W-12L GA-3.15 SV-900% Mikko you are the weakest link.

OriginalPouzar

Since Smith came back, and he’s been a back-up, he’s got a 2.67/.912 – thank includes tonight – he was over .920 in that span before tonight.

In any event – he’ll play 2 more games out of the 4 and then it’ll be Smith’s net in the playoffs.

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
Reja

Smith saved the season we weren’t a playoff team until he came back from injury. Tippett’s been spoon feeding Mikko since the minute Smith returned. Smith was suppose to be on a relaxing night off instead he’s thrust into action in a meaningless game because Tippett had no other option but to pull his sorry ass. Where would this team be if Smith had pulled a groin in a scheduled night off?

New Improved Darkness

Unbelievable that we’re criticizing Koskinen for failing to spell out Smith on demand, while invoking as evidence Koskinen’s substandard performance while Smith was unavailable to spell out Koskinen at all, at a crucial juncture in the season (the beginning) where adjustment between performances is paramount, because we’re hyperventilating about a different crucial juncture in the season (the end) where purring along like a cat—a Caterpillar D11T on crush-mode cruise control—is pareamountain of the moment.

[*] More specifically, a murine-loving Caterpillar D11T as tricked out with twin turbo-twist JATO rockets.

JATO rocket subtype A: Deft cleft kayak of dope dangle w/ Insta-Torque™ linear-electric gimballed hydrofoils.

[*] In muggy conditions, may engage chameleon toedrag on demand.

JATO rocket subtype B: Laser-forehand howitzer canoe w/ broad ambidextrous gunwales of oom.

[*] Switch-selectable b-oom, d-oom, or vvr-oom modes available on Euro-Gretzky edition only.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to convince this tricked-out Caterpillar D11T to straighten out and fly right, night in and lights out. Courtesy Q, a Tesla Model S equipped with hastily adapted SpaceX autopilot is standing by to assist you. (May suffer just a twitch of separation anxiety from its J.A.R.V.I.S. companion module, not included.)

[*] After the Second American Civil War, HBO knocks it out the park with a Tesla Model SXZ rebooted as a post-industrial rum-running General Flee, prowling the American dust bowl in a Shaolin groove to score the last of the vanishing Caine sugar. Episodes are named for the Many Phases of Bride, who appears with a different personal pronoun each time. Eventually David Carradine 2.0 gets thoroughly P.O.ed with this and sinks the dagger with the immortal line “hasta la vishnu”. Uma Thurman 2.0 isn’t seen again until season three (following a long contractual hiatus). The last smoking ruins of Twitter collapse in a final conflagration over whether David Carradine 2.0 in yellowface—the actor is technically Mongolian—can ethically utter the phase “hasta la vishnu”. (And just what is Vishnu’s correct pronoun, anyway?) Meanwhile, the real Spanish diaspora and the real Indian diaspora sit back and laugh about how, after the global loss of rice and corn as viable cereal grains, they are now pretty much reduced to eating the same cuisine anyway—if you can procure a meal at all, you lucky bastard.

wolf8888

There were some incredible young hockey players in the U18 final. Looking forward to seeing a bunch of them in the NHL in a few years, The underagers were amazing for both sides. CANADA GOLD!!!!

OriginalPouzar

I wonder what the odds will be on McDavid getting to 100 on Saturday night on national TV? He may do it before the 3rd and half the country is in bed.

nunavut_king

Chiasson with more saves tonight than Koskinen.

Munny

Well, I don’t think i will go back and watch the first two periods. Sounds like the beginning of the first would just lead to teeth gnashing and shoe throwing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Munny
Our Edmonton Operation

Poor Patrick Russell. Every game he’s in, it’s low hanging fruit for the play-by-play guy to say, “Patrick Russell, with the puck, looking for his first NHL goal.” Hopefully he gets one before he’s out of the show.

OriginalPouzar

Well, this if a function of P. Russell not being an actual NHL player, as shown by his less than JFJ level production and the fact that he’s that, what, 18th forward on the Oilers?

He’s a UFA after this season, will a team give him an NHL contract?

Munny

Guy looks like he can pull an eight hour shift tossing railway ties while he’s sleeping. Works so hard. Deserves a little reward.

N64

Now McDavid only needs ppg to hit 100.

StixMalone

Not a good game to get into playoff form next game is Hockey Night in Canada. Please show up Oilers no Tabernac please

OriginalPouzar

My confidence level that Oilers fans won’t emotionally overreact to the team’s “mundane” performance in a 100% “play out the string” game and the poor performance by the backup goalie, who has been very good since becoming the back-up?  Very very low!

winchester

The loss is not a big deal.

For Mikko personally it was a big deal. Although his numbers have propped him up and had fans crossing their fingers for his success, He does not have the confidence of fans nor (looks like) the team.

He may be adequate to stay in the league but very very unlikely with Edmonton.

As as I mentioned previously, next year aside, we need him this year and they have to get him back up to speed. It would be a mistake to bury him and just ride Smith.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t think his bad period is going to change anything.

Tip and Dusty have a plan for the goalies over the next week or so and I anticipate its an even split.

I’m sure they will ride Smith in the playoffs and that has always been the plan (since he separated from Mikko) – goalie splits in the playoffs simply don’t happen.

winchester

Well LT, in your write up today you did not have Koskinen on next years roster. That was some foreshadowing.

I also believe Mikko would be moving on, but tonight was the nail in the coffin. That’s next season.

Problem is, we still need him to end this season. Oilers must help him get back to at least average .

OriginalPouzar

Oilers don’t really need Mikko for the rest of the season – they are really locked in to 2nd place and, in the playoffs, there are no splits – it just doesn’t happen.

In any event “get him back to at least average”…… he was awful tonight, just awful…. but he has been average or better (much better by the numbers) since Smith came back.

Off-night.

HenryDrix

First Star of the game, for the Vancouver Canucks, Mikko Koskinen

Gerta Rauss

I wasn’t expecting to beat VAN four straight

Sloppy start and poor goaltending and that’s all she wrote

Whatever

3 more McPoints..!!

Munny

I wonder how Auston Matthews compares?

If only Canada had a sports station that covers these sorts of things…

TheGreatBigMac

Loved Drai’s last goal, man can he shoot. Pure enjoyment.

delooper

The Highlander was on fire there. Nice sequence.

Munny

The only thing now is whether they can eke another McPoint out of this match.

N64

pull Smith?

Munny

Left him in. I don’t know what Tippett was thinking lol.

Harpers Hair

Put Koskinen back in…the Canucks would surely give the Oilers an extra man.

delooper

McDavid line pinned into their own zone. They were trying too many low-probability clearing attempts. Goal against.

OriginalPouzar

That shift was the definition of “cheating for offence” – fair enough given the game situation.

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
Sierra

Hmm, not sure I agree. No one wants bad habits creeping in.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sierra
fishman

Canada wins gold at the U-18!!!! Defeats Russia 5-3

Munny

Be nice timing for that patented collapse the Canucks have been working on all season.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I swear Leon could score from that spot, without legs.

Seismic Source

Maybe this game will cost them them the 1st overall

Boil-in-the-Oil

Man, that’s some notoriety nobody wants. Ouch. It certainly hurt watching it happen. Again, ouch.

wolf8888

GOLD!!!

delooper

There is a hockey game within reach.

Munny

No roof-daddy.

drai makes up for it.

OriginalPouzar

Gotta get that up Connor.

Beauty finish by Drai on a beauty pass by Nurse.

KnightRain

BOOM!!! Drai with the drive!!!

StixMalone

5-3 Canada gold medal!!!!!

delooper

Nice.

OriginalPouzar

Jesse was going to score there – he’s deadly on quick strike breaks.

Sierra

That was a “good” penalty by Meyers. Not a good PP by the Oilers.

delooper

Oilers haven’t shown a whole lot of life this game, other than the initial push after the goaltender swap. If they have success on this PP maybe they have a chance. But this feels a bit like the Doug Weight years, where Ethan Moreau would take some selfish penalties and you could tell the team was about to follow his lead and sink their chances.

OriginalPouzar

This is true – of course, the game is meaningless and the Oilers are really just going through the motions and are just trying to get to, and through, next week.

Munny

That’s what you get for having an eight foot long stick, Myers.

Munny

Fuck, you don’t realize how truly fast McLeod is till you see him catch NHLers from behind the play.

StixMalone

Russia scores on the PP. 4-3 Canada now

fishman

4-3 Can

OriginalPouzar

Ugh, I do not want Nurse fighting a coke machine with 5 games before the playoffs… geez.

StixMalone

Tempers are flaring tonight…

Bling

I don’t like Nurse taking these penalties. I understand the frustration but how many cheap shots have 97 and 29 taken this year? Gotta keep your cool a bit.

Reja

Says the guy that didn’t get his face carved up.

greenshifter

It kind of looked like Macewen gave Nurse a kick, when Nurse was lying on the ice, after the highstick. I might be seeing things but would explain the anger.

Sierra

Absolutely. He’s way too valuable.

Bling

I’m calling an OT win for the Oil. 97 another two points.

OriginalPouzar

I can see the OT win – I think, if they score 4 more goals, McDavid will have more than two more points.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

It looks like Bob is reading a tilted teleprompter.

hunter1909

What’s with these oafish goalies!? Surely a 5′ 7″ Gump Worsley plays better than a clumsy giant.

Reja

He played taller and didn’t get beat up high on 80% of shots.

Munny

That backhand goal by Bedard was pretty impressive.

Harpers Hair

The next one.

hunter1909

“You can’t win them all” Koskinen.

winchester

”You can’t go all in every game”

Reja

Holy hell Louie you don’t even know who Kenny the snake Stabler is.

hunter1909

And I’ll raise that with Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

OriginalPouzar

Khaira shortie coming up this game!

Gerta Rauss

McLeod, Kahun, Yam, Nurse,Bear on PP2

StixMalone

Where’s Jesse??

Gerta Rauss

Well, the above was PP2

I thought it was noteworthy because that group had about a min of PP time due to the 4 minute power play

It’s noteworthy because we don’t have a PP2 LoL

OriginalPouzar

He played over a minute with PP1.

hunter1909

Died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Sierra

What the fuck is the matter with you

hunter1909

Nothing that you shutting the fuck up wouldn’t cure.

Sierra

many suggest otherwise

hunter1909

Fucking morons have never heard of Jesse James then.

Sierra

Ya, that’s the problem.

Scungilli Slushy

Just able to tune in

Temper your expectations tans

Having this much trouble with the Canucks and the sloppy coverage, sloppy changes, is not the calling card of playoff success

They are also still struggling with the other team basically standing in formation in the key

Loving the season and the progress, but it is what it is.

Connor lights it up or trouble scoring 5v5.

OriginalPouzar

Playing out the stretch.

Sierra

Context is important

hunter1909

Fair comment. But having your goalie playing at .200 level actually can have an effect on team morale.

N64

0.00% check NHL.com game summary

Last edited 1 month ago by N64
fishman

4-2 Can!

StixMalone

They’re playing really good

fishman

Last 2 goals over the shoulder on the Russian tender.

delooper

Jack Michaels said he thinks that’s maybe the 2nd head-shot goal against Smith this season. I vaguely remember one as well, not very many game ago.

Reja

Didn’t the Leafs get one of his noggin.

Reja

Where’s the outrage for the cheap shot head hunting by Hamoric, ooh that’s right it was only on Chiasson and not a Ranger.

OriginalPouzar

The same place as the outrage for the headshot that Archie threw in the first period.

delooper

The head-shot goal. Hmm.

Sierra

Imagine if Mikko let in a shot below the goal line.

31saves

I think Smith earns a little bit of slack from having made a save tonight

StixMalone

Imagine if Mikko stopped a shot…