The Milk Run

by Lowetide

Years ago I got on the wrong bus from Red Deer to Edmonton. My car had finally died and I was catching the Saturday afternoon bus up to Edmonton for a few days off. There’s an express (or there was) from Red Deer that gets you to the south side stop (just off 99 street). I’d taken the bus before, it was about two hours and a little. On this particular day I accidentally took the ‘local’ bus, commonly (and not fondly) referred to as the milk run. That’s the Oilers this week. You’d love to catch the express to the playoffs, but the milk run is the bus you’re on and so might as well win some games. First stop: Success.

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.

  • New Lowetide: Ideal Edmonton Oilers lines and pairings for the 2021 NHL playoffs
  • DNB and Jonathan Willis: ‘It’s kind of Gretzky-like’: Oilers star Connor McDavid’s 100-point season puts him in rarified air
  • Lowetide: What will Tyler Benson’s role be for the 2021-22 Oilers?
  • Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ Mike Smith is putting himself in the all-time old-guy goalie conversation with a stunning season at 38
  • Lowetide: Oilers’ Adam Larsson playing his best hockey with playoffs on horizon
  • Lowetide: What should the Oilers do to get Kailer Yamamoto back on track?
  • DNB: How Jesse Puljujarvi 2.0 is making an impact
  • DNB: What are the Oilers’ pressing questions ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft?
  • Lowetide: Oilers complete April report card
  • DNB: 2nd Hart Trophy is firmly in Connor McDavid’s grasp
  • Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers need to step up down the stretch?
  • Lowetide: A look at the best value contracts on the 2021 Oilers
  • Lowetide: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
  • DNB: Re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Free-agency targets? Oilers mailbag

OILERS AFTER 54 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 21-28-5, 47 points; goal differential -30
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 28-18-8, 64 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 23-27-4, 50 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 24-25-5, 53 points; goal differential -17
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 28-20-6, 62 points; goal differential 0
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 34-18-2, 70 points; goal differential +22

This year’s team and the 2017 club are the class of the group and the 2019-20 crew comes in third. After that, who cares? McDavid’s Oilers have made the postseason three times in six seasons, with one series win. A strong playoff showing this year would cure a lot of ills in the fan base.

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 1-1-0)
  • On the road to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • 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: 5-1-0, 10 points in 6 games

I’ve misjudged the home stretch but in fairness to me these other teams haven’t brought as much as I thought they would in the May games. Montreal didn’t play with the kind of desperation I thought they would, the fourth line aside. The playoffs secure, I assume tomorrow night’s game (with the chance to finish third and face Edmonton) will be a stronger effort for the Habs.

LINES LAST NIGHT

  • Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 12:46, going 6-4 shots, 1-0 goals, 3-1 HDSC and 9-9 Corsi five on five. Nuge had a five on five goal, his first since March 17 (17 games) and his seventh on the season. Draisaitl was impressive, with a five on five assist (plus the one in overtime) and has 123 goals in his most recent 207 NHL games. That’s 48.9 goals per 82 games. Yamamoto flubbed a shot and picked up an assist and sometimes that’s the beginning of a hot streak. I liked this line on the evening.
  • Shore-Khaira-Archibald played 12:19, went 3-7 shots, no goals, 0-3 HDSC and 8-12 Corsi five on five. Shore had some looks, was solid on the PK and had the slowest jailbreak in history. Seniors were playing through! Khaira had a great chance five on five and was excellent on the penalty kill. Louie mentioned Archibald’s skating last night, the veteran does seem to have an extra step. That might come in handy during the postseason.
  • Kahun-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 10:37, going 6-6 shots, 1-2 goals, 2-2 HDSC and 10-10 Corsi five on five. High, high event on the night. Kahun had a goal, 2 HDSC and his goals-60 at five on five (0.85) is now in the range of his career totals. McDavid was 1-1-2, his goal in overtime. Had a HDSC and four takeaways five on five. The line had a helluva time against Montreal’s fourth line, if the two teams meet in the postseason Tippett’s going to have to MacGyver the problem. Puljujarvi had a quiet night.
  • Neal-McLeod-Chiasson played 8:22, going 9-3 shots, 1-0 goals, 2-0 HDSC and 11-6 Corsi five on five. James Neal scored, several good looks and contributed to a line Dave Tippett mentioned in the postgame as being solid. McLeod picked up his first NHL assist on the goal, was 6-2 in the dot and 1:39 clean on the PK. Chiasson had an assist, and is now 100-100-200 in 562 career games. Head over to hockeydb and stare at it. A real rarity.

PAIRINGS AND GOALIE

  • Kulikov-Larsson played 16:52, going 13-10 shots, 2-0 goals, 3-5 HDSC and 19-16 Corsi five on five. Kulikov had two shots, two giveaways and a HDSC that was brilliant right to the end. Larsson practiced for his upcoming movie “Curb Stomp” and was mobile and engaged. Hammered one shot on net.
  • Nurse-Barrie played 16:36, going 11-7 shots, 1-1 goals, 2-4 HDSC and 15-16 Corsi five on five. Nurse had two shots on goal, skated miles, blocked two shots and played 2:46 on the PK. Barrie pinched on the first GA and was slow getting back, those two things have happened a lot lately. I think he’s hurt.
  • Jones-Bear played 14:27, going 7-5 shots, no goals, 2-1 HDSC and 10-12 Corsi five on five. Jones had an assist, HDSC and four giveaways and THAT’S what young defensemen do. Bear had five shots, two giveaways and some good moments defending. He is neither big nor a burner, so defensively Bear has to be in good position and keep his feet moving.
  • Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 of 28, .893. For the season, his .899 save percentage ranks No. 38 out of 46 goalies who have played in 20 or more games this season. Mike Smith, with a .924 save percentage ranks No. 7 in the category. Tippett won’t need to spend much time deciding on his starting goalie for the postseason.

GOALS AGAINST

  • The Jake Evans goal: Kahun loses a race for the puck down low, and Tyson Barrie pinches but Paul Byron makes a great pass to Evans and suddenly all three forwards and Barrie are trapped. That’s a helluva pass, but I’m thinking Barrie’s pinch is the real problem on the play. Evans does a give and go with Lehkonen in the neutral zone, Nurse tracks back, gets there, but Evans makes a nice move, great shot, goal. I count Barrie’s pinch, McDavid’s inability to both interrupt the pass and stay with Evans as the items worth mentioning.
  • The Paul Byron goal: Jake Evans (bring back Staal!) makes a great deke on Leon Draisaitl at center ice along the RH side, making it a three-on-two with speed. Evans sends it to Lehkonen on LW, Bear closes the gap. He can’t stop Lehkonen’s pass to the middle, but Nurse has excellent position on Evans. No one has Byron, my opinion is that it should have been Draisaitl’s man because McDavid was the forechecker (and was over one minute into his shift when the puck passed him). Puljujarvi was F1 into the defensive zone but had just come on to the ice and was covering the backpass. Your mileage may vary. I love Leon but he never impacted the play at any time and realistically the only forward who could have thwarted Byron.
  • Artturi Lehkonen goal: A shot from distance Koskinen should handle 10 times out of 10. You can quibble with Jones getting his stick in the way but he didn’t change the trajectory and it was from miles away. That’s on the goalie.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we review last night’s game and ask if the Winnipeg Jets can win tonight and put the first-round matchups to bed. Mike Murphy from Blueshirt Banter will join us at 10:40 to talk about the wild summer anticipated in Manhattan with the New York Rangers under new management. At 11, Michael Hurley from WBZ Boston talks Taylor Hall and the Bruins playoff hopes just ahead of the postseason. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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hunter1909

HUNTER1909’s Death March™ 

Update:

With Oilers now on pace for a 73 point finish, here are the current leaders in the Death March game. They are: 

Strapping Jocks

Treevojo

VanIsleOil

TheGreatBigMac

By my estimation this is our path to Lord Stanley’s Cup:

Round 1 – Jets
Round 2 – Leafs | Canadiens
Round 3 – Avalanche | Golden Knights
Round 4 – Hurricanes 😯

It will be a steep climb indeed with an old score to settle at the end.

Someone

My god I would give up my firstborn to settle that score.

Paulie

I’d give up your firstborn too!

Tarkus

Referencing the opening paragraph of LT’s post, I posted a picture this morning of a road sign near Success, a village in southwest Saskatchewan.

Now that the Oilers are confirmed to play the Jets, I looked for proof that the Oilers would come out triumphant in this upcoming series.

Did I look at the head-to-head record? No. Particular matchups? No. Did I brew a batch of tea to read the leaves? Hell no.

Instead, I give you proof via Google Maps–which shows that Edmonton is closer to Success than Winnipeg is.

QED

Last edited 5 months ago by Tarkus
TheGreatBigMac

Lol, we can’t lose! In that case let me place a small wager on one soon to be renamed “death match”.

TheGreatBigMac

*Death March*, ehm, dumb phone auto correct.

Paddy Morans Jockstrap

So the Jets it is…..game on

I hope certain fans enjoy the upcoming relegation series this week between CGY and VAN while we prepare for the playoffs 🙂

hunter1909

When did the Habs turn into wretched, horrible guttersnipes? They won those cups and always had class. Even when they declined they still maintained their hearts. Now they play as if they have little talent, and play like the refs will give them special “Habs only” calls. A miserable little team.

Habs meanwhile ffs why didnt they move heaven and earth to get DuBois? I meanwhile wish Petry would return. Oilers will win him that cup I predicted for him

I want them to upset the Leafs(LOL) They can then get whipped by Tippett’s Terriers.

bsmart

And the Jets it is, love this match up for the Oilers, Jets are not firing on all cylinders right now. Habs are the tougher opponent, the Leafs and Habs will pound the crap out of one another in a tough series. Excited for some playoff games and hopefully a deep run. I will be cheering for Montreal in round 1.

pts2pndr

We should all be cheering for a 7 game series with several overtimes.

jtblack

RYAN MCLEOD passing the eye test Big Time!!

hunter1909

He was already good right away, from the first shift he played.

Who knew that AHL teams can do that, given the snake oil of yore?

Someone

I think Detroits old GM thought so, can’t remember the guys name.

jtblack

Home late. Busy. Reading now. Thanks for all the comments !

LT blog brings peace to my crazy days 🙂

bsmart

Amen to that!

OriginalPouzar

Taking a leap of faith that the nucks won’t score 4 goals in the 3rd period tonight, I am locking in the Jets as the first round match-up.

Now, I don’t know if he’ll be ready for game 1 on Wed night (I don’t imagine game 1 not being on Wed), I did want to note the Ehlers has started skating.

He makes a big difference to that team.

N64

4-0
5-0

Interesting to see the Original 6 Canadian teams meet in the playoffs for the first year since the Habs 1979 Stanley Cup win. Same year as the Jets last win over the Oil to take the Avco Cup.

A few other things happened that year

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1979.html

Last edited 5 months ago by N64
Foege Foegele Torpe

There is one world changing item on that list that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Probably the most historically significant on that entire list:

Pink Floyd releases The Wall

Tarkus

Don’t forget Led Zeppelin releasing In Through the Out Door, which happens to be one of my favoritest albums ever ever ever.

Ice Sage

Nice symmetry there, N64.
The tables will be turned this year! (or I’ll sell my walkman – worth $2600 now)

Harpers Hair

Blake Wheeler can also make a big difference.

4 points tonight.

OriginalPouzar

He sure made a difference in the last couple of games vs. the Oilers – for the Oilers benefit.

A Hoffman level defensive player.

Solly

TV play-by-play guy said Wheeler had his 10th 4-point night tonight…in his entire career.
Not too worried when McD probably had 10 4-point nights….this season.

jp

I did want to note the Ehlers has started skating.

He makes a big difference to that team.

Agreed. I think I’m more worried about Ehlers than any other single player on the Jets or Canadians.

Be great to face a Jets team minus Ehlers.

(Glad the Oil didn’t trade Nurse for him though!)

OriginalPouzar

Jets up 1-0 in the first period.

They only need one point to clinch 3rd place.

Edit: Oops, sorry Randle, didn’t see your prior post.

Last edited 5 months ago by OriginalPouzar
wolf8888

2-0. looking good

N64

3-0

Randle McMurphy

1-0 Jets

Half way through the first

Last edited 5 months ago by Randle McMurphy
MADOIL

Looking at Seravalli’s Free Agency List, Krakken could build a legit playoff team if they can entice Hamilton, Hopkins and Hyman to sign for a total of ~20 million and pick up a good goalie in the expansion draft. The rest of the players selected in expansion draft can fill in the bottom 6. If constructed properly, I think they can potentially be better that the California teams.

OriginalPouzar

Nuge and Hyman are both valuable complementary players but they require higher end linemate help to produce offensively. If those are a teams top center and winger, I don’t see that starting out as a playoff team, even with a legit 1RD.

Lucinius

Same (or worse) was said about the players Vegas picked up in their expansion draft/free agency. Look how that turned out.

Harpers Hair

Seattle, due to the timeline of construction of their arena, has also had an extra year of preparation to strategize their approach to the expansion draft.

Of course, they invested heavily in analytics and scouting two years ahead of the expansion and entry drafts.

With a top 3 pick, they may also draft a stud NHL-ready player who can step in right away.

Harpers Hair

Assuming Seattle does the smart thing and drafts mainly players on cheap contracts, they will have over $40 million in cap space to go hunting for free agents or “help” cap strapped teams with their problems.

In many cases this will likely entail other teams retaining salary and adding assets to incentivize the Kraken.

This expansion draft is very different than the Vegas draft in that is occurring in an unprecedented flat cap scenario where more than a few teams must give up good players to be cap compliant.

From Seattle’s perspective, Covid couldn’t have worked out better.

N64

From Seattle’s perspective, Covid couldn’t have worked out better

Conspiracy theories have been started with way less.

Harpers Hair

Fill yer boots.

N64

Pass

Last edited 5 months ago by N64
OriginalPouzar

Its great that you think Seattle can build a great team for next season.

I was responding to a post about their free agent coup of Hyman and Nuge leading them to the playoffs.

So, as usual, your post had little to do with the conversation.

Harpers Hair

Dear Baghdad Bob.

You do not get to control the flow of information.

Your post was puerile, lacked context and suggested Hopkins and Hyman would be the Kraken’s major acquisitions when that clearly is, at best, wishful thinking on your part.

OriginalPouzar

My post was in response to the position that those two would be the major acquisitions (along with Hamilton) and that it would lead to them being a playoff team.

You can post whatever the eff you want, as you do, but it had zero to do with the original post and my response.

If the conversation subject is not for you, move the fuck on and let others discuss what they want.

Sierra

I don’t see what you are so bent out of shape over. HH’s comments are certainly relevant to the conversation topic.

jtblack

Can you say JAMES NEAL 🙂

Bank Shot

I think it very unlikely that the Kraken are anywhere near as successful as the Knights in their first season.

Ironically, the five or so best players the Knights selected in the expansion were guys that other teams gave assets so the Knights would take those players instead of others.

Maybe this year the other GM’s won’t be their own worst enemies.

MADOIL

Totally off topic, what are the chances Calgary goes hard on getting Eichel to cowtown? He’ll be their answer to the McDavid magic for the flames fans. DO they have the assets to swing the deal? Not convinced that Eichel will play again for the Sabers.

jp

Looks like the Flames already have $67M committed to 13 players for next season.

They need to fill out their team with $1M contracts as it is. Assets aside, Calgary doesn’t appear a likely destination for Eichel and his $10M ticket.

OriginalPouzar

Sounds like Matt Blumel may make the World Championships team

hunter1909

Hunter1909’s Death March Playoff 2021 

is here:

Please follow the link: 

https://oilersdeathmarch.com/marches/playoffs-2021/

Here’s all you have to do: 

1 – log in/register

2- predict number of Oilers playoff wins(called points on the home page)

3 – predict the tie breaker(explained on the homepage) 

Its easy!

Thank you for your cooperation

dunterpunter

Why so many downvotes?

hunter1909

Maybe its because the final deadline isn’t set, until the official Playoffs announcement.

The deadline is going to be set exactly at the moment the 1st puck drops in Game 1 vs Winnipeg.

OriginalPouzar

There has been talk/disucssion about how to fit Kass in to the lineup when he’s ready to play. From listening to Tip over the weeks, in particular today, I really don’t think he’s close to ready.

Remember, all we have been told is “week to week” and we don’t even know what the injury is. We know that he’s been skating but not with the team.

When asked about Kass today, Tip didn’t make it sound like he was close at all. He talked about making sure he’s 100% healthy before putting him in the lineup, etc.

We know that Hass will be ready before the playoffs, we know that Russell won’t be ready before Saturday but he could be mid-next week. The coach has told us these things but has given zero indication on Kass.

For all we know, he’s a month plus away. He may be close but I don’t see/hear any indication of that.

hunter1909

Was watching Stu Grimson giving his take on hockey and suddenly saw that he’s starting to look like the effects from all of those fights is starting to tell on him.

A lot of fighters end up worse for wear in later life.

winchester

Minor point on third goal. Bear is gassed,he looks at Jones who signals him to go (to bench) and then Jones switches from left side to right side to cover. He’s a fraction late but still pushes the shooter far enough outside.

I return to Mike Smiths pre season interview where he says “we have a few goaltending things to fix in Edmonton this year and I’m here to help”

Thank you Mike.

winchester

Edmonton does have an Achilles heel and Montreal knows it.

We do not have a single hitter in the top 6. Fast but not physical and it can be exploited.
We will be wishing we acquired a big winger at the deadline.

Right now just have to make do. Kassian will step up and if so he should see some top 6 ice time.

McDavid in his bursts of energy is unstoppable. If a team manages to contain him for a time it should take all their resources to do so. Hopefully this is where Drai and his gang step in.

I like the Oilers chances.

Reja

It’s to bad Hollaway broke his thumb he’s exactly what we need in the top 6.

OriginalPouzar

Holloway is going to be playing professional hockey games this week.

There was almost zero chance that Holland was going to be put a 19-year old with zero pro games on the roster and that Tippett was going to put the player in the top 6 heading in to the playoffs.

Reja

Caufield looks good in a Habs uniform. Holloway wouldn’t be the first 19 year-old to play in the NHL it would take hours to list them all. I say he makes the team for the home opener next fall and Holland with the money saved on a winger will spend it on a Goaltender and possibly a contract for Barrie.

pts2pndr

Do you think there is a possibility that they put Broberg on the playoff roster given the injuries to left side D?

OriginalPouzar

He’ll be with the team and there are no roster limits or cap so, yes.

At the same time, I can’t imagine he plays.

Russell may be available for game 1 according to Tip (as of yesterday, depending on when game 1 is – either way, he’s not out much longer than a week or so more).

Koekkoek has being skating/practicing with the team for a while now and is likely getting close as well.

Nurse
Kulikov
Jones
Russell
Laggeson
Koekkoek

There is a LONG ways to go before they play the 19 years kid that was just the 7D in the SHL playoffs and has never played a pro game in North America.

jp

Well, he did kinda play that one game last summer…

wolf8888

You don’t think Jesse is physical?

flea

It’s pretty unlikely Edmonton will play Montreal. Winnipeg with 2 games left play the exhausted Canucks tonight then the Leafs Friday in a meaningless game for them.

The Jets have been bad but they’ll pick up a point in one of those two games.

Fraktal

Yammo is physical (despite his size).

hunter1909

Yamamoto is game to be sure. But he’s too small to be called physical.

Last edited 5 months ago by hunter1909
TheGreatBigMac

LOL yea I thought hey Archie is small a physical, why should Yam be any different. But he is even smaller. Arche 5’10″/176 vs Yam 5’8″/153 (per capfriendly/nhl.com). Now that is small, hard for someone @ 153 to lay a heavy hit on someone weighs 210.

jp

We do not have a single hitter in the top 6. 

How many hitters does Montreal have in their top 6?

winchester

Winnipeg is wondering how they can get Toronto and how they can avoid Edmonton in the first round.

Harpers Hair

Highly likely they don’t really care.

And with a win over Vancouver tonight it’s over in any event.

Dustylegnd

Barrie comes with warts, we knew that, I was hyper critical of him the 1st 15 games…he adds more than he takes away…I have always maintained you will have no sustained playoff success without offence from D men…Barrie puts up points and he had deficiencies …pick your poison

pts2pndr

Regular season yes but an old adage is defence wins championships. In a seven game series the opponents will find a way to exploit weaknesses of their opponent. My guess and I hope that I’m wrong but there may be a number of Barrie fans that will have a change of heart after this year’s playoffs.

OriginalPouzar

When last in the playoffs, Barrie had 8 points in 12 games and led the Avs in 5 on 5 TOI/G by a minute and a half over the 2nd place d-man and had a GF% over 60%.

jp

I was gonna mention his pretty good history in the playoffs.

But he was actually in the playoffs most recently last season with the Leafs. It doesn’t appear to have gone smashingly (5-0-0-0 and -2), though of course the team bowed out rather quickly.

jp

More to this:
Turns out Barrie’s had really excellent on ice results in his playoff career.

And in Toronto last season he was -2, but they got smoked 3-10 at 5v5 so he had the best GF% (33.3%) and 2nd best xGF% (57.2%) of their D.

For his career (over 4 playoff years, his teams only reached the 2nd round once):

Barrie’s 5v5 on ice GF/GA: 19-15 (56%GF)
Teams on ice 5v5 GF/GA: 46-61 (43%GF)

So some simple math gives us:
Teams with Barrie on the bench 27-46 (37%GF)

Huh, I wasn’t expecting that. Guess I’ll just say I hope the 56%GF holds going forward.

Godot10, what say you?

godot10

Erik Johnson got the tough matchups in Colorado. Sakic kept trading for and drafting players to replace him, because he didn’t want to play him.

Girard, Makar, Timmons, Byram.

In Toronto, last year, he couldn’t be protected. Even with elite forward talent, he was not a difference maker.

ashley

LT’s GA analysis is top notch. This is the kind of post-mortem teams will do after each game looking for opportunities to improve. I love the sophistication. Most fans blame the goalie for every goal. Slightly more attuned fans will blame the last man back (who is almost never to blame), or the closest person to the goal scorer (also the least likely person at fault). Sometimes it’s a combination of errors by more than one player.

Great analysis. I think you hit the head on the nail on all three.

Aside from the gimme, I though Koskinen played a lot better this game. He made some nice saves. The Evans goal was stunning. I’m not sure Koskinen or Nurse could have done anything more to defend that. The key is not letting talented guys like that get to that point to have that opportunity.

The 1-2-2 defense setup looks so good. They are executing well. MTL could not get anything going in the third period due to perfect execution. The shot on the third goal is an acceptable allowance in that format and you would hope the goalie would make that save most of the time.

Tip is a genius. We needed him here 12 years ago.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Oilers play with this much structure.

Last edited 5 months ago by ashley
Reja

To my eye Mikko’s playing scared deep in the net bad rebound control making saves without him seeing the puck. The eyes don’t lie you can see Mikko struggling to follow the puck. If Holland is serious about winning the cup you can’t have a goaltender that lets in 1 or 2 shit goals a game. Mikko will not be a Oiler next year.

ashley

Absolutely. A single goal can decide a series as we saw with Anaheim in 2017. The GK needs to be in peak form.

Harpers Hair

The Oakland Athletics are looking at relocation.

Montreal and Vancouver among the possible destinations.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31427293/oakland-athletics-start-looking-relocating-elsewhere-sources-say?platform=amp&__twitter_impression=true

leadfarmer

By possible destination you mean Pawns in the game

KnightRain

My only question is do they go to the NL so we have a chance at an all Canadian team World Series? Seems unlikely, though, since we were robbed of our only opportunity! Montreal is the emotional choice. Van is the choice to build a larger fan base, imo

Harpers Hair

Montreal has the advantage I would think as they could use Olympic Stadium while a new ballpark was being built and I would imagine the Quebec government would be much more amenable to financially supporting the venture.

Vancouver doesn’t have an appropriate venue as Nat Bailey Stadium, while a gem, only seats 6500.

Both are likely long shots in any event as Las Vegas would be in the running after the success of the Golden Knights and Raiders in that market.

hunter1909

Oh sure Vancouver is going to turn out tens of thousands every day to watch baseball. No problem. Such rabid and knowledgable fans etc.

Harpers Hair

Vancouver has a long and very successful track record of supporting baseball.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Canadians

They almost always lead the league in attendance and flood Seattle with fans whenever the Mariners play the Blue Jays, their major league affiliate.

The lack of a stadium, not fan interest, is the major impediment.

hunter1909

6,000 per game average for the PCL translates to a MLB franchise huh lol

jp

Well Montreal made it work. Oh wait..

pts2pndr

They have a better record at supporting money laundering!

Foege Foegele Torpe

Dear Calgary,
Sorry about that Koskinen goal, please enjoy your perpetual mediocrity.
Yours truly, Oilers fans.
P.S.
Go fuck yourselves

KnightRain

The fact that we ended the flamerz season by going into overtime was the cherry on top.
McDavid scoring the overtime winner was the cherry on top of the cherry on top…👍🏽

OriginalPouzar

I’m curious what Tip/Schwart do with the starting tenders this week.

We presume that they will each start one (they being Mikko and Smith).

We presume Smith starts on Wed which means Mikko starts on Saturday but I wonder if that makes sense? Oilers likely start the playoffs next Wed – not for sure but almost assuredly between Tues-Thurs next week. If Mikko starts Saturday, Smith will have almost an entire week off and, frankly, i don’t think that’s a great idea.

Maybe Mikko starts Wed and Smith Saturday? The down side there is that Smith will be a week between starts in that scenario (but at least he’ll have a start in 3 days before the playoffs start).

No, I’m not factoring in Smith needing to start against the Habs to ensure the Oilers win and play the Jets. I’m more focused on getting the team (and, in this post, the goalies) ready for the playoffs.

Redbird62

Since coming back this season, Smith has only twice gone 7 days between starts. He beat Winnipeg on March 20, then played against Toronto on the 27th losing in OT 4-3 after giving up 2 in third. The second 7 day break for him came after losing to Calgary after the Colby Cave Memorial on April 10 and he came back to beat Winnipeg on April 17 in a 3-0 shutout. In both those cases, the whole team went a week between games. Not sure those 7 day breaks shed much light on whether 7 days off before the first playoff game would be a concern.

If Winnipeg gets a point tonight, tomorrow night’s game becomes completely meaningless in the standings for both teams the match-ups will be set. If it still has meaning does, Tippett put Koskinen back on that horse to help get his confidence back in case he’s needed in the playoff? As well, Smith may need a little more rest, since he may have not dressed last night because he got banged up a bit in the Horvat collision the other day.

KnightRain

Why not start Kos then bring in Smith for the third? Them five Smith the Sat game? Kinda like pre season? Both get some game time and Smith doesn’t sit for a week. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Reja

Smith will tell the coaches what ice time he needs. All our hopes rest on Mr.Smith’s 39 year-old shoulders what he says goes.

Profit

I think Smith gets both. Koskinen is back-up for the playoffs and I think he (and the team) knows it.

If we’re saying one each then I say Smith vs. Montreal.

Sierra

Smith getting both makes sense

jp

Tippett said previously the plan was one each (Smith Wed, Mikko Sat).

Unless he changes the plan based on Mikko’s last game then pretty sure that’s what we’ll see. And I’m not sure why he’d do that.

Last edited 5 months ago by jp
OriginalPouzar

The concern, for me, is a full week off between games for Smith.

Tip said today that he’ll have a conversation with Smith and Schwartz and decide what’s best.

jp

Ah, I didn’t realize there’d been a softening in the firm sounding plans.

In that case, Reja is likely right that Smith will tell them what he wants and they’ll oblige.

Fuge Udvar

Daly said he didn’t expect the north division to start playoffs till the regular season was done. But he didn’t completely rule it out either (at least I haven’t seen anything that said that). I wonder if they move it up now that Vancouver and Calgary are officially eliminated. Surely they aren’t worried about it affecting viewership.

OriginalPouzar

That would not be good for the Oilers unless they cancel their game on Saturday (which they won’t).

Given they play Saturday, Wed is the perfect date for them to open the playoffs – coach alluded to that after the game last night as well.

KnightRain

It was great to watch a nearly stress free(nearly cuz I’m an oilers fan. Always gotta stress) game. It seemed to me like the guys had a bit of trouble keeping the foot in the gas. Understandable since it was essentially meaningless for us. Good thing ol Kos did his thing and forced the guys to engage. It was a tuneup game and only close because Kos was daydreaming on one play. The Oil were in third gear and only hit fourth for a few short stretches. Never needed fifth or a McDavid overdrive.
To be honest, I don’t care who we play in the first round. Jests may be easier and Habs may be more physical but both will not stand a chance against our motivated team when the bullets start flying.
We have been a great team all year.
I’ve never seen McDavid this motivated(witness the last 10 games), Drai has the most underratted 81 points ever. Puljujarvi is Still improving daily. Nuge is rounding into form. Kahuna looks good with Connor and Yammo is getting good looks and will go streaking. Bottom six has been effective. Barrie and Nurse can score tonnes, Larsson and Kulikov are giving forwards nightmares and Bear and Jones are looking better each game. Smith is calm, cool and collected. Special teams are killing it.
I had a chance to step back and breath a little easier after last game and take a good look at our team.
We Are Good. Really Good.
We don’t have to worry who we play.
They have to worry about us.

hunter1909

So what you are saying is…there’s a chance.

KnightRain

Holy man, am I ever excited to get the playoffs going!!! Days are just drasaaaaaaaging on…😢

ArmchairGM

Don’t look now but James Neal is tied for 6th among Oilers forwards for P/GP with Alex Chiasson.

Looking forward to having actual scoring depth going forward.

Gollum

I’m going to predict that Neal has more impact in the playoffs than Lucic does.

ArmchairGM

LOL.

That wasn’t meant as an indictment of Neal, but a comment on the Oilers depth. This issue will begin to be rectified this summer.

flyfish1168

was that ever in question? lol

Last edited 5 months ago by flyfish1168
Reja

Neal still has hands and is able to do the hardest thing in hockey.

Cassandra

As a number of people have noted the pinch by Barrie wasn’t that bad, he had good support from McDavid but McDavid blew the coverage twice.

Sierra

We won’t have any of such objectivity around here. Barrie is a selfish and reckless parasite and you should know that.

Shane

Not to sound alarmists but Connor has a bit of a boo boo on his left index finger and I’m not worried about it you are!!

Its fine.

Its fine right?!!

OriginalPouzar

If it wasn’t fine, he wouldn’t be playing.

Sierra

Either that, or Barrie’s selfishness is rubbing off on him.

McSorley33

Yes, he injured it last night.

Montreal crew said – but did not show- that a finger was being taped up on the bench

OriginalPouzar

McDavid never missed a shift.

I can’t imagine its anything remotely serious or he would have been shut down for the game, no?

McSorley33

Agreed.

Gamma Cassiopeiae

He was putting on the foil. Playoff are around the corner.

godot10

 I think he’s hurt.

So he may be hurt, but selfishly plays on instead of getting healthy for the playoffs, because he knows Gehrig is in the pressbox.

Last edited 5 months ago by godot10
Shane

Somebody help Tippett! He’s being held hostage by the ‘point parasite’!!

Redbird62

You are about as closed minded a contributor to this site as I think is possible at least for anyone who is an actual fan of the team. Nothing Barrie does is ever right in your eyes. Good thing Tippett is far more open-minded.

godot10

I was right on Eakins. I was right on McLellan. I was right on Kassian. I was right on Petry, and all the Petry haters were wrong. I was right on Franson. I was right on Nurse, and all the Nurse haters were wrong. I was right on Draisaitl’s contract.

You just can’t handle the right answer.

Sierra

You have zero objectivity.

Last edited 5 months ago by Sierra
OriginalPouzar

If Barrie was legit “hurt”, he wouldn’t be playing these games – come on.

Litke 94

At this point, I’ll take either the Jets or the Canadiens in Round 1. If we can’t beat either of them, then we weren’t going to get much further anyways.

As it stands right now, Edmonton is 10 wins better on the season than Montreal, and a whopping 38 goals better in terms of goal differential. I know they have caused us fits at times this season, but 2 of those games were right at the start, which have about as much merit as the non-existent preseason at this point.

If we face Montreal, then so be it. Get a win in a competitive, physical series. You’ll end up either facing a Leafs team that likely rolled the Jets and so maybe haven’t been “tested” (love the intangibles) as much as they should have…. or by some miracle you are facing a Jets team that stunned Toronto, but who you hold a 7-2 edge on in the season series. Bring it on.

prefonmich

Agree with everything you said here. My biggest worry with Montreal is the physical toll the series might take. Remember the two games prior to this last one. They were fights to the death. McDavid and Drai didn’t wilt, in fact the opposite, but that ultra physical play will impact them. If we need to play Montreal 7 games it will definitely take its toll- especially their defence is vicious and Weber in particular seems to get away with murder.

Redbird62

Because Montreal secured the point, putting the final nail in Calgary’s coffin, tomorrow night’s game will only have meaning if Winnipeg loses tonight to Vancouver in regulation. That outcome is a very distinct possibility given that Winnipeg has lost 9 of its last 10 in regulation including to Vancouver last night. If Winnipeg does get at least one point, Montreal can only tie Winnipeg in points, and would lose the tie breaker. If Winnipeg loses in regulation, then Montreal needs a win of any kind against Edmonton to get the 2 points to jump ahead of Winnipeg and then would have to wait to see if Winnipeg loses to Toronto in regulation as again if Winnipeg secures a point in that game, they win the tie-breaker.

Last edited 5 months ago by Redbird62
Redbird62

So would people rather Winnipeg take care of things tonight, or would it be better for Winnipeg to lose and give Edmonton the incentive to beat Montreal to relegate Montreal to 4th?

Fuge Udvar

I want to see Winnipeg secure 3rd place. Less chance of injuries if both teams aren’t as motivated.

I expect them to roll the lines and fine tune their systems for the next two games.

pts2pndr

Much better if Winnipeg clinches third in tonight’s game! It makes the final games meaningless and as such the risk of injury or other stupidity less likely. Thanks for your measured posts and thoughts!

Keeper_13

I don’t care enough about the announcers to know their names or recognize their voices, but whoever was calling the game on the stream I watched last night was a)verbally fellating the officials and b)unable to mention Koskinen in any context without slagging him. I hope Koskinen can re-center himself and avoid a Tommy Salo-esque career implosion.

Profit

TSN feed?

McSorley33

That was Mike Johnson of TSN.

Mike could not believe that almost every shot was an adventure or a gift rebound.

I agree with you though he would not let up and was almost comedic about it.

I really like Johnson normally but he appeared to be taking delight in Koskinens’ problems for some reason.

McSorley33

Winnipeg has a mound of Good Year tires burning at Portage and Main…..going
1-9.

Montreal has gone 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and have injuries….

Anything can and does happen in the playoffs – but both Winnipeg and Montreal don’t look to be playing good hockey down the stretch here.

godot10

Carey Price won a round last year all by himself. Same scenario. Coming in after an extended break.

Rich M

And MTL is getting back Gallagher and Webber for the playoffs. Different team.

Oilman99

Monteal’s big,veteran, punishing defence is a major problem for the Oilers. Keep them in fourth place.

OriginalPouzar

Sure, Price could win a playoff series by himself but so can Mike Smith and Mike Smith has recently been very good in the playoffs and has been better than Price in aggregate this season, all season.

Price did have a great game against the Oilers recently but he’s also, over his career, struggled against the Oilers.

Nope, the Oilers didn’t dominate last night’s game, even with the Habs depleted by injury. At the same time, does anyone think that Oilers brought their high-intensity playoff style game last night? I sure don’t.

McDavid was giving 35% of his 2-way game and 45% of his offensive game and had less 5 on 5 minutes than some of the bottom six players.

The Habs played the Oilers well this year, in particular early but in the last 3 games, McDavid has 2 3-point periods and then a 2-point game without trying.

The Habs “could” beat the Oilers in a playoff series, absolutely, but its not likely given, well, Edmonton has proven to be a better hockey team this year. Its shown in their record, its shown in the regulation wins, its shown in the goal differential (-9 vs +31).

We don’t even need to consider their records and stats after the Oilers recovered from their poor 3-6 start and the Habs regressed after their hot start.

pts2pndr

Questionable if either will be 100%. They do make the team substantially better if they are fully healthy but that is questionable.

Redbird62

This pinch was not like the one the other day, where Barrie pinched without support, leading to a full fledged 2 on 1 and Tippett made specific reference to a bad decision to pinch after that game. Tippett and Playfair expect Barrie to pinch. The 2 criteria they would give him or any defender to pinch are does he have a reasonable expectation to get the puck and/or disrupt the play on the boards and does he have proper puck support. The second criteria is there because the first is not often 100%. The player won’t always win the pinch battle unless he is close to certain to get to the puck, so he should usually take the risk more often when he has back up.

McDavid was clearly above Jake Evans and was the support for Barrie to pinch. Barrie’s pinch did not directly lead to a two on one, it was McDavid’s attempt at knocking down Evans pass that allowed Evans to get the jump on him. With McDavid’s hand eye skill, it probably wasn’t unreasonable of him to think he could get the pass, but the conservative play would have been for him to stay with Evans. McDavid did manage to catch Letkonen, so it became just a one on one Evans on Nurse, though Nurse may not have realized that McDavid limited the Letkonen option and he overplayed Evans a little. Even postgame, McDavid indicated this game was not his best defensive effort, and that was the only goal against he could have influenced.

So all of Barrie, McDavid and Nurse made somewhat aggressive decisions, which the combined effect led to a goal against. Tippett will give that trio more freedom to take certain risks when they are all out there together because they generally have the skill to outscore opponents when playing that style. Without Draisaitl, those three have a GF/GA per 60 of 3.58/2.86 or a 55.86% goal share (its 67% when Drai is added to the mix).

godot10

Barrie’s pinch had no reasonable expectation to disrupt the play along the boards. It fails one of your criteria.

It was reckless. All it accomplished was taking himself out of position and out of the play, and his teammates scrambling to cover for him.

Redbird62

I’ll trust Tippett’s/Playfair judgement on what pinches are acceptable risk. No pinch is reckless if a forward is already back. McDavid shouldn’t have had to scramble since he was in good position. He also made the wrong decision.

Neumann

Great analysis. Add in an absolute rocket of a snipe. Does anyone believe Evans can stop on a dime and put that puck top shelf 50% of the time? Doubt it.

pts2pndr

I don’t think the coaching staff minds the puck going back through McDavid. The odds he knocks it down or deflects it causing a jailbreak the other way are pretty good. The game was also of much greater importance to Montreal.

Abbeef

No bias against Barrie here, right?

“crickets”

godot10

It isn’t personal Sonny. It’s just business.

geowal

I took the Milk Run from Westlock to Peace River once, that was a “fun” time.

just got my first jab at the Telus Centre in Calgary, what an impressive bit of organization that is. Feeling greatful to all who made it happen, far and wide.

Profit

Had mine there too. Very smooth process and everyone was super friendly. Great to see.

Sierra

Great win last night. A couple breakdowns contributed to goals against and the Oiler still won. Progress!

ArmchairGM

Jake Evans caught lightning in a bottle last night, just 10 points in 45 games leading up. The Habs will have to come out with a MUCH better effort in order to keep pace with the Oilers tomorrow night.

Oilman99

Montreal’s fourth line shredded the Oilers top line last night, its time to pay a little more attention to the defensive side of the game if they hope to have any success in the playoffs,

Doug McLachlan

So win on Wednesday afternoon and secure a series with Winnipeg starting next week. Do we have any confirmation that the Canadian series will include back-to-back games to get our schedule back in synch with the other three divisions?

Durag

I think the league is confident that Winnipeg and Montreal have become sufficiently terrible so as to not threaten a 6th game in their respective series. Very gracious of them.

N64

Would be fairer to start North playoffs before Van and Flames finish their playout.

Durag

Yeah, I don’t understand why they’re not doing this. I guess it’s to do with the TV schedule, but is anyone really going to watch the Flames and Dys play the Loserbowl?

Harpers Hair

Sponsors need to be made whole…follow the money.

Harpers Hair

Sounds like, from Bill Daly, that the North Division playoffs will start on May 19th in the evening after Calgary and Vancouver play in the afternoon.

OriginalPouzar

Unless they are cancelling Oilers/Canucks on Saturday afternoon (which they won’t be), the Oilers starting the playoffs on Wed is perfect.

As per coach, they will take Sunday off and then have two days to prepare for the playoffs.

3 days between the end of the regular season and game 1 of the playoffs is perfect.

McSorley33

TSN crew last night really highlighting some incredible goal scoring issues with
Montreal.

For all the hub bub about Josh Anderson to start the year – he has fallen off big time.

The mentioned Kotkaniemi kid is really, really, struggling to score again.
( only 5 goals)

I believe GeorgeX has touched on this a few times – but the habs are not good at scoring.

They need Gallagher back just to have a chance of any kind.

Foege Foegele Torpe

All of this is true & yet they still give Edmonton fits.
Montreal would be a very tough out in the playoffs

McSorley33

Oh, I agree.

Ice will be quicksand and interference will not be called.

On twitter – celebrating McDavid’s greatness this year – someone
pointed out McDavid was on the ice for almost 70% of ALL Oiler goals.

Just re-read some articles from our 2017 run.

McDavid was 3rd on our team for playoff scoring and was ‘swarmed’ both
by San Jose and Anaheim. ( Globe and Mail actually mentioned if what
happened to McDavid had occurred off ice – the police would be called)

Playoff hockey is very different.

JJS

Honest question – does last year count in the official books as ‘making the playoffs’?

BONE207

F%#&%#n Vid!!!

Doug McLachlan

The NHL says that it does. The Oilers have now qualified for two consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2000 and 2001.

Genjutsu

Finished second in the division both years and threatened at first both years.

godot10

They didn’t count the goals and assists as regular season points, but as playoff points.

Sierra

and Tyson Barrie pinches but Paul Byron makes a great pass to Evans and suddenly all three forwards and Barrie are trapped“

LT, all 3 forwards were not trapped. McDavid was exactly where he was required to be when a DMan pinches.

McSorley33

Josh Anderson pitched a no-no ( no hitter ) last night the Jake Evans line score 3 or 4 goals against our top line.

No Gallagher, no Weber, No Price, No Danault.

But, apparently, some feel this is good for getting ready for playoff hockey.

I can only imagine the ‘intensity’ in tomorrow’s game.

Edit: Tomorrow’s game

Last edited 5 months ago by McSorley33
Woodguy v2.0

EDM Goal Share after 54 games (34-18-2)

Even strength (5v5,4v4,3v3)
97 w/o 29 (31-31)-50%
29 w/o 97 (23-16)-59%
97 & 29 On (36-17)-68%
Turris(7-17)-29%
Other (21-34)-38%
Net EV +3

Special Teams:48-29
Net ST +19

Empty Net:12-3
Net EN +9

SO/PS 0-0
Net SO/PS 0

Net Goal Diff +31

Woodguy v2.0

The Woolco North Division standings May 11th using points percentage shown as points over/under fake Bettman .500

TOR +22
EDM+16
WPG +5
MTL + 3
CGY -3
VAN -5
OTT -6

BONE207

Ah Woolco…I used to buy all my records there. Now it’s Walmart

Last edited 5 months ago by BONE207
BONE207

Is say Koski took the milk run on the 3rd goal against. 6’8″…how can any puck get past him? Who thinks they planned it so Montreal could pick up the extra point to eliminate the fLames & have CONNOR get the winner? Time to get into playoff mode boys…

Oilman99

Koskinen 6’8” and can’t cover top half of the net. Everybody pray Smith stays healthy.

Rondo

Is it too early to ask Puljujarvi  vs. Laine

N64

nice. if you have to ask the question…

Last edited 5 months ago by N64
flyfish1168

If you just go with each player’s overall attitude and being coachable I would take JP.

OriginalPouzar

I’ve never been a big Laine fan – I acknowledge that he has one of the best shots in the NHL, not far off Ovi and Matthews, and is a skilled offensive player but damn he is inconsistent.

In any event, he is a former 44 goal scorer in the NHL and, essentially, the same age as Jesse. In that regard, its almost impossible to choose Jesse without some sort of Oilers bias even given the seasons each have had.

Right now the differentiating factor, for me, is that Jesse is signed for $1.2M next season whereas Laine is an RFA with a required qualifying offer of $7M.

Similar situation with Tkachuk, Matthew – who is due a $9M qualifying offer after next season.

hunter1909

Hunter1909’s Death March Playoff 2021

is here:

Please follow the link: 

https://oilersdeathmarch.com/marches/playoffs-2021/

Here’s all you have to do: 

1 – log in/register

2- predict number of Oilers playoff wins(called points on the home page)

3 – predict the tie breaker(explained on the homepage) 

Its easy!

Go Oilers!

Tarkus

Lowetide saith unto his followers:

You’d love to catch the express to the playoffs, but the milk run is the bus you’re on and so might as well win some games. First stop: Success.

comment image
Last edited 5 months ago by Tarkus