2020-21 Game 55: Oilers at Canadiens

by Lowetide

Many believe the best No. 3 center in the Connor McDavid era in Edmonton was Ryan Strome. He scored 9-10-19 boxcars five on five in 1014:05 (1.27 pts-60) and went 35-40 goal differential. Can Ryan McLeod come close to those numbers next season?

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.

  • Lowetide: How the Oilers can improve their depth in a trade with the Rangers
  • 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
  • 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 55 GAMES

  • Oilers in 2015-16: 21-29-5, 47 points; goal differential -31
  • Oilers in 2016-17: 29-18-8, 66 points; goal differential +10
  • Oilers in 2017-18: 23-28-4, 50 points; goal differential -27
  • Oilers in 2018-19: 24-26-5, 53 points; goal differential -20
  • Oilers in 2019-20: 29-20-6, 64 points; goal differential +1
  • Oilers in 2020-21: 34-18-2, 70 points; goal differential +22

The Jets win last night means the final two games don’t matter. However, Edmonton’s current winning percentage (.648, even though it’s really .630) is the best number since 1987 according to Hockeydb. No matter how unusual the format, this team delivered a fantastic result against the schedule presented. It has been a memorable year.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM 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

Edmonton has covered my bet, have to say the run after 3-6-0 (31-12-2) has been just about the most fun I can recall during the regular season. When was the last time this team rattled off four winning months in a row?

BRAND NEW DAY

Now, we have to talk about something hockey fans have known for over 100 years: Searing heartbreak and the feeling of have been run over by a Mack truck after a loss in a playoff game or series.

The first post on this blog after the G7 2006 loss was called Brand New Day and featured Jari Kurri in a Scottish kilt. I talked about the things that mattered, about family and the good women who save all the clowns. I told you that I watched the last two periods of Game 7 with the sound down, my wife sitting beside me and distracting me with talk of the kids and the summer holidays ahead. Kindness is remembered, friends.

It’s a game. It’s a leisure activity. It isn’t a heart attack or cancer or Covid-19. Chances are the 2021 NHL playoffs are going to knock you right on the ass and then pierce your heart with a pain that you will never forget. Why do normally reasonable humans put themselves through this? To feel alive, to experience the thrill of victory after decades of the agony of defeat.

NO. 3 CENTERS SINCE 2015

Using faceoffs as a proxy, here are the No. 3 centers each season in Edmonton ranked by five on five pts-60 (all numbers five on five):

  • Jujhar Khaira 2020-21: 9:42 TOI; 1.79 pts-60; 48.2 percent goal differential
  • Ryan Strome 2017-18: 12:03 TOI; 1.46 pts-60; 47.1 percent goal differential
  • Mark Letestu 2016-17: 9:20 TOI; 1.4 pts-60; 50.0 percent goal differential
  • Mark Letestu 2017-18: 8:37 TOI; 1.16 pts-60; 34.2 percent goal differential
  • Riley Sheahan 2019-20: 10:07 TOI; 0.9 pts-60; 31.5 percent goal differential
  • Kyle Brodziak 2018-19: 9:43 TOI; 0.7 pts-60; 32.6 percent goal differential
  • Mark Letestu 2015-16: 10:54 TOI; 0.6 pts-60; 29.6 percent goal differential

I count Strome as being more valuable, but Khaira this year and the 2016-17 version of Letestu are in the conversation. Ryan McLeod is averaging 10:34 at five on five, has an 0.63 pts-60 and 33 percent goal differential. I think he might be the No. 3 center next season, perhaps sharing the role with Khaira. Do you agree?

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we deliver the Lowdown in front of a rare afternoon edition of Oilers hockey. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will discuss this article and what we’ve been watching this season. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk NBA, NHL and MLB and about changes in betting in Canada and what that might mean to things like reporting injuries. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

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DevilsLettuce

Woooooo Oilers hosting the Jets!

All Canadian battle with the best two players in the world today on a mission to make good for a miserable bubble.

Mike Smith’s vezina consideration season matched with a solidified defense.

A new generation of Jets fan are about to experience what their elders wake up with cold sweats from.

Kudos to some other teams around the league for being good, they’re definitely going to need to bring their best. Harper’s kiss of death seems to be undefeated.

jp

Be cool if the Oilers make it far enough for those Vegas/Avs updates to have any relevance at all.

Harpers Hair

Looks like Colorado is taking this Presidents Trophy thing seriously.

Leading LA 5-0 halfway through the second…shots 22-8.

Harpers Hair

Make that 6-0,still in the second.

defmn

Old news. 6-0 now.

Harpers Hair

Not to be outdone but Vegas leads San Jose 4-0…shots 35-13.

OriginalPouzar

Meaningless given the bottom-feeding teams – imagine getting to play Anaheim and San Jose 8-9 times?

McDavid has almost as many points as Anaheim has team goals.

Harpers Hair

Imagine getting to play Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa 8-9 times.

Are the Iraqis still winning the war Bob?

defmn

Ottawa surprised me this year. They still make the kind of mistakes that cost games but that group has a lot of talent imo.

Harpers Hair

Yep…and there is another layer coming.
Lets hope Melnyk doesn’t find a way to screw it up.

pts2pndr

That’s quite a switch from the free spot on the bingo card that you called them earlier in the year.

Bank Shot

Yeah Next year the Oilers will get to play Calgary, Vancouver, LA, SJ, and Anaheim a whole bunch of times. Should be fun to hear you cry about it nightly.

Harpers Hair

You have no idea what those teams will look like next year.

OriginalPouzar

Much tougher than SJ/ANA or BUF/NJ.

pts2pndr

So you are actually admitting Vancouver is a shit team. You are quite the bandwagon jumping, self anointed super smart hockey fan.

McNuge93

Havent you heard, he’s an Avs fan now.

Material Elvis

As bad as Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver (glad you finally admit it, btw) are, they would be ahead of the California teams and possibly Arizona. Take a look at the goal differentials: Cgy -11, Ari -23, Lak-23, Ott -33, Van -34, SJ -48, Ana -53(!). I can’t wait to watch the Oilers run roughshod over the Pacific next year.

greenshifter

Well done OP 😉

DevilsLettuce

You repeatedly told everyone this season for as long as you possibly could that rubber is going to meet the road and the better teams that are Calgary and Vancouver will prevail. Like usual, you’re still lost in your one man war.

meanashell11

But you said the rubber was going to hit the road when Edmonton played them??? Why don’t you just leave, you are not liked nor wanted here.

godot10

A whole lot of dementoring going on in Orange County.

Reja

Kiss of death goaltending will sink them against Vegas.

Harpers Hair

Vegas now up 5-0 in the third…shots 41-15.

Harpers Hair

Vegas wins wins 6-0…shots 44-19.

Harpers Hair

Colorado wins 6-0.

Shots 37-18.

Rebillled

Be nice to have a chance for more wins than the lerfs this season. Go Centaurs.

Tarkus

I enjoy this misspelling of ‘Leafs’.

Requesting permission to use it without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball.

wolf8888

1-0 Sens 🙂

Dre

“Well Louie, think about the snowball Lauren Holly took from Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber” – Jack Michael’s May 12, 2021.

Dre

Jack is guaranteed for atleast one gem per game.

TheGreatBigMac

LOL it’s the “Well Louie” that makes it funny. Like it what context would that comment be a relevant observation.

Dre

I think he was comparing it to the ice Smith took to the face. Lol. His references are gold sometimes.

N64

Coach on Smith: He got some snow in his eye. He’s OK.

Last edited 4 months ago by N64
OriginalPouzar

Matty asked about Koekkoek and Tip said there is a chance he plays on Saturday – doctors have cleared him for games.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid played a total of 15:12 today – all game states.

ArmchairGM

Since January 28, the day their 3-6-0 start ended, the Oilers have been the 3rd best team in the league.

COL .739
VGK .719
EDM .717
CAR .712
PIT .708
MIN .707
FLA .692
TOR .689
TBL .667
WAS .667

This team is legit.

Bling

Other reasons to be bullish:

1) Bottom six turnaround with subtraction of Turris (who played reasonably well today, I thought) and increased scoring from Neal+Chiasson.

2) Elite special teams. PK has been on fire for awhile now.

3) 97 and 29 are better.

4) Kulikov – Larsson working as a second pairing.

5) Nuge + Yamo = due for EV heaters.

McNuge93

Wasnt someone saying recentle tge Oilers had a poor record against top teams in tge division? They have a losing record against only one team…the Leafs.

Our Edmonton Operation

Kahuna Matata! No worries. Nice hunch by Tippett to play the German attack and rest McDavid.

wolf8888

7 straight road wins. The longest streak in decades. kinda cool

wolf8888

and the leafs have to win their last 2 in regulation just to tie the Oil in RW

Bling

Dominik Kahun, goals/82 games:

Year 1 – 13.0
Year 2 – 17.5
Year 3 – 15.4 (assuming he doesn’t score in the last game)

The assists disappeared this season, but that’s a pretty solid year from a guy with ~900k cap hit and no powerplay time.

EDIT – hockeydb fast to update. Year 3 not 16.7 but 15.4.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bling
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

meanashell11

I think I have 75. Here’s to a win Saturday! Sorry VanIsleOil!

N64

Will finish between 72 and 74 ;points

Strapping Jocks

Yeah, that’s me! I thought the 73 points might be a wild spitball after those first handful of games. Glad they’ve had an amazing ride since then.

VanIsleOil

..haha… I put my entry in very early when I was optimistic for the Oil. Entry deadline was after a few games when the Oil were struggling, and most who entered then hedged on lower points.Great turnaround for the Oil

jzed

Herculean network effort to hype two meaningless games

Crazy Pedestrian

With those two points, Barrie is now the leader in points for D-men. Possibly top three in Norris voting now. (Would probably still vote for Makar, that guy is unreal good)

He’s going to command $7M on the market. Good for him, but out of oilers budget.

Last edited 4 months ago by Crazy Pedestrian
OriginalPouzar

Very good production from Barrie this season – while I can see him getting the odd 5th place vote, I don’t imagine Barrie will be in the top 3 – probably not even the top 10.

I think Nurse may finish around 5th or so in voting.

Reja

Don’t you receive some bonus money if you finish top 3 in the Norris votes?

OriginalPouzar

Not unless you are on an ELC (with Sched B performance bonuses) or a 35 plus contract with the required bonus potential.

Performance bonuses are not permitted in any other type of contract.

leadfarmer

Hedman – undeservedly
Fox
Makar

Crazy Pedestrian

Those three were who I had picked for Norris finalists a couple weeks back as well

Bling

Seems like Barrie is a natural fit for Seattle.

I think Makar will win the Norris. Unbelievable skater.

OriginalPouzar

My hope (fantasy) is that the Kraken sign Barrie during their courting window and he’s their Oilers’ choice.

Bling

If that happens that is a picture perfect one year acquisition by Holland.

Kraken will need a powerplay quarterback and are one of the few teams with some cash on hand to make it happen. Gotta think he’d get at least 6 per year given that Krug is at 6.5. You’d think Kraken would make a hard pitch for Hamilton first.

N64

My nightmare is Kraken claim an exposed Klef and sign Nuge and Larsson when UFA opens.

Reality should be somewhere between fantasy and nightmare.

Sierra

No way Barrie is even possibly top three in Norris voting.

jm363561

All now waiting for Godot.

theDjdj

Would hope that Kahn starts warming up now. Seems his scoring pace has picked up recently

Yeti

Wrath of Kahn???

Gerta Rauss

comment image

jzed

That celli was for SawRot

BornInAGretzkyJersey

“Now that is a TASTY burger!”

Way to go Big Kahuna.

Bling

I am bullish on Kahun!

Sierra

Parasite

OriginalPouzar

Beauty pass by Drai to Kahun for the win – Barrie with the secondary!

OriginalPouzar

Another point milked!

JOFA

They get to practice their 3 on 3 OT for the playoffs😉

OriginalPouzar

Damn, Darnell with a lazer off the bar.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Classic JJ on that sequence.

Textbook PK work.

VanIsleOil

Mike Johnson vomits red white and bleu…

OriginalPouzar

Well, he is on the regional Habs broadcast…..

OriginalPouzar

If they kill this off, do they go load up like normal?

OriginalPouzar

answer, yes.

jzed

Phantom hooking , refs are getting good reps for the playoffs

OriginalPouzar

Oilers have committed a number of infractions that weren’t called – in my opinion.

jzed

As have the Habs, I guess my point is that phantom calls leaves the players with no clue. Allows primo game management. Not that they do that , mind you…

OriginalPouzar

Smith looks like he’s “inebriated”.

Ugh, there is the PK we knew is coming.

Shore with the shortie?

OriginalPouzar

Not really in need of extra hockey today……

I would request that McDavid or Drai engage gear 3 and win the game in next few minutes.

jzed

Caleb takes another major mistake leading to a grade a chance/goal. Kid is snakebit

Bling

The discrepancy between Jones’ xGF and GF is explained on that one play.

Good player moving the puck, but when a mistake happens it’s a 5 bell alarm.

godot10

He is still only at 92 games. Some patience is still warranted.

Bling

For sure. Lots to like, but mistakes like that can be killer in the playoffs.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

That was ugly.

OriginalPouzar

LT’s Suzuki love increasing.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

In addition to Louie saying something like “shooter mentality” or “in the battle/battle level” add Mike Smith dropping his stick to the list of the Oilers broadcast drinking game.

We should come up with a list for playoffs.

OriginalPouzar

Much safer than playing that game with Roloson……. alcohol poisoning would result.

OriginalPouzar

McDavid remains 9th among Oiler forwards in 5 on 5 ice.

Top 6 TOI at evens, all the d-men.

jzed

Gino riffs on the bacon quip, classic

jzed

Frying bacon without a shirt , 😎

OriginalPouzar

Better period, give or take that one PP (tough to complain when the PP has scored twice, although is only plus 1….).

BornInAGretzkyJersey

A Primeau effort by The Germanator.

theDjdj

Really enjoying Chiasson game over the last 15

Reja

chiasson has covered his bet from day 1 he sure took a lot of shit and abuse for a guy making 2.1 million.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Covered his bet how?

He’s being paced by Kahun who is making less than half.

I like Chiasson and his steady, veteran influence, but he’s overpaid. He should have come in at $1.25-1.75M on a one year deal and after last season he would have been around what Kahun is making. That little bit adds up over time.

OriginalPouzar

PK should get some work in shortly….

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Nice of Mike Johnson to give props to Leon for some incredible recent seasons on a P/GM basis, mentioned that Connor and Leon together hold 5/9 top spots in the last few years and didn’t relegate Leon’s acumen to playing with Connor. Said Leon’s incredible production is being lost in the shuffle with all the attention Connor gets.

OriginalPouzar

That would be an ugly PP goal for this group.

jzed

McDavid sees that hooking penalty and laughs his ass off

OriginalPouzar

I think the Oilers are getting this one Jack.

OriginalPouzar

Ooop, I be wrong.

Bling

Smith looked real shaken up after that.

theDjdj

Good opportunity to get some Koski game time. Sit Smith. Bloke is an absolute warrior you’d have to drag him off he’d never say anything