2020-21 Playoffs Game Three: Oilers at Jets

by Lowetide

The game starts at 5:30 tonight, I expect we’ll know Edmonton’s fate by 6pm local time. If the Oilers have no answers for the stack ’em and rack ’em at the blue line Jets, expect frustrated faces on the Oilers bench and another 1-0 or 2-1 game.

Sometimes your eyes tell you what you want to see, but I thought Connor McDavid started to push the river by the second period of Game Two. After feeling his way into the series during the first four periods, 97 looked more like himself. If my lyin’ eyes are telling the truth, this should be a fun evening for Oilers fans.


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’s the latest!


I have been watching the Toronto Maple Leafs with interest since Kyle Dubas took over as GM in May of 2018, and especially since Sheldon Keefe was announced as coach in November 2019. Why?

The NHL is a copycat league. The team that wins the Stanley this year will set the tone for summer shopping. The teams with the best chance to win this season (Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes) are strong on analytics and a pile of teams in the middle are also paying attention. It hasn’t moved the analytics needle here.

In parts of Canada, like Edmonton, it’s still knit one, purl two. The only way that changes in Edmonton, in my opinion, is for a Canadian team that has an analytics department to win Stanley. That may pressure change.

Edmonton’s bottom-six has been a black hole for a long time. One of the reasons it is currently a mess is the devotion to special teams. James Neal and Alex Chiasson are the PP options from the third and fourth lines, and pretty much all the rest are PK men. It means the five on five scoring gets a little lost. Here are the five on five points per 60 totals for the line Tippett deployed in Game One against Winnipeg:

  • Kahun (1.22); McDavid (3.58); Puljujarvi (1.53)
  • Nuge (1.15); Draisaitl (2.64); Yamamoto (1.28)
  • Neal (1.44); McLeod (0.56); Kassian (0.97)
  • Archibald (0.85); Khaira (1.67); Chiasson (1.29)

Main PK men are Archibald (2:10), Khaira (1:57), Nuge (1:54) and McLeod (1:05). Tyler Ennis (1.54 pts-60 five on five) would be a more substantial winger offensively, but half of the bottom six forward group PK and two more are on the PP. Kassian could be replaced but my guess is another PK man like Devin Shore or Gaetan Haas draw in over Ennis. Now, Toronto:

  • Hyman (2.14); Matthews (3.05); Marner (3.07)
  • Foligno (2.08); Tavares (2.22); Nylander (2.31)
  • Thornton (1.53); Spezza (3.11); Simmonds (0.95)
  • Kerfoot (1.63); R Nash (0.87); Mikheyev (1.29)

PK men are Hyman, Marner, Mikheyev, Kerfoot and now Foligno. I imagine Nash will draw in, too. The fourth-line totals are comparable, but Toronto has a major edge on the third line (and three skill wingers Edmonton can’t match).

Put another way, here’s a quick comparison using Edmonton’s centers and Toronto’s pivots five on five goal differentials:

  • McDavid (64-48, +16); Matthews (54-29, +25)
  • Draisaitl (55-33, +22); Tavares (37-28, +9)
  • Khaira/Turris (21-33, -12); Kerfoot (23-22, +1)
  • Haas/McLeod (8-15, -7); Spezza (24-19, +5)

I understand no Oilers fan is going to cheer for the TML. Believe me, I understand. But if you consider the amount of talent on Toronto’s roster, and how Edmonton populates the bottom-six forwards, it’s a gap analytics could identify in about three minutes.

I’m not anti-Holland, nor anti-Tippett. However, without a strong analytics department, not just gathering but most important identifying the way forward, the Oilers are a 1975 furniture store. The big decision is what colour they should choose for the delivery van, when the biggest question is should they pursue Blake Coleman or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in free agency.

Tyler Ennis sits, Zack Kassian plays. Whatever Dave Tippett is looking at today, it’s the wrong information. The Oilers are “going the wrong way” in the same way as John Candy and Steve Martin were in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

“How does he know which way we’re going?” Martin famously asked. Finally we have the answer. Kassian in over Ennis, and if they do pull Kassian expect Shore or Haas.

The Oilers need help. Perhaps Toronto does them a favour.


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Notwithstanding what happens today or the result of this season, I think we should remember how much excellent hockey the Oilers have played this season, giving us all the opportunity to escape our locked-down status. The team has been entertaining. The team has worked hard. The Stanley Cup is just the cherry on top (and not the Don Cherry, thank goodness). We have had lots of little treats along the way to where we are now. We surely must appreciate the numerous moments of excitement that this team has given us the opportunity to enjoy over the last five months. The future is bright regardless of what happens today. Those who salivate at the opportunity to say the sky is falling when it is not should take a moment to examine their own imperfections.


Great post!

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

Whelp. At least the Oilers have a solid GM who is both creative and innovative to fill in the holes this off-season. Oh wait…


Today’s game is an opportunity to write a new story, not the depressing and tedious task of trying to fix or revise an old story that is full of the scent of failure.


Failures or losses are tremendous learning opportunities. The Oilers should be a better team today because they suffered such a painful loss yesterday, if they learn the hard lesson.


The last time I checked, you still have to win one game at a time to win the Stanley Cup. The past does not matter; the last three games do not matter. What matters is playing today’s game to win, because you still must win one game at a time to win the Stanley Cup. Play each game as well as you can, and if you deserve the Cup you will win it. The Oilers can still do that, beginning today, because the past does not really matter. Now it is about psychology and execution, not about Art Ross trophies or fancy stats. Go out there and win today, and win each game after that, one at a time. Incremental steps toward a complete achievement. Do it. Focus on one game at a time and be the best that you can be. Now go and do it.


Oilers are what they are.

Reg season. Delivered.

Post season. Great games, things got lost. The things get electrified cause 2-3 games. Playoffs.

New emerging talent in playoffs?

Was ovi not Crosby untill a cup? Yes.

Oilers fans are seeing development in management.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Regular season. Wasted. FTFY.

Backup goalie and goalie waiver clusterfuck. Have no idea what we have, if anything, in Stalock. We have nothing in Koski and Smith will be 40. AHL guys, who knows?

Bouchard sits and sits and sits. So we get all his rookie mistakes next year when the pressure will be HUGE to go deep into the playoffs. Or even worse, we repeat the mistake and use forward/goalie money to re-sign Barrie.

Benson and Marody on value contracts, but can they play in the NHL? Opportunity to find out wasted. Two potentially useful assets will likely be flushed, but not to worry. We can always sign more Turris types to bring a veteran presence. Can’t be playing two rookie forwards and a rookie D while chasing Stanley.

Thank God for JP this year. He made huge strides. Can you imagine this team without him?

Post Season. Great games, things got lost? Huh?

The post season showed, once again, that Tip is a fatally flawed coach. He has been completely outcoached by Maurice. Forget deficiencies in strategy and tactics, is it too much to expect him to call a fucking time out when the team is bleeding out on the ice? Time to go, Dave.


I like Tippett but the handling of Bouchard is bizarre a top 10 pick with pedigree that’s done everything asked of him gets benched for practically a entire season when he should of been developing. I’ve yet to hear the reasoning besides the standard bunk that there’s just no room for him.


Apologies for the length of this, thought I’d give it a try…..

To paraphrase Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, amateur soldiers debate tactics, professionals talk logistics. To me, the hockey analogy may run as follows (and no offence is intended here): amateurs focus on tactics and lines, but player procurement is where the focus should be. And in this regard, the Oilers are still paying for the Peter Chiarelli era.

I don’t need to rehash all the moves, most of us here can recite the list by heart, but the lowlights are:

-Griffin Reinhart (37 career NHL games) for a 1st and a 2nd;
-Taylor Hall;
-Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome, who begat Ryan Spooner, who begat…..nothing;
-massive overpay contracts to Lucic, Sekera & Koskinen;
-Justin Schultz for a 3rd round pick;
-Brandon Manning deal.

That’s a lot of talent sent out of town, usually in a panicked, reactionary fashion. Watching tonight’s game, we could have used a few of the players listed above.

Given the list of shame above, since being hired two years ago, what Ken Holland has been able to do with the dumpster fire of cap hell and lack of talent has been, all in all, pretty good IMO. He’s gotten creative with some of his signings (Haas, Nygard, Kahun) as there wasn’t a lot else he could do other than go bargain shopping. The track record isn’t without blemishes (AA trade anyone?), but to me player procurement has gotten better under Holland’s watch. Some things need to get better, such as pro scouting, and I’d love to see a real investment in analytics by the Oilers (even though I don’t understand much of it) as it’s the way the game is going. The Kassian and Turris contracts stick out as money not-so-well spent, at least to my eye.

This team, as currently built, is making chicken salad out of chicken kaka. It relies way too heavily on the top end talent, and will need some of the prospects to pay off in a big way. Next offseason is key for Holland – nail it, and this team will put the Decade of Darkness in the rearview permanently. Mess it up…..well, we’ve seen it messed up before.

Now, about those lines…..

Chelios is a Dinosaur

The DOD is over, this is a playoff team. What were are witnessing is an adolescence, complete with disappointment, growing pains, and what feels like betrayal. Adolescence has been extended because of Chiarelli for sure, and Holland needs to graduate this team to adulthood this summer.



Archibald gets a hearing for the clip on Stanley. Do they go with Neal or Chiasson again, or someone else if he gets suspended?


Does it matter?


Mike Smith has had his ass handed to him by Hellebuyck. There is no way you can compare their results in the series and say otherwise.


Seeing lots of hate for Tippet and Nuge for some reason. Not sure where that’s coming from. This is an incomplete team and we all know it. But we should beat the Jets because we’re better. We outplayed them for much of the series and we still lose. I think McDavid and Drai should take ownership of this game. They were awful to end the game and the OT. They’re great players and hopefully they learn from this. 


They are probably tired at OT playing the minutes they played.

Their 3 goals should have been enough to earn a W on most nights. Just not tonight.


Many people in here set the bar really low this playoff because it was
an incomplete team,

But, the bar was set to at least beat the Jets in round 1.

Forget wining the series, we are in jeopardy of not winning a single game.

Forgive me if I am mistaken, I thought you said you would be disappointed if the team with McDavid did not win at least the first round?


Yes, I will be disappointed if we lose the series. We are the better team. I’m even more disappointed in the way the game ended with McDavid and Drai basically crapping the bed. They needed to be leaders in the final 10 minutes of that game.


All I’m going to say about this nonsense is that a whole bunch of Oilers UFA conversations just got a whole lot stranger because of this series.

I’ll happily take the miracle of them becoming the fifth team in NHL history to come back from where they are, but I’m mostly thinking about the discussions with agents, at this point.

For what little it’s worth, my take is that Holland has done mostly what could be done, given the hand he was dealt by Chiarelli. The crux is this coming off season.


Makes selling the Oilers to potential incoming UFAs harder that’s for sure. We’ve got a little spending money but I’m not sure this off-season is going to be a panacea. I’m setting my expectations hopefully low, one good UFA on a decent contract that fills a need, no additional bad contracts. I could be happy with that.

I’d rather steady growth over one step forward, two steps back kind thing.


I was thinking of writing a “How to beat the Oilers in the playoffs ” book. But then realized it would only be one page long and also found out every other team owns a similar book….

90s fan

I have been entertained that’s for sure. Although the entertainment has come at a price. Still, I’ll take the gut wrench along with the rest, and keep on watching.

But damn, I’d rather be watching with friends and drinks.

unca miltie

The sun will rise tomorrow, we may not see it because of the rain but it will be there. This one hurts a lot but I will watch again tomorrow. This is as close at the Miracle on Manchester as one can get. I remember being stunned after that game and this one comes close. As I read other comments, I see bag of bucks beat me to it. Almost 40 years ago and I still remember that feeling

Last edited 3 months ago by unca miltie
Material Elvis

A little Ricky Nelson Lonesome Town and several shots of whiskey should cheer me up!


LT will bring a calm, measured approach to the blog tomorrow


Sooooo Mad 😡


comment image


The odds of a series comeback are

….. 2%


So you’re saying there’s a chance…..


Before MacT replaced As GM
-Pick for Mcdavid, Draisaitl,
-Trade for Pick 16: Scout group had identified Barzal
-Arranged trade for Top 5 +ve save% Talbot.
Laggesson: : Top drafted def d prospect in 2 decades.
Nurse (Top def d with proper coaching)
Benning our best Def Prospect in 2 Decades
-Got top High danger Open shot Def Dman
Ferrence before 1st oiler ssn injury!

he had in place
1 Top 15 Open shotnSave% goalie
5 top 60 Dmen in the future.
3 Potential Lindsey caliber centers: Draisaitl, Mcdavid, Pick 16
2 Elite DZ FO skill volume, Bench hchange with out Possesion volume, And Special PK Goal diff, specialist Centers Hendricks & Gordon
The same Quality champ Core roster structure as exp FLD & VGK
All he had to do was have a Strong HD open shot reduction def sys Coach like himself.

He signs Eakins.
3fwd – 1D over pressure in Off zone Coach driven by flawed Corsi analytic love in TOR MSM. fuck!
which lead to a high volume of 2 on 1, 3 on 1, 2 on 0, 3 on 0.

Fayne a NJ HD open Shot def D factory product called out the defensive lunacy!
Similiar to Elite NJ Factory Product Souray (An elite Low% goal mistake count/30 shifts 1 st comp Dman) had done. (Almost no mistakes but each was a highlight reel)

If MacT had signed himself we would not have had Mcdavid
But Drai, Barzal, RNH, Hall, Eberle would not have been bad.


On a positive note, the Oilers were very good in periods 1, 2, and the first 10 minutes of the third.

Here’s a mind-blowing stat on that third period: Oilers had 60% of the scoring chances and 80% of the high danger chances at evens. It was just a few stupid, stupid plays that sunk everything.


It’s true. They’re doing a ton of things right.

They just need to learn how to win. Still.

With that they ARE unlucky to be down 0-3.

Small solace right now, but it is true.

Scungilli Slushy

Critical errors have been their Achilles heel for a long time.

With all the player verbal which always worries me, I’m thinking walk the walk.

Bag of Pucks

McDavid’s Oilers have their Miracle in Manchester moment.

That loss will haunt them for a long long time. Brutal.


So we win the Cup 2 years later!

Hate to say it. But a Loss like this can serve a lesson down the road …. when they are ready to win a Cup

Last edited 3 months ago by jtblack

The entire time I’ve been watching this team (2010) it’s been just constant lessons…. Maybe they’ll finally learn from one of them


The entire time I’ve been watching this team (2010) it’s been just constant lessons…. Maybe they’ll finally learn from one of them

If you’ve only been watching since 2010 then it should be clear the lessons learned are becoming more important. No?


That sounds about right with Koskinen coming off the contract nad they have a shot to get a real goalie.


We don’t even have Gary Unger to blame….

Gerta Rauss

I was hoping the Chicago series was the Manchester moment


Or the Anaheim one 😐

New Improved Darkness

Summer always seems to arrive early in the far north these days. Perhaps we should rename this team the Edmonton Alert. (The reference would be purely geographical.)
[*] Airport code YLT. A spot of motivated dyslexia lands you in the tropical paradise of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (airport code YTL), where you can now trout fish in the big lake throughout most of the year without even needing an ice saw, yet still remote enough that your monthly status reports won’t be missed for a year or two. Pure bliss.


Mike Smith was a cool story this year. However, if you watch the way he plays, there is too much movement, he is too manic. Great goalies, like Winnipeg’s, have economy of movement and a calmness. It’s nice that he keeps himself in good shape, but goaltending is mainly reflexes and his just aren’t what they need to be any more. Goaltending is our main problem, blaming anything else is nonsense. Yes we don’t have the deepest team but an elite goaltender takes this team to the conference finals at minimum.

Gerta Rauss

Oy vey that’s a lot of down votes..!

Last edited 3 months ago by Gerta Rauss

I got it beat. Shoot that messenger!


Can we be that team that wins 4 in a row now? It’s impossible to see. I can definitely see us winning tomorrow…and maaaaaaybe the next one. But another 2 after that? That’s almost impossible at this point…

We have now lost in regulation by a “come from behind”. We lost in overtime to a “bounce either way wins it”. And now we just lost to a “complete disaster/meltdown/sit back and watch the other team come back from 3 goals in the third and win in overtime while down 2 games in a playoff series”.

Where do you even draw any hope to out-play the other team for 4 games? And 4 games in a row? If we get down even one single goal in any of the next 4…you can just imagine this team folding and accepting their fate.
And this can’t be our mindset when you have THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD on your roster.

Being an Oilers fan…is what makes me a man.


We have lost 8 of 9 playoff games since the Kesler rip off goal and Duck comeback, we may win one,maybe, something is wrong in the water.


I am growing a playoff beard good thing I only have one more game then it comes off. It’s getting itchy


6 seasons into Connor McDavid’s NHL career his 2nd line center is a rookie who has never scored a goal in the NHL


His second line centre should be Nuge but 10 years into his career the coach doesn’t use him there in a critical playoff game. Not sure if that’s an indictment of the coach, the player or both.


I give Edm credit. I thought they played a great game. Needed a Save.


They got plenty of saves.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

They played two great periods and then shit the bed in the third. That is not a great game. If you insist on handing out a great game award, the Jets are the winners.


JETS got 4 goals from players not on the top line. That is depth. Ehlers is an Assassin and in 2nd line and 2nd PP unit.

So dissapointing. KH knows we need a bit more scoring.

Harpers Hair

A bit?


A wee bit. like 3 players 🤣

Harpers Hair

Yeah…that should do it. 🙂


They neded to bring in a proven 20-25 goal scorer. Then on mcd’s wing and PP1 there is a chance that guy is a 30 -35 goal scorer


They neded to bring in a proven 20-25 goal scorer. Then on mcd’s wing and PP1 there is a chance that guy is a 30 -35 goal scorer


That sounds so much like RNH.

Which is why I’d be just as happy sticking with RNH.

I’m fine with moving on as well, but you know, you never know what you’re going to get.

Seismic Source

My team has Mcdavid on it and im starting to think im not getting enough return on my investment into hockey. This team doesnt deserve anymore emotional currency from me.
If I want to see disapointment I can find that from a multitude of different sources.

Enjoy the summer. Waste no time on this.

Bill Clinternet

At least we can watch Taylor Hall playing in the 2nd round of the playoffs


Hall is on the 2nd line.

Again depth. Go Hallsy


This overtakes the bike lane controversy in this city.


I honestly thought Tippett’s job was secure, no matter what happened this series…even if we were swept. I felt like the he would have to lose in another 1st round series or have a terrible regular season next year to be fired…but I find myself wondering if his job didn’t just go up in smoke with that 3 goal lead in the last 8 minutes of the 3rd down 2-0 in the series. Probably not, but he may deserve it.


A brave organization would have fired Tippett after Game 2.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

Way past time to admit EDM will never go deep in the playoffs with Tip as the coach. This needs to be fixed ASAP while there are some Maurice class options available.


Maybe exactly why Tip gets crap/inexperienced teams into the playoffs…then gets the boot when his job is done.
It’s tough to see him staying here if we get swept this year.


Maybe exactly why Tip gets crap/inexperienced teams into the playoffs…then gets the boot when his job is done.


His only 2 head coaching jobs before the Oilers were Dallas and Phoenix/Arizona. Neither even remotely fit this narrative.


You’re right…my bad.

I just remember him making ARZ a playoff team and a contender for a couple seasons. Didn’t realize he coached them for so long tho…thought he got canned after not making the playoffs after their conference final run.


It’s cool, I had to look it up myself. But no, that isn’t Tippett’s resume.

It is interesting though (good, I guess?) that he’s lasted 6 and 8 years in his 2 previous gigs. I’m don’t know the average HC tenure, but pretty certain Tippett’s have been longer. Again, I **think** that’s a good thing…


I feel like they give Tippett another season with some more depth. Knowing Holland’s known patience and history of so many coaches. I think these are Nuges last games in Oilers silks though.


EDM needed a SAVE. sry.

Big boyz showed up. Got support scoring. Need some Saves


Really, this is on Smith?


Who you got it on? Needed to shut the door in the 3rd


Why does it have to be on one player?


They did need to shut the door. Many did not.


Ah yes, if only Koskinen had played so that we could have lost the game in the first.

90s fan

Gut wrenching. Heart breaking. I thought we played so well this game…. ugh.

Not shameful, not embarrassing. That’s just the hurt talking.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

A reminder that it is possible to beat Winnipeg 4 times in a row.

I mean, it remains one game at a time…

I’ll watch.


if the prevailing thought from the first 2 games persists, that the games were decided by lucky bounces, then the Oilers are done.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

If they lose, they’re done.

1 game at a time means there is nothing prevailing.


it’s amazing that this team keeps replacing players but the outcome is the same


Pretty absurd game management from Tipp right on through to the players.

Archibald can’t take that penalty. That is so silly. He had a good game, too, but you are just asking for it making a play like that. Completely selfish.

Tipp has to take the TO; was he thinking he’d save it in case they were down by 1 with a minute left? That is an outrageously bad decision.

McDavid, who is obviously a wonderful player, can’t weakly throw the puck up the boards with time and space on the game tying goal. He could’ve passed it to Nurse, reversed, gone up the middle, or even iced it. Love Puljujarvi but you can’t deflect a puck like that, either.

It’s really too bad because they played an excellent 50 minutes and they have been excellent at defending leads all season.

26-1-2 this season when leading after 40. 23-3-1 when scoring first. They have lost 1 leading in the third and 2 games after scoring first. Man.


Yup. They did everything wrong at the end there.


Very discouraging outcome given how well the Oilers played for the first 2 periods, especially the first periods.


Good we can end the torment tomorrow


They need a dynamic offensive player. What do they say in basketball..a 3rd option. Nuge is not it.


They do also need to figure out how to close out the 3rd period most dangerous lead in hockey.

They were good at it all year. Some growing still to do.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

My offer to Nuge this offseason is $5M x 3 and I am probably overpaying.

Decidedly Skeptical Fan

I mean seriously … after watching this shit, who out there is paying more?

Chelios is a Dinosaur

We now return you to you regular programming: Just making sure the Leafs don’t win the cup.


There’s a tear, in my beer, hide the brooms, for me dear!


Well at least Benoit Pouliot is off the cap next year. And Lucic and Sekera in 2 more years.


Condors win in OT! Lol


I actually just don’t even wanna anymore.
I watched almost every minute of hockey this team played this season, and this is how they repay me?
What a waste.
Sigh. I really love this team, but this is a pretty heartbreaking loss.

Crazy Pedestrian

I say, if their going down, take the jets players with them. Plow Jets players into their goalie on every shift they can. Clutch and grab the shit out of every Jets player (cause you know the refs don’t give a shit). Get Kassian to pass them the puck while charging in so he can cream them as soon as they touch it. (Preferably Pionk)
(you can tell I’m a little bitter right now)

Last edited 3 months ago by Crazy Pedestrian

This team played their hearts out. How many great teams have lost repeatedly in playoffs before they win. We all agreed we are missing some pieces. They fell apart under pressure to a confident team with nothing to lose. This team will win in the playoffs. Maybe just not this year.

Chelios is a Dinosaur

I agree with this.

I’ve also been prone to bad takes, but I agree with this.

No longer in use

The team did, the coach didn’t. Tippet may lose his job, I won’t weep.


Every team will win a round at some point …. so not sure what your prediction is …


My prediction is same as it was before the playoffs. We have some key pieces but are missing some important winning pieces compared to top teams. This off-season is key as it’s the first time Holland has some money to spend to compliment the key pieces.

Material Elvis

Looks like they need to upgrade 3C after all.


And 2C apparently.

Lewis Grant

We hoped for the best but it turned out like always.

Any comparisons to the Atlanta Thrashers are UTTERLY FATUOUS.


Who should start in net tomorrow?

Bill Clinternet


Decidedly Skeptical Fan



Glen Gulatzan



Decidedly Skeptical Fan

The Zamboni driver?

Crazy Pedestrian

Doesn’t matter. Tippett will choose the wrong roster lineup anyway.




Great question. I say Smith, his swan song.