The Edmonton Oilers started fast, fell fast asleep and then steamrolled the Calgary Flames last night in a game that saw the team flex its offensive muscles on demand. Faced with a tighter Flames group and a fine goaltender having a good night at the other end, it would have been easy for the club to fold up, pull the plug and live with a preseason loss. The team did the opposite, overcoming a 3-0 deficit with four unanswered goals and a lot of fury. The northern team now stands at 4-1-1 in the preseason, 20-13 goal differential, with two games to go against the Vancouver Canucks.
- New DNB: Maxing out LTIR
- Lowetide: What might Oilers do if Kailer Yamamoto’s goal scoring slump continues?
- DNB: Oilers’ Mikko Koskinen much happier with family by his side again
- Lowetide: Is this Jay Woodcroft’s final year coaching the Bakersfield Condors?
- Lowetide: How could waivers impact Oilers’ roster decisions?
- New DNB: Duncan Keith’s decline, by the numbers and video
- Lowetide: 9 bold predictions for the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and line chemistry
- New DNB: Oilers training camp invitees tell us what it’s like to face McDavid in practice
- Lowetide: Why Tyler Tullio’s skill set is a good match for the Oilers
- DNB: Oilers training camp observations
- Lowetide: Why Colton Sceviour could be an important addition for the Oilers
- DNB: Derek Ryan Q&A
- Jonathan Willis: How can the Oilers find a long-term solution in net?
- Lowetide: What will three outscoring lines do for the Oilers and Connor McDavid?
- DNB: Oilers training camp questions
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- Lowetide: Filip Berglund, sleeper option for Edmonton’s defense
- DNB: Cooper Marody Q&A
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 of 29, .897. He made several big stops and the three goals against came off loose defensive work and errant passing. If that is his last tuneup game, and it could be, I think the Oilers will be confident he can start 35-40 games this season and win enough for the team to make the playoffs.
Darnell Nurse-Tyson Barrie played 20:27 and posted 10-7 shots and 0-1 goals five on five. Nurse made a pass that tipped off a Flames forward and Matthew Tkachuk cashed seconds later. He had a PP assist, a shot on goal, takeaway and a giveaway at five on five. His improvement at neutral zone passing continues to be a revelation over the last two years that people don’t talk about much. Barrie had two shots at five on five and a giveaway, a couple of errant passes but nothing that cost the team a goal.
Duncan Keith-Cody Ceci played 15:57, delivering 7-9 shots and 1-1 goals five on five. The goal against came on a neutral zone turnover when a forward (JP?) didn’t get the puck deep. Keith and Ceci had moved up the ice and weren’t minding the store, while Johnny Gaudreau was cherry picking and the bet paid off. Keith was also on for the third GA, it was a complete jailbreak with Koekkoek out late and a quick bang-bang pass and shot Keith didn’t get to at all. No excuses for the pair, they have to be better. Keith picked up an assist and made several solid passes coming out of the Edmonton zone. Ceci looked laborious and both veterans need to tighten up. I expect they’ll play again Thursday and Saturday.
Slater Koekkoek-Evan Bouchard played 10:42, going 8-6 shots and 1-0 goals. Koekkoek was involved in the third GA, a victim of some nice skill by Calgary. Koekkoek had a giveaway and a takeaway, he’s 54 percent shots and 50 percent goals five on five in four games this season. Bouchard had an assist, three shots, two reasonable chances, a couple of giveaways and several effective passes. He thinks the game so well, like a veteran back there on the blue line.
Foegele-Ryan-Kassian played 10:04, 4-5 shots and 0-1 goals. Foegele was active, he’s a wrecking ball and chases the puck with abandon. Ryan had a great chance and played an effective game without the puck. He’s very smart. Kassian had two shots and two giveaways, plus a great chance. Kassian is not well suited to this line if it’s going to be a checking unit or if the trio is going to be running against high skill. Archibald’s absence may hurt the team in this way, and it could give Colton Sceviour the roster edge over some other candidates.
Hyman-McDavid-Puljujarvi played 9:19 together, going 7-4 shots and 0-2 goals. Despite the two goals against, I saw this trio good and them some. Hyman is just excellent with the puck, and when he doesn’t have the puck he’s on his way to getting the puck. Whirling dervish. My goodness he has a motor. McDavid had the jet boots going from the beginning, Oliver Kylington looked like a light standard on an early rush where 97 got the corner and drove to the net. He did that later and got tripped, scored a goal for his troubles. McDavid seems to have an extra step when driving down the left side against Calgary blue, it’s a massacre. Puljujarvi flattened Andersson, almost scored early on a breakaway and was a pain in the ass for the Flames all night. As Matt Tkachuk did much the same for Calgary against the Oilers, it was a good night for the 2016 draft. Both McDavid and JP were 1-1-2 on the night, 97 had eight shots and four HDSC in all game states (three at five on five).
Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto played 8:39, going 5-3 shots and 0-0 goals. Nuge had two shots, one great chance, two takeaways and a fantastic PP assist. Draisaitl drilled home the winner like Thor himself, that was on the power play. At five on five, he had an assist, a HDSC, but did have three giveaways versus one takeaway. He was “on” last night. Yamamaoto drew a penalty, had a takeaway and got nine seconds of PP time. He’s going to need to find a way to get involved more offensively. Very quiet so far.
Perlini-Shore-Turris played 7:36, going 3-6 shots and 1-0 goals. It was a huge goal, scored by Perlini from Shore and Bouchard. I believe Perlini made the team anyway, but on a team that didn’t have third line scoring last season a marker from the fourth line deserves a monumnet. Nice pass by Turris, too. Perlini’s goal was five on five, he also had another nice chance and a takeaway. Devin Shore had a HDSC and Turris is playing well this fall.
Evan Bouchard looked very good to my eye last night, I think he’s going to move up the depth chart and it could come quickly. I predicted mid-season during the summer, and it’s early days, but he’s efficient and smart in all areas. This team is lucky to have him pushing for time because my God it’s going to be available.
Mikko Koskinen has a .913SP so far this season and I think he’s going to slide in below that mark (wrote about it in the summer) but he’ll get plenty of playing time no matter this season. Edmonton badly needs him to have a strong season.
OILERS DEFENSE SHOT DIFFERENTIAL FIVE ON FIVE
- Tyson Barrie 39 minutes, 55 percent
- Darnell Nurse 64 minutes, 54 percent
- Slater Koekkoek 41 minutes, 54 percent
- Philip Broberg 41 minutes, 54 percent
- Evan Bouchard 81 minutes, 52 percent
- Filip Berglund 41 minutes, 52 percent
- William Lagesson 45 minutes, 50 percent
- Duncan Keith 17 minutes, 41 percent
- Markus Niemelainen 35 minutes, 40 percent
- Cody Ceci 52 minutes, 39 percent
We don’t have 200 minutes and this isn’t fair to Keith, but as the regular season rolls along, shot and goal differential at five on five for defensemen will be important to monitor. General manager Ken Holland bet heavily on Keith with the summer trade, but coach Dave Tippett isn’t going to devote 20 games to a 40 percent duo. It won’t happen. If you said Keith-Ceci will be the third pair by Halloween, I’d agree it is possible. Keith-Bouchard might be the pairing by then. Nurse-Bouchard by season’s end is possible. I’m saying that the six men we see opening night, and the pairings as populated that night, will be three of the least certain pairings we’ve seen in Edmonton in a long, long time. Important to give everyone a chance, but Bouchard looks ready to make a giant leap up the depth chart based on early showings. We’ll see once everyone has 200 minutes of five on five time in the regular season, but this is something to monitor.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we’ll breakdown last night’s game and discuss the roster decisions to come. We’ll also go heavy on the Pacific Division’s California teams with Jonathan Davis from SiriusXMNHL and talk at length about the MLB wildcard games and October baseball to come. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!