The Edmonton Oilers are 5-1-1 with one more game to come in the 2021-22 preseason. The club overcame a Vancouver Canucks team that brought some high skill and lots of nasty to the contest. Zack Kassian was injured in a third period fight, as he fell and hit his head on the ice. No idea on when he can play, or if he is concussed, but early word on his condition was positive and that’s a relief.
The Canucks are going to have to play an aggressive, smothering style this season, and the Oilers are going to have to overcome the hacks and whacks and running over the goalie. Mission accomplished at home, and the road game goes Saturday.
- Lowetide: Does Dom Luszczyszyn’s 2021-22 preview mean math hates the Oilers?
- Lowetide: When will the Edmonton Oilers fully embrace analytics?
- Jonathan Willis: How the 2021-22 Oilers mirror their coach’s best teams from the past
- 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
- 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?
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
Mike Smith had a fine night, he was at his fiesty best. Stopped 37 of 39, .949 and stoned the Canucks on 22 even-strength shots. Stopped nine of 10 HDSC’s according to Natural Stat Trick. He was excellent.
Darnell Nurse-Tyson Barrie played 12:46, going 11-7 with no goals. Nurse picked up a power-play assist, ran some interference and then passed to McDavid who sent a dart to 29. Nurse had four shots, created a rebound, and made several nice passes. Barrie had a fairly quiet evening but is also a fine passer, and thinks creatively. I noticed both men (and really all defenders) lingering to retrieve pucks at the blueline often. Barrie was noticeable in this area.
Duncan Keith-Cody Ceci played 14:10, going 10-6 shots and 1-0 goals. Keith was 1-7 at five on five Corsi events late in the first period, went 12-8 after. That’s a nice recovery. Passed well, he was physical. Had an assist, on a nice shot pass to Ryan, he also took two penalties. Ceci had three shots, took a penalty, and was less effective at holding off roaring Canucks heading into the corner and net front. He got his money’s worth on the slash. This was the best game for the duo so far, we’ll likely see them again Saturday.
Kris Russell-Evan Bouchard played 9:03, going 2-5 shots and no goals. Russell was his usual self, blocked a shot, took a penalty and both spent the night in chase mode and was not scored upon. Bouchard touched the puck often, he looked strong in the offensive end. He has tremendous passing skill, but seemed shy about using it early when the main players arrived. I thought Bouchard was looser last night, his creativity is going to pay off in a big way. Bouchard played over six minutes on the PK.
Leon Draisaitl-Connor McDavid-Jesse Puljujarvi played 10:43, going 6-4 shots and no goals. Draisaitl went 1-1-2, with all the damage (including 7 shots) on the power play. The big man drew a penalty, had a couple of giveaways. He tries a Pete Mahovlich ‘split the seam’ play once a night now, I hope he eventually makes it. McDavid’s PP assist was gorgeous but his goal was even better. He’s so quick and creative while under control. He’s a master. Puljujarvi had several goal looks, could easily have cashed. This line is excellent but received a steady diet of Hughes-Poolman and the Dickinson line. They’ll have to split 97 and 29 when the teams with better shutdown options appear on the schedule.
Warren Foegele-Derek Ryan-Zack Kassian played 9:34, going 5-6 shots and 1-0 goals. The line created plenty of havoc, and scored the winner (the only even strength goal of the evening). Foegele had an assist, drew a penalty and had a takeaway. He’s a complete pain in the ass. Ryan scored the winner, made smart plays and had four shots, a HDSC and a giveaway. Backchecked like a demon on one play when the Oilers needed exactly that player. He’s settling in well. Kassian was net-front on the winning goal, drew a penalty and then hit his head on the ice during a fight. Initial word was positive, but the concussion worry is real and the Oilers/Kassian must be careful.
Zach Hyman-Nuge-Kyle Turris played 7:40, going 4-5 shots and no goals. Hyman had a great chance to score and was a tough competitor on the forecheck all night. He’s a dogged winger in pursuit of the puck, and will not leave the net front for love nor money. He and Foegele give LW a completely different look. Nuge had a couple of good looks, including a high danger chance, I thought he was more involved offensively. He is still looking for his first five on five point of the year. Turris looked effective without getting anything truly dangerous accomplished.
Tyler Benson-Ryan McLeod-Colton Sceviour played 6:58, going 5-1 shots and no goals. The lines results were solid but no one cashed. Benson had one reasonable look and mostly got pucks deep, but had two giveaways and one was a dangerous moment. McLeod had a shot on goal, quiet otherwise. Sceviour had a HDSC and was the most dynamic player on the line.
We’re seeing more waiver activity as teams begin to send down players they’ll be counting on later in the year. The Canucks lost a solid young winger last night, here are the players of interest today.
- RD Ryan Murphy, Detroit. Undersized defender with skill chosen No. 12 in the 2011 draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, he was in the KHL one year ago and then the AHL last season. His NHL career can’t be over at 28, can it?
- LW AJ Greer, New Jersey. Greer is a player I’ve followed since his draft, he has a Patrick Maroon type career going so far. Big, strong, you’d call him a power forward if the offense was more dynamic. Greer posted .656 per game last season in the AHL (age 23), Maroon was just shy of a point per game at the same age.
- RD Steve Santini, St. Louis. A big shutdown defender who has been spending the last several seasons on the fringes of the NHL. I think a team might take a chance on him, he has played 119 NHL games and is 26.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Friday morning, TSN1260 beginning at 10. We’ll talk to Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast about the Jays season, MLB playoffs and favourite hockey broadcasting teams across the league. Matt Iwanyk will talk Elks, Canadian men’s soccer and Oilers. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. It’s the long weekend!! Turkey! Huzzah! Music!