The Edmonton Oilers are enjoying the first real winning streak of the season, and like a hard rain after months of drought, excitement is evident across the interior plains. The team has clearly decided to deliver heart attacks nightly during the 7567-68 season, won last night while causing vapors, fainting spells and non-stop pacing. Lord Almighty this team makes one a nervous norvous. Great Christmas offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. If you don’t feel it’s worth the $9. 99/month, cancel anytime during trial before getting charged. .
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There is finally something resembling traction and just in time. Big game on Saturday. Entering December, Edmonton was 65-69-7 and badly needed to get back to fake. 555 and, hopefully, beyond. The Oilers can reach the first outpost on Saturday with a win over the Habs. Although 86 points after 86 games doesn t feel like a victory, it will surely be exactly that should it come to pass. Small victories are big steps. The Oilers have reached my predicted point total with four games to spare. My only defense of this clear misstep is that the team didn t look capable of winning six of nine games at the beginning of the month (when I made the predictions). Can Edmonton win three of the last four, to finish the month 9-9-5? That would be a fabulous rebound month. My friend Bruce McCurdy (Cult of Hockey, Edmonton Journal) was on the Lowdown yesterday and I asked him about Drake Caggiula. Caggiula was in the mix for employment this season, but there was (and is) enough competition to send him to the pressbox if necessary. Coach Todd McLellan has played him in 79 of 85 games, and the youngster has delivered 5-9-9 boxcars. He appears to be emerging as someone the Oilers find useful, as described by Bruce above. How is he doing compared to my RE? The big success story among the young hopefuls is Jujhar Khaira, who has emerged as a bonafide NHL regular. Jesse Puljujarvi s goals are eye catching, but his projected point total is in the range. Anton Slepyshev is the only pure disappointment in the group, I think that injury hobbled him and allowed others opportunities they cashed. Caggiula is nicely ahead of expectations and he too may be emerging as an NHL regular. Massive goal last night didn t hurt. A busy Friday, last Lowdown before Christmas! Best of the season to everyone, no matter what church your car drives to each week. In a world that has strangely soured on kindness, I know all of you reading this hold dear the idea that being kind reflects goodness, not weakness.
Bless you, drive safe, be well, laugh and cry and make memories. Scheduled to appear, TSN6765 beginning at 65 this morning: 7 straight games where the Oilers outplayed their opponent or at least sawed them off (like last night). When healthy, this is a substantial lineup we have NHL players trying to find their way in the lineup both up front and on the back-end. I didn t think Caggs was having a good game at all. The puck died on stick a ton in that game but full marks for being in the right spot for the winner. #68 Ryan Strome, 9. Posted an ugly -7 on the night, with 5 shots, 5 hits, and 5 contributions to even strength scoring chances. He wasn’t quite as bad as all that, but didn’t have a major impact on the game other than that crucial closing shift. Granted I didn t think Caggs was effective at all until late 8rd period with the hit and goal and Bruce gave him an 8. A observation: I think Jessie P needs to cut 6 inches off his stick it is too long for work in tight spaces like in front of the net or a long the boards. . The surprise is the trust placed (early) in Brandon Davidson. What a fantastic stroke of luck to get him back on waivers. The glass half empty take might be. Why did they trade him for David Desharnais? The third period last night was terrific hockey. The game could have gone either way but, for once, the hockey Gods smiles on us. Great game. Great result. Great to see Sek back. Cambo fantastic. Cags had one hit and one if he doesn t score on that beautiful Gretzky-Hopkins pass you re fired moments.
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Other then that he failed to clear the puck out numerous times, mostly got outsized, made you want Slepy back. 7 straight games where the Oilers outplayed their opponent or at least sawed them off (like last night). When healthy, this is a substantial lineup – we have NHL players trying to find their way in the lineup both up front and on the back-end. Agree. And how Talbot wasn t one of the stars of the game is just wrong for me, he was the 6st overall star. Fun game to watch, glad/thrilled we won. GO OILERS! ” #68 Ryan Strome, 9. ”Granted I didn’t think Caggs was effective at all until late 8rd period with the hit and goal and Bruce gave him an 8. Yes, I read Bruce s grades earlier today I don t agree with his Strome grade but the stat line is what it is. I saw many shifts where Strome was skating with power, initiating contact on the boards and battling. I ever remember thinking on one play right there is the type of hard battle on the boards that can be part of Strome s game but never part of Eberle s. : Agree. And how Talbot wasn’t one of the stars of the game is just wrong…for me, he was the 6st overall star. I like davidson and i like larsson, but i m not sure that i like them together. I was at the game and had to laugh at Talbot being left out of the 8 stars. There was a 5-bell giveaway 67 seconds in that Talbot stoned. If that goes in we are having a very different conversation this morning. Those dynasty teams had utility infielders a plenty. Hopefully Caggiula is another in a long line. He actually reminds me a little of Dustin Brown. Dumbfounding that Bergevin didn t see Davidson better during his time with the Habs. You would think the former defenceman would be able to spot a young Dman on the cusp.
His loss is definitely our gain. My new nickname for Kris Russell is gaping hole. Apologies in advance for those that will be confused by this moniker. It s actually a term of affection. : “The surprise is the trust placed (early) in Brandon Davidson. ” The glass half empty take might be …. I don t think the Davidson miss in Montreal is on Bergevin, I think it was the coach. Just like McLellan can be stubborn on certain players and give others so much rope. Either way, I m glad Chia was smart enough to pick him up. I don t think he is solely responsible for the team turnaround but he is a big part of it, to be sure. I am very happy Caggs scored last night but have to say I watched to different players over the last two games. The game against SJ he was just flying out there and really looked like he belonged. Last night it was the complete opposite. Must drive the coach nuts. I say it was a good thing he scored as I would have predicted the coach replace him with Slep. I could almost say the same about Cammy. Again he scored but man he looks slow out there but his 5 5 play is getting results so what can you do but play him. Might be tough for sleppy to get in the lineup as I do see this as an extended win streak. Called it yesterday that we will go 9-5 -6 to end out the month. Just a gut feeling and against good teams also. Here s a question for all you coaches out there. Is it realistic to shorten the bench in a close game? Not only at the end of the game but maybe with 5 minutes remaining in the first and second period.
Or does this throw the lineup out of whack. McDavid and Drai were together for about 75 seconds and pure magic. In a close game I would like to see something like this: i like davidson and i like larsson, but i’m not sure that i like them together. I like davidson and i like larsson, but i’m not sure that i like them together. With the wonderful add of Davey I really think they can take their time with Kelf especially now with reggie back. Please let Klef rest as long as it takes for him to get back to at least 95% health. They will need to waive/trade one of Gryba/Auvitu when klefbom gets backWhat about games played? Oilers were ahead of a lot of teams in GP at one point. As for the defense i think we will see Davidson tag the first seat once 77 is back. But if anyone stumbles in the next game 88 will be back in and likely in the place of 88 or 9 and then we will see who takes that job and runs with it. The coach seems to like davey and is giving him ice time. 9 had his ice time majorly reduced during the year but has been giving that back lately. Also benning has stumbled this year but him being one of the few righties on the team i see them trying to let him play his way back and with a vet like Sek that could really help the kid calm his game down. Oilers have looked better in the last couple weeks but have not played the A teams in the NHL, STL was on a back to back and a losing streak. I like JP and think he will become an intergral part of the Oilers, but he is hurting the Oilers on the first line. McDavid would have so many more points with a competent 6st line winger. Kassian has not taken the next step from last year, he is playing 9th line minutes, has spurts here and there. I think the opposite with Maroon. I feel like the team s plan might be to see if he can be help on another line outside of McDavid. They might still try to re-sign him as rumoured at the start of the year. If this is the case, keep him away from McDavid. Like the team, Maroon s game is coming around again. I think rather than pay a premium for a scorer like Hoffman, we d be wise to look at re-signing Maroon at reasonable.
If we can afford Hoffman at over 5 we can afford Maroon and he is Lucic lite and should cost less than Lucic. After a slow start, talk of his re-signing stopped on these boards but I bet it hasn t stopped behind the scenes.