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. There is finally something resembling traction and just in time.
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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.
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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).