Things are starting to look up for the Edmonton Oilers. A HUGE 4-2 win and all the lines are rolling, the goaltending is outstanding, and the defence is starting to come together. Last week whilst recording The Oilers Rig’s podcast with Alex Thomas, Mr.Thomas predicted the Oilers would go 0-3-0. I think I predicted 2-1-0. Boston, Dallas and Buffalo were not the teams I expected the Oilers to beat. Were they the teams anybody expected the 30th place team to beat?
Did anyone hear the guy who wanted Luke Gazdic put on the 2nd line with Nuge and Eberle back in Toronto on Overtime Openline? LOL. That’s one I haven’t heard yet. The caller then went on to compare Gazdic to Semenko and RNH/Eberle to 99 and 17… Crikey!
But speaking of great lines, how about Hall, Draisaitl, and Purcell? They were cutting through the Sabres defence like a hot knife through butter. Right off the bat on the first shift they set the tone for the rest of the game. Hall and Purcell came away from this game with 2 pts and Leon with 1pt. It’d be a good time to put Purcell on your fantasy team, he scores in bunches.
And the RNH, Eberle, Khaira line was firing on all cylinders as well. If Nuge was the red wine and Eberle was the mocha pots de creme, then Khaira is the 72oz steak. This rookie is providing, what I believe, the perfect complimentary attributes to 93 and 14. I’ve been hoping the Oilers would go out and find somebody who could crash and bang, protect the puck, and provide some toughness to the top 6. Every passing game that Jujhar Khaira plays is another feather in his cap. Other teams are noticing him too. Did you see Adam McQuaid turn down a fight with him the other night when Boston was in town…
If we’re going to talk about tough hockey players how about Luke Gazdic scoring (he’s got more goals than Anton Lander now…) and Darnell Nurse leading both teams with 6 hits, one of those being an absolute face mashing of Rasmus Ristolainen behind the Oilers net. It was also great to see Taylor Hall and Nurse letting Evander Kane know half way through the third that his antics weren’t being appreciated after the Sabre dumped Reggie Sekera in the Oilers’ zone.
The goal that Nuge’s line produced was pure genius. The way that Khaira received the puck on the boards and then worked it down to the corner along the boards so he could feed it to RNH behind the net only to have it intercepted by the Sabres dman but then Ninja Nuge swiped it from under the defenders nose and so deftly put it on a tee for the waiting Eberle. Good Lord! Check it out!
I think tonight was the first time I’ve actively noticed each member of the Edmonton defense getting nearly identical TOI numbers. Check it out:
Sekera – 18:29
Schultz – 17:26
Nurse – 22:01
Gryba – 19:45
Klefbom – 22:14
Davidson – 20:11
It’s relieving to see Jultz getting the least amount of ice-time after all these years. He’s gone by next season. I don’t see how he’s any better an option than someone $3 million dollars cheaper. He just lacks the defensive awareness required to be a $5 million dollar defenseman. If he was laying guys out or even had a hint of what Jeff Petry brought to the rink, I think I’d give him more consideration. But at this point I’m walking away from him if he’s asking for more than $3.5M per year.
If you’re a stats guy, check out the fancies from tonight’s game from Walter Foddis and G.Money.
Looks pretty good in Edmonton’s favor doesn’t it. Just wait until you see the charts from Oilers Nerd Alert. You can see his full game review here.
So we can see here that the Oilers top line was as we seen them. Uncontainable. Nuge’s line had a good night and the 4th line did fairly well too. But the 3rd line of Hendricks, Letestu and Korpikoski ate shit. From all of the reports I’m reading online, it’s Korpi-K that’s bringing down his linemates. I can’t honestly see what he’s doing right or wrong on the ice. He just is. He exists but doesn’t do a whole lot. And to think the Oilers dealt a VERY good face-off man for him…
So there’s our defense. Who’d would’ve guessed that Davidson and Gryba would be the best pairing out of the three? Not I. Apart from getting burnt by Eichel, I think that Gryba wasn’t too shabby out there. I’m not sure if Klefbom and Jultz were happy with their evenings, they seemed pretty blugh out there for me.
Overall it’s hard not to be absolutely stoked that the Oilers are sitting three points out of the playoffs but we should be measured in our stokedness. As we are experiencing at the moment, things can change in the flash of an eye. Last week everyone and their dog were ready to mortgage off Nuge and Eberle because the Oilers were sitting in the NHL’s basement… Again. Now they wouldn’t trade them for anything because the Oilers are THAT close to the playoffs.
Next up the Sharks are coming to town. Hmmm. Is it easier to say that the Oilers will lose because of the perceived notion that San Jose is a better team or the Oilers will win because the team is on fire? The truth? It’s not easy but I’ll say the Oilers win again and we’ll call it McLellan’s Revenge!
Take it easy folks!