Without realizing it, the Edmonton Oilers withdrew the Power Tour on Tuesday, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2.
They actually won despite the fact that Conor McDavid and Leon Dracitel were both eliminated from the scoring list. No goal, no assists for the forwards, who are respectively # 1 and # 2 on points this season in the NHL.
The last time Oilers won a match without a competition men 97 and 29? We must go back to the agonizing time when Jacob Gerbek, Joe Morrow and Karl Elzner formed half of the Canadians’ defense: it was November 28, 2017.
Since that time, Oilers have played 225 matches. McDavid was closed 48 times, Draisaitl 61 times. On 28 occasions, they were both eliminated in the same match. The result: 28 defeats.
“These are two main players on our team who play in offensive situations. A lot about their impact in every game. Most evenings they will get points. We are talking about a small percentage of matches where they haven’t had one, and in those cases, the rest of the team takes over,” Oilers coach Dave Tibbitt said via video. Wednesday morning, on the eve of the game against the Canadians at the Bell Center.
The minutes are badly distributed
According to what we hear in well-knit hockey circles, Canadians have improved their depth this season. In Edmonton, the Eulers have been chasing this damned deep for years, and the tally above speaks volumes.
The Oilers are optimistic that this year will be a good year. Alex Chiaison confirmed during Habs’ visit to Alberta last month That there has been an improvement there this season.
However, this supposedly better depth is not yet shown in the tag column. Want another crazy statistic? In between, McDavid and Draisaitl have 52 points this season. The other 15 forwards that Oilers have used so far: also 52 points.
The contrast between the two teams that will face Thursday is staggering (statistics ahead of Wednesday’s matches).
However, Tibet continued to signal his: talent is better distributed within his group of attackers.
“Better our depth this year. You have to remember that Connor and Lyon take a big part of the power game. So our secondary production is less than they should be. Usually, your secondary production players have time to play power, but these guys are [McDavid et Draisaitl] Play 1:40, 1:45 by playing with energy, so others have less time.
“However, we do have players who are able to produce, and defense is part of our attack. We are far ahead of last year, but we want to be a balanced team. That’s how you become a good team.”
In short, the Oilers have more depth, but not to the point of depriving their best players of precious minutes in tough play, which is a defensible decision when the talent of the players involved is known.
McDavid (5:06 a game), Draisaitl (5:10) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5:12) are actually the three most used forwards in the NHL this season. Under the circumstances, Tibbitt is thus adjusting his expectations regarding the production of the other nine attackers in uniform.
“Secondary production is very important. Striker Josh Archibald said that Connor and Lyon have taken some of that responsibility away from us, the last two streak players. It makes our work easier, but we also have to make it easier for them. They won’t get three or four points every night, although we’d like to.” The last two lines should give a boost and we have done that in recent matches. We are also able to score. ”
However, the Oilers get an unexpected contribution from their defense, Tibbitt said. Thus, in the victory in Ottawa, the three defenders scored goals: Darnell Nurse, Evan Bouchard and Tyson Barry.
Alberta has not been completely spoiled in terms of attacking defenders since the height of Jean Ninema, for example. In the past 10 years, Nurse Only (41 points in 2018-2019) surpassed 40 points.
But so far, Tebit’s defenders have scored 11 goals, the same number as the Habs (who have played three matches less). The Oilers also have two of the NHL’s top 10 defenders this season, Nurse and Barry, tied by 11 points.
Their production makes it possible to forget about the missing Oscar Cliffboom of the season.
When Jay LaFleur hurt Dave Tibbitt
Behind his somewhat rude looks, Dave Tippett remains a coach that was nice to talk to after training, when his scrotum is in person. Video conferencing is less user-friendly than previous media reports could be, but Tibet opened up when a colleague in Edmonton asked him about his memories of Montreal as a player. Tippett could have resorted to blank formulas about forum ghosts, but instead he tells a good story starring Guy Lafleur.
“The old forum was a great place to play,” Tibbitt said. It must have been my first or second forum game, when I was playing for the Whalers. I had arrived early to train in the morning, I was just there watching the ice and Guy LaFleur arrived early, repeating his shots on the reception on the other side, for strong play. He was pulling all the pucks down the horizontal bar. Then I used the penalties, I watched him go and said, “I’m going to have to block those shots tonight!” The game comes, and from their first strong play, I see him shoot and hit me on my toe! I said to him: I looked at you this morning, I shot 50 pills under the horizontal bar and there I shot my toe? This is the first time you have paid low! “My skate broke.”
For the record, the match may have been played on March 8, 1984, as it was the only time Tibbitt played in Montreal before LaFleur retired for the first time. The Canadian had won 3-2 thanks to a double by Perry Turnbull. It was also the first Chris Chelios 1651 Games in the NHL …
Now two guards!
The Oilers praised Mike Smith’s return to play on Monday. Mikko Koskinen had previously worked with Stuart Skinner as an assistant, but the latter was still young and inexperienced, having only had one start. Koskinen is thus a first in the NHL this season with 13 starts, which is not good news when the goalkeeper averages 3.43 and a efficiency of .895.
“He’s a big factor and last year he played our two guardians better when they went their separate ways,” Tibbitt said. Smith’s return will ensure the goalkeepers are better rested. We needed to stop at the right times and Koskinen stopped off on Tuesday. Tibbitt did not reveal the identity of the goalkeeper on Thursday.
Are they better?
The 1,000-dollar question now is whether the Eulers will look better this time than they did when they visited the Hab last month. Then Montreal scored wins 5-1, 3-1. “We are playing better now than we were then,” Tibbitt said.
Since then, the Oilers have already shown a 7-4-0 record, but beware: Four of these victories came at the expense of Ottawa Senators, who ranked 31H Rank general classification. Note that this did not prevent Ottawa from giving strong opposition to al-Kindi in recent days …