EARLY GAME!

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It is a rare item, but the Bakersfield Condors will be well into a regular-season game by the time you are thinking about lunch. The Charlotte Checkers are the opponent and the Condors are on a roll. (Photo by Mark Williams, all rights reserved). 

Lots of storylines in the lineup card today, let’s run through a few:

  • Jesse Puljujarvi is now 21, 8-10-18 on the season and having terrific success with Anton Lander as his center. He is 6-5-11 in his last 11 games and may receive another NHL look in the coming days. Probably fair to suggest he would have to be the logical first callup in case of injury at this point in time. 
  • Griffin Reinhart is 1-4-5 in his last five games and may also be putting himself in a position for recall. It has been a strange two years since he was acquired from the Islanders, but he appears to be playing his best hockey at this time. 
  • Justin Fontaine posted three assists in his first game with Bakersfield, an outstanding performance and that would have been noticed back at Oilers world headquarters. He would also be in the recall conversation.
  • Nick Ellis.In his last five games, Ellis has posted a save percentage of .966, stopping 140 of 145 shots. Signed as a college free agent in the same window as Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning and Patrick Russell, Ellis appears to be a bona fide NHL prospect.
  • Follow the game here.
  • Condors twitter is exceptional. 
I will post updates, by period, during the game today.

FIRST PERIOD

  • First shift featured the Lander line with the Reinhart pairing. Had possession of the puck for the entire shift, but passes for traction were just off and nothing rhymed. 
  • Second shift saw similar activity, Greg Chase getting a bit of a push after yesterday’s performance. 
  • Charlotte pushes back on the third shift, getting the first good chance of the game. 
  • Second shift by Lander line sees a fine goal. Dillon Simpson makes a brilliant defensive play to save a goal, then the outlet hits Jesse Puljujarvi for a two-on-one with Lander. Lovely pass by the Finn, Lander cashes. 
  • Condors unlikely to have any nominees for gentlemanly award based on early Sunday activities. 
  • Fourth line goal (Musil) results from an effective screen in front. 2-0 Bakersfield. 
  • Lander line has an effective third shift, Laleggia getting a fine shot off from distance and Lander plus Jesse Puljujarvi driving to the net. Good sortie. 
  • Point blank chance by Checker McKeown, Ellis square to the shooter and a fine save. 
  • Checkers score, bad luck for Ellis as a two-on-one resulted from a poor decision by Mark Fraser in the offensive zone. The cross ice pass on the rush hit defender Aneloski and beat Ellis on the deflection. Zykov with goal. 
  • Fourth shift from Lander line features a good look and shot by Lander. Call the whole line to Edmonton! 
  • Greg Chase had a nice chance in close, he is more visible today than he has been in the last two years. Second-line push seems to be working in the early shifts. 
  • The Fraser-Aneloski pairing is not having a good day. 
  • Another nice shift by the Currie-Chase line, seems to be some chem there. Chase showed good speed after receiving a nifty pass on the fly and drove to the net well. Fine sortie. 
  • Jaedon Desscheneau gets a nice chance off the forecheck, but the shift ends in a brilliant chance and a shot that hit both posts at the other end. Still 2-1. 
  • If Oilers brass is watching this game, they have to be tempted to call Lander and JP up as a pair. Impressive first period, great chem. 
  • Dillon Simpson scores, Descheneau with a nice pass from behind the net and Simpson drilled it for a 3-1 lead. 
  • Ellis makes a fantastic save with mere seconds left in the period. 
  • 3-1 Bakersfield after one, they lead shots 14-7 and it was an impressive 20 minutes for the road team. 

SECOND PERIOD

  • Lander line starts the second period and are on the defense for most of it. A two-on-one results for Bakersfield at the end of the shift, Puljujarvi got a good look but no dice. 
  • Condors go to the PK, a couple of good shots but Ellis stops them. 
  • A possible two on one is thwarted by the wheels and smarts of Jordan Oesterle. Real nice. 
  • Scramble shift by Lander line once again sees much of the time in the Condors zone, but two separate sorties do get some interesting if not dangerous moments for Bakersfield. Puljujarvi pass to Lander was fantastic, Lander pass to Laleggia just missed. 
  • A quieter game today from Justin Fontaine, but strong forechecking results in an icing against Charlotte.
  • Jere Sallinen got a great chance on a three on two but his stick exploded. 
  • Oesterle scored from a terrible angle, goalie change. 4-1 Bakersfield. 
  • A poor decision by Josh Currie in the offensive zone results in a three on two the other way, Checkers just missed scoring. 
  • Josh Currie and Kris Newbury have the first scrap of the game, it has been coming for some time. Currie hit Bryan Bickell, that was the reason for the fight.
  • In the first real action of the period, David Musil makes a nice defensive play and then a brilliant outlet pass to Joey Laleggia. Great shot, great save, and then a breakaway the other way.. Sergey Tolchinsky scores and it is 4-2. 
  • The Condors fourth line skated for over a minute in their own zone without getting close to the puck. Incredible. 
  • A nice bit of effort by Jaedon Descheneau as the Condors were about to be called for icing, he found the energy (late in his shift) to negate by being first man back. 
  • Another Condors two on one (my guess is six now) with Laleggia getting a very good shot away. 
  • Period over. 4-2 Condors, also have the edge in shots 23-21. Charlotte is coming on. 

THIRD PERIOD 

  • Final frame opens with the Lander line trying to get possession of the puck, just one encouraging moment and it was dashed when JP cut across the middle and lost the puck. 
  • Checkers dominating possession early in the third, second period in a row Bakersfield is backing up. Will need a strong third period effort from Ellis based on the last 24 minutes of play. 
  • Second Lander line shift of the period starts in a strong fashion, with about 20 seconds of offensive sustain. Ended up, as so many shifts have since the end of the first, with Condors playing desperate hockey. Out of gas?
  • Good rush with Greg Chase getting a good shot on goal. Each team takes a penalty on the ensuing goal mouth shenanigans. 
  • Four on four and Bakersfield gets a turnover on a deflected pass and Laleggia is away. Drop pass and a brilliant shot (No. 21 on the year) by Anton Lander makes it 5-2 Condors. 
  • Lander now 25, 21-21-42 on the season in Bakersfield. Le holy. 
  • Another nice defensive play by Oesterle, he has improved a lot over the years pro. 
  • After an unimpressive power play, a brilliant head man pass sends Jesse Puljujarvi clicks and he makes no mistake on the breakaway. Pass from Laleggia.
  • Puljujarvi now 22, 9-11-20 in the AHL. 
  • In his last six games, Laleggia is 4-6-10.
  • In his last six games, Lander is 6-6-12. 
  • In his last six games, Puljujarvi is 3-5-8. 
  • Another nice two on one, Justin Fontaine cashes. Bakersfield many, Charlotte 2. 
  • Greg Chase with an assist on the Fontaine goal, it has been an encouraging weekend for the young man. He is 1-1-2 in two weekend games after going 35, 1-5-6 in previous games this season. 
  • Final 7-2, 32-27 Bakersfield in shots, big games for Lander (2-1-3), Laleggia (0-3-3), Puljujarvi (0-2-2), Jaedon Descheneau (0-2-2), Brodie Dupont (0-2-2) and I thought Nick Ellis was strong in stopping 25 of 27. 
  • Thanks for reading!

  • pwnisms

    I know it was a prospects game, but I remember watching Ellis against the Golden Bears. And even though I don’t know much about goaltending, he just seemed to be calm and in good position. Inspired confidence watching him. Hopefully he keeps it up!

  • Ever the Optimist

    jan Kovar, Daniil Apalikov, Nicholas Schilkey, Justin Kloos, Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Brickley …. there are a few eye catching possible free agents this year that could help shore up the lack we currently have in developing prospects. Chia hit one out of the park last year and had 2 good signings and only one who looks poor. How many new guys on the untraditional path to the NHL do you think we see this year LT? And are there any that have really caught your eye?

  • OilersGM

    DeBrincat is having a crazy year with the Otters scoring in 17 straight games and putting up 58 goals and 117 points.

    He has made me second guess our 2nd Rd pick.

    • I like benson don’t get me wrong, but it’s painfully obvious Debrincat has much more offensive upside. Plus it’s impossible to ignore his chemistry with mcdavid in junior…
      Here’s hoping benson can overcome his injury troubles and round into form.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      I didn’t know much about AD until the end of the first day write up prepping everyone for the start of round two.

      He has played with McDavid.

      He has played well with McDavid.

      Has played well without McDavid.

      He has represented his country as the best of the best at the WJC.

      What am I missing here? Too small? That’s why you build a big team (like we have). You can’t build a roster with six DeBrincat’s but you can with one or two.

  • Oilerz4life

    Big fan of this Ellis kid. If you ever get a chance to see him play, the kid makes some unbelievable saves. Would love to see this guy get a chance in Edm some day.

  • TrumpeterSwan

    Puljujarvi has a long way to go before he is the first call up. His first 10 games in Bakersfield were not good, his last 10 are better, but he still does not look as good as Anton Lander. If he continues to progress he could be a realistic call up next year, but not today. Fontaine might be worth a look sometime before the playoffs though.

    • OriginalPouzar

      While I would agree that JP should stay in Bakersfield unless/until we have a material injury on the right side (or at center meaning Leon has to switch to the middle), it doesn’t really make sense to compare the 18 year old, just drafted JP to the almost 25 year old Lander, the veteran of over 200 NHL and many AHL games.

      The AHL is littered with veteran scorers that are no longer NHL prospects – Lander is turning in to one of those.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Man , if Lander could be .25 as productive in the NHL he would be ideal. Is there that big of a difference?? for some I guess but , he needs to play with Talent seriously. I would still give Lander another chance to succeed , with the proper line mates for longer than 2 periods.

    Hang in there Anton , you can play in The NHL,
    it just may not be here. Hope I am wrong.

    I know the NHL is far superior but after all these years with Lander you think he would have
    just a tad better NHL Career. Foot Speed is everything for him. He and Griff need to see Leons trainer.

    • Spydyr

      Old six rings we don’t need an AHL team after the Roadrunners. I believe that set the franchise on its downward spiral it is just now recovering from.

      • mb

        Lowe had nothing to do with getting rid of the farm team. That was the onerships decision. They were unwilling to pay for a farm team. Why do you think Sather left? We was unwilling to stick around while the system that he had built was dismantled. It was left for Lowe to pick up the pieces. When Mr Katz bought the team one of the first thing he and Lowe did was to build a farm system that is slowly turning into one of the best.

        • eeagain

          Your history is a bit rusty. Slats was gone 6 years before the decision to do without an AHL affiliate was made.

          Why Slats chose to leave had more to do with him looking for greener pastures i.e. bigger $. However I remember Call Nichols recalling the first time he met Slats, Slats stated “I hope you know you are going to lose $10M”. Talk about fouling the waters.

      • Florescent Oil Orange

        As easy as it is to blame klow(n)e for no ahl team. I fear that it was a necessary evil. The E.I.G. Cut the farm team as it was costing them money. These people for better or worse put up real dollars to keep the Oilers in Edmonton.

  • TrumpeterSwan

    The Condors look good. They are starting to come together as a team and the Oilers have some decent prospects down there. I have watched a few games online and I wouldn’t mind going to watch a game sometime. Hopefully they make the playoffs, that would be a good experience for JP, Osterle, Lander and the other prospects.

  • 4000miaway

    Didn’t watch the game but Lander + JP callup certainly sounds interesting. I’d love to see a fast and physical player on LW to give them some room. Or even move Lander to LW and have a smart veteran bottom-6 C anchor them.

  • camdog

    The Canadian dollar was in the 65 cent range compared to the American dollar. Right now it’s in the 76 cent range. When you are paying in American dollars with Canadian currency and the dollar is in the 60’s you are in a bad place.