Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on pace to score 31 goals and 62 points this season, a fabulous spike in production for the classy two-way center. His role hasn’t changed—responsible defensively and cash when you can — but his usage has and that may be a key to his current success. The Oilers are going to need Nuge again today if they hope to close out this road trip on a high note.
5×5/60 Scoring (Forwards)
- Jesse Puljujarvi 3.87
- Leon Draisaitl 2.88
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.54
- Connor McDavid 2.33
- Milan Lucic 2.31
- Patrick Maroon 1.89
- Ryan Strome 1.27
- Anton Slepyshev 1.14
- Zack Kassian 0.75
- Drake Caggiula 0.60
- Kailer Yamamoto 0.52
- Source Natural Stat Trick
Last season Nuge’s number in this category was 1.50, and Milan Lucic was at 1.22! That’s a fabulous turnaround and the second line is really pushing for these Edmonton Oilers.
5×5 Usage (Forwards)
The brilliant website Puck IQ showed us that last season RNH spent 42 percent of his 5×5 minutes against what we would consider to be “elite competition”. Puck IQ isn’t up and running yet for this season, but anecdotal information via Natural Stat Trick suggests Todd McLellan is trying to find more clean air for the Nuge line.
RNH and the coach have talked about renewed dedication to the offensive side of the game and the gift of (somewhat) easier minutes have contributed (in my opinion) to this success. If Jesse Puljujarvi is the answer on right-wing, we could see six forward over 2.00/60 at 5×5 this season. That’s an outstanding result.
The Other Side
I spoke to Jason Rogers of Japers Rink yesterday and he told me the Capitals fan base was similar to Oilers nation before the victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. This is a transition season for the Capitals, who are rolling out names like Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos and Nathan Walker alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Nothing posted yet in terms of lineups yet aside from Brossoit getting the start, but we’ll update things as they come.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
- Mark Roberts, Sports Chat Place: The Washington Capitals are aiming for back to back wins when the Edmonton Oilers take the ice on Sunday. Washington has been looking strong the past few weeks with wins in five of seven following a 4- victory versus the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. The balanced Capitals offense received scoring from John Carlson, TJ Oshie, Chandler Stephenson and Jacub Vrana on the empty’ net. Carlson also had an assist to help Braden Holtby and his 27 stops to his 200th victory. Source
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Edmonton looks good early, scoring at the 10-minute mark on the power play. Washington answers late in the first period on a Brett Connolly even-strength goal and we’re tied at 1 after the first period.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The second period is fantastic hockey, both goalies stopping everything in sight while the defense takes a holiday. Incredibly, no score in the period.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The third period sees the Capitals score twice on the power play, Edmonton getting their own power-play marker and a late even-strength goal from the Nuge. Overtime solves nothing, Capitals win it in the shootout and Edmonton goes 2-1-1 on a successful road trip.
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/12/2017, 10:00am MST