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Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Game Day Notes: Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals

Cam Talbot is back and that’s a big deal for the Edmonton Oilers. A year ago, the club rode Connor McDavid’s offense, Talbot’s goaltending and some brilliant power-play work to second place in the Pacific Division. This season sees us viewing a different story but Talbot’s performances are improving and that’s a very good sign.

  • Cam Talbot in October: 9gp, 3.10 .904
  • Cam Talbot in November: 6gp, 2.64 .921
  • Cam Talbot is No. 15 in even-strength save percentage among starters, even with the difficult start.

While Talbot’s improvement is surely a good sign, Laurent Brossoit is going to have his work cut out for him today against the high flying Capitals. Brossoit has not played since October 17th and facing Ovechkin and company is not exactly easing him back in. 

NOTES

  • Connor McDavid is now Top 15 in NHL scoring. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl are inside the Top 100 scorers.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi’s goal and overall performance yesterday were extremely encouraging. One of the major holes on this team has been the “sixth forward on the skill lines” and JP might be that player.
  • It doesn’t get mentioned a lot, but for me Taylor Hall trade tripped the moment Jesse Puljujarvi fell to No. 4 overall. I read constantly that Peter Chiarelli dealt Hall because of Leon Draisiatl’s emergence, but would disagree with that take. Puljujarvi was the bet.
  • Oscar Klefbom is taking a lot of heat after yesterday’s loss and he certainly had a tough game. It’s been a struggle for him this season, the Oilers will have to suffer through these difficult times with a very valuable young player.
  • Darnell Nurse has emerged as a fine top 4D this season and that’s made a big difference. No matter what happens during the regular year, if he can keep his performance at this level, that’s a major arrow to the good for Edmonton.
  • I keep reading about Todd McLellan needing to split Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid and remain all-in on the idea. However, one can’t ignore the lack of viable wingers to replace Leon on right-wing. If you don’t have a replacement, and it seems insane to put Puljujarvi there this early, then what option do you consider superior? Edmonton doesn’t have the wingers to run a center depth chart of McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. That isn’t on the coach, folks.
  • This morning, Edmonton is five points out of a wildcard spot. The season will be 20.7 complete after today’s game. Sportsclubstats has Edmonton’s chances at 8.9 percent this morning. No team containing Connor McDavid should be considered a 91 percent bet to miss the playoffs with so much of the season to go, but it’s probably fair to begin talking about this season finishing without a playoff spot for Edmonton.
  • Coming into today’s game, the Capitals are on a three-game winning streak at home. The Oilers will need to come out guns blazing if they’re going to end that run.
  • The Capitals are 4-1 in November and 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.

GAME DAY QUESTIONS

  • Can Jesse Puljujarvi replicate his excellent season debut?
  • How will Laurent Brossoit handle the Capitals’ snipers?
  • How will the special teams battle play out?
  • Will the bottom six forward group contribute on the scoresheet?

Game starts at 5:00pm MST and will be televised on Sportsnet West


Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/12/2017, 12:00pm MST

  • Mr.Snrub

    Coach Todd says until he sees life from the bottom 6, the Oil’s lines will stay the same. So they better start contributing or the season will be over by the end of the month.

  • RJ

    If it really is a 91% chance to miss the playoffs, LT, does that mean you start your weekly draft watch articles in December again? (It’s like last year was a mirage).

  • flamesburn89

    “This morning, Edmonton is five points out of a wildcard spot. The season will be 20.7 complete after today’s game. Sportsclubstats has Edmonton’s chances at 8.9 percent this morning. No team containing Connor McDavid should be considered a 91 percent bet to miss the playoffs with so much of the season to go, but it’s probably fair to begin talking about this season finishing without a playoff spot for Edmonton.”

    I just think it’s way too early for any team (except Arizona, they are a true dumpster fire) to talk about missing the playoffs. Pittsburgh is sitting at a 22.2% chance of making the playoffs as of right now. I don’t think there is a hockey fan alive that feels that they won’t be at the dance come April.

    Edmonton needs to go on one run to change the scope of its entire season. Even a 3 game win streak would drastically alter its playoff fortunes. I do not think that teams like Vegas and Vancouver will be able to sustain their level of play over the next 60 or so games.

  • ComeAtMeDog

    5 points is do-able …. just not with broissant in net . He’s a bad back up.

    Let’s hope I’m wrong . I really hope I’m wrong

    Cmon Jesse another great game please with some more run support

  • Petrolero

    The special teams are the black hole right now. Even when adding the PK and the PP percentages together the Oilers are still dead last and far from where most of the teams are. And this is not a problem of discipline because they’re only the 8th most penalized team, it’s a problem of bad special teams (what that means I don’t know, could be bad strategy, bad personnel, bad coaching). Check my beautiful graph for some visual reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/138192557@N04/38313935046/in/dateposted/

  • Clayton

    A reasonable playoff shot requires .600 hockey here on out. Breaking down the last three games… OT-Win, OT-Win, Loss. That works…but not leaving a lot of room for error. The downside is due to the lousy start we are looking at a lower seed playoff spot…likely won’t have home ice and will face the top teams in the Western Conference to start the playoffs.

    • MrBung

      Seeding concerns? The Oil aren’t even making the playoffs. Their special teams are awful and have been stuck their. Their home record is awful after 20 % of the season. They are better than their record but not by much. They are a .500 team.

    • 1ncinawhile

      So I guess considering they were 0.628 last season, they technically still could make the playoffs (providing they start playing like they did last year)… it’s not looking favourable for them though is it… 👎

  • go-oil

    “Edmonton doesn’t have the wingers to run a center depth chart of McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. That isn’t on the coach, folks.”

    Hi LT, to play devils advocate, I know McDavid and Draisaitl have chemistry, but isn’t the point of having “drivers” you are paying well to elevate the games of others? Why not have 3 centres (Nugent-Hopkins being the 3rd) driving 3 lines, or at least drop Lucic down to the 3rd line like Kessel in Pittsburgh to get that 3rd line going? By all means, keep McDavid and Draisaitl together on the powerplay and 3-on-3, but why not try and spread out the offence? Is it the right call to have that bottom six remain together and hope for more offence from them? Perhaps… I think one trap this team has fallen into is relying on the pretty goals, and they need not just the bottom six, but everyone, mucking it up for some garbage goals.

    Why not get Kassian going on McDavid’s line, or get Strome going with Draisatl on his right-wing? I’d like to see some out of the box thinking… I get what McLellan is hoping to do in keeping the chemistry on the top two lines, but there is zero confidence in the bottom six for goal scoring. At least call-up Rattie to inject some skill in the bottom six then.

    • TruthHurts98

      Spot on, great points. I do think it’s the coaching personally. I really want to keep liking TM but think the writing is on the wall especially if they keep struggling. They shouldn’t be this bad on offense and special teams.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        i do think it’s the players lack of effort personally….they simply aren’t doing as their coach says and aren’t getting much support scoring from guys who can’t get the job done ! also Chia has really handicapped this team with some bad trades that cost us a few good support players that are now contributing to other teams like Barzal and Ebs, who are both scoring for the Isles and the Oilers have only the very average Ryan Strome to show for either player.