The Oilers picked up a very important win over the Sharks on Tuesday night. The two points are great but even more importantly it gets them off to a strong start on what is a very important road trip the club. Here are a few thoughts I had during the game, packaged together in the first installment of Nielson’s Notes.
THE CALEB JONES PASS
How about the pass from Caleb Jones early in the first period? When I saw the pass being made I instantly thought that must have been Draisaitl feeding the puck up the ice, I stand corrected, what an excellent feed from Jones. With Adam Larsson’s return looming it would make sense for Jones to eventually make his way back to Bakersfield but he’s probably made a nice first impression this season and we will certainly see him again. The team could send Manning down but if Tippett wants to put Larsson back in the top four and sticks with Russell and Benning on the third pairing there is no reason to have Jones in the press box.
Side Note: Benning left the game after the 1st period, this could provide a spot for Jones alongside Russell when Larsson returns. It was a high stick from Evander Kane right across the side of the head.
KASSIAN’S NEXT CONTRACT
Every time Zack Kassian scores three things quickly pass through my mind. For starters, sick moustache, secondly, my kids (and the entire city of Edmonton) are going to love his goal song in the morning and lastly, what’s his next contract look like? He is 28 years old, would three years at $2.25 million be enough to get it done? He’s certainly worth more than Alex Chiasson, but Chiasson was overpaid at $2.15 million.
— Baggedmilk – Oilers Beet writer (@jsbmbaggedmilk) November 20, 2019
It took 18 games but Markus Granlund finally found the back of the net as an Oiler. Over the past three years Granlund scored 19 goals in 69 games, 8 in 53 and 12 in 77, can he still get to 10 this season? I’d say no, but it would be great if he did. The longest Granlund went without a goal last season was 15 games.
JUJHAR REMAINS HOT
Jujhar Khaira has three goals in his last two games and because of this mini heater, he’s actually 6th on the Oilers in goals scored this season. He’s on a 14-goal pace and I think most people, fans and management, would be happy with 14 goals and solid work on the penalty kill. I haven’t loved his game this season so hopefully, this recent surge gets him going on a more consistent basis.
I know, you think this is probably about Connor McDavid, but it’s not. I bought Disney+ last week and the first thing I watched was both National Treasure movies starring Nic Cage. I think that’s an under-rated franchise and I’d love to see a third one. Funny thing is, I was told by several other people that they too wasted no time in streaming the Cage classic. Here’s a bold statement, National Treasure Book of Secrets was better than Indiana Jones Temple of Doom.
Also, McDavid is a National Treasure.
BEST. PENALTY KILL. EVER
After this game in San Jose, the Oilers penalty kill is now operating at more than 87% efficiency. If the season ended today it would be the most effective penalty kill in franchise history. The current record is 85.6%, held by the 01-02 team. Only twice over the last 20 years have the Oilers finished with a PK above 85%, 01-02 and 99-00. So, ya, this year’s penalty kill has been incredible.
I decided to spend the 1st intermission checking out the stats down in Bakersfield. After scoring four goals in his first four games Kailer Yamamoto has now gone 11 games in a row without a goal, I don’t hear many people begging for him to be called up anymore, and they shouldn’t have been back at the beginning of the season either. I’m looking at you Stauff.
James Neal scored his 9th power-play goal of the season, which puts him on pace to score 32 goals on JUST THE POWER-PLAY alone. That is just silly. Even if he significantly slows down, he has put himself in a spot to take a serious run at the franchise record for PP goals in a season. Smyth scored 20 in 97 and Gretzky buried 20 with the man advantage back in 84.
TWO. POINTS. MILKED. Squirt, Squirt.
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Into the Blue
- The Mighty Pacific
- A Third Wheel for the Second Line
- Nielson’s Ten Tidbits
- Early Returns