A sprightly morning indeed as the Oilers handled their business last night in San Jose. Three more points for Connor McDavid means the gap between he and Leon Draisaitl — who managed one himself to maintain his extended point streak — has shrunk to a single point. Quite something to see two Oilers on top of the charts right now with McDavid and Draisaitl offering 43 and 44 points respectively after 23 games played.
The Oilers continue to lead the goddamn Pacific Division after more than a quarter of the season, and there are some decisions looming. The Oilers need to figure out what they’re looking for from this season, and at this point, their start is so significant — and their two superstars are producing at such an enormous clip — that they have to consider adding to the roster with an eye toward capitalizing on it.
While there are a number of ways to skin that cat (that might warrant their own article one of these days), I think we’d probably all agree that it would be disappointing to watch Ken Holland sit on his hands and allow the team to fall back to even .500 at this point. Let’s get after it already.
Game recaps will dominate today’s links but I think it’s important to remember that, while some of the narratives will start to be about the team being ‘different’ or ‘more complete’ or what have you, that this is still mostly the same group from years past. The Oilers have scored 75 goals so far this season. Draisaitl has registered a point on almost 60% of them, and McDavid is right behind him. That’s both incredible and worrying. They’re a little better than average in terms of goals against this season, however, which has been a nice change, but one has to wonder whether that’s simply a function of the goaltenders being at or near the top of the league’s SV% list.
Who knows, maybe all they needed to become a 111-point (based on current pace) team was for Draisaitl to get hot, to find a genuine, top-four, right-handed defenseman effectively for free, and for the goaltenders to stop about 92.5% of the shots they face. That probably doesn’t give Tippett enough credit for the special teams performance so far, but the long-story-less-long point of all this is to be wary of those narratives. They’re maintaining their start somewhat, which is nice, but this is by no means a perfect club. A lot of their problems are being covered for by their two luminaries, Ethan Bear being a true talent top four defender, and good goaltending.
I digress. Matt Benning left last night’s game after taking an ugly high stick to the face thanks to Evander Kane in the first period. He may have taken the decision over who to scratch upon Adam Larsson’s return out of Dave Tippett’s hands.
The Oilers travel up or down to Los Angeles for a date with the Kings tomorrow night.
GAME THREAD: Edmonton Oilers @ San Jose Sharks (Copper and Blue)
The Oilers Should Absolutely Push Hard To Reacquire Taylor Hall (Copper and Blue)
Oilers’ Growing Confidence On Full Display In Revenge Win Vs. Sharks (Sportsnet)
McDavid Collects 3 More Points To Help Oilers Open Road Trip By Beating Sharks (CBC)
Oilers Win 5-2 In San Jose (Oilersnation)
Oilers’ Benning Will Not Return Vs. Sharks With Upper-Body Injury (Sportsnet)
Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 2 Prospect Winter 2019: Philip Broberg (The Athletic)
15 Thoughts On Oilers: Leon Draisaitl’s Supercharged Year, Connor McDavid’s Power Play And The Goalie Dilemma (The Athletic)