Dynamic Duo Provides Hope Edmonton Oilers Can Strike A Perfect Match

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Can we believe in our eyes and our intuition? Will Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard be as good a couple eventually as they looked in their first complete game together against Las Vegas on Friday night?


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Before the season there was talk that sometime this year 22-year-old Bouchard would improve his game to the point where he would take over on the right side of Tyson Barrie with Nurse. Oilers coaches Dave Tippett and Jim Playfair hinted at it.

But with Barrie’s defensive play an ongoing area of ​​chaos, and with Bouchard playing skid-sharp, steady defensive offensive hockey from the start, Tippett went the pairing of Bouchard and Nurse against Las Vegas, a tough opponent. . They both played exceptionally well. They looked like a real top pairing.

Could this pairing be blocked? I dont see why not. The two matched each other well, with Bouchard’s outstanding passing and shooting, which matched well with Nurse’s aggressive defense and punches and his dynamic skating and attacking.


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If Nurse ever gets in trouble, he can take the puck to Bouchard, which passes for sure. If Bouchard is ever crushed by an offensive cycle, Nurse can break it.

Yes, it’s a game, and yes, I’m getting way ahead of myself, but watching the two play so well, I couldn’t help but think of other awesome Edmonton d-man couples.

When it comes to great Oilers d-man couples, only a few stand out, starting with the duo of Lee Fogolin and Kevin Lowe and the greatest Edmonton couple of all time, Paul Coffey and Charlie Huddy.

After a great Norm McIver and Dave Manson season in 1991-92, there was a lack of super-solid pairings until 2016-17, at the end of the Decade of Darkness.

The Oilers had some good d-men in that 25-year span, players like Bo Mironov, Eric Brewer, Sheldon Souray, Lubo Visnovsky, Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert, and even a great player in Chris Pronger, but not good at .. great d-man pairs at the time (except Pronger / Jason Smith and Jaroslav Spacek / Steve Staios pairs in the 2006 playoffs).


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  • Lee Fogolin – Kevin Lowe, 1979-87
  • Paul Coffey – Charlie Huddy, 1981-87
  • Craig Muni – Kevin Lowe, 1987-92
  • Reijo Ruotsalainen – Randy Gregg, 1987 and 1990 Playoffs.
  • Norm McIver – Dave Manson, 1991-92
  • Chris Pronger – Jason Smith, 2006 playoffs
  • Jaroslav Spacek – Steve Staios, 2006 playoffs
  • Kris Russell as Andrej Sekera, 2016-17
  • Adam Larsson – Oscar Klefbom 2016-19

As for Bouchard and Nurse, they are easily Edmonton’s top two d-men this year, although Cody Ceci has also played a number of stable matches.

Nurse is crushing him with his physical game, where he leads the NHL in hits with 32 in five games, and his solid offense breaks the ice, leading me to name him the Edmonton Express of the 21st century (with Eddie Shore being the Edmonton Express of the twentieth century).

As for Bouchard, his passing and shooting are extraordinary. He’s forced to fight from time to time playing against the most dangerous of rival attackers, a job he’ll have more often if paired with Nurse, but his defensive game has been good enough so far.

Will this pairing last? Will Bouchard hold out in time against tough competition? Will this pairing one day join Oilers’ list of the best d-man pairings?

My intuition says yes, but these are the first days. That said, it’s hard not to get your hopes up, given the Dynamic Duo’s level of individual and collective play early in the 2021-22 season.



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