The Match-ups: Oilers vs Ducks

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2008 03:18PM

Yesterday, I put together some predictions based on my knowledge of the Ducks’ team and how Randy Carlyle sent his lines out against the Kings the night before.

My predicted forward match-ups were as follows:

Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky vs. Moen – Pahlsson – Marchant Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner vs. Carter – Morrison – Selanne Moreau – Pisani – Penner vs. Kunitz – Getzlaf – Perry MacIntyre/Penner – Brodziak – Pouliot vs. May – Sutherby – Parros

I wasn’t terribly confident that Carlyle would keep his lines together, but both teams seem to have done so, with the exception of Craig MacTavish’s 4th line. With Steve MacIntyre in for Zach Stortini, MacTavish alternated a variety of wingers with Pouliot and Brodziak, a strategy that resulted in some very strong shifts for the bottom group. Here were the team’s line-ups last night:

Anaheim:

Kunitz – Getzlaf – Perry Carter – Morrison – Selanne Moen – Pahlsson – Niedermayer May – Marchant – Parros

Beauchemin – Niedermayer Pronger – McIver/Huskins Montador – Huskins

Edmonton:

Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner Moreau – Pisani – Penner Pouliot – Brodziak – MacIntyre, et al.

Visnovsky – Souray Grebeshkov – Gilbert Strudwick – Staios

The only note that I have to add is that instead of using the centre’s ice-time as the basis for each forward line, I’ve decided to use whichever player (italicized) had the highest percentage of his ice-time with the other two; this should largely compensate for things like double-shifting and line juggling.

Forwards

Cole – Horcoff – Hemsky

Getzlaf line: 4.0% Carter line: 10.3% Moen line: 81.7% Marchant line: 4.0%

Niedermayer-Beauchemin: 80.l6% Pronger pairing: 12.4% Montador – Huskins: 7.0%

As predicted, the Horcoff line didn’t play power-vs-power tonight; they ran into Anaheim’s checking line and top defensive pairing. It was a better game for them than the one against Colorado, but even so they were largely contained by Anaheim’s checking unit. Hemsky in particular looked ineffective outside of a few shifts (in particular one with the fourth line where he got away from the checkers).

Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner

Getzlaf line: 30.7% Carter line: 62.8% Moen line: 3.7% Marchant line: 2.9%

Niedermayer-Beauchemin: 7.2% Pronger pairing: 55.9% Montador – Huskins: 36.8%

The Ducks’ coaching staff generally managed to get the Pronger pairing out against the Kid Line, but they did see the bottom pairing a fair bit as well. They were matched against the Carter – Morrison – Selanne unit up front, and I think they carried the play for the most part (despite being physically dominated early on). For the second game in a row, they saw a nontrivial amount of ice-time against their opponent’s top line, and it seems like MacTavish is determined to increase the difficulty of their minutes this year.

Moreau – Pisani – Penner

Getzlaf line: 59.8% Carter line: 16.4% Moen line: 8.2% Marchant line: 15.6%

Niedermayer-Beauchemin: 20% Pronger pairing: 37.6% Montador – Huskins: 42.1%

Looking at the near-even distribution among the Ducks’ defensive pairings, we can see that the Oilers’ shutdown trio was largely deployed in defensive situations, and most of that time was spent against Getzlaf and company. This line is really starting to grow on me—they’ve looked good so far and all three players have size and smarts on their side.

Pouliot – Brodziak Getzlaf line: 39.4% Carter line: 30.9% Moen line: 0% Marchant line: 29.8%

Niedermayer-Beauchemin: 19.2% Pronger pairing: 33.7% Montador – Huskins: 48.0%

The fourth line was MacTavish’s secret weapon for much of the game; outside of the three minutes of ice-time that MacIntyre got, they were playing with some decent offensive players (Hemsky, Nilsson) and doing it against the Ducks’ lower defensive pairings and away from their checkers. I think we may see MacIntyre draw in for games where the opposition has a high-end checking unit, to allow Hemsky/Nilsson/etc. to get some shifts in against less formidable defensive players. Both Pouliot and Brodziak were improved from the night before, and both played against some pretty decent offensive options.

Defence

Visnovsky – Souray

Getzlaf line: 31.1% Carter line: 25.7% Moen line: 33.7% Marchant line: 9.4%

Grebeshkov – Gilbert

Getzlaf line: 34.3% Carter line: 46.2% Moen line: 7.7% Marchant line: 11.9%

Strudwick – Staios

Getzlaf line: 30.9% Carter line: 23.7% Moen line: 31.7% Marchant line: 13.7%

The distribution of the minutes was much more even last night than it was against Colorado. All three defensive pairings saw a variety of opposition, and I think looking at things from a situational perspective (i.e. which zone the puck was in) would give us a better idea how these players were used. With what we know about the players, it seems safe to assume that 71-44 saw all situations, 37-77 were mostly used in the offensive zone, and 43-24 were largely deployed in the defensive zone.

—Jonathan Willis: man or machine? You decide.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 David Staples
October 16 2008, 07:18PM
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Excellent work, Jonathan. You post this after every game, I'll be reading it after every game. Much appreciated.

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#2 Smokin' Ray Burnt
October 16 2008, 09:38PM
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Holy crap... That must take you a while.

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#3 AndrewB
October 17 2008, 02:28AM
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See this is Statistics I can get behind.

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#4 Norman
October 17 2008, 03:41AM
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No real surprises in there -- and it certainly points the way to the challenge that 26-10-83 have compared to the other Oiler lines.

That's a big old helping of Pahlsson and Scott Neidermeyer. And versus Colorado lots against both Sakic and Stastny who are always/already good both ways.

It will be interesting to see them against a lineup that has a little more defensive flaw in it. Like Bertuzzi-Langkow-Iginla.

Bertuzzi's always been a paper tiger -- and porous from a GA perspective.

My guess is Bertuzzi-Langkow-Iginla versus 26-10-83 Camalleri line versus Pisani line GlenX-Moss-Boyd versus the Gagner line Roy-Nystrom versus Brodziak line

I think we will see our top-line be productive this weekend.

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#5 JD
October 18 2008, 11:04AM
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First off, this site rules. I hate to leave this in the comments, but there is no site admin email address. Is there a way for you guys to make a separate RSS feed for the original content on your site, instead of combining it with all the boring generic newswire articles? Everyday when I open my news reader there are like 10 articles from oilers nation, and 9 of them are stupid AP/CP stories.

I can't be the only one who feels this way. Thx a lot guys and keep up the awesome work

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