February 06 2014 12:35PM
In theory, outshooting the opposition will increase your chances of success, but for short windows that isn't always the case. The Oilers are 4-3-1 in their last eight games. In the five games they picked up at least one point they were out shot 204-124. They gave up 16 more shots per game (40.8-24.8), but they got nine of a possible ten points.
In the three losses they outshot their opponents twice, 58-56, leaving the loss to Boston as the only game where getting outshot meant a loss.
The Oilers are bucking the shooting trend lately and seeing success, so maybe they should continue to do so, considering how well it has worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For the past two seasons the Maple Leafs have continually been outshot, yet they win more than they lose, much to the chagrin of those who believe strongly in Corsi. Outshooting the opponents increases your chances of winning, unless you are the Maple Leafs.
In 58 games this season the Leafs have outshot their opponents a measly nine times and once they were tied in shots. In those ten games, the Leafs are 5-5. In the 48 games they've been outshot they are 25-17-6. For reasons unexplained their chance of success increases when they get outshot.
In 48 games last year they fired more shots than their opponent 11 times, but they had a losing record, 5-6, in those games. During the 37 games that they were outshot they went 21-11-5. Our friend Cam Charron over at Leafsnation is constantly befuddled and in awe of the trend setting Maple Leafs.
During their last 106 games they've been outshot, or tied, with the opposition 21 times. They picked up 20 points.
They were outshot in the other 85 games but they skated away with a total of 103 points.
They even continued that trend in the playoffs. They lost both games where they outshot the Bruins, but went 3-2 in the game the Bruins fired more pucks on goal.
The Oilers have two former Maple Leafs coaches on their bench, and now they have Ben Scrivens and Mark Fraser in the lineup. Maybe the Oilers are trying to become the Maple Leafs of the west; buck the shooting trend and win.
I know it is an incredibly small sample size, and the Oilers don't have a 47-year Stanley Cup drought to counter their lucky streak, but they do have the longest active streak, 8 years, with no playoffs and their Cup drought is just over half as long as the Leafs, 24. Could a get-out-shot-and-win strategy really be that bad of an idea?
I don't see why not. What's the worst thing that could happen? They stay in 29th place.
All joking aside, the Oilers have won four of their last five and the players, coaches and fans should take an ugly win over a "solid effort" loss any day.
Seriously though, would you really care if the Oilers kept getting outshot, but went 46-28-11?
The Rangers are one of those ~ boring ~ teams that consistently outshot their opponents on home ice. In 30 home games, the Rangers have only been oushot five times; however, they are only 14-13-3 at Madison Square Gardens.
Tonight could be the perfect storm for the Oilers. They face a team that likes to outshoot their opponents, but has limited success when they do it. The Rangers are 10-10-1 when firing more shots, 0-2-1 when tied in shots and 4-2 when they get outshot at MSG.
If you are playing the odds, then the Oilers game plan should be to let the Rangers outshoot them.
That might not be that difficult considering the Rangers are playing very well lately, 11-4-1 in 2014, and they are starting to feel comfortable under Alain Vigneaut. The Rangers are playing an up-tempo, fast-paced, aggressive game and it seems to mesh well with their personnel.
Scrivens gets his 2nd start of the season at MSG. He made 37 saves in a 1-0 victory on November 17th as a member of the Kings, and he'll look to remain perfect against the Rangers.
Eberle and Yakupov have switched lines so fans get to see a line of all 1st overall picks playing together. Yakupov and Gagner have struggled as a duo, so trying something else makes sense. Jones replaces Joensuu and the defence stays the same.
- The Oilers and Rangers have almost identical offensive production. The Rangers are 18th in the NHL with 2.58 goals per game, while the Oilers are 19th at 2.55. The difference is goals against. The Rangers are 10th at 2.44 while the Oilers are 30th at 3.34.
- The Oilers have allowed 55 more goals than the Rangers. The Oilers need a good start. They've given up the most goals in the first period, 61, while New York has had great starts in their recent 7-2 hot streak. The Rangers have scored 9 goals in the first period during those seven wins. They have 34 first period goals in their other 50 games combined.
- I like Kyle Clifford as a player. I think he could help the team, but if the Oilers trade Sam Gagner for him and a pick, they will lose the trade. The pick likely will be a 2nd rounder at best, and 15% of 2nd round picks play more than 200 games. The chances of that pick panning out are slim. I understand Gagner has limitations, and his cap hit doesn't help things, but if the Oilers have to eat half or a bit less of his salary, and only get Clifford and a maybe in return, it will be hard to win that trade.
Clifford did score 28 goals and 57 points in 58 games as a 19-year-old in the OHL, so he does have skill; however, he has 22 goals and 45 points in 253 NHL games. I know he's played essentially on the 4th line, moonlighting a bit on the 3rd and 2nd, but he would need to become one of the biggest surprises ever to become a top-six forward. I realize he would be a complimentary guy and playing with Hall, RNH or Eberle would give him more opportunities to score, but it would still be almost impossible for him to suddenly become a 40-point player.
Last year, I wrote I'd have offer sheeted him for $1-1.5 million, because the Kings didn't have much cap space, so I do believe he would help, but not at the cost of Gagner and half of Gagner's salary.
- I've said and written in the past I would sacrifice a small forward with 30-goal potential for a bigger body, who is a proven 20-goal man, but who bangs, crashes and battles. But you can't trade a 45-point player for Clifford. His best season was last year 7-7-14 in 48 games, and if you prorate he'd be a 23-point player in 82 games. I have no problem if the Oilers move a skill forward for a big body with a bit less skill, but not half the offensive production.
- Nice to see Marty St.Louis make Team Canada, but I'm curious if he plays or is the 14th forward. Is Matt Duchene still the 14th guy, because he is young, or does he move up and now St.Louis is the extra body? I'm curious to see how Mike Babcock handles that situation.
- Jimmy Fallon is way better than Jay Leno. The tonight show will be much better with Fallon.
***Female readers always ask why I only post pictures of attractive women, so to be fair here you go ladies. The best looking man in the NHL.***
GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is a low scoring affair, and the Oilers continue to buck the shooting trend with a 2-1 victory. Gagner scores just to add fuel to the trade speculation.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Rangers outshoot the Oilers. Scrivens has faced an average of 39 shots in his five starts with the Oilers, but tonight he gets an "easier" night facing only 36.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most fans are more concerned with Gagner trade talk than that game, and they should be. Game 59 in another losing season isn't as juicy as trade rumours. The next 24 hours -- trade freeze starts tomorrow at 1 p.m. MST -- will be fun, but likely not as interesting as the stretch from February 24th to the March 05th trade deadline.