GDB 28.0: HURDLING

The Edmonton Oilers have been tightening their defensive play under coach Dallas Eakins and it does appear to be working. In the club’s last 10 games, the goals-against average for DD and Bryz is 2.52 compared to 3.24 for the entire season. The goaltending has improved, but what about the defense? Is it getting better? How can we tell?

BOXCARS

In the last 10 games, the Oilers blue has posted the following boxcar numbers:

  1. Phil Larsen (IR) 5, 0-4-4 -4
  2. Justin Schultz 5, 2-1-3 +3
  3. Corey Potter 6, 0-2-2 -2
  4. Nick Schultz 10, 0-2-2 -1
  5. Denis Grebeshkov 2, 0-1-1 +1
  6. Jeff Petry 10, 0-1-1 +3
  7. Anton Belov 10, 0-1-1 -2
  8. Taylor Fedun 2, 0-0-0 -2
  9. Andrew Ference 10, 0-1-1 -1

It’s an interesting look back, we can kind of see the point where  Larsen went on IR and Fedun was sent down, and then the 5 games Schultz the younger has been back has coincided with an uptick in results (funny, that) for the team.

CORSI FOR % (5×5)

In the last 5 games, it’s fun to see the list of defensemen who have been on the ice for good things:

  1. Anton Belov 78-62 55.7%
  2. Justin Schultz 66-57 53.6%
  3. Denis Grebeshkov 23-20 53.4%
  4. Jeff Petry 66-58 53.2%
  5. Nick Schultz 60-67 47.2%
  6. Andrew Ference 57-65 46.7%
  7. Corey Potter 30-44 40.5%

This is from Extra skater, and I’m listing Corsi For-Corsi against and the percentage and this is all 5×5. Now, it’s important to note that we’re not taking into account things like zone starts and toughness of opposition, this is straight Corsi at 5×5 over the last 5 games.

That said, it’s fascinating to see four defensemen above 50% over that time (!!!!) and the 5-6 guys are not far from 50% (with only Corey Potter fading badly). We don’t know if Schultz’s return or Grebeshkov’s callup are big reasons for the improved shot differential, we only know that in the last 5 games this group has been part of some good things.

And we also know the goals against in the last 10 games has been going down, and part of that is due to the puck being in the other end more often.

These are all nice signs for the club, and barring injury they should be able to repeat it (depending on quality of opposition, etc) and more wins should come as a result.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jones-Arcobello-Joensuu

Ference-Petry
Grebeshkov-J.Schultz
Belov-N.Schultz

Dubnyk

That’s my guess, but I don’t know why you’d change anything aside from the goaltender. That 4th line has been doing some nice things, and I’m betting the Nuge line will find a way to rock and roll in Texas later today. The young Russian likes the big stage, and everything’s big in Texas, maybe he’ll rip three rockets into the Dallas night.

QUICK HITS

  • According to nhl.com, the Oilers have 4 rookies this season: Mark Arcobello, Taylor Fedun, Luke Gazdic and Tyler Pitlick. Anton Belov doesn’t qualify.
  • The Oilers leading scorer is Jordan Eberle (23 points) who is tied for 28th in league points. Last year, Taylor Hall finished 9th, but this year he and David Perron are tied at 61st overall.
  • Craig MacTavish was in Oklahoma City last night, raving about Mark Arcobello in an interview with brilliant play-by-play man Jim Byers.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

WHO CARES? It’s almost time for hurdles!!!!! Okay, fine.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play the system and find their range on the powerplay, scoring twice with the man advantage in a 3-2 victory over the Stars.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Smyth leaves it all out on the ice.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Shawn Horcoff channels himself as a rookie and sends a cross-ice pass that Yakupov shoots through the net for the winner.

  • dow7500

    Agree 100% teddy. The absolutely bizarre inability to dump the puck in when they clearly are having trouble entering the offensive zone. Time after time they puke it up and its going back the other way. It doesn’t take a hockey mental giant to see this. Do they go over film with these offenders at all. Its been obvious all season. Hall,Yak, Hemsky had repeated embarrassing giveaways. friggen midget teams aren’t this stupid.

  • Do what Weight did?

    Have to agree with Todd re. gagner’s role on the 2nd goal against. I couldn’t watch the game, and was reading the blog before seeing the highlights. Based on the comments pre #180, my impression was that Gagner’s was guilty of a horrible lapse in effort and awareness. Then I saw the replay…

    So, is it official then? Now that Arnott, Poti, Brewer, Cross, and Horcoff are gone (who am I forgetting?) Gagner is the primary on-ice reason for all our woes (goalies and PofHO’s don’t count – too easy). We’ve got enough legit issues that we don’t need to manufacture ones that aren’t there.

  • Do what Weight did?

    Being a fan of Fedun, I prefer to look at the 4, 2-0-2, -1 as his NHL numbers. Then I scratch my head and wonder again why he was sent down.
    More of MacT’s handiwork.

    Re: Eberle Olympics. LOL.

    The sooner we get a man in here to show those kids how to work, the better. And I don’t give a rats arse who has to go to get him here. Lucic for ANY player on our team. Sold.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    I would just like to make one comment regarding the people laughing at the Perron/Team Canada post.. Brad Marchand was invited to the training camp for Team Canada, and Perron is undoubtedly a far superior player. So it’s not too far off. But it is off.

    • Serious Gord

      Not true. Marchand is a far better player at performing the role that he does than Perron is at his.

      Is there anyone who reads this who wouldn’t trade Perron for Marchand straight up?

      • Mikey

        Me. I wouldn’t make that trade. Ever. You are right tho, Marchand is a better instigater, to bad their is more to hockey than that. I would like to see Marchand play for a team like the oilers, I got a feeling he would be ineffective knowing he has no Lucic or Chara or Thorton to back him up.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    you should put even more Cheese’d out Female JIFFFZZZZSSSSSSSSS in these posts. total Dad level Sexy calendar in the garage crapola.

    more numbers to prove you measured how Right You Are and more cheeeeese plz.

  • camdog

    Watched the replay a few times now. If Gags commits down low then who’s job is it to cover 24 coming open in the slot? Petry looked completely lost on that play. Gags does have a history of not coming back hard, I’ve seen him do it multiple times, on this play it looks like he’s got his man.

    • S cottV

      I agree – Gagner not at fault. Petry out to lunch and appears that a trailer was looming, that needed coverage. My point though – there are times when a backchecker can get directly involved because there is no trailer support, or it can be temporarily covered off by a 2nd backchecker. Example – many times the opposition will change the trailer and there may be a 7 to 10 second opportunity to outman and take possession. Wouldnt want my backchecker hanging around the neutral zone waiting for the the trailer replacement to show up.

    • S cottV

      I agree – Gagner not at fault. Petry out to lunch and appears that a trailer was looming, that needed coverage. My point though – there are times when a backchecker can get directly involved because there is no trailer support, or it can be temporarily covered off by a 2nd backchecker. Example – many times the opposition will change the trailer and there may be a 7 to 10 second opportunity to outman and take possession. Wouldnt want my backchecker hanging around the neutral zone waiting for the the trailer replacement to show up.