The 5-9-0 Oilers hit the road to hell this week, with stops in Chicago, Anaheim, Arizona and Los Angeles. By this time next week, we could be talking about the death of another season or a brand new day. Hold on!
The facts and the running verbal don’t quite match up for the 2015-16 Edmonton Oilers. Take last game, a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at home. Edmonton could have won the game—four posts, they battled for possession on loose pucks, heavy on their sticks, plenty of excitement—but a couple of lapses and it’s 2-1 with the Penguins heading down the QE2 with two points and thank you very much.
They’re better, I swear. The facts? Damnable things.
- 5×5 Corsi For %: 47.7 (No. 25)
- 5×5 GA/60: 2.81 (No. 28)
- 5×5 Shots For/60: 26 (No. 28)
- 5×5 Shots Against/60: 30 (No. 23)
- 5×5 Shooting Percentage: 8.36 (No. 7)
- 5×5 Save Percentage .9063 (No. 27)
- All Situations Corsi For %: 49.2 (No. 19)
What does all of that mean? Well, at 5×5 the Oilers are not competitive enough to be a going concern, but they are getting more than their share of goals due to a higher than expected shooting percentage (Leon’s a dream, but he’ll correct — that’s just a fact). The team’s overall possession numbers put them inside the league’s top 20, meaning the power play (No. 3 in Corsi for %, 90.8) is getting a lot of shots to contribute to the overall number. Edmonton’s 10 power-play goals have them tied for No. 6 in the NHL, and that’s something we should expect from Todd McLellan’s teams.
Are the Oilers unlucky to be 5-9-0? A little, I’d suggest. If the goals that were goals were called, or the goaling had stopped a late puck, they could be 5-7-2 or even 6-7-1. That said, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
EBERLE A FACTOR
“My head was just spinning (early) but as the game went on, I started to settle in a little more. That’s a tough game to jump into.” Eberle
— Joanne Ireland (@jirelandEJ) November 7, 2015
It was in fact a fast game from the start against Pittsburgh, but Eberle will quickly adjust I’m sure and we’ll probably see a more substantial player tonight in the Windy City. Jordan Eberle is often mentioned by fans as a trade option, but his value as an offensive player is massive. A prime Eberle would go a long way to helping Edmonton win this game, and it’s an important one for the team.
Oilers lineup courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com
- I don’t know that we can call it a goaltending controversy, but Anders Nilsson the Giant appears to have some curb appeal for Todd McLellan. Something to watch as the year winds along.
- Anton Lander needs to do something. Schnell! Such a fabulous pre-season with Leon and Nail, but he’s not moving the offensive needle and time is running out.
- Oilers 2012 draft pick Erik Gustafsson has impressed enough to make the Blackhawks roster this year. Edmonton passed on signing him a couple of years ago. Credit the scouting department with finding him, and punish the management for not getting him signed? Hard to say. The Oilers have enough 5-6 D to choke a horse, don’t know if Gustafsson has enough skill to project ahead of someone like Brandon Davidson.
- The trade for Griffin Reinhart this summer gives Edmonton an overload of bona fide lefties on defense. Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart are young enough to patrol the Oilers defense for a long time. The problem? It’s going to take some time before they’re prime.
- The Oilers badly need someone from the bottom 6F to step up at 5×5 offensively.
I hope I don’t hear the Chelsea Dagger, tonight. #Oilers
— John Ryan (@johnrbubba) November 8, 2015
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Second City Hockey: Edmonton has long had trouble
playing Chicago’s type of game. The Oilers have the
fourth-lowest 5-on-5 Corsi in the league (47.7 percent) and usually
struggle to dominate possession. Other than a beatdown against the Flyers last Tuesday where the Oilers had a 49-22 shot advantage, the team has been out-shot 11 times in 14 games. Source
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Chicago and Edmonton match chances in a wild first, which ends in a 1-1 draw. Edmonton’s goal comes on the power play and is credited to the Nuge.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: In the second period, Edmonton’s defense has a hard time with the run and gun Hawks, giving up a trio in quick succession—effectively ending the suspense.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:
A late goal by Anton Lander offers a little hope for that struggling bottom six, but the Oilers lose 4-2 against a clearly superior hockey club