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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

GDB 70.0: Marchand vs. McDavid

Prior to Boston’s game in Calgary last night, the Oilers and Bruins were extremely similar teams.

Through 69 games the Oilers had 81 points, the Bruins had 80.

The Oilers have scored 194 goals and allowed 177.
The Bruins had scored 194 and allowed 177.

The Oilers were better at 5×5 scoring with 134 goals to the Bruins’ 121.
The Oilers had allowed fewer 5×5 goals at 119 to Boston’s 127.
The Bruins had 43 PP goals, the Oilers had 42.
The Bruins had more 4×4 goals, more 3×3 goals, more SH goals and more empty net goals.

Tonight should be a very evenly matched game, but the Oilers will be a bit more rested after the Bruins won 5-2 in Calgary last night.

Connor McDavid leads the Oilers in scoring with 76 points, while Brad Marchand also has 76 points, albeit in one more game played.

In 62 starts Cam Talbot has a .920sv% and a 2.36GAA.
In 55 starts Tukka Rask has a .914sv% and a 2.24 GAA.

On Tuesday against Dallas, the Oilers were the obvious favourite and they showed maturity by controlling the game from the opening faceoff. Tonight won’t be nearly as easy, as these teams are very evenly matched, but it will have more of a playoff feel to it and it is another learning/growth opportunity for the young Oilers.

The Bruins lead the NHL with shots on goal, 2,364, and they’ve allowed the second fewest at 1,851. They outshoot their opponents by an average of 7.4 shots per game, which is best in the NHL by a large margin. Los Angeles is second at 5.1 and Philadelphia is third at 2.9. The Bruins are 11th in goals per game and ninth in goals against. They don’t give up much and the Oilers will need to earn their scoring chances tonight.

Despite their dominance in shots on goal, the Bruins are below average at 5×5 scoring, where the majority of the game is played. The Bruins are 17th in GF/GA ratio at 5×5, while the Oilers sit eighth.

Here is how all 30 teams stack up in GF/GA ratio, and it illustrates just how dominant Washington has been this season. Keep in mind the Capitals’ PP is starting to roll. They are 27.7% in their last 30 games, after being only 16% in their first 39. The Capitals have crushed teams at 5×5, and now their PP is once again dominant. They are scary good.

Team GF 5 on 5 GA 5 on 5 GF/GA ratio
WASHINGTON

156

94

62

COLUMBUS

148

112

36

MINNESOTA

155

121

34

PITTSBURGH

156

123

33

CHICAGO

142

115

27

SAN JOSE

132

107

25

MONTREAL

128

110

18

EDMONTON

134

119

15

NY RANGERS

147

133

14

NASHVILLE

135

123

12

TORONTO

143

137

6

NY ISLANDERS

151

146

5

ST LOUIS

122

119

3

ANAHEIM

117

115

2

CALGARY

120

119

1

TAMPA BAY

116

119

-3

BOSTON

125

129

-4

DALLAS

125

130

-5

OTTAWA

114

120

-6

LOS ANGELES

109

116

-7

WINNIPEG

133

143

-10

DETROIT

122

136

-12

VANCOUVER

111

131

-20

BUFFALO

112

133

-21

FLORIDA

106

130

-24

ARIZONA

115

141

-26

CAROLINA

117

145

-28

NEW JERSEY

94

124

-30

PHILADELPHIA

102

133

-31

COLORADO

91

155

-64

The Bruins are an interesting case study when you compare their high SF and low SA, yet at 5×5 they can’t produce. They shoot from everywhere, but high shot totals don’t always equate to high scoring chances. They are very good in faceoffs, but more importantly they retain possession after winning draws and use it to their advantage. Five of the top eight faceoff teams — Colorado, Carolina, Detroit, Philadelphia and Vancouver — won’t make the playoffs. Winning faceoffs is great, but maintaining possession after you win them is more important in my eyes.

LINEUP

Oilers

The Oilers top three lines are going very well. I like Slepyshev on the fourth line and I’d play him over Pakarinen regularly. Tonight Drake Caggiula will replace Matt Hendricks.

McLellan said he has had conversations with the young guys and the team wants those guys around to experience the playoff push, but the players were told at the trade deadline they likely wouldn’t be playing every night. He’ll spot them in so they don’t sit out too long, but unless there is an injury or someone really struggles it is unlikely young guys play that often.

Bruins

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • David Deshnarnais, Benoit Pouliot and Zack Kassian have clicked since being put together last Friday. Desharnais has two goals in three games, Pouliot finally scored on Tuesday and Kassian has three points in three games. I don’t expect them to combine for six points every three games, but it is obvious they can contribute. Pouliot and Kassian have the size and speed to be disruptive, while Desharnais is quick and has some much needed experience down the middle. They aren’t a flashy line, but they have found some chemistry and they’ve added some quality scoring depth.
  • I see many claiming Hendricks is slow. He isn’t slow. He isn’t a burner, but a tell-tale sign about being fast enough to play in the league for a checking winger is his ability to finish hits. If he was slow he wouldn’t be able to finish hits without taking a penalty. Hendricks’ speed hasn’t hurt the team. He’s not an elite puck handler, but his speed is not a liability.
  • The Oilers have the sixth best winning percentage in the NHL when they score first. They have won 74.2% of their games (23-5-3) when scoring first. Ottawa (81.3%), Washington (77.1%), Chicago (76.2%), San Jose (75.6%) and Minnesota (75%) are better. However, of the current 16 playoff teams only Nashville (29) and Calgary (30) has scored first on fewer occasions than the Oilers’ 31. Ideally the Oilers would like to score first more often, but when they do they’ve had very good success.
  • Boston is 29-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes. They are 6-6-1 when tied and 3-20-3 when trailing heading into the final frame.
  • Edmonton is 22-2-1 when leading after 40. They are 9-6-5 when tied and 5-16-3 when trailing after 40 minutes.
  • Milan Lucic didn’t hide his excitement about facing his former team. “Of course there is a little extra incentive. They have a different look with a new coach behind the bench, but it will be exciting playing them. I’m 3-0 against them and hoping to stay undefeated,” smiled Lucic. Lucic never gives canned, cliche responses and instead of BS-ing the media and fans he tells the truth that of course a game versus your former team gets you a bit more motivated. Lucic has 1-2-3 in the three games against his former team.Marchand has an incredible 26 goals in his last 29 games, and 44 points.

    He leads the NHL in goals with 36, and leads the NHL in scoring with 76 points. He is tied with Patrick Kane and McDavid, but goals are the tiebreaker so he is officially in first as of now. He’s had a great season and Lucic sees some comparisons between Marchand and Jamie Benn.”I think a lot of people are surprised by it (Marchand’s scoring), but I’m definitely not having played five years with him, getting to know him really well and knowing what type of talent he is and the amount of work he puts in.

    I know a lot of people hate him because of the way he plays sometimes, but he is a great guy to have on your team and the confidence he built from the World Cup team he’s carried over into the league.”Even going back to 2014 when Jamie Benn got named to the Olympics, he took off from there and I think it is the same situation with Brad. In my mind they are probably the best left wingers in the league now. He is going to be a target for us and we have to find a way to stop him,” said Lucic. Benn has 239 points in 229 games since the start of 2014/2015.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Stanley Cup of Chowder

  • Ostensibly with Khudobin getting the nod in Calgary, it looks like Tuukka Rask will tend net in Edmonton tonight.
  • It’s another matchup against former Bruin Milan Lucic, who has a goal and three assists in his last three games.
  • Last time the B’s faced Edmonton, it was the game they honored the life of Milt Schmidt in Boston, but a Patrick Maroon hat trick gave the Oilers a 4-3 win. Expect a very different Bruins team to roll in tonight.

TONIGHT

(Photoshop: @isuckatpicking)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: For the first time in this eight-game home stand the Oilers win back-to-back games and improve to 3-2-1 through six games. They skate to a 4-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid at Marchand are the focus of the broadcast. Both get on the scoresheet.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven’t scored a shorthanded goal since December 8th, a span of 40 games. Since then they’ve allowed 25 PP goals, but none in their last three games. They surprise everyone with a SH goal.

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