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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB +3.0: California Dreaming

Despite a decade between drinks, Oilers fans have taken to the playoffs like a duck (spits) to water. Bringing the loud to the Rogers Place has been a seamless transition, and may I just say we seem to have improved our singing since 2006. The chorus had form, clarity and range! Music! The Oilers as a team have gotten the better of San Jose through six+ periods, but the series heads to Silicon Valley tied at one win each. As we drag our collective asses out of whatever ditch we landed in on a Saturday night of a long weekend, we are greeted with a Sunday night game and a chance to take the lead in a fascinating series.

FIVE-BY-FIVE

In terms of scoring, this is a bizarre series start for the Oilers. Entering Game 3, the team has one even-strength goal (Oscar Klefbom from Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic), one power-play goal (Milan Lucic) and two shorthanded goals (Zack Kassian, Connor McDavid). That’s insane, and we will no doubt see normalized scoring (more 5×5 markers) in the coming days.

If the Oilers have only one 5×5 goal, are they playing poorly in the discipline? It’s an interesting question and one of the reasons I like to use possession metrics (Corsi or Fenwick) as a proxy for possession. Here are the Oilers centres so far in this series and their Corsi events/percentages:

  1. Connor McDavid 33-17 (66 percent)
  2. Mark Letestu 21-20 (51.22 percent)
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 23-27 (46 percent)
  4. David Desharnais 3-12 (20 percent)
  5. Source

These are very small sample sizes and it is unwise to make sweeping statements about any of the gathered evidence at this time. Still, it’s interesting and gives us some clues about who is doing well (if we needed it beyond the eye test) in the early days of the series.

The goalie stats are another area of interest, both men sporting solid save percentages and both men have been busy.

  • Cam Talbot 2gp, 1.46GAA .950SP, 57 saves in 60 shots against
  • Martin Jones 2gp, 1.96GAA .927SP, 55 saves in 51 shots against
  • Source

This is an area the Oilers improved in this past season, going from 31.1 shots against per game in 2015-16 to 29.5 this season. Especially encouraging is the 5×5 shots against per 60 minutes year over year: Oilers allowed 30.2 in 2015-16 and reduced that number to 28.7 in 2016-17. Miles to go, and the goal should be San Jose (the Sharks allowed just 26.8 shots per 60 minutes at 5×5 in 2016-17), but small victories are big steps.

The Edmonton Oilers played a brilliant Game 2 on Friday night, if the club can repeat that performance, we should be sneaking leftovers out of the fridge tomorrow afternoon in genuinely good moods. How much will the road change Edmonton’s experience? We find out tonight. The Oilers, to my eye, have been willing to run power versus power (McDavid gets the Vlasic pairing) in the regular season and into the playoffs, so 97 is used to the push back and should be able to flourish in those minutes. McDavid went 4-4-8 in five games against the Sharks during the regular season, including three goals at even strength.

LINEUPS

***Lineups and tables are now scrollable on mobile***

Oilers

LW C RW
Patrick Maroon
Patrick Maroon
Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid
Leon Draisaitl
Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Jordan Eberle
Jordan Eberle
Drake Caggiula
Drake Caggiula
Mark Letestu
Mark Letestu
Zack Kassian
Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot
Benoit Pouliot
David Desharnais
David Desharnais
Anton Slepyshev
Anton Slepyshev
Defensive Pairings
Oscar Klefbom
Oscar Klefbom
Adam Larsson
Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera
Andrej Sekera
Kris Russell
Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse
Darnell Nurse
Matt Benning
Matt Benning
Goalies
Cam Talbot
Cam Talbot

Sharks

LW C RW
Melker Karlsson
Melker Karlsson
Logan Couture
Logan Couture
Joe Pavelski
Joe Pavelski
Jannik Hansen
Jannik Hansen
Tomas Hertl
Tomas Hertl
Mikkel Boedker
Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi
Joonas Donskoi
Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau
Joel Ward
Joel Ward
Marcus Sorensen
Marcus Sorensen
Chris Tierney
Chris Tierney
Timo Meier
Timo Meier
Defensive Pairings
Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Brent Burns
Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Justin Braun
Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon
Brenden Dillon
David Schlemko
David Schlemko
Goalies
Martin Jones
Martin Jones

Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

QUICK HITS

  • The worry over Oscar Klefbom’s injury situation is real and spectacular. If he is unable to go this evening, Todd McLellan has no easy fix. I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts on possible pairings in the comments section, I have no recommendations that fill me with confidence.
  • The Nuge line had a fantastic Game 2, and if that continues I really like this team’s chances of winning this series.
  • Zack Kassian had Rogers Place and all of Oilers Nation buzzing with an electric performance in the Friday night game. I bet we hear about a contract in the early days after the season.
  • Matt Benning stepped up in a big way on Friday, splendid in his first playoff game.
  • Adam Larsson is beyond filthy. I love it. He’s also an excellent defenseman, if Klefbom is out the club will really need his 20+ minutes.
  • The Oilers have to stay out of the penalty box. You can’t win for long with a parade to the penalty box. Need to tighten up.
  • Get down to the Pint Downtown early today because Andrew Ference will be pouring 100 NationBeers for you guys an hour before puck drop.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

  • Peter DeBoer: “Our power play in our second game mimicked our five-on-five play: we weren’t hungry enough, we got outworked in a lot of areas. We’ve just got to get back at it.”
  • Source

TONIGHT

Photoshop: @TomKostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Sharks come out like a hammer on a drum, shredding the Oilers defense. It’s 2-0 after one period, and we’re all talking about how it could have been more.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get an early goal back, fantastic play by Connor McDavid makes it happen. A penalty to Edmonton in the middle of the frame costs the road team, making it 3-1. The Oilers right the ship on the shot clock and regain their composure.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: It’s McDavid all the way in the third period, as he sets up both wingers for a goal to get things back to a tie after three. Overtime one solves nothing, and overtime two is almost complete by the time Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scores from the side of the net to make the final 4-3 Oilers. It is 12:19 am, Monday morning when you hit the hay. You are exhausted, but you are completely satisfied.

 

Watching at home tonight?

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