Photo Credit: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Penguins 2, Oilers 1 (OT) post-game Oil Spills: Bit by the snake

The Oilers were dropped by the Penguins last night 2-1 in overtime and thus finished their road trip with a 1-1-1 record. Cam Talbot has broken free from his early-season struggles, but the team still can’t seem to find a way to put the puck into the back of the net.


A few minutes into the third period, Ian Cole opened the scoring with a seeing-eye shot from the point that got by a screened Cam Talbot.

With under three minutes to go in the game, Connor McDavid came up clutch. The Oilers badly needed a goal, and the captain delivered with a snipe over Matt Murray’s shoulder. It was McDavid’s first goal since scoring a hat trick in the opening night win over the Flames. I can’t stress enough how badly this team needed that goal. The team ended up losing, of course, but losing 2-1 in overtime is better for the morale than getting dropped shut out.

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In overtime, after exchanging a couple of rushes, the Penguins iced the game. Evgeni Malkin drew Oscar Klefbom towards him, opening the ice up for Phil Kessel to snipe the winner past Cam Talbot. There was no way Milan Lucic was going to catch Kessel on this play.

By the numbers

The Penguins outshot the Oilers 44 to 30 in all situations and 34 to 26 while at even strength. Interestingly enough, the Oilers had 54 shot attempts at even strength to Pittsburgh’s 46, but the Penguins did a very strong job of keeping a lot of Edmonton’s shots to the outside. That changed in the third period when the Oilers cut down the volume of shots they took and began generating more high quality chances. In the third, Pittsburgh controlled the shot attempts, unblocked shot attempts, and shots on goal, but Edmonton still generated more scoring chances than they had in the previous periods. That’s to be expected as the Penguins went into a bit of a shell to protect their 1-0 lead.

Overall, I think this was a fairly evenly played game and the numbers tend to agree.

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  • Having Leon Draisaitl back made a huge difference for the offence last night. I mean, the team still only scored one goal, but Draisaitl’s presence made the team deeper and the McDavid line more dangerous. He played the first two periods with Caggiula and Letestu and the trio was solid, then, in the third, Drai got moved up to McDavid’s wing and the two started to generate chances like they always do. I’m usually an advocate for splitting McDavid and Draisaitl up because it makes the team’s attack more balanced, but based on how difficult a time the Oilers have had scoring goals thus far, they need to be put together.
  • Cam Talbot was rock solid again. His shaky start to the season is very clearly in the rearview mirror at this point. I don’t think you can blame him for either Ian Cole’s point shot goal or Kessel’s overtime goal. He certainly gave the team a chance to win last night.
  • I thought Darnell Nurse played his best game of the season last night. He and Kris Russell were largely rock solid in the defensive zone and the pair owned the best shot attempt and high danger chance differential of any Oilers defencemen last night. I would give this pair another look together.
  • The Oilers have scored 15 goals this season. That’s dead last in the NHL. As WheatNOil aptly pointed out on twitter, a big part of that comes down to an unsustainably low shooting percentage. As down on the Oilers are you are right now, the reality is there is no way the team is going to shoot five percent in all situations like they are right now. This highlight is an example of what poor on-ice shooting percentage looks like. There are a lot of things done well on this play, the setup, the positioning by Lucic in front of the net and Letestu at the side, the pass by McDavid, but then Murray sprawls across the crease to make an absurd save. It’s frustrating, but you have to trust the process, eventually these will start to go in.
  • Sticking with the same theme of underlying numbers suggesting the Oilers are better than their record indicates, I’ve seen a few people mention that the team could be suffering from a similar issue as the L.A. Kings of recent years. For those who haven’t followed, the Kings between 2014-2017 (not so much now that they’ve switched coaches) were notorious for posting phenomenal possession numbers and terrible goal numbers. They were the epitome of why Corsi doesn’t measure everything. The difference between the Oilers and Kings is that L.A.’s system had them taking low percentage shots from all over the ice, and as a result, their expected goal figure, which is derived from the quality of shots being taken, was always poor. Edmonton, according to Corsica, has the highest expected goals for percentage in the NHL right now because they not only get a high volume of shot attempts, they also get them in higher danger areas.
  • One final thing I noticed when digging through some numbers is Edmonton’s power play. Through eight games, the Oilers have converted on 15.4 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage, whereas last season, they scored on 22.9 percent of chances. The interesting thing is that the Oilers have only been given 26 power play opportunities this season, which is tied for third fewest in the league so far. A key part of this team’s success last year was scoring on the power play and they simply haven’t had a high volume of opportunities to do so this season.

Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 10/24/2017, 7:30pm MST

  • Hemmercules

    With all the shots and the missed nets you have to think it will turn around sooner than later but every loss is adding up fast right now. They need an amazing November to get back in it.

    • That's My Point

      Why can’t the Oilers make a move around the goalie then shoot where the goalie isn’t? The puck WILL NOT go through the goalies’ jersey crest. Why not try screening the goalie, tipping shots, redirecting shots burying rebounds?

  • Connor McFly

    It appears to me that Chias plan for the Oil is to win the draft lottery in 2018. No team in NHL history has a worse draft record than the Oil. They have collectively wasted more draft picks than anybody. Oh I get it. Katz is just waiting to bring back MacTavish. Lovely!

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    So this was the standings last year on October 26th, 2016:
    EDM 6-1-0
    VAN 4-2-1
    SJS: 4-3-0
    CGY: 3-4-1
    LAK: 3-3-0
    ANA: 2-3-2
    ARI: 1-5-0

    ….and you all know who won the division. It’s not the end of the world yet.

  • Neumann

    The Oilers would probably score more goals, and they may even come in the form of secondary scoring if they had a lead. Correct me if I am wrong the last time the Oilers had a lead this season was game 2, 1st period against the Canucks.

    I believe the goals will come. Apart from getting smashed against WPG, OTT, and CAR they have lost three 1 goal games. Don’t get me wrong they lost those games and are full credit for their current record but I’d be shocked if they had another 8 game segment this poor.

  • ET

    I grew up watching the oilers of the 80’s who are all within 1-3 years of my age so I felt a strong connection and became a huge fan. It also helped that we won so much! While I am still a huge fan my personal hope is that we continue to underachieve under our current coaching and management so that Darryl will finally need to pull the trigger and get rid of Peter and Todd. Can’t stand that we don’t address our problem areas and both these gents act like we did???? Tells you everything you need to know about Todd when Lucic is on the ice in OT. We have gotten big and slow with these 2 gents and big and slow does not win cups in today’s NHL. Hopefully Darryl and Bob will see soon enough that they better tie cans to both of their butts and get them out of town while we still have some time with Connor. Go Oil , er…or not.

    • That's My Point

      Who else would Todd put on the ice in OT? Yamamoto 0 goals; Kassian 0 goals; Jokinen 0 goals; Pakarinen 0 goals; Khaira 0 goals; Cagguila 0 goals; Strome 1 goal; Lucic 1 goal; Draisaitl 1 goal; Letestu 2 goals; Nuge 2 goals; Maroon 2 goals. Pretty thin pickings for goal scoring on the team currently. At least Lucic has scored a goal this year, has 1 more than Eberle this season. And to think that when Lucic first came to the team he was on McDavid’s line and now eveyone has a hate on for him.

      • Hockeyfan6778

        A combination of mcdavid, dry, nuge, klefbom, Larsson, yam And drake. You need skilled And fast people there. As pointed out lucic is very slow and a terrible decision to put him out.

        • OnDaWagon

          I don’t agree that Lucic is slow. When that overtime play developed last night near the Oilers blueline, Kessel had about 1-1/2 strides on Lucic. At the end of the play where Kessel scored, the distance between the two was basically the same.

          Amazing how a lot of posters run the man down. I don’t mind him being here one bit. I believe he is very important to this group. And when he does have puck position and is skating, seems like nobody catches him.

  • NeverWas

    Oilers only got 2 players and no depth. Can’t win with the way the team’s constructed when all teams have to do is shut down mcdavid. Team’s going nowhere fast.