Something we talk about in sports statistics quite a bit is the law of averages. Multiple times in this young season the Oilers have played well but lost. Generally, over a large sample size, these tend to balance out. Last night, the Oilers clearly didn’t deserve to win, but they scraped one out in overtime largely on the back of an excellent performance from Cam Talbot. At this point, you have to take whatever you can get as the team looks to get on track.
The Oilers opened the scoring a couple minutes into the second period off of a breakaway goal from Leon Draisaitl. Milan Lucic made a nice poke check at the blueline and Draisaitl did the rest. He chased the puck down, burning both Islanders defencemen in a transition, and buried one between Thomas Greiss’ pads.
And there you have it. 😬😬 pic.twitter.com/hS3OAf6uIv— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 8, 2017
We all knew this was coming. Jordan Eberle made a nice backcheck in the neutral zone, Mat Barzal, the could-have-been-Oiler selected with one of the Griffin Reinhart draft picks, drove the puck into the middle of the ice and made a nice no-look feed to Eberle who sniped a beauty over Cam Talbot.
THE OVERTIME DREAM TEAM!! pic.twitter.com/wXB15jimKM— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 8, 2017
This was a treat to watch. When the Oilers get into overtime and McDavid and Draisaitl are on the ice, there aren’t many teams out there who are going to be able to stop them. McDavid rushes the puck up the ice, Draisaitl keeps up, McDavid slides it back to him, Draisaitl drags the defender across the ice and dishes it back to McDavid who was all alone for the finish.
The first two periods were played evenly, with a slight edge in New York favour. The Islanders had 33 shot attempts at and 22 shots on goal even strength in comparison to Edmonton’s 25 shot attempts and 18 shots on goal through the first and the second. But in the third, the Oilers seemed to run out of gas the Islanders started to take control of the game. New York peppered 19 shot attempts towards the Oilers net while Edmonton only mustered nine (two on goal) in the third. That said, while New York controlled possession, the teams were split with two high danger chances each in the third.
In terms of individual performances, Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson were the only players on the team to boast a shot attempt differential over 50 percent. The pair was also successful in limiting the Islanders deep in the zone, as New York didn’t have a high danger chance with Nurse and Larsson on the ice. The Eric Gryba and Kris Russell paid struggled, allowing 18 shot attempts against and getting only six for. In terms of forwards, the McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon line performed the best in terms of shot attempt differential, but Zack Kassian, RNH, and Milan Lucic generated the most high danger chances.
- I mentioned at the beginning that this was one of those everything averages out kind of wins. Obviously, it isn’t as simple as that, but the Oilers have had a handful of games early in the season they probably deserved to win but didn’t. Whether it was ugly goaltending like the game against Carolina or excellent opposition goaltending like the first game against the Penguins, the Oilers couldn’t come out with a win. Then, tonight, they got outplayed, but Cam Talbot stole them one. Obviously, you want the team to play well and win, but when you’re at bottom of the standings in November, it doesn’t really matter how you get them, you just need wins. Last season, Cam Talbot stole the Oilers quite a few games. A win is a win and I would rather have a momentum-turning, greasy overtime win in which the goalie played a damn good game than a bunch of we outshot the other team but didn’t get the bounces kind of moral victories. Still, while we should enjoy the win and hope the team can build from it, there really aren’t many positives to garner from this game.
- Drake Caggiula left the game with an injury which is unfortunate, but after Zack Kassian got bumped up to the second line the trio looked very effective. I find Milan Lucic is much better when he’s playing with another big bodied player who can cycle the puck down low. Kassian is that kind of player. I mentioned above in the numbers section that this trio had the most high danger scoring chances of any Oilers forwards, which isn’t surprising considering how strong they looked in the offensive zone. This is a trio I would keep together.
- Tonight was another good game from Darnell Nurse. He’s pretty clearly passed Oscar Klefbom on the depth chart as Edmonton’s top left-handed defender. Him and Adam Larsson have looked good together. Klefbom had a few gaffes defensively but him and Matt Benning move the puck very effectively and can generate offence. I think Nurse and Larsson are going to have to be the pair you play against the other team’s best players while you look to give Klefbom and Benning more offensive situations.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/07/2017, 7:00pm MST