The Edmonton Oilers dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.
They outshot them 41-23.
They had 89 shot attempts to the Leafs’ 47.
But they lost 1-0.
When you’re sitting in 14th place in the Western Conference and seven points out of a playoff spot on December 10th, playing well and losing doesn’t offer much solace.
No question the Oilers played very well yesterday, and Curtis McElhinney made some huge saves to improve to 6-0 all-time versus Edmonton, but their shooting let them down.
The Oilers missed the net 28 times last night, with Oscar Klefbom leading the way with six misses. He also had seven shots on net. He was very active in the offensive zone, and this was the most active I’ve seen him around the puck in a long time.
The Oilers deserved a better fate, but they also missed on many of their best chances. They hit four goal posts. You can call it unlucky, which would seem realistic, but they also didn’t capitalize on a full two-minute 5-on-3 powerplay.
They created numerous chances, but they couldn’t finish.
They played very well in Montreal and actually followed that up with another solid effort in Toronto. Back-to-back strong performances have been rare this season, but due to their positioning in the standings last night’s loss was a real kick in the junk.
The Oilers are now tied (with Arizona) for the NHL lead with 364 shots sent wide of the net. They also have 24 missed shots high (over the net), 19 goal posts and four crossbars.
Their 411 total missed shots are third most in the NHL, trailing Calgary (416) and Arizona (417), but the Coyotes have played three more games.
They are on pace for 1123 missed shots. They had 955 last season.
The positive is the Oilers are generating a lot of shots. They are sixth in SOG with 1,035. They were eighth last season at 2,550, and are on pace for 2,829 shots this season.
Only Pittsburgh has more shots (on net and missed) than the Oilers.
But last night their missed shots really stung. As I said, earlier, if the Oilers were comfortably in a playoff spot, last night’s result wouldn’t matter as much. But they can’t keep misfiring and expect to get back in the race.
Bearing down is part of the job in the offensive zone. It isn’t enough to just create good chances, at some point you need to finish them off.
Missed shots were one reason Jordan Eberle finished with a career-low 20 goals last season. Missing point blank is often a sign of a lack of confidence.
Eberle led the Oilers with 89 missed shots. He also had a career-high 208 shots on net, but he only had 20 goals. He admitted he battled confidence issues and we saw him settle for easy outside shots too often, and he frequently missed the net from a great shooting lane.
This season in New York, he has 65 shots (on pace for 183, right around his average), has 21 missed shots (on pace for 59) and he has 12 goals. He is missing the net less often and scoring more.
Things can change in a hurry, but the trend can also continue in a negative way.
I see the same with Klefbom this season. Players, consciously or subconsciously, try to make the perfect shot and end up missing more than they’d like.
Klefbom has 41 missed shots already. He is on pace for 115. He had 84 last season. He also has 88 shots on goal (on pace for 245), which would be 40 more than last season. D-men are a different than scoring wingers, in that most of their shots occur further away from the goal, but Klefbom is missing the net more than you’d like, and it really hurts when it happens from a good scoring area.
Last year the Oilers had seven players with more than 46 missed shots — Eberle (89), Klefbom (84), Connor McDavid (77), Milan Lucic (74), Leon Draisaitl (72), Patrick Maroon (65) and Andrej Sekera (64).
This season they have nine players on pace to have 55+ missed shots.
KIefbom is on pace for 115. Darnell Nurse (92), Maroon (87), Lucic (74), McDavid (71), Matt Benning (64), Draisaitl (60) and Kris Russell and Ryan Strome (55).
McDavid is on pace for a lower total than last season, as is Draisaitl, but missed shots are an issue for this group.
Russell, Nurse and Klefbom all missed the net on wide-open looks last night, and the Oilers D corps is missing the net too frequently.
A quick look at the NHL’s leaders in missed shots, you will see only five D-men in the top-20 — Brent Burns, Klefbom, Aaron Ekblad, Erik Karlsson and Zack Werenski. The rest are high volume shooting forwards, except for Dylan Larkin. He only has four goals and 71 shots, but he has 42 missed shots. Likely a main reason he only has four goals.
The Oilers defenders need to reduce their missed shots. I presume some of the misses are due to them shooting for a defection, but the group is still missing the net too frequently.
The Oilers played two solid games this weekend, but only skated away with two points. If they hadn’t waited until game 30 to have excellent back-to-back efforts, last night’s loss wouldn’t sting nearly as much. They aren’t out of the race yet, but they can’t afford many more games where they dominate the opposition everywhere but on the scoreboard.
Cam Talbot is on the trip and there were some rumblings he might be available for tomorrow’s game in Columbus. They can’t afford to rush him back, and with Laurent Brossoit stopping 44 of 47 shots (.936sv%) on the weekend, I wonder if they err on side of caution and give Talbot a few more days rest.
The Oilers need to cut down on their goals against, and they took some steps in the right direction this weekend. They eliminated the major mistake from their play and Toronto and Montreal generated very little constant pressure in the offensive zone. If the Oilers can continue to improve defensively they could get back in the race for the playoffs.
I’d send Anton Slepyshev to Bakersfield and get him playing. He is only 23 years young and sitting in the press box won’t help him. He doesn’t require waivers, so there is no fear of losing him. You could send him down now and recall him before Christmas. You could send him down Wednesday, get a few practice days in and then he could play four games in eight days between the 16th to 23rd. Use the no-waivers to your advantage and get him some ice time.
MONTH OF GIVING…
Thank you to Dave for his great bid and to Mr. Derks for the awesome package.
Day #7: Realtor commission.
Up for grabs is the seller’s commission for your house. (In a regular sale half the commission goes to the seller realtor and half to the buyer. So this is $3.5% on the first $100,000 and $1.5% on the
On a $400,000 house that is a value of $8,000.00.
On a $500,000 house that is value of $9,500.00.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out Santa’s Anonymous.