Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers In Seven — part three: Did the real Edmonton Oilers just stand up?

Hello, hello, hello.

Welcome back to part three of my series Oilers In Seven where we take a look at the Oilers in, well, seven-game sets.

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If you’re new to the series, welcome! For those reading once again, welcome! This series is here to give you a better understanding of the Oilers on a smaller scale.

I somehow mangled my math, so today’s article highlights the team’s last eight games. You still get the idea, though.

Feedback is welcome in the comments, or on Twitter.

The Numbers

Games 1-7: 6-1
Games 8-15: 4-3-1
Games 16-22: 3-2-2
Season record: 13-6-3, 5th in the NHL.

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Games 1-7:
PP% – 45.5, 1st in the league
PK% – 88.5, 5th in the league

Games 8-15:
PP% — 9.5, 26th overall.
PK% — 81.8, 18th.

Games 16-22:
PP% — 39.1, 2nd overall.
PK% — 92.0, 3rd.

Season totals:
PP% — 31.8, 1st overall.
PK% — 87.7, 3rd.

Even Strength

CF% 44.02 – 30TH 50.13 — 16TH 48.97 — 18TH 47.90 —25TH
GF% 54.55 – 10TH 50.00 — 17TH 48.65 — 18TH 51.04 — 17TH
XGF% 41.96 – 30TH 53.25 — 10TH 52.79 — 8TH 49.63 — 22ND
GF/60 3.1 — 9TH 1.89 — 29TH 3.19 — 10TH 2.67 — 17TH
GA/60 2.58 — 11TH 1.89 — 4TH 3.36 — 25TH 2.57 — 19TH
TEAM SH% 12.95 – 3RD 6.25 — 28TH 10.71 — 9TH 9.51 — 11TH
TEAM SV% .9167 – 11TH 93.23 — 4TH 88.82 — 23RD 91.33 — 14TH
PDO 1.046 – 3RD 99.5 — 20TH 99.5 — 16TH 100.8 — 12TH

All Situations

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CF% 43.96 — 30TH 50.56 — 17TH 49.23 — 19TH 48.07 — 25TH
GF% 59.57 — 5TH 45.45 — 23RD 54.00 — 9TH 53.85 — 8TH
XGF% 40.50 — 30TH 52.59 — 12TH 50.49 — 14TH 48.03 — 24TH
GF/60 3.95 — 3RD 1.84 — 30TH 3.83 — 5TH 3.14 — 11TH
GA/60 2.68 — 11TH 2.21 — 5TH 3.26 — 19TH 2.69 — 6TH
TEAM SH% 15.64 — 1ST 6.07 — 29TH 12.80 — 4TH 10.99 —7TH
TEAM SV% .9177 — 9TH 92.50 — 4TH 88.78 — 22ND 91.12 — 9TH
PDO 1.074 — 1ST 0.986 — 23RD 101.6 — 10TH 102.1 —5TH

Note: I’ve added GF/60 and GA/60 to the chart.

Stats via Natural Stat Trick, glossary with definitions here.

Player Stats

Stats via Hockey Reference 

What it all means

Did the real Edmonton Oilers just stand up? I think so.

Over these last seven games, I think we got a look at what the Oilers are going to be this year: a team driven by two of the best players in the league, with a bunch of other guys who aren’t super terrible.

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Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, without a doubt in anyone’s mind, are the driving force behind this Oilers squad and we saw why these last two weeks. The pair were dynamic, electric and an absolute force anytime they stepped on the ice.

Jason Gregor wrote a great piece this week about the pair and what to expect for the rest of the season. Read it if you haven’t.

Edmonton’s even-strength game has seen some improvements in terms of their expected goals rate — a stat used to judge the quality of chances on the ice. That means guys are getting to good places, and getting good chances. They’ve been able to convert, too, with a nice jump in their shooting per centage.

Goaltending has certainly come to earth in the last two weeks with the pair of Koskinen and Smith being near the bottom of the league in save percentage. It’s not a great sign, but something that was likely to be expected from a pair of relative unknowns at the start of the season. Edmonton really needs them to help keep the club’s head above water the rest of the way.

That drop in SV%  has also seen a come to earth drop in the team’s PDO as it meanders it’s way to an even 100. Let’s hope Edmonton’s scorers can keep up their high pace.

Edmonton has done well in their goal rates this year and has been amongst the best in the league at their ability to keep the puck out of their net. A 6th ranked GA/60 rate is tremendous for a team that by all accounts struggled to muster offence outside their top-six.

But one of the absolute most important reasons the Oilers are where they are as one of the top teams in the league has been their otherworldly special teams play. Edmonton’s 31.8% powerplay, if the season ended today, would rank as the second best of all time next to only the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens, who worked at a 31.9 clip.

So uh, yeah. That’s incredibly impressive. It’s hard to really say if this number is going to be sustainable or not, but given the record books, they probably won’t keep it up. But then again, they do have the combination of McDavid and Draisaitl on the top unit.

Time will tell.

On Twitter: @zjlaing