Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Overtime Issues?

When Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are going they are spectacular to watch in overtime but lately, they haven’t been able to find the finish. The Oilers have gone beyond regulation eight times so far this season winning twice in overtime and twice in the shootout while also coming out on the wrong end three times in overtime and once in the skills comp.

It seems like McDavid and Draisaitl are on the ice all the time, so I decided to take a quick look at how things have played out.

EDM 4, NJ 3 (SO)

McDavid, Draisaitl and Klefbom were together and played three shifts in overtime. Nugent-Hopkins, Neal and Nurse also got two shifts in the extra frame prior to the Oilers winning in a shootout.

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WPG 1, EDM 0 (SO)

McDavid, Drasaitl and Klefbom were once again grouped as a unit to start OT. Nuge came over the boards with Neal and Nurse for the second shift. Ethan Bear got the first half of the next McDavid-Draisaitl shift before giving way to Klefbom. The 1st and 2nd 3-on-3 units would alternate once more before Markus Granlund snagged a few seconds at the end of overtime.

EDM 4, WSH 3 (OT)

McDavid and Draisaitl played 1:18 of overtime prior to Leon finishing the game. Klefbom started on the blueline and was followed by Nurse who remained on the ice for the winning goal.

EDM 2, PIT 1 (OT)

Leon Draisaitl scored the winner at the 2:37 mark overtime. Draisaitl had come back over the boards before McDavid and scored with Nugent-Hopkins and Bear on the ice. Klefbom, Nurse and Neal also saw the ice in overtime.

ARI 3, EDM 2 (OT)

McDavid, Draisaitl and Klefbom began overtime with close to a 90-second shift while the Coyotes had managed to mix in two groups during the same time frame. The interesting thing about this game against the Coyotes is that Tippett tossed Nuge out in overtime with Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse. After a quick 17-second shift Bear was replaced by Neal and shortly later the Coyotes won it in overtime with Nuge, Neal and Nurse on the ice.

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DAL 5, EDM 4 (OT)

This loss to the Stars was easy to break down in overtime. McDavid and Draisaitl remained on the ice for the entire 1:14 prior to Jamie Benn finishing it for the Stars. Nurse had replaced Klefbom just prior to the goal, Benn didn’t start OT for the Stars. As you will see below, both of the Oilers’ big guns seemed a bit tired on the game winner.

EDM 4, ARI 3(SO)

This overtime session, one for the ages, was a heavy workload for McDavid and Draisaitl and it started with a shift of almost two and a half minutes. With Nugent-Hopkins not in the lineup, it was less than a minute of Gagner with Nurse and Bear before the big boys returned for the remainder of the extra frame. The Oilers would eventually win it in a shootout.

BUF 3, EDM 2(OT)

This wound is obviously still fresh for many of you, but once again McDavid, Draisaitl and Klefbom were on the ice for all 1:14 of the period prior to the Sabres finding the back of the net for an extra point. Overtime hero Colin Miller and the man who set him up, Marcus Johansson, were part of the second wave for the Sabres and had only been on the ice for 18 and 24 seconds.

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Nov 24, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t another duo in the NHL I’d rather have on the ice in overtime than McDavid and Draisaitl but I do think it’s fair to debate whether or not they are staying to long. In each of the two previous overtime losses the opposition managed to make a change and their fresh bodies ended the game against the Oilers big guns on an extended shift.

I know it’s 3 on 3 and the game is about possession and conserving energy until it’s time to pounce but we have to remember how much McDavid and Draisaitl have likely already played in regulation, much more than any forwards they will be facing.

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Does Dave Tippett have other options that he could go to?

So far this season the other three combinations we have seen, in limited viewing, are:

Gagner-Nurse-Bear (when Nuge was out)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that Nuge, Neal and Nurse would have likely been the next three over the boards for Tippett against Buffalo.

Is Neal a good fit 3-on-3? Will a burner like Nygard eventually get a look with Nuge? Could Khaira keep up to Nuge?

You’d love to have McDavid and Draisaitl on the ice for the entire overtime period until it hurts you, and lately, it has.

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Previously by Dustin Nielson: