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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Report: Oilers Vs. Flames (29 January)

Hello Nation,

This is the Oilers Morning Report, a stats-heavy, opinion-based review of the previous night’s game. We’ve all read the wrap-ups, watched the highlights, and digested the game. Whether it’s gazing to the heavens, begging the Hockey Gods for answers as to why the Edmonton Oilers lost, or looking for more content to bask in the glory of another Oilers victory, that’s what this is here for.

Here is the review for the Edmonton Oilers Vs. Calgary Flames game on Wednesday 29 January.

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First Period

CF CA CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
24 23 51.06 64.71 71.43 64.14

At first blush, it would appear that Larsson and Klefbom struggled a bit in this period, finishing with a 42.86 CF%. However, their xGF% 70.37 and 2-0 in HDCF chances indicate that though they were allowing a higher volume of shots against, they were of lower quality than the ones that they were pushing towards the Flames’ net.

Connor McDavid and his line had a monster period, as the Oilers captain finished with a 70.59 CF%, 83.55 xGF%, and 7-0 in Scoring Chances.

The third line did everything but score as Sam Gagner had a 6-0 CF%, 100.00 xGF%,  2-0 SCF, and 2-0 HDCF, while the usually analytically-hindered Jujhar Khaira had a 87.50CF%, 96.51 xGF%, and 3-0 HDCF.

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The heat chart shows that the Oilers were putting pressure on the Flames goaltender in the High Danger zone in front of the net.; David Rittich simply had a phenomenal period, and was the reason the Flames held the lead going into the intermission (that, and an unfortunate bounce off of Adam Larsson’s skate).

Second Period

CF CA CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
14 12 53.85 63.64 50 65.71

Gagner nearly made the underlying numbers from the first period prophetic, as he had an incredible scoring chance at the start of the second, just putting it wide.

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The second line did not have a good first period, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto both had a 23.08 CF%, 21.20 xGF%, and 1-2 HDCF (Leon Draisaitl was only slightly better). Nuge had obviously been sitting for a five minute major, but Yamamoto struggled, but made up for it with the Oilers’ opening goal. The numbers don’t tell an entire story.

The Oilers took the first penalty of the game, and their third-last home penalty kill (74.2%) preceded to allow four shots against, though the Flames were unable to score.

The Oilers’ second-best home powerplay (31.6%) continued their strong conversion rate, as Alex Chiasson scored on the Oilers’ first opportunity, beating a Flame’ road PK that was fifth-best (82.3%).

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McDavid’s strong play continued through the second period, contributing a 63.33 CF%, 65.70 xGF%, and 78.57 SCF% once it concluded. The Larsson-Klebom pair also recovered their possession count, concluding the second period with a 54.55CF%.

Third Period

CF CA CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
9 4 69.64 75 50 70.4

The entire Oilers’ roster improved their numbers across the board; Nugent-Hopkins and Draisaitl both finished with an even 50 CF%, while Yamamoto’s was still slightly lower at 44.83, still up nearly 20% from the first period. Khaira finished the game with perhaps the most impressive counts, registering a 76.47 CF%, 87.56 xGF%, 80.00 SCF%, and 3-1 HDCF. He also finished the game with three hits, good for third on the team (Josh Archibald had 7, while Darnell Nurse had 12). There was not a lot of 5v5 time, as the Oilers had three powerplay opportunities, none of which they could covert on. But, when the team’s were playing at 5v5, the Oilers were in control.

3-on-3 Overtime

CF CA CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
5 4 55.56 50 100 74.27
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The Oilers continued their strong play into the overtime period. Though the Corsi opportunities were close, the xGF% suggests that the Oilers had superior quality of shots (and shooters, for that matter); the fact that they had a 2-0 HDCF advantage certainly contributed to this. It’s notable that Dave Tippett separated Draisaitl-McDavid-Klefbom as his top (and generally only) unit in overtime, electing to balance the offensive attack by running a unit of McDavid-Nuge-Klefbom and Draisaitl-Yamamoto-Nurse. Both units played well, generating chances, but ultimately were shut down by Rittich.

Final Thought

The Oilers controlled the 5v5 possession counts for the most part, with their untimely goals against coming off of bad turnovers and bounces. That’s really all there is to be critical or disappointed about in this game; the Oilers played well enough to nearly dominate at 5v5, while Rittich had a fantastic game holding the Oilers attack at bay. One area where the Oilers certainly could have been better, and could’ve blow the game wide open had they been more successful at it, was converting on the powerplay, particularly in the third period. They had ample opportunity to take a commanding lead with the unit, but failed to do so.

All in all, though they say there are no moral victories, the Oilers played a hard-fought game that they can be proud of as they were by far the better team. An unfortunate bounce off of Adam Larsson’s skate just over a minute into the opening frame had the Oilers chasing the game for nearly the entire time. They were better here, and with the Tkachuk nonsense hopefully dealt with, they can focus on simply being the better team again on February 1st.

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For now, on to St. Louis.

Then Calgary again.