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. Arizona Coyotes game on Tuesday, February 4th.
The Taylor Hall line was matched up against the Leon Draisaitl line, and they created an early 5v5 possession advantage, with the pairing of Caleb Jones and Matthew Benning being particularly exploited, allowing 4 and 5 High Danger Corsi chances against, respectively. But the entire Oilers lineup struggled, with only Jujhar Khaira (62.50 CF%) and Riley Sheahan (80.00 CF%) finished on the positive side of Corsi– in fact, Sheahan was the only Oilers player to have an Expected Goals percentage of over 50% (91.72 xGF%).
The Oilers did have an edge in special teams, earning the only powerplay opportunity of the period. However, their second-ranked road PP could not generate a shot on the Coyotes’ 8th-ranked home penalty kill.
The Oilers fought back hard to even the 5v5 possession rates, but a nice pass from Hall after a poor clearing chance by Ethan Bear led to the first goal, and an awful bounce off of Oscar Klefbom to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead (the benefits of having high possession rates).
The pairing of Bear-Darnell Nurse did rebound well, though finishing the period with a respective CF% of 52.38 and 54.17, though the Scoring Chances and Expected Goals remained low. Outside of Sheahan, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played the best period, finishing with a 55.56 CF%, 53.33 SCF%, and 49.43 xGF%.
The Oilers’ powerplay continued to struggle, going 0-2 in the period and only beginning to play with any sort of rhythm in the last minute of their third opportunity.
Though the first period ended in a tie, the Oilers were behind the early in possession race and had to play from behind for most of the game; they were undoubtably the better team by the time the game was over.
Unfortunately, it was a tale of two special teams for the Oilers: their second-best road powerplay dropped one spot after going 0-3, while their road penalty sits atop the league after killing off all three of the Coyotes’ man-advantages (one of course being that doubt-minor).
A slow start combined with an underperforming powerplay out them in an early hole, and when they finally began to turn it around, they ran into a hot goaltender. Though Raanta stopped all of the Oilers’ High Danger opportunities, they also simply did not have enough on him, failing to crash the Coyotes’ net in any significant way.
This is the NHL, sometimes that’s all it takes to lose a game.
On to San Jose.