Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Report: Oilers vs. Predators (8 February)

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. Nashville Predators game on Saturday 8 February.

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First Period

17 14 54.84 50 1-8 38.51

Yes, the Oilers “won” the 5v5 possession battle, but the quality of chances were more in the Predators’ favour, flooding the High Danger area in front of Mike Smith.

Connor McDavid had some incredible chances, beginning with an incredible chance pass in the slot, feeding Alex Chiasson, who just missed the net.

The Oilers were dominated at 4v4, being hemmed in their own end for the majority of it.

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Tyler Benson continued his responsible play, not allowing any Corsi, Scoring Chances, or High Danger chances against. He’s playing well enough that his first NHL point should be just around the corner.

Second Period

20 13 60.61 68.42 5-1 75.73

Thought the pace was slow, the Oilers also continued to slowly dominate the 5v5 game, despite the fact that they were scored on at 5v5, and scored their goal on the powerplay.

Benson continued his strong play, with CF-CA count of 3-0, but it was the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (72.00 CF%, 75.00 SCF%, 83.22 xGF%), Leon Draisaitl (73.08 CF%, 76.47 SCF%, 79.36 xGF%), and Kailer Yamamoto (72.00 CF%, 80.00 SCF%, 78.78 xGF%) line that took control, out chancing the Predators in the High Danger area 4-1.

Some love has to be given to Smith too, who had an incredible save on Mikael Granlund on the Predators’ first powerplay of the period, keeping the Oilers within one goal.

Third Period

12 13 48 53.85 2-2 59.32

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The Oilers came out strong to start the period, and pushed it all the way to a comeback victory. They took advantage on the powerplay– winning the overall special teams battle– while controlling 5v5 possession.

Draisaitl’s strong second period paid off, scoring first at 5v5 then on the powerplay. The league’s leading scorer’s line has been gold, and pushed play every time they were on the ice.

Final Thought

Though it didn’t seem like it at times, the Oilers out-played the Predators for almost this entire game. The second line of Nuge-Draisaitl-Yamamoto continues to impress, and is playing at a level that, amongst recent frequent lineup changes by Dave Tippett, is virtually untouchable. Nuge led the line in xGF% at 78.40, while Yamamoto had a 75.95 xGF%, and the league’s leading scorer, Draisaitl, had a 76.63 xGF%.

The Oilers home special teams have left something to be desired. Though the powerplay is ranked 2nd (30.6%), it had only gone 1-8 overall since James Neal’s injury. Tonight they went 2-4, taking much advantage of the Predators’ last-ranked road PK (69.5%), while the Oilers 27th-ranked home PK (75.4%) shutout the Predators’ 9th-ranked road powerplay (21.2%).

Smith also had a strong game. He battled hard, and kept the Oilers in the game at times when the tide was against them.

The Oilers make up some ground in division, and put another Wild Card playoff contender further behind them.

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On to Chicago.