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. Florida Panthers on Saturday 15 February.
Both teams were held out the the High Danger area, with the Oilers’ lone opportunity in-close coming on Alex Chiasson’s breakaway.
Mikko Koskinen was solid, making 7 total saves, with 6 of them coming from Medium Danger areas. Alternatively, though the Oilers scored the only goal of the period, only 2 of their 11 total shots came from the Medium Danger areas, while the rest– including Adam Larsson’s goal– came from the Low Danger areas.
That being said, the entire team had a really strong period at 5v5, with all but three players– Caleb Jones (42.86), Jujhar Khaira (30.77), and Matthew Benning (16.67)– finishing with a CF% over 50.00; Kailer Yamamoto led the way with 90.91. xGF% were all extremely high as well, with multiple players in the 50, 60, 70, and 80%, with Darnell Nurse (92.81) leading the team and Yamamoto (90.94) leading the forwards; in fact, the only two players who weren’t over 50% were Riley Sheahan (28.99), Benning (26.57), and Khaira (25.92).
The Oilers top-ranked road penalty kill (89.2%) continued to do its duty, killing the lone man-advantage had by the Panthers’ 9th-ranked home powerplay.
The Panthers definitely came out with a better pace to start out the period, but the Oilers on their heels; they allowed the Panthers to penetrate the High Danger area and generate 3 chances from there. Koskinen continued his strong game, stopped all three High Danger chances, and another 5 from the Medium Danger areas.
The elite 5v5 counts for the Oilers came down to earth a little bit, but the top line still pushed the quality chances in their favour, particularly Yamamoto (71.43 xGF%) and Leon Draisaitl (70.52 xGF%) leading the charge.
The Oilers also got their first opportunity with the man-advantage but their 2nd-ranked road powerplay (26.0%) was unable to convert on the Panthers’ 26th-ranked home penalty kill (77.0%).
The Oilers finally generated some High Danger scoring chances in this period, starting the period off with one that led to Draisaitl’s goal.
Koskinen faltered only once, playing low too early on Jonathan Huberdeau’s goal and coming off the post to allow space on his right side, but other than that, remained solid and kept the team ahead even when the Panthers made a push to tie the game.
They did take two more penalties, but the shorthanded units remained unblemished, killing both off without much issue.
It’s incredible that what was once the Oilers top line in James Neal, Connor McDavid, and Zack Kassian has been liquidated wholesale from the lineup, and the team does to have missed too much of a beat.
Leon Draisaitl continues his 2020 conquest to claim not only the Art Ross Trophy, but at this point, has a legitimate shot at the Hart Trophy. He finished this game with two points, 67.74 CF%, 66.67 SCF%, 80.38 xGF% and 3-1 HDCF in 17:37 mins at 5v5 and 2:45 mins shorthanded; he’s found legitimate line mates in Yamamoto (who recorded his first three point NHL game), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The powerplay still leaves something to desired as the top unit is still struggling with zone entry with McDavid out of the lineup, but the penalty kill continues to do its job, killing off all three of the Panthers’ opportunities and limiting high quality chances on Mikko Koskinen.
Koskinen had the kind of game that gives the team a chance to win on any given night, finishing with 33 total saves, 25 of those coming at 5v5, and was perfect in the High Danger area, making all 5 saves from there, and stopping all 14 Medium Danger chances. After some struggles during the middle of the season, the Oilers are suddenly blessed with solid tandem goaltending as they head into the stretch run.
On to Carolina.