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. Minnesota Wild on Friday 21 February.
Caleb Jones and Adam Larsson struggled against Victor Rask Mikko Koivu and Ryan Hartman, with the Oilers’ defensive pair finishing the period with a 37.50 CF%, 42.86 SCF, 33.33 HDCF%, and xGF% of 21.81 and 21.04, respectively.
Alternatively, Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear, had a fairly strong period, sporting a 64.71 and 68.75 CF%, and 80.23 xGF% and 85.99 xGF%, respectively. Despite allowing Kevin Fiala score the Wild’s lone goal, played well against his line with Eric Staal and Zach Parise, limiting their CF% to 44.44– though they had a xGF% of 75%.
Mikko Koskinen was tested, facing 17 5v5 shots, but only 3 came from the High Danger area– with the Wild’s goal coming off of one of them– and 2 from the Medium Danger areas, so the Oilers did reduce the amount of quality chances against their goaltender.
Half of the 10 5v5 shots that the Oilers directed towards Alex Stalock, half of them– 2 HD and 3 MD– were high quality chances.
The progression of the heat map from the first period to the second show that the Oilers were able to do two important things: 1) push the Wild’s attack from a concentration in the High Danger area in the slot, and towards the Medium Danger areas towards the circles; and 2) the Oilers’ own attack did the inverse, moving in from the blueline and the left face-off dot to flood the interior.
The players’ advanced counts remained relatively the same through two periods.
Oilers top-ranked home powerplay (29.1%) had some good movement against the Wild’s 23-ranked road penalty kill (76.1%), but despite a great chance for Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers were unable to register a shot, let alone score.
The Oilers’ 24th-ranked home penalty kill twice held off the Wild’s 26th-ranked road powerplay (15.1%), while their powerplay let them down once again late in the game with an opportunity to tie the game.
Analytically, this was the Oilers worst 5v5 period of the game, and it didn’t help that they had to kill off two penalties to try and even the possession the game.
Though there were eight goals scored, this felt like a typical Oilers/Wild game, there never felt like there was a real flow to the play, with a lot of tough shots coming from out wide, or random breaks for scoring chances for both teams.
There was also a feeling like Koskinen had a shaky game. It’s a tricky game to dissect: on one hand, he made 29 5v5 saves, 8 of which came from the High Danger area, but his expected goals against was 2.08, and he let in four. Yes, the fourth came off an unfortunate bounce off of Adam Larsson, but there was a feeling of restlessness from him.
Regardless of the coach, it seems the Oilers can’t best the Minnesota Wild for whatever reason. No forward had a xGF% higher than 50, with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leading the team with a matching 49.35 (Kailer Yamamoto was just slightly behind them with a 42.12). In fact, the only players who did have their xGF% higher than 50 were Ethan Bear (55.99) and Darnell Nurse (54.87). Gaetan Haas and Sam Gagner were brutal with 9.21 and 9.26, respectively.
The Oilers only had 3 High Danger chances on Stalock. That’s simply not good enough, and they need a better strategy for getting dirty goals when teams clamp down on them defensively and clog their lanes into the middle.
Their home PK is getting better, though going 17/18 in their last five home games.
On to Los Angeles.