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. Los Angeles Kings on Sunday 23 February.
Connor McDavid played well in his first game back, in spite of his linemates: Alex Chiasson finished the period with 16.67CF%, 0.00 SCF%, 0 HDCF, 0.00 xGF%, while Sam Gagner had 0.00 CF%, 0.00 SCF%, 0 HDCF%, and 0.00 xGF%; McDavid had a 28.57 CF% and 25.66 xGF%.
Kailer Yamamoto led the team in advanced counts, sporting a 87.50 CF%, 100 SCF%, 100 HDCF%, and 96.42 xGF%
The Oilers did a great job of keeping the Kings out of high-quality scoring areas, as Mike Smith only faced four 5v5 shots, with zero coming from the High Danger area.
Though the Oilers took the lead in the period, they were dominated in the 5v5 possession game; after a first period that saw the Oilers defense do a phenomenal job forcing the Kings’ shooters to the outside, they were flooded the Oilers’ High Danger area.
Mike Smith was a bit of a hero in this period, facing fifteen 5v5 shots, with 8 coming from the HD area, and 3 more coming from the Medium Danger areas.
He was only beaten when the Kings’ 26th-ranked home powerplay scored on the Oilers’ top-ranked road penalty kill.
McDavid continued to pull his personal counts from the possession abyss, improving to 42.86 CF%, 41.67 SCF%, 50 HDCF%, and 43.21 xGF% by the end of the period– and scored one of prettiest goals you’ll see to show for it.
Even as the Oilers’ defense slowly collapsed in on itself, Ethan Bear had a wonderful period, finishing the frame with 54.84 CF%, 60.00 SCF%, 60.00 HDCF%, and 58.67 xGF%; he’s fitting in very comfortably as a top-4 defenseman.
The Kings scored 49 seconds into the period, but the Oilers pushed right back immediately, and never relented in pushing the 5v5 possession in their favour.
It’s remarkable how McDavid was able to pull his game up to elite status, considering how poor his counts looked after the first period; he finished the game with 48.15 CF%, 50.00 SCF%, 60.00 HDCF%, and 51.64 xGF%.
The Oilers had struggled in L.A. for whatever reason, earning a win in the Staples Center for the first time in almost two years. Though they’re one of the worst teams in the Western Conference, the Kings have been a bit of analytical darling this season, ranking fourth in CF% (53.99) and xGF% (52.78), while ranking 28th in 5v5 HDSV% (.802) and 25th in overall 5v5 SV% (.912) and second-worst 5v5 SH% (6.18; ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings), and 24th-ranked overall powerplay (16.5%) and 27th-ranked overall penalty kill (75.7%).
The Oilers aren’t great in terms of 5v5 counts: 25th in CF% (48.19), 21st in SCF% (48.18), 20th in HDCF% (49.52), 24th in HDGF% (46.31), 20th in xGF% (48.92), 27th in HDSV% (.804) 27th in overall 5v5 SV% (.909), and fifteen in 5v5 SH% (8.33). But when it comes to special teams, they boast the top-ranked powerplay (29.0%) and second-ranked penalty kill (84.7%).
All of that is to say that there’s no surprise that the Oilers struggle against them. But this was a win that the Oilers desperately needed, and they earned it, by not bending when the Kings came on hot to open the period, and instead took full control over the possession game.
Every point is earned at this point in the season.
On to Anaheim.