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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY

Morning Report: Oilers vs. Predators (2 March)

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 on Monday 2 March.

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CF CA CF% SCF% HDCF-HDCA xGF%
1st Period 19 21 47.5 45 3-2 50.71
2nd Period 15 16 48.39 35.29 5-4 41.86
3rd Period 18 20 47.37 61.54 6-2 57.09

All attempts are at 5v5.

Corsi (CF, CA) is the volume of attempts towards the net (goals, shots on net, misses, blocks); CF% is share of attempts for the team.

Scoring Chances (SCF) are shot attempts with a value of 2 or higher (from the green- 3 and/or pink- 2 area or off a rebound or a rush).

High Danger Chances (HDCF-CA) are shot attempts with a value of 3 or higher.

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Expected Goals (xGF%) is based off of combination of shot attempts, shot quality (Low/Medium/High Danger), and shooting percentage (both team and individual).

A more comprehensive explanation can be found at naturalstattrick.com

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First Period

Second Period

Third Period

The darker the area, the more above-league-average frequency of 5v5 attempts from that location.

Breakdown

Well, let’s get right to the lede here: Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are superhuman. They both went Super Saiyan, scoring 5 points each, leading the team to a win that matched their highest goal-output and -differential victory of the season (the other was another 8-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on 1 February).

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The Oilers had an explosive third period, scoring five of their eight goals– and their 2nd-ranked road powerplay (25.8%) making quick work on their lone man-advantage, scoring 10 seconds into it– with the Nugent-Hopkins-Draisaitl-Yamamoto line leading the way with a xGF% ~75.00.

The pairing of Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear struggled a bit, with Bear appearing a little exposed on two of the Preds’ goals, and fishing with a CF% of 41.86 and 37.50, respectively and xGF% of 40.67 and 38.52, respectively.

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It’s worth noting how stunningly good Roman Josi is; in this game he and Ryan Ellis played ~9:30 5v5 against Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Hopkins, reducing their CF% from 73.08 to 50.00 and xGF% 80.96 to 23.28. That being said, the line scored three 5v5 goals agains the pairing.

As has been the story for the Predators all season, they played a relatively strong game at 5v5, but 1) their 29th-ranked home powerplay (13.2%) went 0/2– but this is also a testament to the Oilers’ 2nd-ranked road powerplay (25.8%)– while Pekke Rinne had a weak game allowing two goals from the Low Danger area when the Oilers were putting the heat on.

Final Thought

The Oilers did exactly what had to win this game: win the special teams battle and take advantage of (surprisingly) shaky opposing goaltending. Draisaitl staked a further claim to his Hart Trophy bid, while McDavid may have scored one of the most impressive goals, sliding from the right-to-left and somehow scoring low far-side through traffic just inside the Predators’ blueline (it’s the spot on the third period heat map right above the Oilers’ “S”).

But, with the risk of sounding like the downer after an amazing win, the Oilers won not through shear force but exploitation of their opponents’ weakness. This is what good teams do– actually, it’s what the best teams do– but it’s worth being privy to the fact that the Oilers were not the better team at possessing the puck at 5v5 against the Predators.

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But this is hockey, where the better analytical team does not win night-in-and-night-out. I’ll take an 8-3 victory any time over numbers logic. The game always goes beyond the numbers, though. The Oilers were on their heels two-and-a-half minutes into the second period and Dave Tippett decided to call his time-out. This did the trick undoubtedly, as the pace worked in the Oilers’ favour leading to Kailer Yamamoto’s 10th goal of the season.

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This is what makes hockey fun: it’s played on a razor’s edge.

On to: Dallas.

What to Expect:

CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF% Goals/60 Home PP% Home PK% SH% SV%
49.01 (19th) 51.42 (11th) 53.14 (5th) 52.11 (7th) 2.07 (29th) 20.6 (15th) 85.2 (6th) 7.04 (28th) .932 (3rd)

A decent possession team, and solid play in the net by Ben Bishop (.925 5v5 SV%; .848 HDSV%) but despite offseason pickups of Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, the Stars’ issue all season has been scoring; they shoot relatively low at 5v5 (29.34 shots/60; 24th overall) coupled with an abysmal shooting percentage. The Oilers are obviously coming off of a huge offensive explosion, so they’ll have to rely on high quality of shots in order to solve the very good Bishop.

Defensively, though they’re a relatively low scoring team, the Stars’ do concentrate their 5v5 attack to the High Danger area in the low slot, which the Oilers’ defensemen are relatively solid at defending.

This was the first game in what is a brutal schedule for the Oilers, as they play 11 games in the next 19 days without a two-day break until after the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on 20 March; this was the first of two back-to-backs during this streak, and only features two non-playoff teams (Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators). The Oilers are in a comfortable playoff spot, but this is a bit of a make-or-break stretch for them. This was a good tone-setter for it.


Traditional stats courtesy of nhl.com | Advanced counts courtesy of naturalstattrick.com | Isolation maps courtesy of hockeyviz.com