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Photo Credit: twitter.com/edmontonoilers

The 2020-21 Edmonton Oilers in Seven: Goal scoring success overshadowed by defensive woes

Welcome to year two of the Oilers in Seven series. I kick-started this series last season to break down the Oilers in a smaller sample size. I chose seven games based on the size of a playoff series. 

Before we jump into the piece, I got a little jumbled with my dates on this one. The last Oilers seven-game stretch ended with last Monday’s 3-1 win over the Senators, so these numbers won’t include the second of the back-to-backs or the 3-0 win against Montreal.

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what happened.

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The Numbers

Games 1-7: 3-4, .429 points %
Games 8-15: 4-3, .571 points %

Season record: 7-7, .500 points %, 12th in the NHL.

Games 1-7:
PP% – 11.5, 25th overall.
PK% – 75.0, 21st.

Games 8-15: 

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PP% – 37.0, second overall.
PK% – 73.1, 24th.

Season stats: 

PP% – 24.5, ninth overall.
PK% – 73.9, 25th overall.

Even Strength

STAT RATE G1-7 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G8-15 + LEAGUE RANK SEASON RANKS
CF% 46.63 — 26th 51.63 —11th 49.05 — 18th
GF% 46.67 — 21st 50.00 — 16th 48.57 — 19th
xGF% 53.15 — 9th 52.60 — 13th 52.89 — 12th
GF/60 2.52 — 15th 3.56 — 6th 3.04 — 10th
GA/60 2.88 — 24th 3.56 —25th 3.22 — 26th
Team SH% 7.69 — 19th 12.12 — 6th 9.80 — 10th
Team SV% 91.44 — 14th 87.65 — 30th 89.68 — 24th
PDO 99.1 — 19th 99.8 — 13th 99.5 — 18th

All Situations

STAT RATE G1-7 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G8-15 + LEAGUE RANK SEASON RANKS
CF% 48.00 — 21st 51.78 — 11th 49.81 — 15th
GF% 45.24 — 22nd 52.63 — 13th 49.49 — 18th
xGF% 53.43 — 10th 52.26 — 12th 52.87 — 11th
GF/60 2.71 — 22nd 4.28 — 2nd 3.5 — 8th
GA/60 3.29 — 22nd 3.85 — 29th 3.57 — 28th
Team SH% 8.23 — 23rd 14.35 — 3rd 11.14 — 7th
Team SV% 90.34 — 15th 87.02 — 31st 88.79 — 27th
PDO 98.6 — 21st 101.4 — 10th 99.9 — 18th

Stats via Natural Stat Trick, glossary with definitions here.

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Player Stats

Stats via Hockey Reference 

What it all means

The player stats are slightly skewed, but still give a good idea of what’s happening. Over the seven-game stretch, however, the Oilers kept chugging along and their offence began to click. The stretch saw them near the top of the league in goal scoring as their shooting percentage spiked.

Despite that, Edmonton’s goaltending faltered. Mikko Koskinen had a tough stretch fighting the puck while Stuart Skinner allowed five goals in his first NHL start. Edmonton was lucky in that they were able to play the Ottawa Senators a bunch and those are games that allowed some of the numbers to rebound.

But beyond those games, the Oilers struggled a fair bit over the stretch. They got outscored in all situations and despite being near the top of the league in production, their defensive woes made things difficult for them. They lost to Winnipeg 6-4, Toronto 4-3, and Calgary 6-4. Their offence didn’t struggle in any of these games producing what should’ve been enough to win, but again, the back end struggled.

In the last game of the seven-game set they got a tight, but clean 3-1 win over the Senators. And as the next set of games kicked off, the Oilers kept it up with a 3-2 win over the Senators, and a 3-0 shutout win over the Canadiens.

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The latter of the two being the most impressive against what appears to be a pretty solid Montreal squad.

Edmonton’s next five games to close this seven-game set see two games each against Winnipeg and Calgary, before closing it against the Vancouver Canucks.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]