There will be no fans in the building when Edmonton limps into Toronto on a 2-8-2 run in their last 12.
To add to the Oilers misery, Connor McDavid tested positive for COVID and likely won’t play tonight. The Oilers are struggling in every facet of the game, and now playing without their top scorer only makes the challenge against a surging Toronto team more difficult. The Maple Leafs are 19-4-1 in their last 24 games. The Oilers have scored first in four of their last 24 games. Two teams going in different directions.
— McDavid missed seven games in 2019/2020. He missed six in a row in February, and then a game against Vegas in March. The Oilers went 3-2-2 in those games.
— Leon Draisaitl had 12 points in the six games in February. Edmonton will need Draisaitl to be their offensive driver tonight if they any hopes of beating a red-hot Toronto team. Even with McDavid in the lineup Edmonton has struggled against Toronto going 3-6-1 in 10 games in 2021.
— Here are the Oilers 5×5 numbers during their 2-8-2 skid.
** O stands for Offensive zone starts, N is for Neutral and D is for defensive zone. Doesn’t include changing on fly.**
— Keith and Koekkoek are the only players with an above 50GF%, yet 17 different skaters have an above 50% expected goal% and 16 are over 50% in scoring chances for%. I think it illustrates the point how the Oilers struggle mightily at gifting goals. They can go long stretches without allowing any quality chances, but then the make a 10-bell error and they give the opposition easy goals. Pretty much every player on the team is guilty of it and it has to stop or they will find themselves out of a playoff position quickly.
— Looking at the chart I don’t understand the constant hate direct by some at Duncan Keith. He hasn’t played poorly during this brutal run. He makes some mistakes, all players do, but it seems the haters expect him to be perfect, and because he is a veteran that means he will never err. It is a ridiculous way to analyze a player. I’ve liked Keith’s game much more lately than I did earlier in the season.
— Here are the Oilers point totals at 5×5 since December 2nd.
— Bottom six forwards have combined for seven goals, while top-six forwards have nine. The bottom six scoring has been an issue much of the season. It had a slight uptick the past month, but still need to improve. The top-six needs to produce more 5×5. When your top-six is averaging less than a goal-per-game over a 12 game stretch it is very difficult to win. They have created good chances, but they can’t finish.
— Mike Kelly broke down the Oilers chances for and against. Good breakdown in the video here. And no surprise goaltending has been a big issue. It is why there is one obvious change they should make. Mikko Koskinen’s play simply hasn’t been good enough. “Low percentage goals kill Koskinen,” said Kevin Woodley from In-goal Magazine. “If your goalie gives up one your team loses 87% of the time. He has allowed 16 low percentage goals.” OUCH.
— The Oilers inability to score first is becoming ridiculous. They’ve allowed the first goal in 20 of their last 24 games. It is utterly amazing to score first in only 16.6% of those games. They’ve only scored first once in their last 12 games (8.3%), so a 2-8-2 record isn’t a big surprise. If they get behind tonight there is a good chance they will lose again. Toronto is 15-2 when scoring first.
— I went through the last 24 games, in which 20 times Edmonton allowed the first goal. Here is what I found.
Seven times it was a power play against and all seven occurred in the first period. Their PK has not been good early in games recently.
One was a shorthanded goal.
The other 12 were 5×5. Ten came in the first period, one in the second and one in the third (Edmonton won this game against Winnipeg 2-1 in a shootout).
— In the 20 games they allowed the first goal they went 6-12-2. In the six victories they scored six goals once, five goals four times and one goal (shoot out win). They allowed five, four, three, two (twice) and one goal.
— I looked at who was on the ice for the goals against.
Bouchard: Six (four on PK).
Nurse: Six (four on PK).
Ceci: Six (two on PK).
Keith: Four (one on PK).
Broberg: Three (two on PK).
Niemelainen: Two on PK.
Lagesson, Koekkoek and Samorukov: One
Ryan: 10 (five on PK).
Draisaitl: Eight (two on PK).
RNH: Six (two on PK).
Sceviour: Six (three on PK).
Hyman: Four (two on PK).
Yamamoto and Foegele: Four
McDavid and Kassian: Two.
Puljujarvi, Benson, Shore, Perlini and Turris: One.
— It has been a team effort across the board and the Oilers need to avoid taking an early penalty if they can. Their PK is really struggling, especially early in games and putting them in chase mode far too early than they’d like. It is clear the Oilers have not matched the intensity of their opponents early in games. They feel their way into games too often, trying to get a sense of what the opposition wants to do, rather than take the game to them. No question it has become a mental hurdle right now. They play too passive early in games.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Time For A Change
- Score First
- Game Notes Oilers @ Devils: Need A Win
- What Lies Ahead for the Oilers?
- How Much Do You Know About The Oilers?
- Ten Tuesday Questions
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