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Beyond the Boxscore: Connor McDavid leads charge in Oilers win over Kings

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
13 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers came to play from the moment the puck was dropped in an overwhelming 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night.
The Oilers used their speed to maintain a possession advantage over the Kings all night, constantly pinning them down as they laid on the attack. The Kings are a team that – in order to get their wins – needs to score early and then defend well. In falling behind as early as they did, and by as much as they did, they had to play a looser game to try and spring some offence. It worked for a little bit, with the Kings getting two goals in the second, but if you lighten up against Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman they can find a way to leave you in the dust. It was a no-questions-asked statement of victory.
CF% – 52.16%. SCF% – 52.76%. HDCF% – 53.87%. xGF% – 56.18%. (All 5v5 SVA)
It’s a Team Game – Watching the Oilers’ power play is like listening to an orchestra play a well-tuned melody, with all the different pieces in the ensemble coming together to contribute to a beautiful end product. The lack of hesitation in making moves, the shoulder fakes and quick movement by every player as soon as they come in contact with the puck, the threat from Evan Bouchard pinning the opposition back, and the genius of the game’s best player to tie It all together. If the Oilers’ power play is going, they can ride it a long, long way – assuming they keep defending well at 5v5 for a full 60+ minutes. With 10 minutes to go, the Kings found some hope, and they can take that forward into game two.
Before we get into the individual categories, I will preface that, for those new to Beyond the Boxscore reviews from my time doing them for FlamesNation over-analyzing any one game does nobody any good. However, doing it regularly and consistently over a period of time can help identify trends and areas for improvement.
Corsi King – Of course, it’s Connor McDavid (70.50 CF%) at the top with a 24-10 shot attempt advantage in just 14 minutes of 5v5 ice time. In terms of shot attempts for Evan Bouchard (61.96 percent) matched McDavid with 24 while pacing the defence. A single-game sample size is so small anything over 47 percent really means you went toe-to-toe with your opposition in your minutes – 72 percent of the Oilers roster was above that cutoff. Really, the only pair that got pushed back into their zone was Draisaitl (35.30 percent) and Nugent-Hopkins (39.55 percent) – and even then, it wasn’t like the ice was always tilted against them.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – There indeed was a whole lot of good for the Oilers, like Evan Bouchard (66.45 SCF% // 78.72 HDCF%) helping participate in 11 high-danger chances at 5v5, only three against. The top three forward lines for the Oilers all achieved at least two high-danger looks each, with the top line all helping in at least seven. For a game that ended in regulation, these numbers are quite telling of how lackadaisical the Kings’ defensive coverage was. It wasn’t all sunshine and daisies for every player – the Oilers third defence pair in Desharnais (40.19 percent // 0 percent) and Kulak (40.19 percent // 0 percent) saw six high-danger looks against while being on the ice for none for. Despite that, they were also the only pair that didn’t get scored on.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – Adam Henrique (75.75 percent) set an NHL record for the longest amount of time between playoff goals. He showed why he was a well-sought-after asset at the trade deadline with a strong performance in game one. Playing with McDavid (76.75 percent) the night he gets his first five assist playoff performance helps, but Henrique can more than hold his own against top six NHL competition. Shoutout to the best addition this current Oilers team traded for in Mattias Ekholm (60.81 percent) whose steady play allows Evan Bouchard (61.96 percent) to be an added offensive threat with the elite forwards. Underrated, a major piece to how much success this team can achieve – that’s Ekholm.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – It was looking like an alright start for Skinner before a couple of defensive breakdowns in front of him led to an inflated goals-against number. He got the most important stat, the win, and was solid when the Kings pressed in the second to keep the lead large going into the third period. All he has to do all series is out-duel either Cam Talbot or David Rittich – I really like his odds. 2.77 expected goals against at 5v5 with four getting behind him, on to the next.

Flashalytic’s 3 Stars

1) Connor McDavid
2) Zach Hyman
3) Evan Bouchard
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com // Game Score from Hockeystatcards.com // xG and Under Pressure charts from HockeyViz.com // Game Flow and Shot Heatmap from NaturalStatTrick.com)

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