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Beyond the Boxscore: Nobody said the win has to look pretty

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
15 days ago
Just enough to get the job done sometimes gets the job done.
The Edmonton Oilers were opportunistic on special teams early in the game which allowed them to shell up and play defence in this elimination game. I just don’t think anybody expected them to do it so early. The start of the second period saw Edmonton get some pressure but the Dallas Stars got desperate and controlled the flow of play consistently. By the time the third period rolled around – with the score still at two to nothing – the Oilers had almost given up on trying to attack or counterattack and played with four guys back in the neutral zone. It made Dallas’ effort to get possession down low very difficult and limited the quality the best they could. Sitting back like that usually leads to some leaks, to which Dallas did score one, but in this one it ended up being enough to send Edmonton to the Stanley Cup Final.
CF% – 29.19%, SCF% – 22.55%, HDCF% – 33.54%, xGF% – 17.83%
Corsi King – One guy who played the entire game ended with a positive shot share, and by entire game, I mean up until the 55-minute mark. It was Philip Broberg (65.59 CF%) and nobody else. To anyone who watched what occurred that would not come as a surprise, I’ve never seen a team willing go that hard on just playing defence before. Only two players had double-digit shot attempts at 5v5 in McDavid (36.58 percent) and Bouchard (33.43 percent) while two players saw absolutely none for them, although Connor Brown (0 percent) did some magical work along the boards all night. He’s had a rough go at the scoring part of the game this season but in the last few rounds of the playoffs he’s done everything right in his own zone, a valuable trustworthy player to eat up those bottom-line minutes.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – Everything in the last two games, all the offence for sure, has been driven by McDavid (32.77 SCF% // 57.50 HDCF%). With how badly the Oilers were outshot McDavid ending up with a high-danger chance advantage is a testament to his skill. The lowest number of shots on goal in a conference-clinching victory in NHL history and he comes through with a net-positive performance. Both sides of the ice were masterfully controlled by McDavid who is as close to Lord Stanley as he has ever been before. Nobody really stood out in this one as somebody who let a bunch of bad chances against, a team effort to play strong through the neutral zone all the way back into their goaltender paid off. It’s not something I would recommend anybody do – Dallas only needed a bounce to stay alive, but hey it worked when Edmonton needed it to.

xG Breakdown 

xGF% – Outside of the injured Kane (100 percent) and Philip Broberg (50.09 percent) every single Oiler was on the underside of thirty percent for the quality share. It’s the single worst quality share list I’ve seen from a winning team in seven years – no, I’m not kidding. The process employed has got them this far, some questioning it seems a little unfair, but I feel if you do this against the Florida Panthers, they will immediately make you pay. The Oilers have more than earned the benefit of the doubt though, and this newfound focus on defending is certainly something the Oilers of the past were unable to execute. Despite all the noise around Skinner, Darnell Nurse (12.97 percent), and Cody Ceci (11.66 percent) the Oilers still made it to the top of the west.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – When they needed Stuart Skinner to be excellent, he was. When they needed that one extra save because the team only could muster 10 total shots he was there, being the one the coach picked to rely on. Calvin Pickard will always have his place in Edmonton lore as he helped them get to the final, but Skinner showed everyone after he got back in he can play when it matters most. Easily the first star of this performance he faced 2.73 expected goals at 5v5 only letting one goal in. All while remaining perfect on the penalty kill for the entire series.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Stuart Skinner
2) Connor McDavid
3) Zach Hyman
(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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