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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers defence makes too many blunders in Game 3 loss

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers
Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
Too many mistakes by the Oilers’ defenceman are a big reason why they have fallen into a three-game deficit in this series.
A small portion of the second period was all it took for the Panthers to do what they’ve done all year: score in bunches. They consistently found their way onto Stuart Skinner’s doorstep and elevated the goals right by him. That was Bennett, Barkov, and Tarasenko all getting goals less than a stick length away from the net.
Edmonton’s forwards have been unable to get that close to Bobrovsky to knock in a greasy goal, something mentioned after Game 2. McDavid finally got some form of offence going, but Florida was put into a favourable position thanks to multiple bad defensive reads by both Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci on routine plays. At this point, it is just a vinyl record that’s been repeating the same thing over and over since the playoffs began, and the Oilers do not have the tools at this stage of the season to properly address it.
The offence can’t get to the net, the defence can’t keep them away from the net, and they are all out of losses to try and figure it out.
CF% – 48.85%, SCF% – 60.7%, HDCF% – 42.08%, xGF% – 46.17%
Corsi King – Darnell Nurse (35.84 CF%) and Phillip Broberg (33.98 percent) saw the most shot attempts against. On the Bennett goal, it’s baffling how Nurse never looks behind him to see what’s happening around him after the turnover occurs along the boards. He is so hyper-focused on Tkachuk he has no clue Bennett is behind him all alone – at least it comes off like that when watching. The situational awareness in a quick strike scenario is almost impossible to teach, you need to rely on your gut instincts to be on your side. It does not appear they are on Nurse’s side right now. Leon Draisaitl (36.01 percent) losing a reliable winger in Kane and seeing the rookie in Holloway (55.83 percent), who was dropped down the lineup, have a rough game doesn’t help, but he’s going to command top dollar for a reason he needs to help find some of this offence, desperately.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – You probably got a little confused just now saying Holloway (63.37 SCF% // 45.25 HDCF%) had an off night up there but then posting positive metrics. He played very little (5:24) and was on the ice for two of the 5v5 goals against. Knoblauch turned to his veterans in his time of need – specifically giving some extra ice to Corey Perry (23.38 percent // 0 percent) who did not end up contributing much in terms of a positive outcome. Evan Bouchard (76.73 percent // 70.67 percent) also got burned defensively in this one – Barkov on the boards before the first goal – but at least the rest of the time he actively contributed to pushing play towards Bobrovsky.

xG Breakdown

Note: This is a great example of quality vs. quantity. The Oilers may have got more shot attempts off overall, but the Panthers had the advantage in quality shots.
xGF% – It is hard to watch McDavid (53.99 percent) do everything that is possible in his power to stay in this thing only to receive minimal help. Zach Hyman (64.92 percent) has gone quiet at the worst possible time and he’s drawing too much attention to score unless he does another Superman goal. He’s getting next to nothing off the rush and has to spend a lot of energy setting up possession in the offensive zone before executing his attack. A lot of credit needs to be paid to the Panthers’ defence, but it’s not like McDavid still isn’t getting some looks. It cannot be just him though – he requires help from the rest of this roster to survive.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – Completely uncontested shots from NHL quality top 6 forwards? I have no reasonable expectations for any goaltender to stop them. Florida is doing their job by not letting the Oilers achieve any of those unless a powerplay is under way. On the flip side Edmonton gives them up quite frequently as the only thing they did to address their defence this season was trade for Troy Stecher – who they never played, and he got hurt before they actually needed him. If you have a goaltending situation you are unsure of the best way to counter it – short of acquiring a replacement goaltender – is by improving the defence on your roster so they can suppress and limit quality chances. Not a hard concept to think by making the goaltenders life easier it should lead to more success.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor McDavid
2) Evan Bouchard
3) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
(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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