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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers do plenty of things right but can’t beat Bobrovsky

Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers
Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
Every now and then you run into a hot goaltender and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The Edmonton Oilers did more things right than they did wrong over the full 60 minutes of Game 1 but were stymied constantly by Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Edmonton kept attacking in waves, winning all the races to loose pucks while also maintaining a clear advantage in puck possession. The Panthers capitalized twice against the Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci combination — something every team this postseason has been able to do — to give themselves enough of a cushion to be able to lean on their goaltender. It’s unfortunate Edmonton let this one get away from them, as it was certainly one the Oilers deserved to win based on their play.
CF% – 55.02, SCF% – 54.9, HDCF% – 68.37, xGF% – 61.41
Corsi King – Kevin Bieksa touched on this at intermission: you can get all the chances in the world but if you don’t score then they don’t mean anything. The players in the room can’t have that mentality, they need to come out for Game 2 and repeat the performance they brought to game one. I’m not saying Bobrovsky will crack eventually, but I will say it’s improbable he can do what he did in game one for four straight games. Mattias Ekholm (72.95 CF%) continues to constantly be on the heavy side of the shot attempts. This is not his first Cup Final and I don’t think anyone has to worry about the quality of his play on a nightly basis. The Oilers’ top players – Connor McDavid (61.58 percent), Evan Bouchard (69.73 percent), and Leon Draisaitl (65.07 percent) — all finished heavily on the positive side of their shot attempt battle. Florida as a team did very little to contain them, it was all Bobrovsky.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – This is the section where you would expect a team that achieved a shutout did some good work at limiting, not the case here. Warren Foegele (87.15 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) had six high-danger chances for and none against in less than ten minutes of 5v5 action. Completely outmatched the bottom half of the Panthers lineup, but when trailing in the final round, you don’t find him extra minutes at the cost of Zach Hyman (53.79 percent // 50.09 percent) or Evander Kane (71.66 percent // 79.86 percent) who not only had positive nights in themselves but have a larger history of offensive success overall too. I’m of the belief that if you want extra minutes for your depth guys at this point, you better end up with the lead. The time to rest your stars is over – the Oilers got their best weapons out there more often they just couldn’t buy a bounce. If Game 2 starts similarly, I expect that trend to continue.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – There were a couple guys that stood out as having an abnormal result compared to the rest of the group. Brett Kulak (25.40 percent) being the only defenceman below 50% at 5v5 – and being there by a clear 25% – makes me look at the raw totals. Kulak’s struggles in the quality share came more from his lack of involvement in the offence than incompetence in his own zone. As a group the mistake came from the Nurse (71.95 percent) and Ceci (64.35 percent) pair on both goals against. Missed coverages and a stick off the ice – simple mental mistakes for fractions of a second are magnified by the fact the Oilers failed to score to cover up those mistakes. I’ve talked for three rounds about how Nurse and Ceci constantly end up as the problem, I know I saw Sid (@NHL_Sid) sharing statistics about the pair on Twitter backing that assessment up. Maybe this is the game Knoblauch finally sees it too.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – The only time I take issue with a goal against Is if I feel it qualifies as soft. Neither Verhaeghe’s rush goal or Rodrigues’ doorstep goal were defended remotely well, and Skinner was left out to dry. No weak goals against and he gave his team a chance to win. The Panthers will continue to be really creative in transition and relentless on the forecheck – he has got to remain alert to attempts from down low and be wary of bounces in a crowded crease. 1.63 expected goals against at 5v5 with two against.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mattias Ekholm
2) Leon Draisaitl
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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