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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers dominate Stars at five-on-five

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
25 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers showed up and showed out in a double overtime victory over the Dallas Stars Thursday night.
The narrative coming into this series is that the Oilers’ depth wouldn’t be a match for the Stars, but in Game 1, they showed they could hold their own. Edmonton outpaced Dallas in every single period in terms of chances and puck possession. They did an excellent job of clearing pucks out of their own zone all night, making the Stars regroup in the neutral zone before considering setting up for any sustained attacks.
Dallas looked more dangerous breaking out on the rush all night – they are masters of small-area passing – but they couldn’t drive the net as the Oilers shut the center lane down as much as possible. It’s a long series and the coach on the other bench is one of the best of the modern day and age, this is just the first step on a long road to victory. Dallas will adjust and eventually find holes in coverage – they can seamlessly mix and match their top nine forwards on the fly with no dip in chemistry. Good on the Oilers for capitalizing early in the series.
CF% – 59.78%, SCF% – 57.19%, HDCF% – 64.54%, xGF% – 59.06%
Corsi King – Evan Bouchard (68.16 CF%) and Mattias Ekholm (69.03 percent) continue their run of excellent play this post-season. It has been a long time since those two were on the south side of the shot share. Bouchard was also out for all three Oilers goals for and none against, just another fantastic performance. Outside of his one brutal giveaway that led directly to Seguin’s first goal, Brett Kulak (64.39 percent) played better than normal. He’s usually a reliable third-pairing option, but with the Cody Ceci (56.81 percent) problems that were persisting midway through the Vancouver series, he’s playing higher-quality competition on a more regular basis. At the bottom of the list, Connor Brown (47.07 percent) showed some real value on the PK tonight. He and Janmark (53.70 percent) have a decent amount of shorthanded rush chances this postseason, but they can’t ever bury one.
Taken By Chance – Normally, I like to touch on different people in each section, but when someone is head and shoulders above everyone else, they get talked about a bunch. Hi, Evan Bouchard (75.59 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) and your involvement in eight high-danger chances for and zero against. That includes all of the 5v5 overtime as well, Bouchard had a clean slate. For forwards, Connor McDavid (69.04 percent // 68.16 percent) led the charge like usual. Just when I wonder if something was off with him, he scores the overtime winner. Still, McDavid didn’t appear as a dominating individual force in this one, rather coming off as a highly successful piece of a well-organized puzzle.
Note: There was some confusion on this chart in the comments last round so let me clarify. This particular block chart from HockeyViz.com incorporates all situations – as you can see in the legend at the bottom. When I discuss expected goals, scoring chances, or goals saved above expected under the various headers – like Corsi King – i’m referring to 5v5 play (score and venue adjusted).
xGF% – Leon Draisaitl (69.97 percent) scoring from a sharp angle off a quick change of puck direction, standard stuff. If they had lost his linemate Dylan Holloway (65.06 percent) would have seen that breakout miss in his sleep. It was a ridiculous stop from Oettinger doing the complete splits in a last-second flex. Throw in his paddle stop on McDavid (64.31 percent) in overtime, and Oettinger gave the Oilers a good preview of how hard goals will be to find these next two weeks. Last shoutout to Sam Carrick (56.54 percent) of all people – the game was not that violent as both teams worked relentlessly to maintain an attack. In his minutes, though, I did notice him still finishing his checks and ending up pestering some Stars after the whistle. It’s good to keep the fire alive.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – It’s not often I would say the goaltender that only let in two goals on 25 shots against was the second-best goaltender, but Skinner was also not as busy as his crease counterpart. Dallas entered the Oilers’ zone with possession most of the night, but it turned into nothing almost every rush because of Edmonton’s good structural defending. It makes it easier on Skinner (0.59 goals saved above expected), too, who responded by not letting a weak one in. If those start to creep in as the series goes on, they will certainly end up being difference-makers. He got the win though, the most important result of all.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
 1) Evan Bouchard (He deserved two first stars)
2) Connor McDavid
3) Stuart Skinner
(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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