Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers hot start sizzles away in Game 2 loss

Edmonton Oilers Dallas Stars
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
26 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers came out flying but couldn’t maintain momentum as they dropped Game 2 against the Dallas Stars 3-1.
The Oilers generated 13 high-danger chances at 5v5 over the course of the night, but nine of those came in the first period. Dallas was able to regroup in the second and come back more controlled making the Oilers’ life hard. Mason Marchment’s goal early in the third allowed the Stars to play a more structured defensive game not needing to cheat for offence. The Oilers could get through the neutral zone with speed multiple times in the third despite that coverage but were always met with pressure from a defenceman already back or a backchecking forward. With Jake Oettinger behind them, Dallas’ ability to limit quality with a lead will be the Oilers’ biggest obstacle, so prioritizing getting the first goal has to be huge for them going forward.
CF% – 57.14%, SCF% – 53.54%, HDCF% – 54.71%, xGF% – 60.59%
Corsi King – Connor McDavid (77.28 CF%) set the tone early with some physical play on his very first shift. The Oilers all fed off the energy their leader brought to his start and it helped In aiding them to a dominating first. Evan Bouchard (72.61 percent) was dancing around defenders all night long. The Bouch bomb is something to fear and he’s got guys sliding all over the ice trying to block shots – by pulling up or using a toe drag – and getting himself better quality shooting opportunities or opening passing lanes. The victims off the rush tonight were Brett Kulak (32.81 percent) and Cody Ceci (39.34 percent) as they have a hard time with the quick little passing plays the stars employ in their mesmerizing neutral zone attack. Personally, I’m not sure that pairing has the tools to correct that, and just need to do the best they can hoping the goaltender behind them stays strong.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – Darnell Nurse (65.44 SCF% // 59.34 HDCF%) saw a team-high eight high-danger chances, one more than Evan Bouchard (69.70 percent // 66.23 percent). It’s a tough game to lose when you’ve got two guys that never play together both being involved in that many chances and Oettinger will continue to give all the shooters nightmares. Nurse also saw the most high-danger chances against as well, marking a tale of two games. He had his say in the fantastic start but was also one of the guys struggling as the Stars got momentum in the third. Evander Kane (55.61 percent // 52.44 percent) also saw six high-danger looks against. One would have liked him to get the puck in deeper before the empty net goal, but he also wasn’t the one who called the goaltender to the bench while the Stars had the puck.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – Derek Ryan (19.03 percent) has a low number from a lack of offence generated instead of any glaring defensive problems. The Oilers are starting to get some public recognition for how well they’ve defended down the stretch and into the playoffs. No matter how often Ceci (43.19 percent) finishes on the south side of the quality share, he will continue to get rolled out. The Oilers have no intention to change the personnel of their defence and get Stetcher in. He hasn’t played in about a month now either, and I wouldn’t want that at this point either. Hopefully the Stars don’t figure out how to exploit it, for the Oilers sake.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – I’ve got nothing but compliments for Stuart Skinner, who made some pretty cool desperation saves all night. The Stars got some tremendous looks and he stopped all of those and then got beat by a greasy bounce – that’s the playoffs. With Stuart Skinner gave his team a chance to win with 2.41 expected goals against at 5v5, allowing two goals behind him. You probably want the Benn goal back, but the Brown response almost immediately allowed Skinner to reset and get back to playing good hockey. This one wasn’t on the goaltender.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor McDavid
2) Evan Bouchard
3) Connor Brown
 (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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