Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers search for saves in Game 2 loss

Edmonton Oilers Los Angeles Kings
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
9 days ago
The Los Angeles Kings were able to stick to their game plan enough to steal a 5-4 OT win from underneath the Edmonton Oilers.
Getting a lead and keeping it is going to be a necessity for the Los Angeles Kings if they want to somehow upset the Edmonton Oilers in this series. Nobody took momentum in game two until the Kings came out for the third period, this was where the lack of Oilers pressure was a bit concerning. They had been running on five straight periods of pure adrenaline – led by their leader, Connor McDavid – so running into a low point felt inevitable. Yet, they still emerged from the period tied and had the opportunity to take care of business in overtime. They started with all the pressure in the extra frame, but as it happened too often tonight the save the Oilers needed just wasn’t there.
CF% – 43.9%, SCF% – 53.31%, HDCF% – 58.43%, xGF% – 45.8%
It’s a Team Game – Through two games now, the Kings have the overall 5v5 advantage in shot attempts, but the Oilers lead large in high-danger chances as well as overall scoring chances. The main difference between games was Los Angeles found ways to get inside the slot and beat Skinner as he was moving. The Oilers, somehow, couldn’t get any goals from in tight on Talbot. It’s more of an anomaly than something one should expect to occur regularly. The Oilers were shown the importance of scoring early and playing the Kings with a lead. Life is a lot easier if they can achieve that, and it also helps when the power play is going. Getting a goose egg there when it’s the most dangerous aspect of their game is a pretty big hurdle.
Corsi King – It wasn’t as dominating of performance for the Oilers stars as they had in game one. McDavid (43.16 CF%) went from a 24-10 advantage in 14 minutes to a 16-20 disadvantage in 17:22 of 5v5 ice. He may be able to turn it on and fly like the wind, but he also needs to make sure he’s pushing the Kings’ defence back. His numbers aren’t as concerning, especially when we add in the high-danger chance numbers next. Darnell Nurse (57.87 percent) led all Oilers in terms of ratio, with other positive contributors coming from the third line with pivot Ryan McLeod (57.20 percent). On the downside, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (32.84 percent) remains a bit invisible down the depth chart, and Evan Bouchard (34.64 percent) went from the top of the charts to the bottom.
Under Pressure –
Taken By Chance – Deserving of praise for having one of his best games in the NHL is Dylan Holloway (62.93 SCF% // 100 HDCF%), who had his first career two-goal game while seeing no high-danger chances against him in 5v5 minutes. Others that went without seeing a proper look against them were Janmark, Hyman, Henrique, McDavid, and Carrick. That’s the good stuff – clearly showing those two lines were not an issue at any point tonight. Then you get into Draisaitl (37.91 percent // 35.01 percent) with Nugent-Hopkins and Foegele seeing seven high danger looks against them, also being the line that got scored on three times. If there’s anything Knoblauch needs to look into changing so far in this series it’s that trio of forwards.
xG Breakdown –
xGF% – Mattias Janmark (83.29 xGF%) paced all Oilers – he really played a good north/south game and helped make space for Holloway (70.31 percent). That last goal was one Talbot certainly would want back, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot. I always find it fascinating when someone finishes directly in the middle, like Ekholm (50.51 percent). In this one it was Kulak (43.98 percent) and Ceci (44.31 percent) as the only defence finishing below 50 percent on the quality scale.
Game Flow –
Game Score –
Shot Heatmap –
In The Crease – There were 1.87 expected goals against at 5v5 and yet Skinner let in five goals. It was the predominant issue in the loss and has been an area of contention amongst Oilers fans all season. Personally, I believe Skinner is more than a capable enough goaltender to take the Oilers far in the playoffs, but these types of lacklustre performances eat into belief in all sorts of areas. The Oilers did defend well enough to win, they just needed that one extra save.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Dylan Holloway
2) Mattias Janmark
3) Darnell Nurse
(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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