Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers settle for quantity over quality in Game 3 loss

Edmonton Oilers Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers could not solve the Canucks defence at 5v5 and, as a result, find themselves trailing the series two games to one with Sunday’s 4-3 loss.
It was not strictly because of Arturs Silovs either, as the Oilers hit enough posts to spell that narrative right away. No, the problem lies in the lack of quality opportunities created for Edmonton during 5v5 play and the ones given up by a defence pair that simply should not see any more time together in Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci. It’s hard to critique McDavid, knowing at any point and time, he can just turn on a switch and prove he’s the best player on blades, but his line tonight was also the victim of quick strikes from the Canucks. This certainly is not a game that incites too much panic, but the Oilers can no longer afford to settle for a subpar attack and have to find ways to get quality chances through the Canucks defence going forward, especially at 5v5.
CF% – 63.87%. SCF% – 57.48%. HDCF% – 48.11%. xGF% – 54.45%.
Corsi King – It’s not often this incident occurs in the regular season — maybe six or seven games a year — but the entire Oilers team finished with a positive shot share. Nobody saw more shots against them than they saw get taken from top to bottom. Because of this it’s very important to look at Corsi (shot attempts) in conjunction with the high danger chances. Derek Ryan (75.09 percent) led but also only played 5:48, Foegele (71.60 percent) was behind him logging 8:04. Even on the bottom side of things, it seemingly was okay with Desharnais (57.06 percent) and Nurse (58.61 percent) spending time on the positive side of the puck, a change of pace from some previous games.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – Positives first are how I like to go – Kulak (61.56 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) and Desharnais (65.36 percent // 100 percent) didn’t see a high danger chance against. It’s good not to have to worry about those guys, but it’s bad when you’re worried about the guys in front of them. That would be Darnell Nurse (50.46 percent // 0 percent) and Cody Ceci (50.46 percent // 0 percent), who decided to cover the same man on a quick turnover leading to the second Brock Boeser goal. They were both too ready to transition up the ice with the forwards and let Boeser sit in behind them all alone, and then when needed to make the right choice in a split-second decision, one chooses the wrong path – that is super hard to coach out of somebody. Their own natural instincts need to be more in line with what Ekholm (44.58 percent // 37.22 percent) does, but that is some wishful thinking.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – Connor McDavid (58.33 percent) certainly was not the problem, but he had a rougher time tonight on home ice than I expected. Just like the shot shutout after game one I think McDavid will take tonight’s loss hard and come back with a wicked vengeance in game four. These numbers will be slightly skewed to appear more positive than they should because it’s actually cumulative quality. Taking five chances worth 0.2 is worth 1.0, right? Then, ten chances worth 0.1 each are also worth 1.0. What would you rather have, 10 chances with a lower expected goal value or five with higher values – you take the five looks, and you run. Tonight, the high percent ratios were inflated by a huge number of low-danger opportunities and not because of a run of great-quality looks. Numbers can be deceiving if you don’t know how to read them, it’s why we’re here to help.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – It is time for the Edmonton Oilers to get a save. Sure, the defence is giving up looks a team in the final eight shouldn’t give up, but you also look around the league and see the teams winning doing so on the backs of quality goaltending and that is nowhere near what the Oilers are getting right now. Who do you turn to – Calvin Pickard? Jack Campbell? The Oilers would do best to put Skinner back in because the sample size from the season shows he’s the best option – the fact there is nobody else remotely capable of being a sure-fire replacement is on the general manager.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Leon Draisaitl
2) Matthias Ekholm
3) Brett Kulak
(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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