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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers stars neutralized as Canucks push them to the brink

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid Leon Draisaitl
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers still couldn’t get the one save they needed as they fell to the Canucks in a coin-flip Game 5.
No team kept the pressure on all night for more than a few opportunities before the other was able to clear the zone and turn play the other direction. If anyone did get pinned down more often, it was Edmonton, as the Canucks started engaging their defenceman more in their cycle and attack. You could feel the sense of urgency for both teams, too – they both prioritized getting high-danger net front opportunities vs. settling for distance looks. Edmonton played a well-executed playoff game, but so did Vancouver. It came down to goaltending and a bounce – the Oilers will need that bounce to go their way in Game 6 if they want to keep up the fight.
CF% – 51.93%, SCF% – 50.73%, HDCF% – 51.45%, xGF% – 45.57%
Corsi King – Warren Foegele (80.24 CF%) and his center Ryan McLeod (65.38 percent) finished at the top of the forward list. The Oilers’ bottom six had their best game of the series, even contributing a quick strike goal from Mattias Janmark (61.42 percent). The top six, however, did not dominate shot attempts like they had been earlier in the season. Connor McDavid (45.69 percent) being held to 11 shot attempts at 5v5 is some magic work from the Canucks defence. I don’t think Game 6 will be an easier time for them, as McDavid always bounces back.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – The brightest spot of the last two games has to be the play from Vincent Desharnais (80.47 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) as he takes on an expanded role with Darnell Nurse (64.99 percent // 85.31 percent). In this game, he finished with a high danger chance ratio of 6 to nothing, seeing no dangerous looks in his 5v5 minutes. There is a massive disparity between him and Cody Ceci (31.91 percent // 36.89 percent), who saw six high-danger looks. He continually gets caught in bad spots and struggles to get the puck out of his own zone with possession in the Oilers’ favour. What is Troy Stecher up to? He certainly could not harm this team any worse than Cody Ceci has all series long. If you want the Stanley Cup sometimes you need to be the bad guy and do what’s right for the group – that is, for sure, sitting Cody Ceci.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – Mattias Ekholm (11.36 percent) had yet to see a game below 30 percent of the quality share, let alone being that low. The Canucks top lines really gave the Oilers top players fits all night. It just so happens that when the bottom six show up to play, the top six are vacant. Winning the Stanley Cup usually requires a combination of luck and some depth scoring, and the Oilers can’t seem to get both at once. One can’t even say they didn’t get enough powerplay chances either – the Oilers just were not good enough in crunch time, and now they have their backs against the wall.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – It was still an okay performance but tonight Pickard didn’t give the Oilers anything more than Skinner was giving them. One save short could be the title for the entire 2024 postseason. Knoblauch can debate what he does next until the cows come home, but the Oilers are out of games where they can afford both below-average goaltending and a missing McDavid. 2.27 expected goals against with a high danger, medium danger, and low danger goal against.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Mattias Janmark
2) Vincent Desharnais
3) Warren Foegele
(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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