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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers tackle adversity head on in comeback win

Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
17 days ago
The Oilers never let a bad start keep them down, coming from behind after an early 2-0 deficit in impressive fashion.
To myself the biggest factor in the comeback was Edmonton’s ability to strike back quickly. Two goals in the first five minutes is a great excuse to roll over and give up, but the recently scratched McLeod and the rock-solid Bouchard came up huge to leave the first period tied. Connor McDavid’s pass on the second goal, the one off of Oettinger’s pads directly to Bouchard’s tape, was brilliantly executed. Fast forward into the second period and the Oilers going on the penalty kill which worked in their favour. Janmark and Brown had been pressing all playoffs for a shorthanded marker and they finally connected in a big way when it mattered most.  A massive team effort for the Oilers keeps them level going forward to game 5.
CF% – 52.26%, SCF% – 51.51%, HDCF% – 50.45%, xGF% – 56.89%
Corsi King – The public focus has been dialled in the last few games on the Oilers defence, with major eyes on Cody Ceci (69.73 percent).  Credit to him for a clean game with lots of possession, best overall shot rates on the team and no actual goals given up in his minutes. Were the high-danger chances still a negative ratio? Maybe (yes). Three forward lines and two defence pairings were in the positive on shot rates – Darnell Nurse (42.63 percent) was the only important player of significance below half.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – It’s always worth checking the low-shot-rate guys in the high-danger area. You may not have had a lot of puck possession, but good numbers here at least indicate you did your job defending in your own zone. Brett Kulak (57.60 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) was down there with Nurse (37.68 percent // 64.45 percent) in shot attempts but failed to give up a 5v5 high danger chance. He had just shift changed prior to the Johnston goal. The positive here was no player saw more than four high danger looks against and everyone, but the fourth forward line found a 5v5 high danger chance for. Brown (0 percent // 0 percent) and Janmark (0 percent // 0 percent) did not even get a single 5v5 scoring chance, but they more than made up for it by finally connecting on a shorthanded goal. A game-winning shorthanded goal, for what it’s worth.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – How about Corey Perry (71.49 percent) being a consummate pro, from healthy scratch to big contributor. Leon Draisaitl (69.47 percent) was an offensive machine. He finds lanes to shoot the puck that most can’t see or do not have the skill to execute. Oettinger has been extremely tested by him through four games and tonight he came up with a huge insurance marker. When the only ones that finish in the red are your fourth line and third pairing you should win that game nine times out of ten.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – Goaltending is such a fine line. The Oilers were one goal away from another goalie crisis less than six minutes in and instead now would be nuts to shift off Skinner going into game 5. The vibe around the Oilers goaltending is changing per period in this series and it will continue to do that until the season is over. Skinner didn’t cave late, just early, and the Oilers rebounded fast enough they helped make his life easier by being able to play more structured in front of him. If they were trailing, they would have to be a lot more wild west run and gun but with the lead or tied you can limit the other team pretty effectively if you have the right personnel. Anyways, 1.60 expected goals against for Skinner with two getting behind him.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Connor McDavid
2) Leon Draisaitl
3) Mattias Ekholm (always one of the most important guys, nightly)
(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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