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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers three goal lead evaporates against resilient Canucks

Edmonton Oilers Darnell Nurse Stuart Skinner
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers shocked themselves as they let a three-goal lead evaporate in a game one loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
It was a hot start as the Oilers capitalized on an early powerplay, but the Canucks responded by making the Oilers life hard at 5v5. Edmonton was able to get some fortunate goals on a rookie goaltender and soundly built a 4-1 lead. After that, however, they shelled up and tried to become a defensive fortress rather than press. Losing Leon Draisaitl for a long stretch didn’t help, but the Canucks took the momentum and ran with it. Skinner ended up countering Silovs’ bad goals with some of his own and the end result is a Canucks series lead.
CF% – 51.68 percent. SCF% – 39.85 percent. HDCF% – 33.91 percent. xGF% – 31.93 percent.
It’s a Team Game – The Oilers had a hard time getting to the net against the large Vancouver defenceman. Usually the big guys have trouble keeping up with the Oilers’ speed, but Myers, Soucy, and certainly Zadorov have no problem being mobile and keeping the Oilers from dangerous attacking areas. It’s going to be hard to score on the rush against guys like that – the Oilers would find more success with some sustained pressure shifts. If the Canucks continue to execute their gameplan this well it is going to be a difficult series, but one the Oilers certainly have the ability to accomplish.
Corsi King – He had limited minutes in his first playoff game this season and didn’t get many shifts after the first 20 minutes, but Connor Brown (77.49 percent) led the team in overall attempt ratios. It was also just six attempts for to two against. Mattias Ekholm (72.20 percent) was the real leader in my opinion. The real issue was the limitation of the two stars in McDavid (49.35 percent) and Draisaitl (50.38 percent), although Draisaitl and his mystery injury were a huge factor in that. I’m not too concerned about Connor McDavid, I never am. He will bounce back and the Canucks better hope they can keep up when it happens.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – Mattias Ekholm (79.14 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) didn’t see a high danger chance against at 5v5. It did not matter though because another defence pairing got cooked by the Canucks all night long. Cody Ceci (9.44 percent // 0 percent) and Darnell Nurse (9.44 percent // 0 percent) didn’t see a single high-danger chance for, saw five high-danger chances against, and were on the ice for 3 of the Canucks goals scored at 5v5. The Oilers can’t rely on just one defence pairing, and Vincent Desharnais (45.63 percent // 0 percent) isn’t ready and able to cover those minutes. Nurse and Ceci would vacate. The only solution is for them to reset and come ready to play. If they can’t figure out how to counter the Canucks relentless forecheck it will spell trouble.

xG Breakdown 

xGF% – Some underrated performances on the upper half of the quality share came from Warren Foegele (72.82 percent), Evan Bouchard (61.28 percent), and Dylan Holloway (52.21 percent). I feel for Holloway because he looks quite strong out there but can never find himself in the right place or right time to capitalize and score. He’s got the talent he just needs a bit of a break. On the south side of the quality share were some more important names including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (9.34 percent) with an abysmal rating. He spent next to no time generating offence and played on his heels from puck drop.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – Coming from Flames land I take a lot of what I’ve learnt from their old coaches. Darryl Sutter once said all he knew about goaltending was big saves and bad goals – I couldn’t have agreed more. Last night, Skinner let in some bad goals, which he owned up to in his post-game media scrum. The positive there is he had clearly moved on from his bad night and was ready to get on to the next one. Skinner isn’t a Vezina goalie but he’s more than capable of being better – especially if the defence in front of him can start transitioning the puck out of the zone. Four goals against at 5v5 with 2.52 expected goals against. On to game two.
Player Spotlight – Ryan McLeod – What a performance on the penalty kill – it was a special performance on a big stage. He was aggressive, attentive, and speedy getting the puck out of his own zone every chance he got. With multiple Canucks powerplays, it was clear McLeod was still playing like the best player on the ice. Having him develop into that role with that level of proficiency is a huge boost for an Oilers squad that isn’t going to get too many more youth boosts in this cup window. McLeod turning out as steady and reliable as he is should be extremely appreciated by the Oilers faithful.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Matthias Ekholm
2) Zach Hyman
3) Ryan McLeod
(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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