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Beyond the Boxscore: Oilers use second period surge to stay alive

Edmonton Oilers Evander Kane
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
30 days ago
The Oilers put their foot down when they needed to and cruised to a 5-1 game victory to stay alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
All three periods of this one told a different story. A tight-checking first where both teams could squeak out a goal started things. An explosion of Oilers possession and offence followed in the middle frame. Finally, the Oilers got the early goals in the third and allowed themselves to play a more laid-back defensive structure without fearing an impending collapse like Game 1. Stuart Skinner didn’t allow any momentum killers and the Oilers earned the right to fight for a trip to the Western Conference Finals in a pivotal Game 7Monday evening.
CF% – 57.73%. SCF% – 54.28%. HDCF% – 53.22%. xGF% – 49.74%.
Corsi King – Connor Brown (86.00 CF%) played himself a good fourth-line game, seeing just one shot attempted during his 7:43 of 5v5 ice. The Oilers second line led by Draisaitl (71.01 percent) was a massive help in this match. Starting a game off with a goal like the one Dylan Holloway (55.45 percent) scored would motivate anybody to run through a wall. Response goal be damned after the Hoglander answer, the boys weathered the storm before they started buzzing in the second. Almost every Oiler finished on the positive side of the shot share – the Canucks really were lacklustre in that regard for Game 6.

Under Pressure

Taken By Chance – Anytime your most important defenceman that’s in charge of the toughest defensive assignment pitches a 5v5 high danger chance shutout, odds are you won. Mattias Ekholm (73.43 SCF% // 100 HDCF%) remains a defensive anchor when the Oilers need it most. This team can score at will, but defending has been a struggle for the team as a whole – having the confidence to throw Ekholm out in any situation, knowing he’ll give it his best, is a coach’s dream. It is a good thing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (40.85 percent // 16.82 percent) scored on his one high danger chance, he saw a team high five against him. That was three more than his linemate McDavid (41.26 percent // 34.36 percent), which means in the very limited time they were apart, the Canucks were capitalizing. Some of that may be attributed to Nugent-Hopkins being out there as a powerplay would expire – the numbers don’t consider that the guy comes out of the box; it just views it as a 5v5 play. Nugent-Hopkins still contributed three points to the effort, but those extra chances are worth pointing out as concerning.

xG Breakdown

xGF% – Evander Kane (77.48 percent) waking up his goal-scoring touch is not a good thing for the Canucks. Last year in the playoffs, he couldn’t stop scoring, and if the Oilers can rely on secondary scoring, the Canucks are going to have to all play the best game of their lives to compete. Now I’m sure Cody Ceci (62.88 percent) will be an emphasis of attack for the forecheck – which was really subpar from the Canucks all night – so look out for that. The Oilers have shown enough to prove that if the whistles get put away, they can hold their own at 5v5. The only difference then comes down to execution and goaltending – something that has gone hand in hand for generations.

Game Flow

Game Score

Shot Heatmap

In The Crease – No weak goals against were all the Oilers were hoping for, and that’s exactly what they got. The team’s play in front of him made the mental reset for Skinner a lot easier. They made the Canucks overthink their shots all night long. Active pressure and no time to think the Canucks went a long stretch of play without extended pressure. They failed to execute their powerplays and hardly tested Skinner early. Late, he had to show up, but at that point, the Oilers were letting low-danger shots through and prioritizing protecting the crease. 2.18 expected goals against – at 5v5 for those that are wondering what I care about most – with just one high-danger look getting behind him. Expect Skinner to start Game 7.
Flashalytic’s 3 Stars –
1) Evan Bouchard
2) Connor McDavid
3) Leon Draisaitl
(Stats compiled from Naturalstattrick.com @ 5v5 SVA // 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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