Edmonton Oilers in Seven: Segment Seven – They ain’t all gonna be Picassos

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Curlock
2 months ago
When the puck dropped against the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the seventh segment of this series, the Edmonton Oilers were on a serious heater.
The Oilers had won thirteen straight games and had a record of 18-3 in its last 21 games. More impressive was the fact the Oilers had come from virtually dead in the Pacific Division to third spot and a playoff position. Finally, and most impressive, the Oilers had games so many in hand of the two teams in front of them, the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks, that the team had a legitimate chance to make it a three-way race for the division title or, at least second place, in the very least.
As with all good things though, it had to end. The seventh segment of this Oilers in Seven series is where it happened. This is not to say, the Oilers had a poor segment. The team was 5-2 in the segment and continued to make ground in both Vancouver and Vegas. However, the wins were not quite the same. Let’s have a look at some key stats below in the segment to see where the issues arose.
RECORD, PTS%1-5-1, .214% — 31st3-4, .429% — T-10th4-3, .571% – T-10th5-2, .714% – 9th6-1, .857% – 1st7-0, 1.000% – 1st5-2, .714% – 8th31-17-0-1, .643% – 11th
GF-GA17-30, 36.17% — 30th22-22, 50% — 16th31-27, 53% – 7th26-18, 57.8% – 6th30-15, 66.7% – 2nd21-10, 67.4% – 2nd25-16, 61.0% – 2nd172-138, 55.5% — 5th
5v5 GF-GA10-18, 35.71% —28th13-14, 47.1% — 21st17-18, 48.6% – 19th15-14, 51.7% – 13th26-9, 74.2% – 2nd13-9, 59.1% – 6th16-9, 64.0% – 3rd110-91, 54.7% — 4th
5v5 xGF%54.58 — 8th59.6% — 2nd55.1% – 6th61.2% – 2nd57.2% – 5th60.5% – 2nd51.9% – 12th57.2% — 1st
POWER PLAY7-for-27, 25.9% – 8th6-for-22, 27.3% – 9th7-for-28, 25.0% – 8th7-for-18, 38.9% – 1st2-for-21, 9.5% – 29th5-for-18, 27.8% – 6th5-for-13, 38.8% – 5th39-for-148, 26.4% — 3rd
PENALTY KILL20-for-27, 74.1% – 24th18-for-26, 69.2% – 27th28-for-31, 90.3% – 7th15-for-18, 83.3% – 9th18-for-22, 81.8% – 13th21-for-22, 95.5% – 1st11-for-16, 68.8% – 27th131-for-162, 80.9% — 13th
SV%.861% —31st.885% — 18th.886% – 29th.904% – 14th.925% – 3rd.944% – 2nd.920% – 8th.900% — 15th
5v5 SV%.886% — 29th.907% — 16th.872% – 29th.909% – 21st.938% – 3rd.930% – 8th.945% – 8th.913% — 13th
The very notable area was the penalty kill. It fell back to Earth in a hard way in this segment. It registered a 69 percent success rate and actually gave up as many goals as the Oilers scored on the powerplay negating that advantage. The penalty kill mostly looked loose and out of rotation which created a fair number of cross seam attempts by the opposition. The prior run had a penalty kill that was playing much tighter down low and much quicker on the rotations. Nothing terribly out of sorts and certainly nothing that cannot be remedied quickly.
The other notable statistic is the expected goals percentage which had its worst performance of the year in this segment. Even during the Woodcroft tenure, the xGF percent was still quite high overall. Again, nothing much that isn’t fixed with clamping down turnovers at bluelines and trying to maintain good F3 structure in the offensive zone. Both are items, the Oilers have been very good at during this hot streak. In addition, the goaltending held the Oilers in these games when loose play started to occur. Notice that despite the low xGF percent, the Oiler goalies had a 5v5 save percentage of .945 percent. Stunning numbers especially when compared to the first few segments of the season. No question this segment could have been worse but for the goaltending of Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard.
Going forward, the Oilers will face a serious test. The next seven-game segment is played out in 12 days. That’s right – 12. It doesn’t get any easier after that. The Oilers will play the rest of their schedule, 32 games, in exactly 63 days. It will be a severe test for the team especially one that is more veteran in composition and has also had to run very hard to make up lost ground from the start of the season. Whether the gaudy numbers of the past several segments continue is a question that will be answered by fortitude, fatigue and injuries. One thing is for certain, the Oilers have done an admirable job in getting themselves into contention. However, I am certain the fight is not over yet.

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