Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
G11 Game Notes: Paging Every Player
By Jason Gregor3 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers desperately need a win. It is only game 11, but a quick look at the standings tells you if this horrific start extends much longer the Oilers could be out of the playoff race by mid-November. The Oilers’ inability to win — combined with Vegas, Vancouver and LA’s inability to lose — makes a playoff spot in the Pacific suddenly look rather daunting.
— Vegas is 11-1-1 with 23 points. Vancouver is 8-2-1 and has 17 points, while LA is 7-2-2 with 16 points.
The Oilers have five. They are 11 points out of third place in the division. They were 11 points back of Vegas last year after 20 games, and despite going 18-2-1 in their final 21 games, they still couldn’t catch them.
This awful 2-7-1 start has the Oilers in a deep hole, and they better wake up soon or it will be too late.
— Lose tonight to Vancouver and the Oilers will be 14 points behind them for home-ice advantage in the opening round. A loss almost ensures they are playing just to make it as a wildcard team. It feels strange to be talking playoffs before game 11, but that is the reality of the Oilers’ situation. They need to find some desperation, some desire and a commitment to play the game the right way. Stop leaking high danger chances or scoring chances off the rush. It is ridiculous how many high-quality chances they’ve allowed off the rush.
— Usually when a team struggles, they are told to rely on their foundation. Revert back to the one thing you do well. Right now, the Oilers don’t have a foundation to fall back on.
They are 1-5-1 in their last seven games. They’ve been outscored 28-17. Their power play is at 18.2%, but their net PP is 9.1%, because they’ve allowed two shorthanded goals. They can’t even rely on their PP to steer them out of the ditch.
— They can’t rely on their goalies to make a save. Their 5×5 Sv% is 30th at .889%, but overall, it is a league-worst .867. The San Jose Sharks just became the first team since 1965 to allow 10 goals in consecutive games and they still have a better overall Sv% than the Oilers goalies. Unreal. Yes, the Oilers could play better defensively, but at some point, your goalies need to do their jobs and stop the puck. Edmonton has allowed the sixth-fewest shot attempts against in the NHL and sit 17th in shots on goal. They give up too much off the rush, no question, but opposing goalies find ways to make a few high danger saves, and it is time the Oilers goalies do so as well. If not, then then Ken Holland needs to look elsewhere.
— Trading Jack Campbell right now is highly unlikely. In four starts Calvin Pickard has a .939SV% and 2.03 GAA in Bakersfield. Olivier Rodrigue has a .968Sv% and 1.00 GAA in two starts.
In seven of their 10 starts the Oilers goalies have had Sv% of .889 or lower. Every option should be on the table at this point, which includes recalling a goalie from Bakersfield. Holland needs to be looking at every viable option, because they can’t keep hoping one of them finds some consistency.
— Stuart Skinner is only in his second season, and I don’t expect him to be the saviour, but he can play much better than he’s shown. He’s did have a stretch of three games where he played decent, and right now I’d start him all three games this week. He will need to be solid tonight against Thatcher Demko.
— Demko has been outstanding for Vancouver. He is 6-2 with a sparkling .947Sv% and 1.55 GAA. He is the main reason I picked Vancouver to make the playoffs this season. When healthy he is easily the best goalie in the Pacific Division and one of the best in the entire NHL. The Oilers’ offence, which is struggling, will be hard-pressed to scored. Demko has allowed more than two goals once this year. He has more shutouts, two, than games allowing 3+ goals.
— Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci had a good start to the season, but they too are now mired in the muck that is the Edmonton Oilers. In the past five games those two have been on the ice for far too many goals against. Yes, goaltending is a part of it, but bad pinches, bad decisions and losing battles in front of the net have plagued them. Nurse had been on the ice for nine goals against at 5×5 in the last five games. Not good enough.
— Even the Oilers’ big guns aren’t doing their jobs. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (0-2-2), Connor McDavid (0-4-4) and Leon Draisaitl (0-6-6) have combined for zero goals in their last six games. You can’t win if your top stars don’t score. No chance.
— Meanwhile the Vancouver Canucks are loving life. Every player on their team is contributing. The only player on their team who has been outscored 5×5, is Noah Juulsen (0-1) and he’s only played three games. They have 15 skaters with a 70GF% or higher. Fifteen. They have three more above 60% and Dakota Joshua is at 50%.
— All 13 forwards who have played a game have at least one goal. Ten of them have two. And their big guns are leading the way. Elias Pettersson has 6-14-20, JT Miller 6-10-16, Quinn Hughes 4-12-16, Brock Boeser 8-5-13 and Filip Hronek has 11 assists. Their top five scorers have 24 goals and 76 points. The Oilers top-five have 16 goals and 51 points.
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