G20+ Game Notes: Will Oilers Adjust Where They Shoot?

Edmonton Oilers Adam Henrique Florida Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky
Photo credit:Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
Everything is heightened in the Stanley Cup Final — the pressure, the spotlight, the urgency, the excitement. Losing Game 1 isn’t catastrophic for the Edmonton Oilers, but it drastically increases the pressure to win tonight.
— In the previous 18 Stanley Cup Finals during the salary cap era, the home team won the first two games 12 times. Those teams won the Cup 10 times. Only the 2009 Red Wings and 2011 Canucks lost. The other five series had the road team get a split in the first two games and three of those teams — the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks, 2018 Washington Capitals and 2019 St. Louis Blues — won the Cup. A win tonight for Florida won’t guarantee them the Cup, but it will significantly increase their chances.
— Since 2006, home teams winning the first two games (1o of 12) have won the Cup 83.3% of the time, but the home team has only won the Cup 40% of the time when it splits the first two games (2-3). The only road team to win the first two games was the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.
— Fun fact: In the salary cap era, two teams that won Game 1 on the road went on to win the Cup. They include the 2012 Kings and 2015 Blackhawks. However, we’ve seen more road teams lose Game 1, yet rebound and win the Cup. Those four teams were the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2011 Boston Bruins, 2018 Capitals and 2019 Blues.
— The Oilers played quite well in Game 1. They had more shots, more slot shots and created more high danger chances. However, they couldn’t beat Sergei Bobrovsky, and the main reason was their shot selection. I realize it is difficult to always be accurate with your shot, especially when you don’t have a lot of time and space, but the scouting report shows the best chance to beat Bobrovsky is shooting high. The Oilers didn’t shoot high often enough.
— This tweet from In Goal Magazine sums it up perfectly.
— After Bobrovsky stopped Adam Henrique and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on breakaways, where they tried to beat him low, the Oilers did try to go high a few times in the second period, but Zach Hyman and RNH missed over top of the net. Bobrovsky has not allowed one goal five-hole all playoffs. That is amazing, and when you look at the shooting chart above, the Oilers only attempted three shots five-hole. But they tried 12 on the ice and only two up high, and both were glove side.
— In the Vancouver series, the Oilers made adjustments in their shot selection, after the scouting report said high shots from distance were a weakness of Arturs Silovs. It worked as they scored some key goals from there, including Cody Ceci in Game 7. I expect the Oilers to test Bobrovsky more upstairs tonight.
— The Oilers handled the first period hit parade quite well, I thought. Florida had 27 hits in the first period and the Oilers had 20. Florida likes to play physical, but Edmonton, not surprisingly, handled the physicality quite well. Florida outhit Edmonton 21-9 in the second period and 9-3 in the third, and the disparity was due to Edmonton having the puck more in the offensive zone over the final two periods.
— Here is the breakdown of puck in the offensive zone as well as O-zone puck possession time for each period.
TEAMPuck in OZOzone Puck P
EDM (1P)7:372:10
FLA (1P)8:222:26
TEAMPuck in OZOzone Puck P
EDM (2P)9:473:34
FLA (2P)5:421:01
TEAMPuck in OZOzone Puck P
EDM (3P)6:502:06
FLA (3P)7:251:18
— Edmonton really controlled the second period but couldn’t score. It is interesting to note that in the third period Kris Knoblauch opted to load up the Zach Hyman/Connor McDavid/Leon Draisaitl line, and the Oilers’ Ozone puck possession time was the lowest of any period. I understand the theory in loading them up, but I still believe Edmonton is more consistently dangerous when McDavid and Draisaitl are on separate lines (excluding the first shift after an Oilers penalty). It allows them to have a dangerous threat on the ice for more minutes. I realize they were trailing by two to start the third, but Edmonton had just dominated the second period, and even though they didn’t score, you could make an argument for keeping them apart for the first 10 minutes of the third.
— The Oilers outshot Florida 32-18. They had 70 shot attempts to Florida’s 41. They played quite well for long stretches. They had 21 shots blocked and missed the net 17 times. The defencemen had 14 of the 21 shots blocked and had 11 of the 17 missed shots. Bouchard had a whopping 16 shot attempts in the game, but only four on goal. Florida blocked nine of his shots. Look for him to get more shots through tonight.
— The Oilers released this video online before Game 1. The team had these messages, and others, shown to them before the Final started.


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