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G35 Game Notes: Skinner, Foegele and McLeod Becoming Difference Makers

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
The Oilers are getting huge contributions from players not named Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — and it’s a big reason they’ve begun 2024 on a five-game winning streak.
— Stuart Skinner has made steady improvement all season, and he’s been quite good after a rough first seven games. It is important to look at more than just the overall Sv% and GAA. His first seven games were so bad, that they skew the rest of the numbers and even with a solid six-weeks of play, his season average isn’t great. But it requires a closer look at the numbers.
Two-week IntervalsStartsSV%GAA
Oct 10-2320.8144.29
Oct 24-Nov 0640.8763.79
Nov 07- 2050.8982.61
Nov 21- Dec 0450.9032.55
Dec 05- 1840.9042.54
Dec 19- Jan 140.9261.98
— In his first month (seven starts) he allowed 29 goals on 198 shots for a brutal .854Sv%. In his last 17 starts he’s allowed 39 goals on 434 shots and has a record of 13-4 with a .910Sv% and 2.39 GAA. He sits 15th in Sv% and 10th in GAA over that span. He has started 17 games (third most) and leads the NHL with 13 wins. Only Scott Wedgewood (three) has fewer losses than Skinner’s four, and Wedgewood has started only 10 games.
— In his last 12 starts he is 10-2 with a .920Sv% and 2.08 GAA. He’s shown no signs of fatigue for those worried about how much he has played. January is a very easy month for Edmonton. They play 11 games, and only play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Their final game of the month is January 27th, and they don’t play again until February 6th due to the combination of their bye-week and the All-Star break. The Oilers play tonight and Saturday this week, and then Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in each of the following three weeks.
— Warren Foegele achieved a scoring stat neither McDavid nor Draisaitl have done thus far in their careers. Foegele scored five even strength points Sunday in Anaheim. McDavid has had four EV points three times in a game and Draisaitl once. Foegele and Sam Gagner (seven in 2012) are the only Oilers to score five EV points in a game since Wayne Gretzky did it February 18th, 1987, v. Toronto. In fact, only eight Oilers have done it at all. Gretzky did it 22 times, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri (3x), Dave Lumley (2x) and Glenn Anderson, Don Ashby, Gagner and Foegele once. Pretty impressive performance for Foegele.
— Ryan McLeod has five goals in his last five games. Some will suggest his SH% was going to improve, but there is more to it. In his first 28 games he had 39 shots, but only nine (0.31/game) from the inner slot and only one goal came from there. He wasn’t shooting from the high danger areas, similar to last season when he averaged 0.33 inner slot shots/game. He was on the perimeter too much.
During this hot streak he’s had 10 total shots and four from the inner slot. Four of his five goals have come on inner slot shots. Don’t get fooled into thinking SH% is just luck, and eventually a player will have some go in. If he is shooting a lot from the inner slot, or the slot, then I’d agree the odds are in his favour goals will start going in, but McLeod wasn’t shooting enough, and not close to enough from the inner slot. He is now and he’s scoring way more.
Look at his goal v. Anaheim. He goes to the net, and then slowly backs out two feet into the low slot, into a better shooting area and he buries his 7th goal of the season. As Ryan Smyth said, “There are bags of money in front of the net,” and McLeod is starting to figure it out.
— The Oilers begin tonight three points behind eighth-place Arizona with one game in hand. Edmonton hosts Philly and Ottawa, then play on the road in Chicago, Detroit and Montreal, home to Toronto and Seattle, then in Calgary before finishing with home games v. Columbus, Chicago and Nashville. They only have three games against current playoff teams in Philadelphia, Toronto and Nashville. They need to take advantage of this stretch, before they finish the season with a grueling 37 games in 73 days.
— The Coyotes play 13 games this month and have a more difficult schedule, based on quality of competition. They host Florida, New York Islanders, Winnipeg, Boston and Calgary, then are on the road in Minnesota, Calgary and Vancouver, home to Nashville and Pittsburgh before ending the month in Florida, Tampa and Carolina.
— Edmonton begins the year 2024 as the hottest team in the NHL. They are 13-3 in their last 16 games and have a league best .818P%. Winnipeg is second at .706%, followed by Arizona and Vancouver (.688) and the Islanders and Rangers (.667).
The Oilers lead the NHL with 4.25 goals/game during the final five weeks of 2023 and sit fifth in goals against/game at 2.38. Their PP is fourth at 29.2% and their PK is fifth at 85.7%. Every facet of their game is rolling right now.
— During this run they have eight players with four or more goals, which puts them on pace for 25 goals. McLeod and Foegele have joined Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Evander Kane and Evan Bouchard as offensive threats lately. Balanced scoring and sound defence are the main reason I expect the Oilers to continue their climb up the standings. They are 12 points back of Vegas but have four games in hand. I wouldn’t rule out the Oilers finishing in the top three in the Pacific division. They are eight back of LA with a game in hand.
— With their victory in Anaheim the Oilers are the first team in the NHL this season with multiple winning streaks of 5+ games.
8 games: Edmonton
7 games: Vegas
6 games: Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, Nashville, New York Rangers.
5 games: Arizona, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, LA, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Vancouver and Washington.
If Florida wins tonight, they will be the second team with multiple five-game winning streaks. If the Oilers win, they will own two of the eight 6+ game winning streaks.

THANK YOU…

I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who donated packages to the Month of Giving: Legacy Heating and Cooling, Astoria Lighting, Mr. Derk, The Ranch Golf Course, Oilers Community Foundation, Glendale Golf and Country Club, The Brick, Chop Steakhouse, What The Futures Podcast, LMB Designs, A-1 Heating, Mondo Mechanical, Paul Shufelt, Michelle Derk of Acquired Real Estate Group, Get Hooked Fishing Adventures, Kerry McGowan, Steel Collar CNC, Baseline Wine & Spirits and The Canadian Brewhouse.
A huge thank you to GS Construction, Nex Gen Transportation, All-Star Construction, Delta Valley Landscaping and Booster Juice. Each of them made a $7500 donation to match a Pyramid of Giving on Fridays.
And a massive thank you to those who bid on the packages and donated to our Pyramids of Giving.
This year, on our four-month-old Sports 1440 station and Oilersnation YouTube we raised $164,850 in 16 days. That is the most we’ve raised in one year. You have helped so many kids, teens, families and seniors in need from the Holiday Hamper, Brightview Elementary breakfast program, Operation Friendship Seniors Society, Adopt-A-Teen, Santa’s Anonymous and the Christmas Bureau. You made a significant difference in their lives.
It brings our total raised to $1.406 million. Thank you so much for donating, bidding and just listening when we veer away from sports for a few minutes to help those in need.

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