Game Notes Oilers @ Ducks: Keep Rolling

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
10 months ago
All aboard. The Edmonton Oilers train is rolling and gaining speed at the perfect time of year. Edmonton is a league-best 14-2-1 since March 1st, but has gotten even better since March 12th, going 10-0-1. In their last 11 games, they lead the NHL with 4.64 goals/game and are sixth best in goals allowed at 2.55/game. Their +2.09 GF-GA is tied for best in the NHL with the New York Rangers.
— Edmonton has been the best offensive team all season, but the recent shutout streak of 171:58, which is third longest in franchise history, has proven the Oilers can play sound defence. The LA Kings have scored the eighth most goals in the NHL since January 1st. They are not a popgun offence, but Edmonton limited them to one goal in their two games. Stuart Skinner wasn’t tested very much last night. He was solid when he needed to be, but the one goal against was more about great defending and limiting scoring chances than it was outstanding goaltending.
— The Oilers’ 3-1 victory last night pushed them into second place with four games remaining. A victory tonight, combined with an LA win over Vegas tomorrow, would make the final three games very interesting. The Oilers need help from LA and Colorado if they hope to catch Vegas. More importantly, the Oilers control their fate for home-ice advantage. If they go 3-1 in their final four games, LA needs to go 4-0 to pass them.
And the Oilers are currently ahead of the top three teams in the Central, which is important if Edmonton makes it to the third round. Colorado does have two games in hand, but the Oilers play them next Tuesday. That game could be very important for home-ice advantage as well. The Oilers still have a lot to play for over their final four games.
— Leon Draisaitl has been a beast lately. He has the most points in the NHL since March 1st with 15-19-34 in 17 games. Connor McDavid is second with 32 points. Draisaitl leads the Oilers with 14 points at 5×5, and, more importantly, he’s dominated possession and scoring chances at 5×5. When he’s been on the ice the Oilers have outshot opponents 181-133, they’ve outscored them 21-13 and he has a 57.99xGF%. He is killing it in all three zones. And he’s had the most defensive zone starts on the team in that span, as well as the second most offensive starts.
Jay Woodcroft hasn’t played McDavid and Draisaitl together very much over the past 17 games. Draisaitl has played 224:39 away from McDavid and has outscored the opposition 17-13. In 44 minutes together they’ve outscored teams 4-0. In the 490:32 with either McDavid or Draisaitl on the ice, Edmonton has outscored the opposition 34-24 and in the 331 minutes without them on the ice Edmonton is 12-12. With the top-two lines tightening up defensively, the Oilers are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
— The Oilers’ 171:58 minutes of consecutive shutout time was the third longest in franchise history. Tommy Salo, and the Oilers, set the record at 192:53 in 2001. Last night Edmonton was 9:34 away from its third consecutive shutout. They’ve never had three in a row, and that was the closest they’ve come. During Salo’s streak he went 42:55 of shutout time in the third game before Carolina scored.
— Tonight will be an emotional challenge for the Oilers. Last night was a huge game, and it will be difficult to manufacture the same emotional level. The Oilers had a sluggish start this past Saturday vs. the Ducks, and Jack Campbell kept it scoreless until his teammates found their stride late in the first period and then coasted to a 6-0 victory.
— The Ducks have lost eight in a row in regulation and have been outscored 36-13. They aren’t a good team, and the Oilers have more talent, but the start will be crucial. The Ducks have only lead once after the first period during this eight-game losing streak, and that was on Sunday in Calgary when they led 2-0. They also lead 4-3 after 40 minutes, and only lead after 40 minutes, but they lost 5-4.
— The Ducks have scored first in four of the eight games, but then they give up a lot. They’ve been outscored 12-6 in the first period, but it only gets worse from there as they’ve been outscored 13-4 in the second and 11-3 in the third. Don’t give them any reason to believe they can stick around.
— Leon Draisaitl scored his 31st power play goal of the season in LA and his now tied with Joe Nieuwendyk and Mario Lemieux for third most in a season. He only trails Dave Andreychuk (32) and Tim Kerr (34). He’s on pace for 33. But he loves playing Anaheim. He has 21 goals and 37 points in 28 games, including 4-2-6 this year. He has two PP goals in the first three games.
— Evander Kane had eight hits last night which gives him 16 in the past two games vs. LA. The Kings’ forwards had a total of 25 in the two games. Nick Bjugstad had six hits last night and Klim Kostin had five. The Oilers outscored LA 5-1 and outhit them 73-41 in the two games. Edmonton is faster, bigger, more physical and has better top-end skill. LA won’t be an easy out, but I’d still pick Edmonton as a strong favourite if they meet in the first round.
— McDavid (69), Draisaitl (60) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (52) have combined for 181 power play points. They are nine shy of tying the Penguins trio of Mario Lemieux (79), Paul Coffey (66) and Dan Quinn’s (47) record of most PP points by a trio of teammates. They combined for 190 in 1989. Lemieux, Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr had 184 in 1996.
—  Draisaitl became the 12th player to score 60 PP points in a season last night. He and McDavid are the second set of teammates to score 60+ PP points in a season, joining Lemieux (79) and Paul Coffey (66) in 1989. McDavid needs one point to join Lemieux as the only players with 70 PP points.
— Nugent-Hopkins scored his 15th PP goal of the season last year. The Oilers are the first team to have four players with 15 PP goals in a season. He joined Draisaitl (31), McDavid (21) and Zach Hyman (15).
— Nugent-Hopkins’ next point will be his 100th of the season. We will go into detail on that in today’s GDB.

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