Game Notes Oilers @ Sabres: Skiiinnner!
Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
By Jason Gregor8 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers need wins. They need saves. They need to play Stuart Skinner all week.
— In Jack Campbell’s last five starts the Edmonton Oilers have scored 23 goals. They’ve averaged scoring 4.6 goals/game, but they didn’t win one single game. Not one. Why? Because Jack Campbell has been unable to find any consistency in his game, and as the Oilers battle for home ice advantage, Jay Woodcroft has to run with Skinner for the foreseeable future. Maybe in a week or so Campbell will get another start, but in the final three stops on this road trip — tonight in Buffalo, Thursday in Boston and Saturday in Toronto — Skinner needs to start.
— Campbell has allowed six, four (pulled at 25 minute-mark), six, four and four goals in his last five starts. He got yanked after allowing four goals on 14 shots vs. Columbus. He has a .845Sv% in those five starts and the Oilers went 0-2-3. Their high-scoring offence allowed them to salvage three points. Campbell wasn’t the only issue in all five games, but he was a main contributor to the losses, similar to earlier this season, and until he can show in practice he’s rediscovered his play between January 3rd and February 7th, Woodcroft can’t play him.
— To Campbell’s credit he didn’t give some BS response after the Winnipeg loss. He knows he has to play better. “It’s disappointing,” said Campbel. “The guys played great, and I’ve been working super hard feeling good going into the games. It’s super disappointing to let them down. A couple I want back and that would’ve been the difference. I just know I can be so much better for this group and I’m definitely going to keep working to get there.”
After a rough start to the season, Campbell proved he could play well again and he did during January and the first week of February, but his game has reverted back to where it was for the first three months of the season. It isn’t good enough, and the Oilers can’t afford to let him play his way out of it right now. It should be Skinner’s net this week, and likely longer.
— Skinner has allowed 12 goals in his last five starts with a .910Sv%. Campbell has faced more shots and quality chances, but Skinner has been much more consistent, and right now he gives the Oilers a better chance to win. He’s allowed, three, two, three, two, and two goals in his five starts and the Oilers are 4-1. Edmonton needs wins if they want to secure home ice advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs, and Skinner is their best option in goal. Playing Monday, Thursday, and Saturday with limited travel between Buffalo, Boston, and Toronto should make this an easy decision for Woodcroft.
— Leon Draisaitl has 12 goals in his last 11 games and is riding a 12-game point streak. It is the 8th time in his career he’s had a point streak of 10+ games. He broke his own Oilers record for most power play goals in a season scoring his 25th and 26th on the man advantage in Winnipeg. He currently sits 18th all time in most power play goals in a season and needs for more to become only the 5th player in league history to tally 30+ PP goals in a season. He is on pace for 34, which would tie him with Tim Kerr for the most in a season. Kerr had 34 in 1986 with Philadelphia. Dave Andreychuk had 32 in 1993 with Buffalo/Toronto, Joe Nieuwendyk had 31 with Calgary in 1988 and Mario Lemieux had 31 in 1989 and 1996 with Pittsburgh.
— The Deutschland Dangler reached the 40-goal mark for the 4th time in his career and sits with 41 through 64 games. He is tied with Glenn Anderson and Connor McDavid for third most 40-goal seasons and now trails Jari Kurr (7) and Wayne Gretzky (9). Draisaitl is nine goals, and four points shy of producing his third season with 50 goals and 100 points. He and Alex Ovechkin are the only active players to do reach those milestones in at least two seasons.
Draisaitl is on pace to become the 14th player in NHL history to do it three times in his career. He gets overlooked often because he’s playing with the cheat code known as McDavid, but Draisaitl is having another excellent season and his ability to score goals and dish out assists is among the best to ever play the game.
— What separates Draisaitl is his ability to be as equally dangerous on his forehand and his backhand. These two goals v. Winnipeg illustrate perfectly his deft touch around the net.
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What a shot to find that hole over David Rittich’s shoulder.
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— McDavid broke Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for most power play points in a season with his 58th PP point in Winnipeg. McDavid will likely join Mario Lemieux as the only player to have 70+ PP points in a season. Draisaitl no has 49 PP points and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 42. They could become only the second trio of teammates in NHL history with 50+ PP points each. McDavid and Draisaitl will for sure become only the 10th set of teammates to each have 50 PP points.
Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, and Jaromir Jagr are the only trio to do it.
— I had some people ask about the Oilers’ faceoff numbers on their strong and weak sides. Here’s a look at their faceoff record in the offensive (OZ) and defensive zone (DZ) and the breakdown on their strong side (backhand) and their weak side (forehand).
|Player||OZFO||SS OZ||WS OZ||DZFO||SS DZ||WS DZ|
— Remember the NHL changed the rule a few years ago, that the defensive player has to put their stick down first on faceoffs. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is better when he puts his stick down first, on both his strong and weak side. Ryan McLeod is better in the defensive zone on his weak side. Derek Ryan told me he feels better on his weak side, and the numbers back it up. He’s 66.7% on his weak side in the offensive and defensive zone.
— Draisaitl is very good in the defensive zone on the PK. He’s won 59.7% of his draws on the PK. He’s taken 72 PK faceoffs compared to McDavid (78) and RNH (119). McDavid is 52.5% on the PK while RNH is 42.9%. Derek Ryan has taken 68 shorthanded draws (33-35) while Bjugstad took 164 D-zone draws (70-94) and was 45.5%. He has been a good penalty killer, but not great on draws.
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