Game Notes Oilers @ Flyers: Maintain Momentum

Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
9 months ago
Wash, rinse, repeat. It is an idiom that roughly quotes instructions on shampoo bottles. Some use it as a sarcastic metaphor for following procedures without much critical thought. If you combine it with the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), you can relate it to the current state of the Edmonton Oilers.
Keep repeating how you’ve played in 2023 and don’t overthink it.
— The Oilers are 9-2-2 in 2023 and suddenly one point behind LA and Seattle and two points back of Vegas for first place in the Pacific Division, and four points ahead of Minnesota and Calgary for the final wildcard spot. The Oilers are focused on the road ahead, more than worrying about who’s in the rearview mirror (standings-wise), and tonight they face another one of the 11 teams not involved in a playoff race with an opportunity to move ahead of LA, and possibly Seattle, who play in New Jersey.
— The Oilers are 11-3-2 v. the 11 non-contending teams. The Flyers, however, are tied with Ottawa for the most points among the 11 bottom feeders. The Flyers went 7-14-4 v. playoff contending teams in the first three months, but since January 1st they are 4-4-2. They had a .360P% in their first 25 games, but they’ve improved to .500 in 2023. They won’t be a pushover, but this is another game that favours Edmonton.
— The Oilers lead the NHL with 3.76 goals/game. The Flyers are 27th at 2.75. Edmonton’s forwards are first with 173 goals and 407 points, while the Flyers forwards are 25th in goals with 121 and 25th in points with 289.
— The Oilers blueliners are 14th with 110 points while the Flyers D corps sits 23rd with 97 points. Even the Oilers goalies have more points. Edmonton’s duo is tied for first with two assists, while the Flyers are one of 14 teams with no goalie points.
— Over the full season the Oilers and Flyers are very close defensively. Philly sits 18th with a 3.13 GAA while the Oilers are 20th at 3.20.
— Both teams have improved significantly in 2023. The Flyers are sixth since Jan 1st at 2.67 and Edmonton is 10th at 2.85. It is a trend the Oilers must continue if they want to win the Pacific Division. The Oilers’ offence has improved in 2023. They are still first overall, but they’ve scored 4.31 goals/game in 2023, while the Flyers are 19th at 3.00.
— I’m a big believer that games many months ago have little impact on how a team performs now. The Oilers are playing better defensively, but their forwards are also healthier, except for Kailer Yamamoto. But missing one forward is much easier to overcome than when Edmonton had four of its top-nine forwards out earlier this season. Let’s look at the more recent play of these teams to get a more accurate sense of how they are playing now.
— Both have started games much better in 2023. The Oilers have scored first in 9 of their 13 games, while the Flyers have scored first in 10 of their 15. Edmonton is 7-1-1 and Philadelphia is 7-1-2.
The Oilers are 2-1-1 when allowing the first goal. The Flyers are 1-4. Edmonton’s offensive capabilities allow them to come back in games more frequently.
— Neither team has lost in regulation when leading after 40 minutes. Philly is 7-0 and Edmonton is 8-0-2. And neither has won when trailing after 40. The Oilers are 0-2 and the Flyers 0-5. A lead entering the third should be quite valuable tonight.
— While the Flyers have scored first quite often lately, they still allow a lot of goals in the first period. They’ve outscored teams 16-13, while the Oilers are crushing teams 19-7. The gap in the second period is similar with Edmonton outscoring teams 25-16 and the Flyers 15-12. The third periods have been the least eventful, scoring wise, for both teams. Edmonton is even at 12-12 while Philadelphia has scored one more at 14-13.
— The Oilers’ depth players have been obliterating the opposition in 2023. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the bench Edmonton has outscored opponents 19-7 at 5×5. When one, or both of the Oiler’s top guns are on the ice they are leading 19-17. McDavid and Draisaitl face the opposition’s best players more often, but that isn’t where most of their goals against are coming via PuckIQ.com.
PlayerElite (TOI)Middle (TOI)Grit (TOI)
McDavid3-4 (68)7-4 (81)5-5 (57)
Draisaitl2-2 (66)8-4 (74)2-5 (67)
Both have been on for more goals against v. Grit players than Elite. And that is actually similar to their full season. McDavid has outscored Elite competition 13-12, but he has been outscored 13-17 v. Grit. While Draisaitl is 11-14 v. Elite and 14-16 v. Grit.
Last season both were +12 v. Grit with McDavid at 36-24 and Draisaitl at 29-17. In 2021 (in 56 games) both outscored Grit opponents as well. McDavid was at 22-15 and Draisaitl 19-10. You would think both of them should be able to improve their GF-GA v. Grit players down the stretch.
— McDavid has points in 15 consecutive road games. He has points in 23 of 24 road games this season. Only the New York Islanders on November 23rd were able to keep him off the scoresheet. McDavid leads the NHL with 45 road points. Davis Pastrnak and Tage Thompson are second with 36, a significant gap. McDavid also leads the NHL in home points with 48, while NIkita Kucherov has 47 and Draisaitl has 45. Much closer.


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