Game Notes Predators @ Oilers: Avoid Tying the Franchise Record

Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
On Tuesday Keith Yandle broke Doug Jarvis’ record for consecutive NHL games played at 965. It’s an amazing feat and one he should be incredibly proud of. Some records you want to break, while others you’d like to avoid. The Edmonton Oilers are hoping for the latter tonight.
— Edmonton has allowed the first goal in 10 consecutive games. If the Predators score first tonight, the Oilers will match their franchise record of 11 straight games trailing 1-0.
The 2007 squad had a 32-43-7 record and finished with 71 points.
The 2015 team was an ugly 24-44-14. The 2014 team wasn’t much better at 29-44-9.
The 1997 team made the playoffs going 36-37-9 and upset Dallas in the first round.
And the inaugural 1980 team went 28-39-13.
None of them had very good records. This year’s team isn’t that bad, but their inability to score first is an obvious issue.
— They’ve only scored first in 10 of 38 games thus far. The franchise record (in a full 82-game season) is 31, which was set when they were an expansion team in 1979-80. Currently, the Oilers are tied with the expansion Seattle Kraken for most games played (28) while allowing the first goal. The 32nd place Montreal Canadiens are third with 27.
— In 658 games played this season the team that’s allowed the first goal has come back to win 214 times. The league average winning% is .325. Edmonton has a .357W% at 10-16-2 when allowing the first goal. They are slightly above league average. But playing from behind is not a recipe for success and they need to find to reverse the trend.
— They’ve been scored on first in 25 of their previous 29 games. In the 2013 lockout-shortened season they were scored on first 24 times. Last year they allowed the first goal 29 times. They could match that tonight in only their 39th game. It is uncanny.
— Edmonton is on pace to score the first goal 22 times, which would set the NHL record — not a record you want.
Of the 20 teams that scored first in only 24-30 games, the 2019 Wild finished the season with most points at 83, but none of them made the playoffs. The numbers don’t lie. Edmonton can’t expect to win if they keep playing from behind. Maybe the first 38 games will turn out to be an outlier, but it is a problem the Oilers need to fix.
— Who would you start in goal tonight, @Mikko Koskinen or @Stuart Skinner? Skinner last played on January 15th against Ottawa when he allowed five goals on 25 shots. Koskinen has won two in a row and stopped 69 of 74 shots (.932Sv%). The issue is Koskinen rarely posts a Sv% above .900 when he starts three games in a row.
He did it once earlier this season when he posted a .967, .931 and .939 in three wins. He started the next three games, won them all, but with a .800, .897 and .897Sv%. He allowed 12 goals in those games, but the Oilers scored 16.
Last season he did have above .900Sv% in three starts, but they were spread out over 10 days and Mike Smith played games in that span as well. However, in 2019 he did post above .900Sv% in three consecutive starts on three different occasions.
— Koskinen has played well the past two games. Do you stick with him against a very good Predators team, and then start Skinner against Montreal and Ottawa on Saturday and Monday, or do you go with Skinner tonight? I’m leaning towards Koskinen, and then give the rookie the weaker opponent on Saturday. Who would you start tonight?
— Edmonton defeated Nashville 5-2 in Edmonton on November 3rd when @Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring with a power play goal and finished the game with 2-1-3. Connor Ingram was in net for Nashville, but tonight Juuse Saros will tend the twine. Saros is tied for the NHL lead in wins with 23, and is tied for third among starters in Sv% at .926. He’s had great success against the Oilers when he faces them in Edmonton. In three starts he has a 46-save shutout, a 31-save shutout and stopped 33 of 36 in a 3-2 loss. He has a career .973Sv% in Edmonton.
— The Preds don’t have an elite forward, but they have balanced scoring across their top three lines. Matt Duchene (20-19-39) is having great season skating on a line with Filip Forsberg (21-13-34) and @Mikael Granlund (6-30-36). @Ryan Johanssen has 33 points centreing the second line, while rookie Tanner Jeannot (13-13-26) and Colton Scissons (5-14-19) are producing on the third line.
—  Jeannot leads NHL rookies with 13 goals. He’s a wonderful story and example about late bloomers and hard workers. As a 17-year old rookie he scored one goal with the Moose Jaw Warriors. That was his draft year. The next season he scored 17 goals and 33 points, followed by 19 goals and 52 points. He had a breakout year at 20 years of age scoring 40 goals and 80 points and the Predators signed him to a three-year ELC on April 2nd, 2018.
He played 37 AHL games in 2019 due to injury. He started the 2019-20 season with three games in the ECHL, then was recalled and played the rest of the season in the AHL. He had five goals and 15 points. He is a big, bruising winger, but the Predators still didn’t view him as an NHLer, based on how they played him as a top prospect. Last season he started in the ECHL again and produced six points in five games, and was recalled to the AHL. He scored 10-11-21 in 13 AHL games and suddenly was on the radar. The Predators recalled him late in the season and he produced five goals in 15 games. He signed a two-year deal this summer with a $800K AAV and he’s been very productive.
He has 13-13-26 in 44 games. He is second on the Predators with 12 even strength goals and he is second on the team with 20 points at 5×5. And he’s tough. He is second in the NHL with eight fights, and he pounded Winnipeg’s Logan Stanley (6’7″, 230 pounds) last Saturday night.
Jeannot has worked incredibly hard improving his skills since I saw him as a rookie in Moose Jaw. He has gotten better every year through hard work and commitment. He’s also incredibly strong and he’s become a very important role player on the Predators. There aren’t many players in the NHL with his size, strength, and skill.
— Yesterday I wrote about the Oilers D-men and their shot totals from the blue line. I, like many, was surprised they led the NHL with 75.9% of their shots hitting the net. Many asked which Oilers forwards are most consistent at hitting the net.
This doesn’t include blocked shots.
Draisaitl is the best finisher. He has the most goals and the best SH%, but only 69.8% of his shots hit the net. That could explain his high SH%, because SH% only counts shots on net. He looks to pick corners, and that leads to more shots going wide, or maybe he is just missing more this season.
—  Since the start of the 2018-2019 season Draisaitl leads the NHL with 153 goals. He has a combined 20.4 SH%. He’s hit the net on 72.6% of his shots. So his on net% is 2.8% lower this year, but his SH% is 1.6% higher. Here is an interesting comparison between Draisaitl to Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews who are second and third respectively with 152 and 150 goals.
Player            SOG     Missed        ON net%        SH%      Goals
Draisaitl         749         282              72.6%        20.4%      153
Ovechkin     1,036        457              69.4%        14.7%      152
Matthews      925         375              71.1%        16.5%      150
Ovechkin shoots more, misses more, has a lower SH%, but his volume has him almost tied in goals with Draisaitl. Matthews and Ovechkin are more high-volume shooters, but Draisaitl is more accurate with the shots he takes. Different approaches that lead to similar goal results.


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