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Game Notes Senators @ Oilers: Need Consistency

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
7 days ago
The Oilers have the sixth-most points and sixth-best points percentage since January 1st. But — and it is a big but — they are 5-6-3 in their last 14 games and their defensive lapses/miscues/turnovers/brain farts have become far too common.
They have 15 games to find some defensive consistency before the playoffs begin.
— The Oilers have allowed four-plus goals in seven of their last 14 games and not surprisingly they lost all seven. The issue is self-destruction in short periods of time. Early in the season, they gifted goals almost every game, but then figured it out and in January they gave up very little. But now their willingness to be more giving than Santa Claus has reappeared.
— It is a major concern, and I don’t see it as a systemic issue, because many of the goals against are from bad decisions with the puck. And the other concern is how often the goals against come in a short period of time, leading to blown three-goal leads.
— They led 3-1 in Toronto, but then allowed three goals in three minutes, and the Maple Leafs won 7-4.
In Winnipeg they lead 3-2, then the Jets scored three goals in 3:51 and won 7-5.
The Oilers trailed 1-0 early in the second period in Columbus, then the Blue Jackets scored three goals in 4:23. Columbus won 6-5.
Edmonton had a 3-0 lead 27 minutes into the game vs. Colorado. They lost 6-5 in OT.
Edmonton led 4-1 v. the Rangers after the first period. The Rangers outshot the Oilers 22-11 in the final 40 minutes, outscored them 3-1, and then won in a shootout.
— It must be incredibly frustrating for head coach Jay Woodcroft because in their other seven games, Edmonton has been sound defensively and allowed only 2.28 goals/game. They’ve shown they can play solid, smart hockey in wins over Boston, Toronto, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, and the 3-2 loss v. Boston. They need more consistency and less Jekyll and Hyde.
— Ottawa will play its third game in four nights, and after a five-game winning streak put them within a few points of a playoff spot the Senators have gone cold. They’ve lost three of the first four games on this road trip and have been outscored 19-9. They lost 5-0 in Chicago, did Edmonton a favour by defeating Seattle 5-4, then lost 5-2 in Vancouver and 5-1 in Calgary. The Oilers will be able to generate some quality chances tonight, they just need to ensure they don’t gift the Senators too many great scoring opportunities.
— This is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ 12th NHL season. He has 80 points in 67 games and is on pace for 99 points. If he scores 100 points he’ll join a rare group of players who played 10+ seasons before scoring 100 points.
Gordie Howe scored 100 points in his 23rd season in 1969.
Johnny Bucyk did it in his 16th season in 1971.
Steven Stamkos reached 100 points in his 14th season in 2022.
Bobby Hull (1969) and Jean Ratelle (1972) did in their 12th seasons.
Vic Hadfield (1972), Steve Larmer (1991) and Claude Giroux (2018) reached 100 points in their 11th seasons.
— Nikita Kucherov got the highest single-season point total in the 2000s when he tallied 128 points in 82 games in 2019. Connor McDavid enters tonight with 127 points. With 37 points in 21 career games vs. the Senators, there is a good chance he will surpass Kucherov tonight and in doing so he will also remain on pace for 156 points, which would make him only the third player in NHL history to score that many points in a single season.
— McDavid had his 11-game point streak snapped in Boston last Thursday. He’s had four streaks of 10+ games this season (10, 17, 15, and 11), which ties him with Wayne Gretzky for the most in one season. McDavid could break that record if he scores a point in his next nine games after picking up three in Toronto.
— McDavid now has had 11 point-streaks of 10+ games in his career, which puts him on pace to have the second most in NHL history.
His next streak would move him into a tie for fifth most all time. He’d need four in future seasons to move ahead of Guy Lafleur and into second place. At his current rate, seeing him reach 20+ streaks of 10 or more games seems very likely.
— The Oilers’ second periods have been the most exciting by far this season.
The Oilers have outscored their opponents 70-57 in the first period, 81-69 in the third, and there has been a total of 198 goals in the second frame with Edmonton outscoring teams 105-93. If you like in-game wagering you might consider total goals in the middle frame. Edmonton had a total of 127 goals in the first, 150 in the third, and 198 in the second.
— And despite being the highest-scoring team in the NHL, and having the league’s top-two scorers, the Oilers have only scored two goals in 10 overtime periods this season. They’ve allowed four and there were no goals in the four games that went to a shootout. Edmonton lost all four in a shootout. They are 2-8 in OT/SO, which doesn’t make much sense based on their overall skill level.

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