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Game Notes R3G1: There Will Be Goals

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
6 months ago
The two highest-scoring teams in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs will meet in the Western Conference Final. The Edmonton Oilers have averaged 4.33 goals/game in their 12 games, while Colorado has scored 4.30 G/GP through 10 games.
Bring on the goals. This series should be electric.
—  I write this knowing that two of the three regular season meetings were low scoring. Colorado won 3-2 in overtime on March 21st, and 2-1 in a shootout on April 9th. The Oilers defeated the Avs 6-3 on April 22nd. All three meetings occurred late in the season, and the two games in April had all the trade deadline acquisitions on each roster. The 2-1 shootout game in Edmonton was the most entertaining 1-1 game I’ve watched in years. Darcy Kuemper was outstanding. If both teams create as many chances tonight as they did that game the score will reflect it.
— I’m very intrigued by this series. The more I dig into their late-season meetings, how the teams played since February 1st and into the playoffs, I see nothing that suggests Colorado is an overwhelming favourite. I have them as the favourite because they have home-ice advantage. But I’d be surprised if one team controls this series. Granted I didn’t expect Edmonton to dominate the Flames as much as they did, so you never know what happens. But I expect this to be a very competitive series.
— Here are some numbers to show how close these teams have been the past few months.
Since Woodcroft arrived on February 11th:
Oilers went 26-9-3. They averaged 3.82 goals/game and allowed 2.76.
Colorado was 23-11-3 and averaged 3.38 goals/game and allowed 2.76.
— In three head-to-head meetings the Oilers were 1-0-2, while Colorado went 2-1 (Insert joke about how not all regular season games are equal). Edmonton limited Colorado to three 5×5 goals in three games.
— In their first two playoff rounds the Oilers and Avalanche have similar numbers.
Edmonton has averaged 4.33 goals/game and allowed 3.08
Colorado has scored 4.30 goals/game and allowed 2.70.
Both teams are averaging 3.00 goals/game at 5×5.
Edmonton allowed 2.25 goals/game while Colorado is stingier at 1.80.
The Oilers PP is 11 for 39 (28.2%) and their PK (85.4%) has allowed 6-of-41 kills. They’ve scored three SHG.
The Avs PP is 10 for 29 (34.5%) and their PK (73.1%) has allowed 7-of-26 kills. With one SHG.
Colorado has been better defending at 5×5, while the Oilers have been better on the PK.
— Yesterday, I outlined why claims Colorado has more offensive depth, haven’t been accurate thus far. That could change in this series, but goal scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Oilers. Their depth forwards need to reduce their goals against. That is the main concern.
— Stats that might only interest me:
Only three Avalanche players have scored goals in the regular-season series: Nathan MacKinnon (3) and Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichuskin (2). Rantanen’s goals came on the PP.
Evander Kane (4), Kailer Yamamoto (2) and Warren Foegele (1) were the Oilers forwards with goals. Evan Bouchard and Kris Russell also scored.
Edmonton controlled the 5×5 battle.
Cale Makar (+2), was the only Avs player with a plus.
They had 12 players in the minus with Josh Manson (-6), Samuel Girard (-3), Jack Johnson, JT Compher, Artturi Lehkonen and Nico Sturm (-2).
Edmonton had 11 players who were at least +1, with Kane, Yamamoto and Bouchard leading at +4.
Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Derick Brassard were the only minus players at -1.
Makar had 12 blocks in three games and nine takeaways.
Kane led the Oilers with 12 hits and McDavid had five takeaways.
— There is nothing worse in sports today than false narratives that get spread across social media. I’m amazed how many people just RT statements which are false. I’ve read often how Colorado has more depth and Edmonton relies on their top players too much. Let’s look at the TOI of players on each team who have played at least 16 minutes/game in the playoffs.
EDMTOICOLTOI
McDavid22:19Makar26:42
Nurse21:19Toews25:47
Ceci20:47MacKinnon21:09
Draisaitl20:46Rantanen21:01
RNH20:20Landeskog20:23
Hyman20:16Nichushkin19:47
Keith19:52Kadri19:00
Kane19:27Manson18:31
Bouchard18:22Girard17:59
Barrie18:10Johnson16:56
Kulak17:18Lehkonen16:45
Yamamoto16:53Byram16:29
Each team has six D-men and six forwards with 16+ minutes/game. However, with Samuel Girard out, the Avalanche will play their top-five D-men more. Jack Johnson averaged 12:21 in the final three games v. St. Louis.
— Edmonton’s top six forwards have been on the ice for a total 1:56/game more than the Avs’ top-six.
Makar and Toews have each been on the ice for five more minutes than Nurse/Ceci.
— The difference is Edmonton’s top-six has been more productive than Colorado’s. Edmonton doesn’t use them significantly more, they’ve just scored more.
The Oilers’ top-six has combined for 40 goals and 96 points in 12 games.
Colorado’s top six has produced 27 goals and 57 points in 10 games.
Colorado’s blueliners have produced 10 goals and 40 points.
Edmonton’s have scored eight goals and 30 points.
Combine the top-12 on each team and Edmonton has 48 goals and 126 points to Colorado’s 37 goals and 97 points.
The Oilers top-12 is averaging 4.00 goals/game and 10.5 points/game while Colorado has averaged 3.7 goals and 9.7 points.
— Both head coaches have used their top guys similarly, and I expect we will see them going head-to-head often. The difference in the series might come down to which head coach can get matchup advantages (top-six v. bottom-six) more often. As outlined yesterday, overall the bottom six of Colorado has produced the same four goals as the Oilers’ bottom six at 5×5. The difference is Colorado’s group has allowed fewer goals against.
— Because McDavid and Draisaitl have been so productive, many look at the Oilers relying on them more, but their TOI isn’t much different than MacKinnon and Rantanen’s. It is simply that McDavid and Draisaitl (14 goals and 38 points) are crushing the Avs’ top-two forwards (9 goals, 24 points) thus far. If that continues in this series the Oilers will have a great chance to win.

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