Game Notes Sharks @ Oilers: The Rich Get Richer

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
The Edmonton Oilers’ offence looks like a snowball rolling down a hill, getting bigger and faster as it thunders downhill, seemingly unstoppable. The Oilers’ offensive production has increased all season and with Evander Kane joining the scoring party on Saturday, the Oilers’ offence just added another dangerous weapon.
— The Oilers lead the NHL with 3.91 goals/game, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. On December 20th they were averaging 3.58 GF/GP, on January 20th it was 3.70, on February 20th it was 3.75 and today they sit at 3.91. Will they be at 4.00 by the end of the regular season? It looks that way.
— Since January 1st the Oilers have scored 138 goals and averaged 4.31 goals/game. The Boston Bruins are second at 3.79. Edmonton is averaging over 1/2 a goal more per game than every team in the league. Their leading scorers are producing, their depth scorers are scoring and their defenceman are chipping in. If you like offence it is a treat to watch. If the Oilers average 5.25 goals/game over their final 12 games they would finish the season with 338 goals, which would be the most by any team since Pittsburgh scored 362 in 1996. Florida scored 337 last year, which is the second most. It seems unlikely, but they are on pace to finish with the third most goals in the NHL over the past 27 seasons.
— Edmonton has scored four or more goals in 13 of their last 16 games. In eight of those games, they’ve scored five or more. And lately, every player is contributing. Since March 1st the Oilers have 15 players averaging 0.44 points/game or higher. That equates to 36 points over a full season. For comparison, last year Florida led the NHL with 12 players who averaged 0.44+ points/game. Carolina and St. Louis had 11, Tampa Bay had 10 and Edmonton, Boston and Minnesota had nine. It isn’t just Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl carrying the team.
— Edmonton is getting tremendous production throughout the lineup, and with Kane scoring his second hat-trick of the season on Saturday and looking like he’s found his offensive stride again, it just gives the Oilers another weapon. Picking the Oilers to score fewer than four goals in a game seems ridiculous right now. It’s almost like a disappointment if they don’t score at least four. They make scoring look easy. Kane had some quality chances in the game prior to Seattle but didn’t finish. He gives them another legitimate scoring threat down the stretch.
— McDavid has 19 points in eight games in March. Historically, March has been his best month. Prior to this March, he averaged 1.59 points/game in March, but he’s crushed that thus far averaging 2.11 points/game.  We knew it was possible he’d have a productive March, but I didn’t expect him to be scoring like this, and he is seemingly getting better each game.
— McDavid had a ho-hum three-point game vs. Seattle on Saturday. He’s so hot right now that scoring three points looks easy. It’s wild. On Saturday he became the 18th player in NHL history to score 134 points in a season, and with each point he will join a more exclusive club.
He will be the 17th player to reach 135 points.
The 16th to score 136.
The 14th to tally 137.
The 13th to produce 138.
The 12th to reach 139.
And the 10th to score 140.
Would anyone be surprised if he reaches 140 by Wednesday? He’s already had 20 games with 3+ points this year. He’s scored three points 10 times, four points nine times and five points once for a total of 71 points. He’s scored two points in 57.14% of his games this season. I never thought we’d see another 150-point season in the NHL, and he looks like he will crush that. He needs 16 points in his final 12 games to reach 150. He’s scored 29 points in his previous 12 games, so scoring 16 is likely.
— Stuart Skinner has started six games in a row and he’s 5-1, but at some point, he needs a night off. I’d start Jack Campbell tonight. San Jose has only scored 21 goals in their last 10 games while allowing 46. They traded Timo Meier to New Jersey at the trade deadline and don’t have much offence to be concerned about after Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov. Karlsson is still on pace for 99 points, but just had his least productive 10-game stretch of the season with eight points. Losing Meier has really limited the Sharks’ offensive attack. Campbell still has to stop the puck, but the odds are he will face fewer quality chances tonight than he would vs. Arizona on Wednesday. Tonight looks like the best spot Jay Woodcroft to slot him in and hope he builds some confidence.
— The Sharks reassigned top prospect William Eklund to the San Jose Barracuda yesterday. Eklund has played eight games, but they didn’t want him to burn a year of his Entry Level Contract, so they sent him back. Similar to Evan Bouchard a few years ago, Eklund can play in the AHL this year and not have it count as the first year of his ELC. I’m sure he isn’t happy about the reassignment, but it makes sense for the rebuilding Sharks.
— Edmonton has won four consecutive home games for the first time this season. They are tied for the 16th-best home record, which isn’t great. Last season they had the sixth most home wins with 28. If they win their final six home games, they will have 24. They needed to improve at home and their recent string of games, including a 3-2 loss to Boston, have been much better. Getting hot at home right before the playoffs would be very beneficial.
— The Oilers can’t look past the Sharks and Coyotes (Wednesday) before the host Vegas. They need two points tonight vs. the 31st place Sharks. Edmonton won all four meetings v. the Sharks last year and defeated them 7-1 in San Jose in January. Edmonton has been okay v. the bottom-11 teams in the NHL this season going 13-4-4. Their .714P% is sixth among the eight playoff teams in the west, only Dallas and Colorado are worse, but the Oilers and Avalanche have the most wins (26) and the Oilers have the 2nd best points% (.571) v. the top-21 teams.
Seven of the Oilers’ remaining 12 games are against bottom-10 teams. They play San Jose three times and Arizona and Anaheim twice. They also play LA and Vegas twice and those games will be huge for home ice advantage, but the Oilers need to go at least 6-1 in the seven games v. the Sharks, Coyotes and Ducks. They are more than capable of doing it.

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