Game Notes Jets @ Oilers: Opposite Directions

Photo credit:© Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
Things can change quickly in the National Hockey League.
When the calendar turned to 2023, the Winnipeg Jets were rolling. They were eighth in the NHL with a record of 23-13-1, while the Edmonton Oilers had a disappointing first three months at 20-16-2 and were 20th.
— The Jets wish it was still 2022, because in 2023 they have struggled, while the Oilers have found their game. These teams are going in opposite directions. Edmonton has the sixth-best record since January 1st (13-5-6), while the Jets are 19th at 12-11-1. Winnipeg slowed down in January, and in February they blew a tire and headed straight into the ditch.
— Since February 1st, Winnipeg has the fourth-worst record in the NHL. Only San Jose, Washington and Philadelphia are worse, and those teams aren’t making the playoffs. Winnipeg has sputtered with a 3-5-1 record and their offence has disappeared. They’ve scored 20 goals in their last nine games (2.22 GF/GP) which ranks 30th over that time.
— Meanwhile, the Oilers’ offence is the best in the NHL. Edmonton is averaging 3.82 goals/game on the season. They’ve scored 4.21 in 2023 and 4.17 goals/game since February 1st. Offence isn’t an issue in Edmonton. They need to reduce their goals against, and the additions of Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad will help. But they need more consistent goaltending and to reduce the number of grade A chances they give up. The Oilers’ 5×5 play has been quite good in 2023, outside of a bad stretch of five outings over a seven-game stretch.
— The Oilers allowed 26 goals in those five games to Columbus, Colorado, New York, Detroit and Montreal. They had a 5.20 GAA and .846Sv%. In their other 19 games they’ve allowed 50 goals (2.63 GAA) and had a .910Sv%. Since the Columbus debacle, mainly the first period, the Oilers have found their defensive game again. They didn’t give up very much to two of the top teams, and top offensive teams, in the NHL in Boston and Toronto. If they continue their strong defensive play tonight, they should handle the Jets.
— If they are good defensively, the offence will produce because Connor McDavid is on a ridiculous heater, even for his standards. He has 10-11-21 on his current eight-game point streak, but all 10 goals have come in the last five games.
— McDavid has two goals in five consecutive games. Only Mario Lemieux (1989) and Alex Mogilny (1993) have done that in the previous 100 years. Joe Malone (1921) and Punch Broadbent (1922) hold the NHL record for six consecutive games with at least two goals. McDavid scoring a pair of goals tonight would be amazing, and he is so hot right now it wouldn’t surprise me.
— Mogilny scored 3, 2, 3, 3, 2 before going goalless in Hartford. He had two assists.
Lemieux scored 2, 3, 2, 2, 2 then didn’t score in St. Louis. He also had two assists.
Those two were on the road for their sixth game, while McDavid is at home. Will that be the difference?
— For fun here is a statistical look at McDavid’s last 42 games.
Current eight game point streak with 10-11-21.
No points in Montreal on February 12th.
A 15-game point streak with 10-15-25.
No points v. Winnipeg on New Years Eve.
A 17-game point streak with 16 goals and 37 points.
He has points in 40 of his last 42 games. He has 36 goals and 83 points in 42 games. That would tie him for sixth in goals and fourth in points among all NHL players. Good grief.
— McDavid is averaging 1.90 points/game through 62 games. He “only” needs to average 1.6 in these final 20 games to reach 150 points. With each passing day, 150 points seems more and more realistic, and it might be more accurate to expect McDavid to surpass Steve Yzerman’s 155 points and become only the third player in NHL history to score 156 points in a season. If he averages 1.90 points/game in the final 20 games he would finish with 156 points.
— I think this is possible because historically, McDavid’s most productive months of the season have been March and April.
— Here is his monthly production this season:
The Oilers have 14 games remaining in March and six in April. I suspect his career PTS/GP in those months will increase.
— Sometimes the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Leon Draisaitl finished with one assist and was even at 5×5 against Toronto, but I thought he was a force all over the ice. He was physical. Multiple times, Leafs players bounced off of him when trying to initiate contact. He made four excellent defensive plays, and he set up teammates for three excellent chances. At the All-Star break Draisaitl said he didn’t think he’d had a very good season. His point totals were great, but he felt he could play better. I’d argue Wednesday was his most complete game of the season.
— I’m not big on adding more reviews, but Warren Foegele’s goal, that was called off due to a premature whistle, is a situation the NHL should consider for review. The puck was never covered. It never stopped moving, and because the referee couldn’t see it, due his positioning, he blew the whistle just as the puck was crossing the line. The whistle didn’t stop any player from finishing their play. You couldn’t allow goals where a premature whistle led to a player stopping, but that wasn’t the case. Imagine if the game was tied 3-3 at that point? It is easy to let it slide when a team is up by three goals. There wouldn’t be a significant number of goals like this all season, so it won’t lead to extensive reviews, but it should be considered. It would have taken two seconds to see it on review and realize that was a clear goal. The puck was always moving.


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