NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers need to improve their home record, why are the Calgary Flames sucking and more

Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
The Edmonton Oilers are no stranger to ups and downs.
I mean, just look at what the organization has gone through in the last decade plus. And in-season, it’s been no different. Highs and lows, ebbs and flows.
We all know how the season went last year when the team completely fell off the rails in December and through January, and we all know how Jay Woodcroft turned things around. Under him, the Oilers were the best home team in the league. They went 16-2-1 and dominated 5×5 play. On the road, they were good, not great going 21-15-5, but struggled to control play as well.
At home, they controlled 53.64 percent of the shot attempts, 61.62 percent of the goals scored and 54.5 percent of the expected goal share with a 100.4 PDO.
On the road, they controlled 52.33 percent of the shot attempts, 49.7 percent of the goals scored and 51.29 perent of the expected goal share with a 99.4 PDO.
This season has been a different story. Here’s the Oilers home and road splits to start the year at 5×5.
Talk about some splits.
The Oilers are struggling defensively at home and it’s costing them, but on the road, they’re absolutely locking things down. There’s some PDO that is playing a part in both of the splits, too, and that’s going to happen when we have such small sample sizes. Most importantly: the Oilers are winning games on the road. They did it last year, but they’re operating at an even better clip to start this season.
Small sample sizes aside, the Oilers are 4-5 at home. That’s a drastic shift from where it was last year, and Edmonton’s home play needs to improve drastically. The players and coaches always talk about the home-ice advantage they get in Edmonton. It’s time for them to utilize it.

Calgary sucks and this is why

The Calgary Flames have come out of the gate terribly. They share the same 5-5-2 record as the Chicago Blackhawks, and beyond newcomer Nazem Kadri, the team is really struggling.
At Daily Faceoff, Matt Larkin broke down each part of their game, and offered this up as the overarching issues:
Overall, there are a few causes for concern here. Calgary’s goaltending has been legitimately terrible, its scoring depth seems weakened, and the injuries are piling up. The Flames are also struggling to find chemistry on their revamped roster, not generating enough chances off the rush. The passing woes are likely the reason why their scoring chances are down despite their shot attempts not being down.
But – most of the team identity remains intact. Under Sutter, the Flames still tilt the ice and generally rank among the better squads in the league at keeping the puck in the other team’s zone and out of their own zone. Theoretically, their goaltending should bounce back, their shooting percentage should normalize, and they’ll start winning again soon.
Are these Flames as strong as last year’s? Doesn’t look like it. But they aren’t as bad as this losing streak. They should remain a playoff contender.

Kaprisov fined $5k for high-sticking

Minnesota Wild fowrad Kirill Kaprisov was fined $5,000 for high sticking after being ejected from Tuesday night’s game against the LA Kings.
The incident happened at the 14:48 mark of the second period when Kaprisov turned and swung his stick and gloves at Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. The principal point of contact was Kaprisov’s left glove, not his stick, and that’s why it was only a fine, not a suspension.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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