The Day After 78.0: Edmonton Oilers shut the door on LA Kings in massive 3-1 win
Photo credit:Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing7 months ago
Make no mistake: the Edmonton Oilers could be considered the best team in the NHL. Today marks day 85 in a row that the team has had the best record in the league.
Since then, nobody has posted a better points percentage than the Oilers’ .778. The Boston Bruins have been close with a .770, but next up is the Colorado Avalanche with a .724.
And last night, another win helped the Oilers continue to separate from the rest of the pack. It was another tremendous performance as they — for the second time in the last week — shut the door on the LA Kings. This time it was in the form of a 3-1 victory.
The Oilers took advantage of the Kings’ penalty woes with big markers from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored with the man advantage 11:30 into the second period, and later Leon Draisaitl, who would scored at the 12:40 mark of the third. Draisaitl’s was a big one as it came a little over two minutes after a long Viktor Arvidsson shot from the point found its way past a screen Stuart Skinner.
Edmonton had to work for it. The Kings played them tough once again, but the biggest difference here was the Oilers’ ability to suppress what LA threw at them. Last week, when the Oilers posted a 2-0 shutout at Rogers Place, the Kings took 37 shots on goal. Last night, however, that number dwindled to 21. The Oilers kept LA to the outside and choked them out all night long.
By night’s end at 5×5, the Oilers controlled 58.18 percent of the shot attempts, 58.7 percent of the scoring chances and 59.54 percent of the expected goal share. They did a tremendous job of getting to the dirty areas on the ice to generate looks and they played a hard game against a physical Kings team.
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Jay Woodcroft ran the 11/7 last night, which played a key part in the victory. The Oilers had five “lines” play over 3:37 of ice time last night and it made it difficult for the Kings to get the matchups that they wanted on the ice. While their shutdown center Philip Danault held Connor McDavid to just a 44.44 percent shot attempt share (CF%) and 44.74 percent expected goal share (xGF%) at 7:07 of 5×5, 97 feasted at other times on the ice. McDavid controlled 64 percent of the shot attempts and 58.39 percent of expected goals by night’s end. Leon Draisaitl, however, was the opposite. Danault was out there for 3:16, but Draisaitl dominated posting a 77.78 percent shot attempt share and 70.08 expected goal share. On the night he finished with a 43.33 shot attempt share and 42.02 percent of the expected goal share.
This was a massive victory for Edmonton. It inches them closer to the top spot in the Pacific and the Western Conference and shows to anyone that doubted them just how dangerous they are right now. They had no problem playing into the Kings’ game of a slower, more methodical approach and they even took it to them. I think last night shows that this Oilers team is very well-suited for the 11/7 approach. It makes line matching difficult for the other teams and the Oilers have the ability to spread the minutes out evenly.
While Philip Broberg played just 4:16 TOI — all at 5×5 — the Oilers outshot the Kings 6-2 with him on the ice. As a matter of fact, the Oilers really only played with 10 forwards as Klim Kostin saw just 6:23 TOI last night.
Next up for the Oilers: the Anaheim Ducks tonight in another chance for another two points.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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