The Oilers In Seven: Segment Nine — The Wobble Was Fixed

Photo credit:Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Curlock
4 months ago
In the eighth segment of the season, the Oilers went back to a lot of what plagued them during Jay Woodcroft’s tenure.
Odd man rushes against, slot shots against and questionable goaltending all led to the worst segment of the year since the poor start in October. Going into segment nine, the Oilers had a lot of questions to answer. Questions about whether they could return to the play that vaulted them up league standings. Questions about goaltending. Equally as important questions about the makeup of this team as it neared the trade deadline.
This segment was the last one for the current roster to prove what it was made of to management and the coaching staff. What resulted was an affirmation that the prior segment was a warning sign, but for now, the wobble was fixed. Before digging into the details, let’s have a look at the segment over-segment statistics.
RECORD, PTS%1-5-1, .214% — 31st3-4, .429% — T-10th4-3, .571% – T-10th5-2, .714% – 9th6-1, .857% – 1st7-0, 1.000% – 1st5-2, .714% – 8th3-3-1, .500% -15th5-1-1, .786% – 7th39-21-3, .643% – 10th
GF-GA17-30, 36.17% — 30th22-22, 50% — 16th31-27, 53% – 7th26-18, 57.8% – 6th30-15, 66.7% – 2nd21-10, 67.4% – 2nd25-16, 61.0% – 2nd27-30, 47.3% – 18th21-11, 65.6% – 5th220-179, 55.1% – 6th
5v5 GF-GA10-18, 35.71% —28th13-14, 47.1% — 21st17-18, 48.6% – 19th15-14, 51.7% – 13th26-9, 74.2% – 2nd13-9, 59.1% – 6th16-9, 64.0% – 3rd17-19, 47.2% – 20th15-7, 68.1% – 2nd142-117, 54.8% – 5th
5v5 xGF%54.58 — 8th59.6% — 2nd55.1% – 6th61.2% – 2nd57.2% – 5th60.5% – 2nd51.9% – 12th60.4% – 1st54.4% – 8th57.3% – 1st
POWER PLAY7-for-27, 25.9% – 8th6-for-22, 27.3% – 9th7-for-28, 25.0% – 8th7-for-18, 38.9% – 1st2-for-21, 9.5% – 29th5-for-18, 27.8% – 6th5-for-13, 38.8% – 5th7-for-20, 35.0% –2-for-19, 10.5% – 29th48-for-187, 25.7% – 5th
PENALTY KILL20-for-27, 74.1% – 24th18-for-26, 69.2% – 27th28-for-31, 90.3% – 7th15-for-18, 83.3% – 9th18-for-22, 81.8% – 13th21-for-22, 95.5% – 1st11-for-16, 68.8% – 27th18-for-25, 72.0% – 24th14-for-17, 82.4% – 13th163-for-204, 79.9% – 15th
SV%.861% —31st.885% — 18th.886% – 29th.904% – 14th.925% – 3rd.944% – 2nd.920% – 8th.857% – 30th.947% – 2nd.900% – 12th
5v5 SV%.886% — 29th.907% — 16th.872% – 29th.909% – 21st.938% – 3rd.930% – 8th.945% – 8th.869% – 30th.960% – 2nd.914% – 13th
As almost all of the stats illustrate, the Oilers, in terms of the state of gameplay, rebounded well, and the results in the win-loss column followed suit. The 5v5 play of the Oilers continues its strong run. The actual goals-for-against totals have been exceeding the expected goals ratio for several segments now and essentially evened out at the start of the year when the Oilers did everything but score. Regression to the mean, in this instance, has been a beautiful thing.
What is really interesting is that on the 5v5 “against” side of the ledger in terms of shots, scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances, the Oilers maintained an average consistent with its yearly averages. Those averages are nothing to sneeze at. The shots against are 12th, and scoring chances against and high-danger chances against are both top five in the league. To put a not-too-fine a point on it, when the Oilers get goaltending, their win ratios tend to go up.
The penalty kill bounced back in this segment after a couple if tough segments. That was really quite important because the powerplay was absolutely abysmal. Which is now two of the last three segments for the most lethal powerplay the NHL has seen in years. Digging into the numbers, the high-danger chances for remain pretty consistent through the year at around 33 high-danger chances per 60. Where there is a notable drop off is in shots per 60.
For the year, the team is averaging around 65 shots per 60 on the powerplay. However, for the last two segments, the shots per 60 has averaged around 56. So that is a notable drop from the yearly average. Additionally, if you look at last year’s powerplay, the team averaged about 67 shots per 60 and 32 high-danger chances per 60. So the high-danger chances are holding up fine, but the overall shot totals are down quite dramatically. For those yelling “shoooooootttttt” in the stands, you may just be right on these matters.
As I alluded to in the 5v5 numbers, the Oilers prime culprit is often goaltending. There is no question that not all high-danger chances against are created the same. However, it cannot be denied that by almost any metric, the Oilers are a very good 5v5 team. To some degree, I agree with the commentary that the chance the Oilers sometimes give up is so spectacular it should be given a rating for more dangerous than high danger. We can all think of the Cody Ceci-Darnell Nurse tandem leaving the zone with players behind them net front as the puck gets turned over. Or Warren Foegele making his best tape-to-tape pass to an opponent just above the circles with no one left to defend.
However, there are also times when Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard haven’t made stops they need to make. This is by no means a criticism because, in this segment, they made those saves. Because they did, the Oilers banked 11 points and firmly entrenched themselves into a home playoff position with 20 games to go.
That’s all for segment nine. See you back here in seven games to see how the post-trade deadline Oilers make out.  As always, your feedback is welcome here and on the X to @bcurlock.

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