Historically home ice advantage in the playoffs becomes more important the deeper you go, but as the Edmonton Oilers learned last year it can be a major advantage in game seven. The Oilers were 1-2 at home in games 1, 2, and 5 while LA was also 1-2 in games 3, 4, and 6. Home ice wasn’t much of an advantage, until game seven.
If the Oilers have any aspirations of gaining home ice in the first round of the playoffs, they need three wins on this four-game road trip through the Pacific Division that starts tonight in Los Angeles.
— Edmonton is six points behind LA, but they have two games in hand. The next two weeks will go a long way in determining if the Oilers will be pushing for home-ice advantage, or even pushing for a playoff spot. They are in LA tonight, Anaheim on Wednesday, San Jose Friday, Vegas on Saturday, home to Seattle next Tuesday, host Tampa next Thursday, and then in Vancouver on Saturday the 21st. Six of their next seven are against Pacific foes. They don’t play another division opponent until Seattle on March 18th.
— The Oilers are 5-5 v. the Pacific this season. Among Pacific division teams they have played the fewest games within their division. They have seven against the lowly Sharks and Ducks, and they play LA and Vegas three times, Seattle twice, and Vancouver once. LA has three total games v. the Ducks and Sharks. Calgary plays them five times; Vegas and Seattle play them three times. The Kraken have 10 games remaining v. the Pacific, while LA and Calgary have 13.
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— The schedule and standings are pretty clear. The Oilers need a better second half if they want to get in. They are on pace for 90 points which won’t cut it. At the very least they likely need 50 points in their final 41 games. They need a record of 23-14-4 or 24-15-2. If they win 25 of their final 41 games that should guarantee them a spot. It won’t be easy, but 23-14-4 isn’t a massive ask. Let’s say they go 6-1 v. the Ducks and Sharks. Then they only have to win half of their remaining 34 games (17-13-4).
— The game tonight vs. the Kings is not a must-win if they still have their eyes on finishing in second, but it is darn close. The Kings are ahead of them but are far from a juggernaut. LA is actually allowing more goals/game than the Oilers at 3.37 to Edmonton’s 3.32. The Kings are 7-4-2 v. the Pacific, but they are 6-0-2 in their last eight and have outscored teams 34-23. Nine goals against came in their crazy 9-8 OTL to Seattle. They’ve been very good in the division and that is the main reason they currently sit in second spot in the division. (Although Seattle has a better P%. They are four points back of LA with five games in hand).
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— The Oilers need to be better overall, but much better within their division. They were 21-5 v. the Pacific last year. They were 28-22-6 v. the rest of the league. It was unlikely they were going to win 21 of 26 again but should be better than .500 v. divisional opponents.
— So far this season most Oilers players have produced better v. non-divisional opponents.
It is a smaller sample size, but not many are producing better within the division. That needs to change this week, especially for the depth forwards.
— Jay Woodcroft confirmed Warren Foegele has been a healthy scratch the past two games (New York and Colorado) as Woodcroft wanted to dress 11 forwards and seven D-men. If he reverts back to 12-6 I’m sure Foegele will return, but if they remain 11-7, I’d still play Foegele. Two games as a healthy scratch was a strong message from the coach, but Foegele is far from the only player worthy of watching from upstairs.
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— None of the depth forwards have stood out, production wise.
PLAYER
GP
TOI
G
A
PTS
SH
SH%
PEN Dr
GWY
TKW
Hits
Hits Taken
40
359:25
5
4
9
36
13.89
1
5
17
27
52
29
405:48
2
7
9
28
7.14
9
8
21
40
47
25
247:57
5
3
8
30
16.67
13
5
5
77
31
27
350:46
2
6
8
27
7.41
7
9
11
10
40
41
488:40
3
5
8
53
5.66
5
7
15
83
61
28
322:37
2
5
7
27
7.41
3
18
14
17
37
28
325:42
3
3
6
39
7.69
10
9
21
49
30
37
300:04
2
3
5
24
8.33
10
9
8
53
44
Kostin has drawn 13 penalties which is great because it puts the #1 PP on the ice more. Holloway and Foegele have drawn 10.
— If you look at possession numbers, again, none stand out.
Player
GP
CF%
FF%
SF%
GF%
xGF%
SCF%
HDCF%
HDGF%
PDO
OZS
NZS
DZS
29
51.54
49.91
51.29
60
49.9
51.49
53.19
62.5
1.025
71
109
53
25
46.95
47.66
48.43
52.63
43.22
42.79
47.31
45.45
1.014
40
67
40
40
48.66
46.32
44.93
47.62
49.09
50.48
52.17
60
1.007
66
95
74
28
52.74
52.41
49.35
45.83
52.47
51.06
54.78
57.14
0.989
68
99
52
27
45.14
46.17
45.26
40.74
43.32
42.05
44.53
38.46
0.985
64
89
53
37
51.58
47.93
47
39.13
49.55
52.69
52.83
18.18
0.976
58
65
29
28
52.92
50.11
47.88
38.1
49.43
53.85
52.43
42.86
0.973
64
106
47
41
52.2
52.48
50.43
36.11
53.29
52.94
54.22
33.33
0.955
91
142
76
Yamamoto and Kostin are the only two who aren’t getting outscored. Puljujarvi and Yamamoto have played the most with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which will impact their possession numbers.
— I see nothing from Foegele that suggests he needs to remain the only depth forward being held accountable. Kostin’s recent play will give him some rope, while Yamamoto played his best game of the season v. the Islanders, so he will stay in. I’ve liked Holloway’s contributions in limited minutes. McLeod is a centre and he likely stays in. Janmark and Ryan are on the PK, so that could keep them in, but Foegele can PK as well. I think you could make an argument Janmark, Ryan, or Puljujarvi could easily replace Foegele in the pressbox for a game.
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— The Oilers just need average 5×5 scoring from their depth forwards. If they can’t produce this week, I’m not sure they ever will. The Oilers’ four opponents this week are all in the bottom third of the NHL in 5×5 goals against.
LA is 22nd allowing 84.
Edmonton is 23rd at 85.
Vegas is 24th at 86.
San Jose is 31st at 106.
Anaheim is 32nd at 114.