This is the Oilers Morning Report, a stats-heavy, opinion-based review of the previous night’s game. We’ve all read the wrap-ups, watched the highlights, and digested the game. Whether it’s gazing to the heavens, begging the Hockey Gods for answers as to why the Edmonton Oilers lost, or looking for more content to bask in the glory of another Oilers victory, that’s what this is here for.
Here is the review for the Edmonton Oilers Vs. Montreal Canadiens game on Tuesday 14 January
The period ended 2-2 and at 5v5, it was an even affair as far as Corsi was concerned, but the Predators dominated Scoring Chances and High Danger chances.
Darnell Nurse took the first penalty of the game, putting the Oilers’ surprisingly bad home penalty kill to work (74.5%; 29th in the NHL going into the game). The Oilers actually did a great job of killing off the penalty, but Nurse elected to play centre rather than line-change after coming out of the box, which led to a soft pass out of the defensive zone right to Yannick Weber, allowing the Predators to maintain possession, make a quick change, leading to a give-and-go between Nick Bonino and Colin Blackwell, ending in Blackwell’s 2nd goal of the season in the High Danger area.
A good possession from Kailer Yamamoto against Weber along the half-wall led to the hooking call with just over minute left in the period, and the Oilers’ second-best home powerplay (their special teams splits are so weird) led to a tremendous chance by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins off a Connor McDavid feed, and ultimately led to the Draisaitl goal with 17.6 seconds left.
The Predators came out to start the period with immediate possession control, but Mike Smith stood tall and the Oilers took back the 5v5 control as the period went on, eventually edging out the opposition– thought the xGF% suggests that the Predators had better quality of chances.
But it was a flash of McDavid’s surreal speed that led to the makeshift line of Gagner-McDavid-Yamamoto to secure a solid cycle before leading to Josh Archibald’s goal off another blistering McDavid rush at 9:09.
The pace then picked up in the second half of the period, with both teams exchanging quality chances through transition, though both goaltenders stood tall.
Gaetan Haas drew a high-sticking penalty and on the ensuing powerplay, the Oilers had five Scoring Chances before James Neal took his slashing penalty, putting the teams at 4v4. The Oilers didn’t miss a beat, though, out-chancing the Predators on 4v4 4-1.
Once again, the Predators were the better 5v5 team to start the period, before Leon Draisaitl missed on his breakaway opportunity.
The Oilers’ questionable home penalty kill came through after Yamamoto was called for a bit of a ticky-tack interference call.
High Danger chance stopped by Smith on Ryan Johansson at 17:00 might’ve been the game-saver.
- The Oilers lost the 5v5 Corsi battle (barely), though had more Scoring Chances and High Danger opportunities. But it was the special teams that ultimately gave the Oilers the edge; they killed off both Predators powerplays, allowing only 1 High Danger chance in 4:23 of PK time, and converted on 50% of their man-advantages (albeit one was an empty-netter, but they all count in the end.)
- Riley Sheahan continues to impress. He is arguably the team’s best penalty-killer, and is helping push the pace at 5v5, finishing the game with a 71.43 SCF% and 60.54 xGF%.
- Kailer Yamamoto is not getting sent down. He’s proving to have good chemistry with Nuge and Draisaitl and his physical play has lead to drawn penalties and scoring opportunities; he finished with a 55.56 SCF%, Draisaitl with a 56.25, and Nuge with 60.
- Connor McDavid is somehow on another level again. His superior speed was on display and was a a difference-maker all night. He led all forwards in 5v5 CF opportunities (17)– and finished with a CF% relative rate of 8.68– Scoring Chances (8), and High Danger chances (6).
- Mike Smith might be stealing the net back from Mikko Koskinen. He finished with .923 5v5 SV% against the Predators and in his last four starts, all wins, he is sporting a .936 SV%. and is giving the team a chance to win every time he’s in the net.
The Oilers are in one of the most important stretches of their season, back in the Pacific division race and facing down the leader of it on Saturday afternoon, with the throne in sight.
On to Arizona.