Oilers Performance When Trailing and When They’re Leading

Earlier this week, I looked into how the Oilers have done this season when they have a one goal lead. I was at the Nashville game and watched the team blow two one-goal leads and eventually lose the game. The majority of the chatter online and on the radio afterwards was about the goaltending and Laurent Brossoit’s poor play. But when I dug a little deeper, I found that the Oilers as a whole absolutely crater when they have a one-goal lead, a trend since the start of the season. When it comes to possession, generating scoring chances and most importantly scoring/preventing goals while the team is leading, the Oilers see a significant drop from their usual performance levels.

I received some positive feedback about the analysis, and was asked by a reader how the Oilers do when they’re actually trailing in a game. Based on how they’ve played and the lack of wins overall, combined with their injury issues, my guess was that the Oilers were not very good when trailing in games. I could only recall a few games where they played well while trailing, so I thought it’d be worth looking at the data.

First up, I created a new graph that compares how the Oilers do in all-score states at even-strength, with how they do when they’re leading in a game. My previous article looked specifically at when the Oilers lead by one, so this expands the dataset slightly. Unfortunately, we still see that compared to the NHL average, the Oilers take a significant drop from their standard level of play when it comes to possession, scoring chances and goals. They don’t lead in a game often (they rank 27th in the league in ice time) and sit near the top of the league when it comes to how big of a drop they take from their typical performance levels (Source: War on Ice).

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

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