There’s plenty of optimism around the Oilers this week and for good reason. The club sits second in the Pacific division with 13 points, just behind the San Jose Sharks with a game in hand. After struggling in their first two games of the season the club has won six of eight – three of those wins happening in regulation.
At even-strength (5v5), it’s been the stellar play of Connor McDavid that’s really kept the team going. The club’s goal-share sits at 38.1% (8 GF, 13 GA) without him on the ice, but jumps to 60.0% (6 GF, 4 GA) when he’s on.
The club has also benefited from some sound defensive play. The Oilers have allowed 17 goals against this season at even-strength, a goals-against rate of 2.17, 11th best in the league. The team is right around league average when it comes to any of the shot-based metrics including shots against, unblocked shot attempts against and scoring chances against per hour. And their goaltending at even-strength ranks 10th in the league at 92.74%.
Special teams have been good as well. The club ranks 8th in the league when it comes to goals-for per hour on the powerplay (5v4) with 9.36. And their penalty kill (4v5) ranks 12th in the league with 6.85 goals against per hour. Worth noting that of the two, the penalty kill results appear to be the more sustainable one as the club ranks in the top quarter of the league when it comes to limiting shots and scoring chances shorthanded. The powerplay, on the other hand, doesn’t do a great job generating shots – largely because of the Oilers insistence on deploying five left-handed shooters. But it does have McDavid driving the offence and serving as a human cheat-code, so it could very well remain as a top ten powerplay unit.
What’s concerning at this point is the Oilers lack of scoring at even-strength (5v5) as they only have 14 goals so far, tied with Detroit for lowest in the league. And the team’s goal-share ranks 22nd in the league with 45.16% (14 goals-for, 17 goals-against, -3 goal differential). Factoring in time-on-ice, the Oilers rank 29th in the league with a goal scoring rate of 1.79 per hour – well below where they finished last season (2.41) and in 2016/17 (2.48).
Full article is at The Copper & Blue.