One last check-in on the western conference before the playoffs get underway.
The Oilers have been excellent over their final twenty five games, posting the second best points percentage in the western conference with 0.800 (!), only behind Minnesota. The Oilers posted a +13 goal differential at even-strength (5v5), fourth best in the league and only behind Minnesota and Calgary in the west. Their shot-share metrics, which we use to predict future results, were excellent – indicating that with even average goaltending, they could win a round in the post-season.
Based on their final twenty-five games, St. Louis, Dallas and Nashville appear to have some issues controlling the flow of play and tend to get out-shot and out-chanced. And they’ll likely need their goaltending to bail them out. Not a good sign when their team save percentage has been closer to or below league average rates over the last stretch of the season.
What’s interesting is that of the eight western conference teams that made the playoffs, only three had really strong goaltending – Colorado, Minnesota and Calgary. The rest including Edmonton are closer to league average levels, while the teams that had strong goaltending down the stretch including Vancouver and Winnipeg failed to qualify. Suspect there’ll be a lot of goals in the west this post-season.