Should be an entertaining second-round series between the Oilers and Golden Knights. Vegas took care of the Jets in five games, out-scoring their opponents 15-6 at even-strength and had strong underlying shot-share numbers to support their results.
|Vegas Golden Knights||5v5||Winnipeg Jets|
|55.77||Expected Goals For%||44.23|
Vegas might be at risk of some regression as their shooting percentage and save percentage were higher than what they posted in the full regular season and in the final twenty five games before the playoffs. Vegas finished the season with a 8.85% shooting percentage and a 92.14 save percentage.
Worth noting that Vegas’ special teams were pretty poor in the first round. The powerplay scored only three goals in about 25 minutes of powerplay time – a rate of 7.06 goals per hour, which ranked tenth among the playoff teams. The penalty kill allowed five goals, and the second highest rate of goals against in the playoffs. And while their goaltending was poor shorthanded (similar to Edmonton), the skaters also didn’t do a very good job defending, allowing the highest rate of shots and chances against in the playoffs. Considering the Oilers have been so dominant on the powerplay, and doing a good job suppressing shots on the penalty kill, the Oilers definitely have a competitive advantage here. That is of course if their goaltending holds up when shorthanded.
A quick glance at Vegas’ skaters, their on-ice performance numbers at even-strength and what the results have been. The table below is separated into forwards and defencemen, and sorted by ice time.
The top end forwards appear to have been in good form against the Jets, with Stone and Stephenson leading the way with eight points each. Really looking forward to seeing how Eichel does as well. Do have to wonder if some of the players are due for a little regression as some are posting on-ice PDO’s above 110.
The bottom of the Vegas roster looks a little suspect and is something the Oilers should be able to exploit. Without Stone or Marchessault (who I’m using as a proxy for the top two lines) on the ice, Vegas posted a Corsi For percentage of 47% and an Expected Goals For percentage of 49%. This is in about 42% of the team’s total ice time. But due to some outstanding goaltending, the depth players outscored the Jets 4-1.
Looking forward to seeing how the Oilers coaching staff handles match-ups against a deeper, more talented roster. And if they’re willing to play McDavid and Draisaitl on separate lines. As I wrote in my series review, McDavid is due for some scoring as his personal shooting percentage is well below his career levels. And it’d be a massive gain if he finds success at even-strength with linemates other than Draisaitl.
The one area that I’d be a little concerned with is the Oilers goaltending, and if Skinner can bounce back from some shaky moments in the first round. Among 22 goalies who have played at least 30 minutes in this years playoffs, Skinner ranks 17th with an 89% save percentage in all situations and a -2.88 goals saved above average. Brossoit on the other hand ranks 9th in save percentage (91.5%) and 10th in goals saved above average (+1.25). Both netminders have been solid at even-strength, but are struggling on their penalty kill.
Data: Natural Stat Trick
- The Edmonton Oilers v. The Vegas Golden Knights: A Tactical Preview – Oilers Nation (2023, May 2)
- Golden Knights present serious challenge for Oilers – TSN (2023, May 1)
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