The one huge motive the Edmonton Oilers have not gained extra video games this yr

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David Staples Edmonton Journal

Publication date:

02/16/2021February 16, 2021Read for 5 minutes 7 comments Edmonton Oilers goalkeeper Mikko Koskinen, right, of Finland, slides off the ice after being replaced by goalkeeper Mike Smith after allowing the Calgary Flames a fourth goal in the second period on December 27, 2019 at Rogers Place. Edmonton Oilers goalkeeper Mikko Koskinen, right, of Finland, slides off the ice after being replaced by goalkeeper Mike Smith after allowing the Calgary Flames a fourth goal in the second period on December 27, 2019 at Rogers Place. Photo by Darryl Dyck /CP

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The goalkeeping game cost the Oilers about three wins this year

There’s a big reason the Edmonton Oilers haven’t won more games this year, and the rest is chat.

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We loyal fans of the team are constantly burning about the team performance. The debates simmer hourly and long reports appear every day of every decision the coach makes about the Oilers’ strikers and D-Men, along with detailed summaries of each player’s pros and cons.

But when I think of the Oilers’ record of nine wins and eight losses in 17 games, I am overwhelmed by the fact that it is the goalkeeping, the goalkeeping, the goalkeeping that has cost the Edmonton Oilers wins this year – and no one else Factor is obvious.

Put simply, Edmonton’s goalkeepers have made significantly fewer large saves than their opponents’ goalkeepers this year.

Opponents convert to Grade A with 32.6 percent of their chances, while Oilers convert to Grade A with 26.7 percent of their chances.

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If I were to put the number of wins the Oilers cost, I would say it’s roughly three wins in 17 games.

The Class A goal gap

How can I bet so much on the Oilers goalkeepers? Because in most games the Oilers clearly outperform their opponents, but their won and lost record does not reflect this dominance.

Overall, the Oilers averaged 13.2 Class A scoring chances per game, but gave up only 10.4 Class A scoring chances.

That’s a big positive difference for the Oilers.

That’s a huge gap.

The Oilers have a Class A scoring chance of 55.9 percent.

Yet when it comes to scoring goals, Edmonton has scored 3.53 per game but given up 3.41 per game. That’s a goals-for percentage of only 50.9 percent. Very tight. Very close. No advantage for the Oilers.

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Steal games

Monday’s 5-6 loss to the Winnipeg Jets was the kind of loss that was all too common for the Oilers, a game where their goalkeepers were the second best on the ice despite the Oilers being the more dangerous attacking team.

Starting goalkeeper Mike Smith was beaten on four difficult shots, none of which was an easy save, but he let in every one of the difficult shots he faced before being drawn in the second period. He failed to make those two or three big saves that often make the difference between winning and losing.

On the other hand, Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck wasn’t perfect, but he came up with the big saves like having a one-timer against a power play against a power play feed from Leon Draisaitl against an evil Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -Feed from Leon Draisaitl blocked in the second third.

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It was the fourth time an opposing goalkeeper stole a win for his team against the Oilers this year in a game in which Edmonton had significantly more Class A scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Oilers goalkeepers have stolen just one game in 17 games this year, Smith stealing last week in Edmonton’s 3-2 win over Ottawa.

To understand this in more detail, let’s look at the three types of games the Oilers had this year.

3 close games: 1 win, 2 losses.

In these three games, the Oilers had the same number of scoring chances or were within one scoring chance as the opposing team. Edmonton lost 5-1 to Montreal in a game where both teams had 14 Level A chances, they lost 4-3 to the Leafs when the odds were at Oilers 14, Leafs 13, and they beat the Senators 4 : 2 in a game in which each team had seven chances.

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3 games in which the opponent had a big advantage: 1 win, 2 losses

In each of these three games, the opponent had two or more Grade A chances than the Oilers. The Oilers had one win and two losses in these competitions. In Edmonton’s last 3-2 away win against the Ottawa Senators last week, Smith’s first game back, he stole a win for his team. Ottawa had 13 Class A chances in that game, the Oilers only nine. The Oilers lost the other two games 6-4 against the Jets and 3-1 against the Habs.

11 games in which Oilers had a big advantage: 7 wins, 4 losses

I would expect the Oilers to win most of these games. And in the 11 games in which the Oilers outperformed their opponents by two or more Grade A scoring chances, the Oilers have seven wins and four losses. That’s a great record, but it’s about what you’d expect from a team that has a significant advantage in Class A scoring opportunities. Perhaps the more notable and disturbing aspect is that the Oilers still lost in four games where the Oilers had this significant shooting advantage.

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Those games were: the first game of the year, a 5-3 loss to Vancouver, where the Oilers beat the Canucks 19-17; the sixth game in which the Oilers beat the Leafs 17-10 but lost 4-2; thirteen in the game, with the Oilers overtaking the Flames 16-14 but losing 6-4; and in the 17th game against Winnipeg on Monday, where Edmonton had 15 chances to 10 for the Jets but lost 6 to 5.

Opposing goalkeepers Braden Holtby, Frederik Andersen, Jacob Markstrom and Connor Hellebuyck stole games in these four games. In total, the Oilers had 67 Grade A chances and 14 goals, while the opposing teams had 51 chances and 21 goals.

The good news?

If there is any good news it is that Mikko Koskinen was much better last season and perhaps you can expect him to return to form with Smith’s return as Koskinen is now not forced to play almost every game.

Smith has got off to a hot start too, even with his dodgy performance against Winnipeg. Koskinen can hit his save percentage to move north of 0.900, the Oilers should make the playoffs given the team’s otherwise strong performance.

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

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