You can basically take the game story from the Canucks game and paste it into this one — the Oilers had a lead, gave it away, played questionably in Overtime, allowed a game winning goal by some dude getting his first ever NHL goal, and lost 3-2. Is that all true? Yes… everything except the Jagr part. Here’s the overall shot chart:
The Oilers were only down by -2 Corsi events in this game, compared with being -19 in the Canucks game on Monday, something which seemed apparent at times. If you check out the share of Corsi events by period, the Oilers actually improved throughout the game, until they were in prime control in the 3rd period. They did a better job at getting their shots through to Lehtonen and laid down a lot of blocks to help Dubnyk out.
The goat on the night (and potentially every night he now plays) was Ryan Whitney, losing Jagr on the game winner and posting an ugly -6 on the night, worst among defencemen. Newcomer Mark Arcobello had the worst overall Corsi mark at -7 and had his icetime restricted, ending 2-4 minutes behind Eberle and Hall at evens.
Leading the pack here is Magnus Paajarvi at +5, the second straight game in positive Corsi. By eye he is being noticeable simply by not being noticeable. The chaos of the game lessens when he is on the ice, and he’s able to actually get the puck moving in the right direction playing with a rotating cast of mates. I hope he continues to get a chance to play, as anyone who suggests he should be sat in favour of “49 second game” Darcy Hordichuk should have all-purpose flour thrown in their face.
Other standouts include the Schultz pairing, with Nick at +3 and Justin at even, and Smid/Petry at 0 and +2 respectively. Those scores should tell you all you need to know about how the Whitney/Potter pairing played.
Taylor hall had a wonderful game at +3, but when you look at the player-vs-player matrix, you can see he put up his positives against Dallas’ weaker players — he ended up in the red against basically any dangerous Dallas forward. Gagner and Hemsky had fairly positive performances, but perhaps their biggest accomplishment was ending up +3 and +2 against Jamie Benn, respectively.
For some reason, Trevor Daley and Aaron Rome absolutely owned the Oilers tonight. Daley ended up above zero vs every single Oiler on the roster, while Rome was only behind two Oilers (Petry and Lander’s short night). This pairing played particularly well against the Oilers top 6, hanging deep red scores on many of them.
I’m not sure who Philip Larsen is, but he doesn’t seem to be a very good hockey player — Taylor Hall and Hartikainen especially savoured his fresh entrails. The Gagner line absolutely crushed Stephane Robidas, while MPS and Smytty enjoyed playing against Jamie “Seems Shorter Than He’s Listed” Oleksiak. Here’s the Stars’ chart:
Again, check out the games by Daley and Rome. Also having good games were Derek Roy and Michael Ryder. Everyone else on the roster is looking rather meh.
Some general observations:
- I think Ralph Krueger made his second bad player deployment decision in overtime in as many games, this time inexplicably putting Whitney out against a somewhat reputable hockey player in Jaromir Jagr. Whitney and Jagr engaged in a battle in the corner, from which Jagr escaped without a touch leaving Whitney to stare straight into the corner where the battle had originated, as if he was sad it was over and saving the memory for later. By the time he had even turned to face Jagr, the puck was already in the back of the net. I don’t have anything to back this statement up, but I would bet that good teams put problems like Whitney to sleep once they are decisively identified. At this point, Whitney is actually losing the team standings points by being on the roster and the nature of his physical limitations means that he will not improve. Sitting him accomplishes nothing — does anyone believe his ‘motivation’ or ‘drive’ has anything to do with his performance at this point? I mean, he could listen to William Wallace prancing around on a horse in blue face paint and STILL not be able to get much more out of those feet/ankles. He is done, right now, and the Oilers will need to do something about it, right now, if they intend to compete for the playoffs. I could see them doing something Oilers-y and make up an injury for him to quietly spend the rest of the season at home and setting up his post-playing media career.
- Hemsky was the best player on the ice, full stop. He scored a wonderful goal after a shift of pure witchery and assisted on a perfect setup for Schultz’ powerplay tie goal. Yakupov had a brilliant game as well, I thought, getting involved physically, moving the puck with authority, and very nearly scoring himself on an off-wing shot that simply needed to be rewound on the PVR. Gagner also kept his scoring streak alive, and acquitted himself well in all aspects of the game. That line was brilliant.
- Dubnyk had another quality start, making many high difficulty saves during a game that never saw more than a one goal deficit on either side. I especially liked a save he made near the end of regulation that secured the single point for the Oilers. He’s getting in fantastic position on bang-bang plays — he must have put in a lot of worthwhile positioning work and film study over the lockout, as his anticipation this year is miles beyond where he started in the NHL. The winning goal wasn’t the nicest one ever, as he allowed a short side goal from a tough-ish angle when he should have been hugging his post, but we’ve already established how Jagr should never have gotten that close in the first place.
- Justin Schultz just may pull off my 0.69 points per game prediction this year. His work on the powerplay was inspired, first setting up Eberle for what should have been the easiest empty net goal of his life and then taking matters into his own hands by ripping a perfectly placed slapshot just inside the post a few inches off the ice. You feel that he’s the kind of player that inherently knows where everyone is on the ice, friend and foe, and exploits that to his advantage. He had a couple of underrated defensive plays, breaking up a 2 on 1 while on a powerplay, and taking the body when necessary. That might be my favourite game of his so far as an Oiler.
EDIT — I’ve calculated the time on ice charts, but they are all in total time on ice, not just even strength. Here’s for inside the Oilers:
And here’s for Oilers vs Stars: