Edmonton Oilers: Game 5- 3 Keys to Victory

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, #97. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, #97. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

After playing a subpar game in game 4 the Edmonton Oilers need to be better. Here are 3 keys to get the Oilers a victory tonight over the Los Angeles Kings.

1. Have A Better Start

So far this series the Los Angeles Kings have come out flying while the Edmonton Oilers were on their heels. In the Oilers wins they were able to weather the storm. Where in the losses the Kings were able to get one or two past Mike Smith.

Even in the blowout victories for the Edmonton Oilers they still got outshot in the first period. I would love to see the Oilers come out and actually have a start where they look better than the Kings. Slow starts have been a problem throughout the season and it has crept into their playoff game as well.

Shots Per Game In the First Period

  • Game 1-LA 16 EDM 13
  • Game 2-LA 14 EDM 12
  • Game 3-LA 19 EDM 7
  • Game 4-LA 20 EDM 10

2. Win More Faceoffs

Another interesting stat from this series is the team that won more faceoffs has won the game. It is too crazy to understand why that is. When you win a faceoff you get control of the puck right away. The more you have the puck to more of chance you have to score and less chance the other team has to score.

This gets compounded while on the special teams. If you are on the powerplay and get the faceoff win you can get set up and start moving the puck around and start creating chances. If you loss the draw the killing team gets an easy clear and kills at least 20 seconds of the powerplay.

The powerplay is where the faceoffs really cost to Oilers in game 4. I don’t think they won a single faceoff while on the powerplay. That not only kills time off your powerplay, but also kills all momentum they may have had going on a previous play.

Faceoff Percentage Per Game

  • Game 1-LA 51% EDM 49%
  • Game 2-LA 44% EDM 56%
  • Game 3-LA 48% EDM 52%
  • Game 4-LA 56% EDM 44%

In my opinion the closer the faceoff percentages, the closer the game was. Game 1 had a difference of 2% and it was the closest of the games. Whereas games 2 and 4 were the most one sided games and the percentage difference was 8%.

If the Oilers are able to win the faceoff battle, history tells us they should win the game.

3. Get The Stars Away From The Top Lines

With the Edmonton Oilers getting the last change tonight at home they need to try and get McDavid and Draisaitl away from the Kopitar and Danault lines. The Kings have been using these two lines to try and shut down the skill of Oilers two superstars.

In game 4 Connor McDavid had 16:03 minutes of even strength ice time. Of the 16:03 he was up against Anze Kopitar 11:25 of that is nearly 3/4 of the time. As for Draisaitl he had 15:51 at even strength and of that time Trevor Moore was out there for 10:51, which is just under 70% of the time.

I think the match-ups have a greater effect on Draisaitl than it does on McDavid. In the Danault/Draisaitl match-up, in game 4 the Kings when Danault was on the ice vs Draisaitl they had 16 scoring chances for and only 5 against. If the Oilers can pry Draisaitl away from Danault, Leon should be able to beat most other players.

That being said Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are still 2 of the best players in the league. They shouldn’t need a sweetheart match-up to have success.

If the Edmonton Oilers play like they did in games 2 and 3 I expect them to win tonight. I think they learned a lesson on Sunday, that team don’t just rollover in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I say they show up and win this game 4-2.

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