Round One fun facts and more

Apr 19, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring a goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Round one has been over for a few days now for the Edmonton Oilers and the rest of the league. Here are a few fun facts about the last couple of days.

  • The Oilers showed how much depth they have in this series as only a single player finished without a point in it – Philip Broberg. The Kings, by comparison, had seven players who finished without a point. Clearly, they have some work to do on personnel if they hope to advance as a franchise.
  • Speaking of depth scoring, how about that Klim Kostin guy? 3-1-4 in six games is phenomenal playoff production for a depth guy, especially one playing in his first season as an NHL regular and first playoff series makes it even more impressive – not to mention he finished with a sparkling +4 and is also sandwiched in between Evander Kane (same boxcars) and Zach Hyman (2-2-4) in points. That’s impressive company. Keep it up, Klim Shady, we’ll need that guy even more in round two.
  • It sucked that Mattias Janmark could only play one game in round one, but it’s expected he’ll be back for round two.
  • A big part of why the depth was able to do so well was Jay Woodcroft’s brilliant tactic of choosing to do 11-7 with the roster (11 forwards, seven defencemen) as opposed to the traditional 12-6. So many of the goals that were scored by the bottom six guys were awesome passes from Mcdavid, Draisaitl, or Nuge. The whole reason this works is that it leaves one spot open on the third or fourth line for someone to pull double duty on, thus freeing up Mcdavid, Draisaitl, or Nuge from their normal defensive pests they encounter higher up in the lineup from LA.
  • I think we could clearly see why Todd Mclellan was fired by the Oilers before becoming the Kings head coach now. His teams have a habit of being great regular season teams but they typically don’t go too far in the playoffs as Mclellan is kind of legendary for not adapting his tactics in the playoffs. To be fair, he has had some success in the playoffs, though, as he took the Sharks to the Conference finals twice and also took the Sharks and Oilers to the second round as a head coach. Don’t be surprised if LA believes he’s reached his expiry date with them and fires him. At the time the Oilers fired him I didn’t understand why, but now I do.
  • It was revealed after the series wrapped up that rather than flying back to Edmonton after eliminating the Kings in game six, the Oilers stayed in California for a while, even asking the Kings to loan them the use of their practice facility. Makes sense – not only is it geographically closer, but California is a great place to catch some R&R before prepping for the second round.
  • How about that Evan Bouchard? Boy has he ever stepped up since Tyson Barrie was traded for Mattias Ekholm, cashing in on two Bouch bombs and finishing 2-8-10 in six games. A lot of that is no doubt due to Ekholm, but Bouch has been in this position before and as a cheaper option still on his ELC until the end of this season, Holland needed him to step up so he could trade for the aforementioned Ekholm, and he has answered the bell big time since the trade deadline.
  • The Oilers are the only playoff team to have three players in the top 10 in league playoff scoring. Dr. Drai is third (7-4-11), Mcdavid is ninth (3-7-10), and Evan Bouchard is 10th. Boston and Toronto each have two players but that’s as close as it gets now from the rest of the league.
  • I don’t know about you, but I find it hilarious that LA keyed in on Mcdavid and he still finished with 10 points in six games. Not only that, but they obviously neglected to cover the Deutschland Dangler and he absolutely annihilated them. This is exactly why you need depth in the playoffs.
  • The Oilers playoff PP has carried over its momentum from the regular season, finishing first in the league again but this time at a whopping 56.3%. No surprise then that the LA Kings finished the first round with the worst PK % of all the playoff teams at 43.8%. Whether this is due to how lethal the Oilers are on the PP or their own ineptitude it’s hard to say – probably a bit of both.
  • Oddly enough the Oilers playoff PK finished 12th in the league from the first round at 66.7%. It would behoove the Oilers to improve upon that in the second round or there might not be a third round.
  • I was absolutely loving the way that game six ended. Kailer Yamamoto has been absolutely snakebitten going back to the last 16 games of the regular season and hadn’t had a sniff in the first five games against the Kings. The game and series-winning goal couldn’t have happened to a more deserving player.
  • Three surprising Oilers never did have a goal in the first round – Nuge, Darnell Nurse, and Ryan Mcleod. Fortunately, all three are still contributing, as Nuge had four assists and Nurse and Mcleod both had three assists in that first round.
  • The Oilers currently sit eighth in the league in hits out of all the playoff teams with 247. They’re ninth in blocked shots with 113.
  • In terms of individual players for those numbers? There are some surprises in the leaders. Kane leads in hits with 30 but Zach Hyman is next with 23. Klim Kostin and Mattias Ekholm are tied for third with 20 apiece. Blocked shots are Nurse (21), Ceci (18), and Kulak (12) – Vincent Desharnais is the only other guy in double digits with 10.