Thursday, October 23, 2014

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 7: Two it for Scrivvy

"I don't want it to come across that we're thrilled where we are right now"
- Ben Scrivens postgame quote
The score read 3-2 Oilers, and the corsi chart illustrates how lucky the Oilers were to actually get that result. The Oilers white-knuckled it through the game after the eventual winning goal and the shot attempts after the first period were 48-21 for the Caps. The more the Capitals pressured, the more the Oilers structure and passing seemed to crumble. Thankfully Scrivens stopped 100% of the "must save" shots and probably made a few 5 bell saves sprinkled in there to secure the Oilers 2nd victory of the season.

In case you haven't picked up on it, Ben "The Professor" Scrivens is a thoughtful, even-keel guy who manages to contribute sound-bytes worthy of a Cornell grad. After the game he was quick to riposte the anime-eyed reporters from taking to much from his, or the teams performance. The record still stands at 2-4-1, and the Oilers still sport a 26th ranked points percentage of .357 - coincidentally the caliber of self-inflicted gun-shot wound Oilers brain pans will be sampling if the number stays that low.

For now, we can revel in the slight relief that the Oilers brass loses a little pressure to do something quickly (see: definition for stupid), and perhaps more importantly, gives the team the charge of confidence it needs to say, play with a lead like they weren't juggling a baby and a hand grenade. It was my impression that the Oilers defenders were not willing to risk maintained puck possession in their own zone for most of the third, which lead to them making hasty and hopeful passes. A more confident squad adapted to winning might instead skate pucks out of their own zone and make shorter, smarter outlets.

Some thoughts from the game after the hop.

Ovechkin - The Oilers did an overall excellent job in limiting Ovechkin's opportunities in dangerous areas. He had doughtnut town in the points column, 2 shots, and was -1 in almost 20 minutes of ice. I'd say that's a good line for an opposing superstar scoring winger.

Scrivens - I'm not sure I need to say much more about his 31-save effort, but in general his game in the last three harkens to an Oilers squad capable of getting more than 50% of the points. His lack of wandering was also a plus.

The Hound Line - I felt like for the first time, they actually looked a bit worn down. They averaged about 11 minutes as a trio, but those were hard minutes: full out chest burning shifts designed to blunt the ballistics spewing from the B & O combination.

Leon Draisaitl - There was a certain amount of desperation in his game today; perhaps a sense that he realizes that him staying in the land of chartered planes is entirely dependent on maximizing his output before the 9 game window expires. His single apple was an OK thing - nothing special specifically, but he did have a couple of forays where he moved his feet a bit better. Too many times when Draisaitl receives the puck - including several examples in this game - he plants roots in the ground like some monolithic German hardwood tree. He's not going to be able perform slow-motion power moves until his power level is a bit higher - y'know in versions older than his 19 year old body. I know the sports writers around town are firmly for sending him down, and I'm mostly in that camp, but who else is there? Acton? Shudder...

Edward Purcell - He's not especially tough along the boards (as advertised, size without surprise), but he at least can make a decent offensive zone foray as evidenced by the sublime periscope pass he laid on Jultz's banana. It's no wonder TBay felt he wasn't in their plans moving forward - they have a ton of skill forwards with a lot of *try* in their game that perhaps has drained from Teddy's belly like a Ruxpin doll on it's last legs. He's so far a small defensive liability, and let's hope it stays small.

Jordan Eberle - One of his poorer games overall, and he seemed to be over-matched and under-short for large stretches of the contest. Zero shots in 19:30 is really a pretty unacceptable total for a pure scoring sniper/winger. The kid has 10 shots in 6 games (1.8/game) and his career is closer to 2.4 - a 33% increase over current rates. It's definitely noticeable by the eyes and the brain as well.


The Oilers essentially did what they needed to do: stopped the Ovi-train, limited their PP chances to two, and scored some timely and well orchestrated goals. Hopefully the third is a lesson on how not to play with a lead.

Onward to Carolina, and dare I say that's a very winnable game.


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