a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

01/22/13 Time To Panic?

Allowing six goals in the first period is a good reminder how the Oilers amassed all this talent they've got. Now, if only they could stop doing that. Here's what the underlying numbers say:

- The Oilers got outshot 17-7 in the first period, and there wasn't much in the way of chances for the home side. The Oil bounced back with 17 shots of their own in the second, although score effects played a major part in that. Amazingly, the Oilers mustered just five shots in the third period to go along with the Sharks' five - a situation that San Jose was more than happy with. This is unacceptable at any time, let alone on home ice with nothing to lose. The Oilers had great difficulty establishing the breakout, as Shark players took advantage of a mentally fragile team and pressured Oiler puck carriers heavily. Without that first pass, the whole house of cards comes crashing down.

- On the positive side, the Oilers' powerplay has been as advertised thus far this season. They scored another pair of powerplay goals in 5 opportunities, and could easily have had one or two more. The two tallies brings the season powerplay total to 3/9 (33.3%).

- And then we come to the penalty kill. The Oilers allowed an atrocious 3 powerplay goals on just 5 chances against, and when that happens it's very difficult to win no matter how good your own PP is. The season PK total falls to 7/10 (70%), which isn't going to cut it as we go along. Again the Oilers did not dress Mark Fistric (this time against a Shark team with a deadly powerplay), who spent 133:20 killing penalties in only 60 games for Dallas last season, which was fifth on that team. Corey Potter had 53:21 of shorthanded ice last year and spent another 2:53 of this game killing penalties. It's worth noting that the Oilers' PK was perfect last game with Potter in the lineup, but a change could be coming at the back end.

- Full marks for Jordan Eberle, who is supposed to shoot more and has done just that. He's sitting with ten shots so far this season, which he needed four games to reach last year.

- Justin Schultz led the team with 23:41 of ice time, four shots and his first NHL goal. Very impressive offensively, but still a work in progress in his own zone.

- Sam Gagner had a terrible game defensively as well, but at least he managed to go 10/17 in the faceoff dot against a very good group of Sharks centers.

- Can't help thinking that Shawn Horcoff could have been useful for more than 12:58 in this game, especially against a group of veteran San Jose players. Ralph Krueger rode the kids hard on Tuesday night, with Yakupov being the only one of the Fab Five to play less than 19:27.

- Teemu Hartikainen had a team-low 13 shifts and 9:54 of ice time, but had some good jump. He's averaging just 8:02 per game, but has 3 hits, 2 shots on goal, and brings some energy.

- What's in a win? In a shortened season, one win (two points) is around 2.1% of the 96 available. Over a full 82 game schedule that's equivalent to about 3.4 points. So if you happen to start your 2013 season 0-0-3 it's not the end of the world, but it would be equivalent to starting 0-0-5 in an 82 game year. The Oilers aren't in the panic region yet, but it's critical that they bounce back.

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