Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sizing up the Oilers

Ten games into the season and we still haven’t cracked the .500+ echelon. After letting in two softies early into Tuesday’s game against Vancouver, the Red Wings rallied to win 5-4, thanks to the return of Pavel Datsyuk and strong play by Jimmy Howard. Howard gets the start tonight, the Oilers have been shut out in two straight so I would imagine that they’re going to come out hungry. Aside from that last little tidbit, I don’t know much else about Edmonton thus far so the usual statistical comparison is going to be interesting.

Here are two teams that, at least in the short run, are moving in opposite directions in terms of offensive production. Edmonton hasn’t scored a goal in over 120 minutes of playing time. Detroit just netted 5 goals against one of the league’s “elite” goalies. However, the Red Wings currently sit 16th in the league as far as G/G average with 3.00, which is up one rank from last game, but still one worse than Edmonton's 15th ranked 3.08. Advantage: the smallest of margins.

In the off-season, Edmonton went out and signed Chicago’s best goaltender; the mad Russian, Nikolai Khabibulin. The ‘Bulin Wall certainly has experience playing against the Wings with career stops in Winnipeg, Phoenix, and Chicago. Edmonton currently ranks 15th in the league with a 2.92 G/A average. The Wings, despite pulling of the win, didn’t do their G/A average any favors in Vancouver and still rank near the bottom at 3.40, good enough for 26th place. Advantage: Edmonton

Dustin Penner and Lubomir Vishnovsky are the big guns for the Oiler powerplay which has been decent. They are currently converting 19.2% of the PP chances, which has them ranked 18th overall in the NHL. Detroit's power play improved to 25.5% for the season as they attempt to re-establish themselves as the power plays in the league. Detroit currently sits with 8th best in the National Hockey League. Advantage: Detroit

Edmonton seems to be a pretty “middle-of-the-road” team in terms of stats. Nothing near the top, nothing near the bottom. They currently sit 17th in the NHL, with a 77.8% effectiveness rating while killing penalties. Penalty killing has been the Achilles heel of the Winged Wheel since the regular season started just over a year ago. The statistical woes continue for Detroit as they are only killing-off 74.4% of the penalties they take. Their current penalty killing effectiveness rate is only good enough for 24th place in the league. Advantage: Edmonton

So if we pull ranks and take the average for GA/G and G/G...

Edmonton: 15th
Detroit: 21st

If you combine PK and PP percentages to get an overall effectiveness rating:

Edmonton: 97.0%
Detroit: 99.9%

The key for a Red Wing's victory tonight can be summed up in one simple word: execution. If the Red Wings we saw in the final 52-plus minutes of Tuesday’s game show up, then everything will be just fine. Though Howard is struggling with his rebound control, he is effectively challenging shooters and really seems to be coming into his own. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Filppula, and Bertuzzi all had impressive showings…if they can keep up the tempo, we’ll probably come away with two points. Tonight, we have a chance to go above .500 again. After an impressing showing in Vancouver, let’s hope it was just the first step in the long haul to get this team back to the top.

The Wings swept the regular season series against the Oilers last year (4-0-0) including an 8-3 drubbing at home on February 7th.

1 comment:

  1. I was at that game !
    Roloson failed. But Leino got a goal so it's all good.