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There Was Nothing Flukey About the 2005-06 Oilers

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A commenter over at OilersNation called the 2006 SCF run a "fluke", and I was reminded of one of my pet peeves.  You see, there was nothing flukey about the Edmonton Oilers run to the finals.  They were a fantastic team all season long, something which was obscured by their miserable goaltending.

Courtesy of NHL.com, here are the team numbers for the regular season:

  • Goals For/Against: 249 - 242
  • Shots For/Against: 2444 - 2091
  • Oilers' Save Percentage: 0.884
  • Opponents' Save Percentage: 0.898

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the Oilers had managed a league average save percentage - something in the .900 range.  If that's the case, those 242 goals against drop down to 209 goals against - a 33 goal shift.  If we assume that one win is approximately equal to a 3-goal shift in goal differential, the Oilers move from being an 8th place team to winning the division and contending for the President's Trophy.

This was a very good team; something that both reflects positively on the players involved and also shows the depth of the mistakes made in the summer of 2006.