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The Oilers at the Half-Way Point

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If Devan Dubnyk learns to stop pucks with the power of his mind, the Oilers may yet make the playoffs.
If Devan Dubnyk learns to stop pucks with the power of his mind, the Oilers may yet make the playoffs.

At the quarter pole, the Oilers had a record of 11-8-2, and a goal differential of +6. In the second quarter, the team hasn't done quite as well. Their record of 5-14-1 is terrible, but it was built on a goal differential of -14, which is bad, but not so bad that you'd expect a 45-point pace. Mixing poor play with bad luck is never much fun, and the spirits in Edmonton are ebbing low these last few days as injuries and losses mount. So what all has gone wrong? Well, they've played a lot more games on the road in this quarter (12 on the road against 8 at home), and it's plain to see that the club is a much better home team when Tom Renney is better able to control matchups. A look at some of the team's possession numbers will serve as confirmation for this, but there's also a bit of wackiness going on with this season's underliers.

To start, let's look at the team's ten-game moving average in Fenwick, Corsi, and Scoring Chances, all at even strength (because it's a ten-game average, the first point is games 1-10, the second games 2-11, and so on):

Oilers_in_first_half_medium

It just looks weird. Fenwick and Corsi are tracking together (as you'd expect), but scoring chances haven't really been close except for very brief periods. The small peaks and valleys are similar, but the large movements are not. In fact, looking at the ten-game segments, there is actually a negative correlation between scoring chances and both Fenwick (-0.20) and Corsi (-0.41). The goaltending numbers reflect this reality. When the Oilers were getting the majority of the chances but getting handily outshot, the save percentage was very high, but now that the Oilers are allowing fewer shots but more chances, the save percentage has plummeted. I don't know how much of the change is related to shot quality, but the above data suggests that it's a lot more than none.

The home v. road data tells a story too. So far this season, the Oilers have earned 50.7% of the scoring chances, 50.3% of the Fenwick events, and 47.8% of the Corsi events while at home. On the road, they've had just 42.1% of the scoring chances, 45.0% of the Fenwick events, and 46.1% of the Corsi events. The gap in Corsi looks small, but in scoring chances, it's massive. One silver lining going forward (for those of you still cheering for wins) is that the Oilers have more games at home than they do on the road during the back half of the year. We can only hope that this club gets healthy enough to take advantage.