The Oilers played a matinee on Saturday, in Philadelphia, and they lost it, 2-1 to the Flyers, in a game that I would describe as less than encouraging to Oilers fans.
That’s not to say that the Oilers looked thoroughly outmatched. They held their own. The final shots on goal totals amounted to 24 for each team. And the game was tied until the last two minutes and change of the game, with Wayne Simmonds’ game-winner coming with 2:15 remaining, to be exact. Simmonds’ goal came on a bad ine change. And while mistakes like that can really hurt a team, especially in a close game, it’s not the reason today’s effort should be seen as discouraging for Oilers fans.
The reason this game should be discouraging to Oilers fans, is because yet again the offence did not produce anywhere near as much as it needs to, for this team to live up to its potential.
Number to Know
That’s how many goals-per-game the Oilers have scored this season. 14 goals in seven games played.
Scoring is up, so far, in this young season. The average game has featured 6.15 goals so far, an average of 3.075 per team. For reference, last year, the average game featured only 5.53 goals.
Yet the Oilers, a team featuring the league’s most dynamic offensive player, have only managed 2.0 goals per game. That’s 65% as much offensive production as the average offensive team. Last year’s Oilers squad scored 107% as often as the average team.
The Oilers have scored their 14 goals this season on 272 shots on goal. That’s an average of 38.9 shots-per-game. That’s the second highest shots-per-game total in the league, and will become the highest again if Florida manages less than 32 shots in their games against Washington this evening.
And while it’s true that trailing so often is a major reason why the Oilers have been able to shoot so much, I can guarantee you that the Oilers won’t shoot 5.1% for the rest of this season. The league average shooting percentage so far this season is 9.3%, and the Oilers aren’t going to shoot significantly below league average.
Their current roster may not be chalked full high-shot-quality players, with above average finishing talent. At least not to the extent that it could be, if not for some offence-sacrificing trades in the past two offseasons. But this team still has Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl should return from injury soon. This team may not be a juggernaut, but we should be in for an uptick in offensive production.
Corey’s Game Puck
I’m giving my fictional game puck to Patrick Maroon for today’s game. Maroon’s individual effort on the Oilers’ lone goal was the only thing to get excited about this afternoon. He muscled a Flyers defender off the puck, on the forecheck, then walked it out to the front of the net and buried it. No other Oiler recorded a point in this contest.