Game Nine Preview – Oilers vs Kings: Bounce Back

GAME NINE VS KINGS

Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty, left, is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hall during third period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday February 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.


TALE OF THE TAPE:

Game: Edmonton Oilers (3-5-0) vs LA Kings (4-3-0)

Location: Rexall Place, Edmonton

Time: 7:30 PM MT

Where to find it: TV: Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360 Radio: 630 CHED


Edmonton Oilers Preview:

Well, that Washington game was less than ideal but we have to remember we did face the one of the team’s widely considered to be a cup favourite. As the team learns and grows as a group, these games will unfortunately still happen. At this point, it’s about how we rebound after a rough game, and that is what I am excited to see from tonight’s matchup.

Brandon Davidson draws back into the lineup but I really don’t know if Davidson is the right fit to be in Edmonton right now.

Walter Foddis’ pregame Analytical Preview:

Pre-Game Analytics: LA vs. EDM – Oct 25/15 Against Los Angeles, Edmonton will be facing their toughest defensive pairings. Toughness can be measured using a Quality of Competition index such as each pair’s Shot Attempt differential (SAT%).

I list the Kings’ defensive pairs, which are organized by time-on-ice. This also implies how Sutter deploys them and against whom. I would expect, then, that because Doughty and Muzzin receive the most ice-time, they and their respective D-partners, will be facing the Oilers top-two lines.

1. Doughty & McNabb – 50.6%
2. Muzzin & Martinez – 64.7%
3. Ehrhoff & McBain – 56.4%

Note that all 3 pairs have a positive (i.e., >50%) shot attempt differential, with the Muzzin/Martinez pairing having exceptional numbers. (This is pretty standard for Muzzin, who has lead the LA defense in SAT% since 2012/13.)

How does this compare to the Oilers’ D-pairs?
1. Schultz & Klefbom – 48.6%
2. Sekera & Fayne – 48.5%
3(a). Gryba & Ference – 44.9%
3(b). Gryba & Reinhart – 36.9%

Comparing the 3rd pairings, the difference is as wide as 20%, which is a raw shot attempt differential of about 44 per 60 minutes. In effect, in a typical game at 5v5 (15 min.) we’d expect that with Ehrhoff/McBain on the ice, the Kings would out-shoot a Gryba/Reinhart-backed Oilers by 11 shot attempts.

We all know that’s the Oilers weakest area is their defense, so the above comparisons are not too surprising. The Oilers top-2 lines are going to be challenged not only by the King’s top-4 defenders, but the strong possession-dominant top-2 forward lines, which are centered by Kopitar and Carter.

I do not expect the Oilers to win the possession game, but can they keep it close, or at least better than last season. In 2014/15, Edmonton’s score-adjusted SAT% against LA was 43.6% and their score-adjusted Scoring Chance differential was 44.8%. If the Oilers improve these differentials by 3% to 4%, I would consider that a significant improvement.

The Otherside:

Goaltender Jonathan Quick, 9-0-2 in his past 11 decisions against Edmonton, is likely to start. He and forward Tyler Toffoli have helped Los Angeles win four in a row after it started with three losses. “We’re playing harder and a little more desperate,” center Anze Kopitar after a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. “We didn’t start off very hot and now we’re building.” Quick has allowed two goals on 89 shots in winning his past three starts. Toffoli has six goals, including two against the Hurricanes, and has a four-game streak. – NHL.com


Line Combos c/o Daily Faceoff:

Oilers:

Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Rob Klinkhammer
Benoit Pouliot – Connor McDavid – Nail Yakupov
Lauri Korpikoski – Anton Lander – Teddy Purcell
Luke Gazdic – Mark Letestu – Iiro Pakarinen

Oscar Klefbom – Justin Schultz
Andrej Sekera – Mark Fayne
Brandon Davidson – Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Kings:

Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Milan Lucic – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Nick Shore – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Andy Andreoff – Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Derek Forbort – Christian Ehrhoff

Jonathan Quick
(unconfirmed)


Zach Laing Written by: