How Do the Oilers Shut Down the Anaheim Ducks Offense?

Let’s start with the player above. Adam Larsson.

How long has it been since the Oilers had a top-end (I really want to say elite) shutdown defenseman? Since Chris Pronger? Jason Smith? Jeff Beukeboom? I am SO happy with Larsson’s performance not only to th eye but also on the stat sheet.

Let’s take a look at how five of the Anaheim Ducks’ top offensive threats have done against each of the Oilers top 6 defensemen in 2016/17.

Let’s preface this by saying that what happens in the regular season doesn’t necessarily mean the same will happen in the playoffs. As everybody knows, anything can happen in a short-term tournament like the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Goalies get hot, grinders start scoring, basically; anything goes. But I want to present to you some metrics that stand out for me.

Nothing special, just something to chew on while you’re waiting for game 1 to start.

I’d like to stick to using Goals for Per 60 (GF60) and Goals Against per 60 (GA60). I’m getting the numbers from stats.hockeyanalysis.com and they are the 5v5 numbers. The reason I want to use the goal scoring metrics are because a team can have all the possession stats they want but unless those translate into goals, they’re meaningless in my opinion, right LA Kings? Besides, goals win/lose the games, no?

Ryan Getzlaf (3g 2A 5Pts in playoffs) vs:

Adam Larsson (36:40 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 3 shots
GF60 – o.00
GA60 – 3.27

Oscar Klefbom (29:50 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 4.02

Andrej Sekera (30:24 TOI) – 0G 2A 2PTS 1 shots
GF60 – 3.95
GA60 – 0.00

Kris Russell (25:54 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 0.00

Darnell Nurse (14:32 TOI) – 0G 3A 3PTS 0 shots
GF60 – 12.39
GA60 – 0.00

Matthew Benning (15:18 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 0 shots
GF60 – 3.92
GA60 – 0.00

Is it safe to assume that the Ducks might try to avoid having Getzlaf on the ice vs. Larsson/Klefbom?

Rickard Rakell (2G 3A 5pts in playoffs) vs:

Adam Larsson (37:04 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 1.62

Oscar Klefbom (31:23 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 1.91
GA60 – 1.91

Andrej Sekera (29:42 TOI) – 1G 0A 1PTS 4 shots
GF60 – 2.02
GA60 – 4.04

Kris Russell (24:00 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 2.50

Matthew Benning (16:29 TOI) – 1G 0A 1PTS 1 shots
GF60 – 3.64
GA60 – 3.64

Apparently, Rakell and Darnell Nurse did not face each other but here we see that Larsson and Klelfbom lead the way in shutting down Rakell’s offense. Interesting enough was Russell and Sekera though. Rakell’s goals against shoots way up when Seksi is on the ice.

Jakob Silfverberg (2g 1a 3pts in playoffs) vs:

Adam Larsson (18:16 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 6 shots
GF60 – 3.28
GA60 – 3.38

Oscar Klefbom (15:57 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 5 shots
GF60 – 3.76
GA60 – 3.76

Andrej Sekera (23:46 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 4 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 2.52

Kris Russell (24:00 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 4 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 3.31

Matthew Benning (11:38 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 0.00

Darnell Nurse ( 11:25 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 1 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 0.00

Right here we see that Jakob Silfverberg spent the majority of his time lining up against Sekera and Russell with no luck. Althought, he did see an uptick in the GF60 metric when facing Larsson/Klefbom. Must be a Swedish thing. lol. Nurse and Benning shut the whole game down when they were on the ice with the Silfver Surfer. No goals for, none against.

Patrick Eaves (1g 2a 3pts in playoffs) vs:

Adam Larsson (25:30 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 2.35
GA60 – 2.35

Oscar Klefbom (23:48 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 2.52
GA60 – 2.52

Andrej Sekera (19:26 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 9.26

Kris Russell (16:15 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 3.69

No Nurse, Benning, or Gryba for Patrick Eaves 5v5 this season I guess. I suppose it makes sense, he’s been on the top line in both Dallas and Anaheim. Seems the Oilers 2nd pairing did quite well vs. Eaves and his magic beard. Well, I’ll tell you something the fine people who study the fancy stats won’t, the Oilers are 4-2 this post season against teams who employ players with ridiculously long beards.

Corey Perry (1g 2a 3pts in playoffs) vs:

Adam Larsson (28:02 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 4.28

Oscar Klefbom (22:46 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 0 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 5.27

Andrej Sekera (23:09 TOI) – 0G 2A 2PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 5.18
GA60 – 0.00

Kris Russell (20:46 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 4 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 0.00

Matthew Benning (15:42 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 5 shots
GF60 – 3.82
GA60 – 0.00

Darnell Nurse (20:50 TOI) – 0G 1A 1PTS 3 shots
GF60 – 2.88
GA60 – 0.00

Eric Gryba (16:23 TOI) – 0G 0A 0PTS 2 shots
GF60 – 0.00
GA60 – 0.00

A couple of things surprised me here, one being how much Darnell Nurse played against Perry 5v5 and how badly Sekera struggled against him.

That’s it! I was thinking of doing up Ryan Kesler too but I don’t consider him to be a player that the Oilers will be wanting to “shut down”. Cogliano is another I see as a player not really considered an offensive threat to the Oilers, so I skipped him as well.

Multiple metrics would probably paint a better picture but I’m a simple guy and I like my hockey the same. Adding more numbers to try and create a more clear idea of who the Oilers should deploy against which Ducks might just muddy the waters that much more though.

Not sure if this helps or hinders your understanding of what the Oilers have in their defense going into the Anaheim series, but I guess I’m just tired of hearing how good the other team’s defenses are and I’d like to hear a bit more on how Kris Russell is helping the team, how Andrej Sekera’s performances have really gone unnoticed for too long, how Oscar Klefbom is an emerging no.1 defender, how Darnell Nurse is really coming into his own as a two-way threat from the blueline, how Matt Benning could very well be the best college signing in a very long time, and lastly, how Adam Larsson might just be the top shutdown defenseman in the NHL.

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I’m the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I’ve been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I’ll never leave my Oilers, no matter what!

They’re with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!