Game 15 Statcap: Lightning 4, Oilers 2

You’d like to think a good team will find a way to win even in bad games.

Maybe that’s what we saw here with the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Edmonton Oilers.

After a tight first period where both teams had a few opportunities and the puck transitioned back and forth between the Oilers’ and Lightning zone, Steven Stamkos converted on a bad giveaway by Edmonton, sniping one past Devan Dubnyk to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead with an unassisted tally. The Oilers would answer with a goal of their own off an own-zone coverage breakdown by the Lightning, as they left the trailer on a rush wide open and Tayler Fedun buried a snap shot to tie the game.

The rest of the first period ended very much in a similar back-and-forth fashion, before Steven Stamkos struck again to start the second off another Edmonton turnover, leading to another unassisted marker. Lars Eller was criticized heavily for calling the Oilers a “junior team” but watching them here, it’s hard not to make that comparision — they always have guys looking to rush up the ice, their breakout patterns were sloppy and poorly executed, and you could almost sense that their top-6 forward group wanted desperately to play offense and not defense.

However, from that second unassisted goal on, the Oilers upped the pressure and controlled the puck, forcing Ben Bishop to make a number of saves on very good opportunities — including a handful of clean brekaways — to preserve the early lead.

The final scoring chance count was 19-11 in favor of the Edmonton Oilers, as the Lightning finally met a team that could match them with speed and skill in transition offense and the Bolts’ blue liners were often caught too far up in the neutral zone, allowing a speedy forward for the Oilers to sneak past them for a clean break.

The defense pairing of Sami Salo (+2/-8) and Victor Hedman (+2/-7) had the roughest night for the Bolts, as they were victimized by the speed of the Oilers top-6, particularly Taylor Hall (+7/-4), who made his return from injury tonight. Valterri Filppula (+1/-5) and Ondrej Palat (+1/-4) also struggled for the Bolts to generate any offense or protect the prime scoring area in their own end.

So while the games was close, the Lightning played fairly evenly with the Oilers; they capitalized on a few glaring mistakes, but for the most part the Oilers — one of the worst teams in the league, and worst puck possession teams — carried the play, which doesn’t bode well for an upcoming road trip against some of the league’s best (in the West), including the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks, all top teams in the NHL by both their record and by their possession metrics.

The Lightning will have to clean up their game moving forward if they’re going to continue their so-far spotless record versus the other conference.

Fenwick (Unblocked Shot Attempts) Timeline via Extra Skater

Following is the scoring chance and zone event data we tracked for this game that is, we believe, exclusive to Bolt Statistics:

Lightning Totals

Scoring Chances

[table “60” not found /]

Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

[table “61” not found /]

Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

[table “62” not found /]

Game Logs

Scoring Chances

[table “55” not found /]

Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

[table “58” not found /]

Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

[table “59” not found /]

We’d like to acknowledge utilizing data from the game report produced by Extra Skater and the Scoring Chances and Zone Entry Nexus applications created by Josh Weissbock.

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