Photo: Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire
The Edmonton Oilers are proving that a few great moments can be more valuable than consistency as they fought back from a two goal deficit to win game five in overtime.
Even though at times they appear out matched by a more experienced and more detailed Sharks team, they have used the “Big Play” approach to gain a 3-2 stranglehold in the series.
The frequency of the Oiler’s miscues have been higher but for the most part they have managed to avoid many back-to-back mistakes, and quickly clean up the ones they are making, with the exception of game four of course.
Forward Contributions – Oilers
1. Leon Draisaitl admitted he could play much better and then proceeded to dominate game five by performing 103% better than the second spot Oilers forward, and 75% better than the leading Shark forward, Joe Thornton. He did his best McDavid impersonation by being a threat almost every shift.
2. David Descharnais was the spark in the third period when the Oilers lacked energy and seemed resigned to accept defeat. He made a few good plays leading up to his great carry into the Sharks zone and pass to Klefbom for the tying goal. After five games Descharnais is performing 61.3% above his 16/17 regular season average.
3. Jordan Eberle had his strongest contribution of the playoffs, at 2.9% above his regular season average.
Forward Contributions – Sharks
1. Joe Thornton, 2. Michael Boedker, and 3. Patrick Marleau led the Shark forwards in game five. Look for Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture to rebound in game six after being well below their regular season average in game five.
Defensemen – Oilers
**1. Oscar Klefbom, 2. Andrej Sekera, and 3. Kris Russell all had strong games and performed above their regular season averages. Klefbom continues to excel offensively and defensively in the playoffs after a breakout regular season.
Defensemen – Sharks
1. David Schlemko followed up his great game four with a strong game five to lead the Sharks blue line. 2. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and 3. Brent Burns were in the second and third spots, with Vlasic well above his season average, and Burns about half of his.
After five games, Burns is 23.6% below his regular season average even though he still leads all defensemen in contribution in the series. Klefbom has delivered more key plays at key times than Burns has, which is a great head to head example that captures the formula the Oilers have used to get the better of the Sharks…at least so far.
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