Photo: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
The Oilers fed off the energy at the Rogers Center to start game four, and wrapped up the first period with a two-goal lead and a massive 403% play-by-play contribution advantage.
Unfortunately the Ducks dominated period two even more so, leaving them with a 19.8% contribution advantage after 40 minutes, and a 3-2 lead.
The third period was largely a wash, with the Ducks holding a slim 3.9% contribution advantage, but the Oiler’s Drake Caggiula scored on a rebound to add 45 seconds of overtime before Jacob Silfverberg scored to even the series.
Oiler Contribution Highlights
Connor McDavid posted his highest contribution of the playoffs, but almost 70% of it was in the first period. It was by far his strongest game at 47% above his level of play early in the San Jose series, but he still trailed both Getzlaf and Silfverberg in game four.
Leon Draisaitl continued his strong play on offense but his defensive contribution was down in game four, as well as in games two and three. Could be a sign of fatigue since defensive assignments are the usually the first to suffer, or just the Ducks playing with more tempo.
Milan Lucic was 54% behind Draisaitl but almost doubled his playoff average.
Jordan Eberle is the whipping boy for Oiler fans after he had a disastrous second period shift, turning over the puck a few times and then failing to recover defensively.
In the first round, he performed 17.4% below his regular season average. In the second round vs the Ducks, he is performing 54.1% below his regular season average, effectively contributing less than half as much as he did during the regular season.
Credit to the Ducks defensive ability and to McLellan for recognizing his playoff inexperience and the steep learning curve at this time of year. There are many great players that struggled in their first visit to the NHL post season. The next game should provide an indication of how long those struggles might last.
On the blue line, Andrej Sekera and Kris Russel had similar contributions, both well above their playoff averages.
Darnell Nurse was third and close behind was Matt Benning, both slightly above their playoff averages, but roughly 75% behind the leaders.
It will be tough for the Oilers to have success with Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson occupying the fifth and sixth spots. Troublesome for the Oilers is that both players are trending down. Larsson had his strongest performance of the playoffs in game one vs the Ducks but each consecutive game since has dropped, to his lowest contribution in game four. Klefbom has mixed in some excellent performances with a pattern of one-up one-down through the first seven playoff games, but his last three games have all been well below his average.
Ducks Contribution Highlights
Ryan Getzlaf is running low on superlatives to describe his level of play. McDavid had his strongest game of the playoffs and he was still almost 30% behind Getzlaf in game four. Getzlaf still makes his share of turnovers and occasional defensive lapses but his level of positive contributions has crushed those few negative plays.
Jacob Silfverberg has been excellent in the series and contributed 150% above his regular season average in game four.
Rickard Rackell added to an exceptionally strong threesome for the Ducks, by performing 117% above his regular season average in game four.
Among the Ducks defensemen, Sami Vatanen made huge strides in his second game back in the line-up. He led the Ducks defensemen with a great defensive performance and exceeded his regular season play-by-play average by more than three times.
Cam Fowler was great as usual on the breakout and moving the puck, but had a few issues defensively.
Brandon Montour was close behind Fowler with a fairly clean game managing the puck.
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