Photo: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
The Oilers bend don’t break approach almost worked again, but the Ducks won a close 2-1 game seven with a convincing 53% play-by-play advantage.
Through the series, the Oilers relied heavily on special teams to overcome the Anaheim even strength advantage, but special teams were not frequent and not a factor in game seven.
To make things worse, the Ducks were suffocating defensively, exceeding the Oiler defensive contributions by 144%, and by making 1/3 of the defensive mistakes the Oilers made.
The Duck forwards were good but the Anaheim d-core beat their next best performance in the series by 34%. Every Duck defenseman was well above his series and regular season average except Theodore, who had an unfortunate net front turnover which the Ducks ensured did not ruin another game seven party.
Oiler Contribution Highlights
1. Leon Draisaitl again dominated play-by-play contributions among Edmonton forwards and led all forwards in the game, performing just a shade below his series average. His defensive play had been sliding a bit in the series but he bounced back with a great defensive performance to rank second among Oiler forwards. He finished the series 38% above his regular season average.
2. Connor McDavid was so dominant in the 16/17 regular season that the announcers were almost apologetic for his lack of production in game seven and the series. He finished the game 34% below his series average and no doubt will learn a ton from dissecting the series on a play-by-play basis to see where his contributions pulled back. It is scary to think how much more he could produce if he manages to develop his offensive zone play on par with his ability on the rush.
3. Drake Caggiula and 4. Jordan Eberle were not far behind McDavid. Caggiula was very strong in the last four games against the Ducks and Eberle had his strongest game of the series, led by a strong defensive commitment.
1. Kris Russell was great again, leading the second strongest defensive player in the game by 52%. The harder the opposition pushes, the more puck lanes Russell closes, which limits the opposition’s offense and prevents goals. Much simpler said than done.
2. Oscar Klefbom had a great return to the line-up, beating his next best game in the series by a massive 110%. His offense was 21% above his series average, but his defensive play in game seven was inspiring after struggling through most of the series without the puck.
3. Adam Larsson was steady again, contributing nearly identical to his series average, but with increased defense and lower offense.
Ducks Contribution Highlights
1. Ryan Getzlaf, 2. Andrew Cogliano, and 3. Jacob Silfverberg were all close on a night when the Anaheim forwards were good offensively, and great defensively.
Getzlaf finally joined the common folk with his lowest contribution of the series, but still finished the series an incredible 34% above his regular season average. The fact he still landed as the top Duck in game seven, speaks to how good he really was against the Oilers.
1. Hampus Lindholm, 2. Sami Vatanen, 3. Cam Fowler, and 4. Josh Manson, all at least doubled their series average in game seven. This performance jump is highly unusual for four defensemen in the same game, and Brandon Montour was not far off making it five of six.
Fowler was down 15% offensively from his series average, but embraced the game seven urgency with a massive jump in defensive contributions.
Vatanen was the weakest of the four defensively and still more than doubled his average defensive contributions in the series.
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