I'm so proud of Yakupov! Nelson even called it in the pre-game presser in saying something like, "I hope he pots a few tonight." What a fun game to watch! I was a little on the edge of my seat in the 3rd period, but the Oilers did look to be in control before Yakupov scored that beauty of a goal; a backhander over Raanta's left shoulder. His goal and total game has got to help his confidence. He needed a confidence boost more than any other Oiler.
Yakupov did almost everything right. He made one mistake resulting in a turnover, but skated like mad to recover and take away the pass in front of Scrivens. The Roy-Yakupov-Pouliot line was magic tonight. In the interview with Prinicipe, Pouliot was still expressing some shame about his bad penalty vs. Detroit (which essentially cost the Oilers the game), but I'm sure his goal and the win have put those feelings to rest. I was hoping that the 2-game experiment with Fraser-Lander-Yakupov would end. They were getting absolutely crushed in possession. Nelson's decision to switch Purcell with Yakupov pleased me before the game. After this game, with Roy getting 3 points, Pouliot with a goal, and Yakupov with a goal and an assist, I expect to see them together next game.
Gordon-Hendricks-Klinkhammer continue to impress. Combined, they were just below 50% Corsi, but with heavy d-zone starts, this is just as good as 50%+. Col. Klink took command of the physical game with 12 hits. Given his size and speed, they aren't soft hits. But what impresses me more is his smart and aggressive forechecking, puck protection ability, and ability to cycle the puck down low with Gordon and Hendricks. This line is golden. With this super-solid checking line, I really cannot see a reason for Gazdic to return to the line up.
The game was exciting and emotional for me, as I'm sure it was for many long suffering fans. On the negative side, Nitikin and Ference pissed me me off. I yelled at each of them a few times. Returning to the positive side, Scrivens was solid once again with a few excellent pad-kicking saves. If I were MacT, I would say visually he's played well his last 10 games. As an analytics blogger, though, I would note that his score-adjusted 5v5 (even-strength) save% over that span is 92.14%, which is the trend we'd all like for him to continue.
Top Corsi forwards: Lander (63%), Purcell (60%), & Fraser (60%).
Top Corsi d-men: Petry (60%) & Ference (58%)
Bottom Corsi forwards: Nugent-Hopkins (40%), Hall (38%), Eberle (38%)
Bottom Corsi d-men: Schultz (40%) & Nitikin (42%)
Chicago ended slightly ahead in the score-adjusted Corsi: 45 to 42. Chicago did out chance the Oilers 20 to 15, according to war-on-ice. The shot chart below shows that many of their scoring chances were up close and personal (i.e., the slot). Indeed, they have the 2nd highest shot rate in the league from the slot; shooting 19% above league average. (Tampa Bay is shooting gangbusters from this area: 27% above league average!)
The Hawks executed the rebound-as-a-pass move to perfection with Saad getting 2 easy goals that way. Toews and Hossa were the rebound passers. Hossa got away with one, though. His trip on Nitikin went unnoticed, which resulted in his 2-on-1 with Saad and the Hawks 2nd goal.
Your feedback and questions are always welcome.
- Walter Foddis (@waltlaw69)
Game statistics courtesy of hockeystats.ca and war-on-ice.com.