Edmonton Oilers

Breaking down the Oilers’ record against their likely playoff opponents

The Boston Bruins became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2022–23 NHL playoffs last week. As we approach the end of the regular season, clinching and elimination scenarios will become a daily occurrence, and with the Edmonton Oilers’ surge in the second half, they should be a lock to qualify for the postseason dance.

However, where the Oilers finish in the Western Conference is all but confirmed. The Oilers currently sit in the first wild card spot, but could easily jump into a top three spot in the Pacific Division. Home ice is very much on the table with two games left against each of the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights.

The West is definitely not like the East that has had playoff matchups all but decided for months now. The Oilers could match up against a number of teams in the playoffs. Right now, the likely opponents are the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Golden Knights, Kings, and Seattle Kraken. Let’s take a look at how they’ve fared against these teams so far this season.

Edmonton’s results in potential playoff matchups

The Oilers have played each of these teams at least twice so far this season with the results shown below.

TeamGPWLOTLPTSPTS%Remaining
Games
DAL211020.5001
MIN312020.3330
VGK220041.0002
LAK202000.0002
SEA321040.6671

So far, the Oilers only have a winning record against Vegas and Seattle. They have not fared well against the Kings this season, losing both their matchups so far, but that could change with two games left on the schedule. Conversely, they have won both games against Vegas, but there are still two games left in that season series.

The Central Division teams who are jockeying for top spot have been a very even matchup for the Oilers. There is just one game remaining against Dallas, but regardless of how that game ends up, a first round matchup between a wild card Oilers team and the winner of the Central is sure to be a well fought affair.

5v5 analytical results for the Oilers

The data below is courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com and is taken at 5v5.

TeamCF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
DAL53.4%48.3%41.7%50.1%
MIN48.4%40.9%40.4%42.9%
VGK49.5%52.7%62.9%56.4%
LAK55.9%53.0%51.3%49.6%
SEA52.1%55.5%63.3%56.8%

In terms of shot attempts, the Oilers controlled play in their games against most of these teams, and it was essentially even against Vegas and Minnesota. However, looking deeper at scoring chances and high-danger chances, there is a much larger spread.

The Oilers have not done well against the Wild this season at allβ€”which their record confirms. They have absolutely bled high quality chances to the Wild, and have not been the better team over the two games so far. Ditto for Dallas; the Stars have been able to general a higher quantity of high quality opportunities.

Against Vegas and Seattle though, the Oilers have dominated. They’ve created high quality chances much more frequently and have controlled those games overall. Games against the Kings have been tilted towards the Oilers, so we’ll see if the two remaining games on the calendar go the Oilers’ way.

Goals scored

This data is at all situations, looking at total goals scored and allowed by the Oilers against all five teams, and the Oilers’ team save percentage across all games.

TeamGFGAGoal Diff.SV%
DAL89-10.857
MIN9900.913
VGK86+20.906
LAK49-50.871
SEA149+50.903

The Oilers have a positive goal differential against just two teams, Vegas and Seattle. They have a negative goal differential against two teams, Dallas and Los Angeles. They are even against Minnesota.

For the most part, the Oilers’ offence has been clicking against these teams, except for the games against the Kings. For whatever reason, the Oilers can’t seem to get going against this team. However, they’ve also faced adversity in the crease when playing the Kings, putting up a save percentage of just .871. This is a failure on both sides of the ice, something that needs to be addressed in the team’s last two games against Los Angeles.

Goaltending has been fairly good against the rest of these teams, except for Dallas. The Oilers’ goalies haven’t done a very good job stopping the Stars offence, but any incremental increase in that area should push the Oilers over the top as they are only -1 on goal differential against Dallas.

Edmonton’s best matchup

So far, the best matchup for the Oilers looks to be the Seattle Kraken. The Oilers have scored a ton of goals against Seattle, have put up decent goaltending, and have won two of the three matchups this season. For this matchup to happen though, the Oilers and Kraken need to finish second and third in the Pacific, which means the Oilers need to work their way into a Pacific spot and knock the Kings back into a wild card spot.

Edmonton’s worst matchup

The worst matchup for the Oilers appears to be the Wild. The Kings have won both games against Edmonton, but the Wild have played much stronger games against the Oilers and have controlled play across the board. Based on the information here, the Wild are definitely the toughest matchup. However, this matchup is also one of the least likely. For it to happen, the Oilers have to finish in a wild card spot, the Wild have to win the Central, and the two teams have to match up according to wild card rules.

The Oilers’ face an important stretch

Regardless of who the Oilers play this year, this final stretch of games is key. They have remaining games against Dallas, Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle, all of which should be considered playoff primers for the team. It’s imperative that they enter these games with a playoff mindset, and use them as preparation for the postseason.


Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

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