Oilers @ Lightning Game Notes: Awful and Great Numbers

The Oilers’ power disadvantage cost Edmonton the game last night in Washington as they allowed four power-play goals on five kills. The penalty kill has struggled all season, but last night they took it to a new low. Last season, the Capitals’ first-unit power play consisted of John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie, Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin was the only one dressed last night, and the Capitals’ PP still shredded the Oilers. Washington entered the game at 20.9% on PP, good for 16th place, but this morning their PP is now sixth at 27.1%.

And now, tonight, the Oilers must face Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and the Lightning’s dangerous power play squad. It could get ugly quickly, if the Oilers’ PK doesn’t wake up.

— Last night was the 32nd time in franchise history that the Oilers allowed four power-play goals in a game. They are 3-28-1 in those games. The franchise record is six, which took place on February 12, 1984 in Hartford. Edmonton lost 11-0 that night. At least the Whalers had their best players dressed. It’s bad enough to drop four PP targets, but when you do it on a depleted PP unit, it looks even worse.

— Edmonton is now 30th on the KP at 67.9%. They allowed 18 goals from 56 kills – in 13 games. They are averaging 1.38 shorthanded goals against. And the problem is that there is no single culprit. It’s complete teamwork. Attackers, defenders and goalkeepers all need to be better. Take smarter reads, put sticks in lanes, get pucks out when you can, and make more saves. Every aspect of the PK needs to improve or the Oilers will hover around .500.

– Edmonton experienced a series of similar nonsense last year on the KP. Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31, the Oilers’ PK was 67.2 percent over a 27-game streak. It was a major factor in Dave Tippett’s firing. The oddity last season was in their first 20 games of the season, the PK was 87.1%. And in 2020 and 2021, the Oilers had the third-best combined PK at 83.6%. So on a 147-game streak, the Oilers PK was 84.1%, then all of a sudden it dropped for 28 games last season. And then in the last 38 games, the PK rebounded 82.1%, eighth best in the NHL in that span.

“And now it’s awful again, and it’s costing them games.” It will improve as goalies make more saves. Your goalkeeper has to be your best penalty killer and right now neither Jack Campbell nor Stuart Skinner are making enough saves. Between 2020 and 2022, Mike Smith had 0.901 Sv% in 99 games. Mikko Koskinen posted a .882Sv% in 109 games and Skinner had a .864Sv% in 13 games.

This season, Campbell has a .786Sv% (12 goals on 56 shots) and Skinner has a .800Sv% (six goals on 30 shots). The system must be better in front of the goalkeepers, but Campbell must make more saves tonight to give the PK confidence.

– Nikita Kucherov has a 10-game point streak (6-13-19) and has scored a goal in Tampa’s last six games. Tampa’s PP is 4 for 15 in its last three games, after going 1 for 12 in the previous four games. The PP started to heat up again, even without Steven Stamkos scoring. He leads the Lightning with five PP scorers, but hasn’t had any in the last seven games. Stamkos loves playing against the Oilers. He has 10 goals in 15 career games.

– Connor McDavid had two points in his 500th career game last night to give him 724 in his career. This is the sixth most across 500 games.

Wayne Gretzky scored 448-738-1,186
Mario Lemieux counted 393-578-971
Peter Stastny had 266-493-759
Mike Bossy scored 395-362-757
Jari Kurri produced 339-391-730
McDavid at 252-472-724
Sidney Crosby scored 253-453-706
Alex Ovechkin counted 309-324-633

McDavid’s 472nd pass tied it with Bobby Orr fourth behind Gretzky, Lemieux and Stastny.

– McDavid had a stellar start to his career, and it made me wonder what the next 500 games will look like. First, here’s a look at the first five 100-game segments of his career.
Game 1-100: 34-74-108.
Games 101-200: 46-84-130.
Games 201-300: 54-102-156.
Games 301-400: 57-105-162.
Games 401-500: 61-107-168.

He continues to improve. He had 107 assists in his last 100 games after producing 108 points in his first 100 games.

— What is a realistic projection for the next 500 games? McDavid has really upped his game since March 1. In 41 regular season games, he produced 29-46-75 for a 1.83 points/game pace. And that’s not including the 10 goals and 33 points in 16 playoff games where he scored at a ridiculous 2.06 points/game.

McDavid is at a 1.68 pts/game pace over his last 100 games, so let’s assume he holds that for the next 200 games, then in the last 300 he’s at 1.5 pts/game. That would give him 786 points over the next 500 games. Which would equate to 1,508 points in the first 1,000 games of his career. Bonkers. Maybe he dips to 1.40 pts/GP in the 700-1000 matches, but that would still put him at 756 over the next 500 and a total of 1478.

McDavid has a realistic chance of becoming the third-highest scorer in 1,000 games played in NHL history.

Here is a list of the top 30 players with the most points out of 1000 games played.

PLAYER

generalist

g

A

P

1st

Wayne Gretzky

1000

749

1516

2265

Mario Lemieux

915

690

1033

1723

Marcel Dionne

1000

580

794

1374

Phil Esposito

1000

596

737

1333

5th

Steve Yzerman

1000

533

790

1323

Bryan Trottier

1000

474

817

1291

Jaromir Jagr

1000

523

760

1283

Jari Kurri

1000

558

721

1279

Sidney Crosby

1000

468

810

1278

10th

Guy Lafleur

1000

528

747

1275

Dale Hawerchuk

1000

470

795

1265

Paul Coffey

1000

339

910

1249

Joe Sakic

1000

480

765

1245

Pierre Stastny

977

450

789

1239

15th

Marc Messier

1000

452

778

1230

Denis Savard

1000

432

789

1221

Brett Hull

1000

639

524

1163

Yevgeny Malkin

993

449

709

1158

Adam Oates

1000

292

860

1152

20th

Bernie Nicholls

1000

461

683

1144

Gilbert Perreault

1000

447

696

1143

Pierre Turgeon

1000

450

686

1136

Bernie Federko

1000

369

761

1130

Ron Francois

1000

347

780

1127

25th

Mike Bossy

752

573

553

1126

26

Alex Ovechkin

1000

603

515

1118

Bobby Hull

1000

584

531

1115

Luc Robitaille

1000

533

571

1104

Michel Goulet

1000

519

583

1102

30th

Jean Beliveau

1000

465

634

1099

— McDavid needs 651 points in his next 500 games to pass Marcel Dionne for third place on this list. That would be a pace of 1.30 pts/GP. McDavid is currently at 1.45 pts/GP. Is it realistic? Let’s compare the first 500 games and the second 500 games to those of the fastest seven to 500 points.

Players

1st 500 GP

2nd GP 500

Gretzky

1186 (2.37)

1079 (2.16)

The best

971 (1.94)

752 (1.81 on 415 GP)

Stastny

759 (1.52)

480 (1.01 on 477 GP)

Authoritarian

757 (1.51)

368 (1.46 on 252 GP)

Kurri

730 (1.46)

549 (1.10)

McDavid

724 (1.45)

???

Crosby

706 (1.41)

572 (1.14)

Gretzky was a monster. Both Lemieux and Bossy saw their careers cut short due to injury, but both remained highly productive in their second streak of 500 games. Stastny came to the NHL as a 24-year-old rookie, so his production has dropped more over the past 500 games, likely due to his age. How many more points would he have scored if he had come to the NHL at 20 or 21? NHL fans were lucky that he and his brothers Anton and Marian had the courage to leave then communist Czechoslovakia.

I wonder how Crosby would have fared without his concussion issues for games of three seasons. I think injuries are the only thing that will keep McDavid from passing Dionne.

Dionne scored 616 points (1.23 pts/GP) in his first 500 games, but he then scored 758 (1.51) in his next 500 games to reach 1374 in Game 1000. Dionne became more productive , just like Phil Esposito. Esposito scored 561 points in his first 500 games (1.12), then he scored 772 in his next 500 (1.54). From what I’ve seen of McDavid recently, I think it’s very possible that his pts/GP in his next 500 games will be higher than his current 1.45.

Enjoy the ride. It is rare to see a player

– Leon Draisaitl also has a chance to reach the top 30 in most points after 1,000 games. He scored 549 points (1.10 pts/GP) in his first 500 games, but he is already at 1.30 pts/GP in his second streak of 500 games. If he maintains this pace, he will rank 17th ahead of Brett Hull with 1,199 points. Oilers fans get to see two of the most elite players in NHL history every night.

Robert M. Larson