|Image courtesy of the Edmonton Journal|
|Oilers through Dec. 9:|
|Eakins 2014- 2015||McLellan 2015- 2016||Diff.||Better Under Eakins or McLellan||Comment|
Not being in last has a psychological effect and given confidence to the team, knowing they are not far from a playoff spot.
|League Rank||30 (last)||24||6|
|Goals Per Game||2.20||2.52||0.32||McLellan||McDavid's early points with Hall and Draisaitl tearing it up have pushed this up.|
|Goals-Against Per Game||3.40||2.93||-0.47||McLellan||Despite more youth, McLellan's d-system is better, and Nilsson's goaltending has been better|
|Goals For/Against Differential||-1.20||-0.41||0.79||McLellan|
|Total Goals For||62||73||11||McLellan|
|Total Goals Against||95||85||-10||McLellan|
|Total Goals Differential||-33||-12||21||McLellan|
|Power Play Goals %||12.90||18.50||5.60||McLellan||Number of powerplays is down.|
|Penalty Kill Goals %||80.00||80.90||0.90||McLellan||This one needs to improve.|
|Power Play Goals % vs. Penalty Kill Goals Against % Diff.||-7.10||-0.60||6.50||McLellan||A 6.5% overall improvement in special teams, isn't much but it's the right direction|
|One-Goal Game Record||4-5-5||7-6-2||+3,+1,-3|
This one is psychological. The coach will deploy certain lines and McLellan's line matchups have been much improved.
|One-Goal Game PPG||0.93||1.07||0.14|
|Scoring First Record||5-4-1||9-6-0||+4,+2,-1|
Again, scoring first psychologically gives you confidence and momentum.
|Scoring First PPG||1.10||1.20||0.10|
|Leading After 2 Periods Record||4-0-2||5-0-0||+1,0,-2|
This is very telling. Again, confidence and momentum are huge here.
|Leading After 2 Periods PPG||1.67||2.00||0.33|
Wow. There's the difference right there. Oilers are amazing at the 3 on 3, as predicted by many.
|Shots For Per Game Average||28.4||28.6||0.2||McLellan|
The Eakins stats include the Nelson stats for the whole year. I wasn't able to find up to Dec 9 on this from last year. That said, McLellan is on the same pace. So what's the difference? This tells me that McLellan doesn't carry as much water (ha!) with Corsi. There have been games where the Oilers prevent shots but games were still close. And so confidence in your goalie is everything here.
|Shots Against Per Game Average||30.0||30.4||0.4||McLellan|
|Short For vs. Against Per Game Diff.||-1.6||-1.8||-0.2||Eakins|
So, really, there is no comparison that Todd McLellan has been a more successful coach.
The big difference here is the winning the close games. How is that done? Well, coaching. Coaching that makes the players believe in themselves.
I also think a big turnaround was when Leon Draisaitl was called up and didn't get off to a great start. Taylor Hall told him he was a good player and to relax and have fun. Then, BOOM! The Dr. Drai - Hallsy show exploded.
Yes, we can definitely thank Anders Nilsson for his goaltending prowess. Keep in mind his GGA and Save % are just above the league average, so there's more to it here.
I also stand corrected in that Nurse and Draisaitl should have been on the team day one. They have been tops in their positions and could have made a difference early on enough to squeeze some more wins.
With that in mind, the team is much younger this year with way less experience on defense, especially. Not having Nikitin start and sending him down, keeping Ference benched, sending down Reinhart, and now sending Fayne down is a stark message to the rest of the defense.
I also like that McLellan has put grinders on the top lines. Hendricks and Klinkhammer (remember him?) played with Hall and Draisaitl on the first line. We've even seen Pakarainen in the top six and now Jujhar Khaira has joined Nuge and Eberle giving them that extra umph.
I've said it all along, having a grinder with a complimentary pair is the winning combination. While Purcell isn't a super grinder, he knows how to get the puck and has been better at it since Adam Oates told him to cut his stick by 4 inches (that hurts just saying it!).
It's what Glen Sather used to do with the Boys on the Bus.
And tonight, the Oilers raise his banner proudly into the rafters.