Predictable passes plagued Edmonton Oilers

Several predictable passes plagued the Edmonton Oilers in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. They play like a team destined for the playoffs. Each come-from-behind or hard-fought win builds character and boosts confidence.

The message from the coaching staff sticks and those that  don’t become teachable moments. It is good for the Edmonton Oilers the magic of Connor McDavid, Milan Lucic, and Cam Talbot are forces driving the team to the post-season.

McDavid’s generational passing skills creates more Oilers scoring chances than ants on a hill. He dangles, dashes and dances along the boards while looking to feed an open player in the slot, or parked by the crease.

Opposition book on McDavid’s predictable passes

It was good before the opposing teams wrote a book that could predict McDavid’s passing patterns. It was the best of times for the Edmonton Oilers as the opposition watched in amazement the magic McDavid made as slick slot passes wound up in their net.

The book of McDavid predicts his progress along the boards. When he moves along the half wall, he is predictably looking for a player to take his pass. When he skates to a shooting zone in the slot, he is looking to pass to a  player standing by the crease.pass.

If he is setting up for a pass, the opposition knows to tie up any Oilers near the net and keep the goaltender’s sight lines clear. McDavid will complete a perfect pass yet, the  passee will pass looking for the perfect play.

Their opponents know this and keep the Oilers covered. All the shot coaching in the world isn’t going to get Jordan Eberle a goal with his stick tied up or as a defender deflects the out of danger.

If the recipient is near the face-off circle, the book predicts a perimeter pass attempt as the player looks to set up a better shot. It is a mystery why recipients of McDavid passes would rather pass again than pull the trigger.

The best defense against the Oilers’ predictable passes is a stick in the passing lane deflecting pucks into the corner. There is a reason Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot leads the NHL making saves.

When defenders get a handle on the Edmonton Oilers predictable passing patterns, they block pass attempts and nullify scoring chances. Disrupt the Oilers flow and keep the scoring low.

Pouliot’s predictable passes

The Oilers came back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime. With 10 seconds left Ryan Nugent-Hopkins carries the puck into the New Islanders zone with Benoit Pouliot trailing.

To Pouliot’s left  Adam Larsson skates to the face-off dot left of the slot. Nugent-Hopkins slides a perfect pass to Pouliot because he is in the wheelhouse. He has a good shooting lane between Islanders Nick Leddy and Jason Chimera, a forward playing defense. Rather than shoot Pouliot predictably passed to a startled Larsson. As a result, he fell down as the puck slid into the corner.

A perfect pass led to a poor pass allowing the Oilers to pass up a perfect shot. Consequently, the shot not taken does not score.

The Oilers are a playoff team, to make the post-season dance, they need a better pass/shoot ratio like 50/50. To be more  successful, the Oilers need fewer predictable passes as their offense becomes more potent.

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