What a night. What a series. What a time to be alive.
When the season started I don’t know how many of us truly believed that the Oilers would be a playoff team. As the season progressed, I think a lot of us were waiting for something to go wrong and for the wheels to fall off, but when it didn’t happen it was almost like we had to relearn how to playoffs. We had to relearn what it meant to watch meaningful games beyond November. Now that we’re here I just want the train to keep rolling.
BEST OF THE FIRST ROUND
Now that the Oilers are through to the second round, I wanted to take a minute to run through some of the best moments that happened against the Sharks. I’m sure I’ll miss some things but here are a few things that stuck out to me.
- Zack Kassian, destroyer of worlds. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy turn around his public perception quite like what Zack Kassian has done. He was public enemy #1 around here for the Gagner high stick and now he’s inspired dudes all over the Nation to grow chops and look like absolute beauties.
- Bouncing back after a 7-0 loss is no small feat and the Oilers did that and then some. After getting pumped in Game 4, there was plenty of negativity around the team and the bounce back game they played back in Edmonton was exceptional.
- If someone had told you that the Game 5 winner would be scored by David Desharnais and that the series clinching goal would be scored by Anton Slepyshev would you have believed them? The fact that the Oilers won the series without Connor McDavid scoring all of the goals/points was something that needs a mention. The Oilers got timely scoring from their bottom six and that’s a big reason they’re moving on.
- They may not have put up the kind of points they’d want to but the EberNucic line was rock solid at shutting down Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton aside from the Game 4 blowout. Nuge really stepped up as a shutdown centremen and his work shouldn’t go unnoticed despite the lack of points on the board.
- Adam Larsson was an absolute warlord in Game 6 as he played 26:10 of rock solid defence. After Klefbom went down with the flu and missed all of the third period, Larsson really stepped up and shut the Sharks down at every possible turn. It’s the games like last night when you really understand why Chiarelli made the move to bring him in.
- Cam Talbot is the goalie we’ve all been hoping for since Roli and the Oilers acquired him for only three draft picks. In hindsight, that trade was an absolute steal for the Oilers and he has been everything they’ve hoped for and more.
- Leon Draisaitl took over Game 5 and 6 and was to much for the Sharks to handle. The big man put up three points in the last two games and his emergence as an unstoppable power forward couldn’t have come at a better time. Not to mention, find me a better passer on the backhand than Draisaitl – I’ll wait.
- Oscar Klefbom’s tying goal in Game 5 was a rocket and I’m pretty sure Martin Jones still hasn’t seen it. Sportsnet had the shot clocked at 100.5mph and the sound it made when it banked in off the post still rings in my ears today. Beautiful.
- I was lucky enough to go to three games in the first round and the crowd at Rogers Place was amazing. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard our crowd get that loud and to be a part of it was really something special. Standing applause for all of you.
I know there has to be some stuff that I’m missing and I’d love to hear your best moments from the first round. Hit me up in the comments section and let me know what stuck out to you from the first six games of the playoff run.