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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What went wrong?

Welcome, friends, to a draft lottery edition of the Mailbag which means we’ve got an opportunity for you to not only learn something but to also avoid your families for a few minutes. In this week’s Mailbag, we take a look at what went wrong between the Oilers and Blackhawks, other playoff series, and a lot more. As always, I need questions for next week so if you have something you’d like to ask you can email me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter. Have a great week, everybody!

July 28, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal during the first period of an exhibition game against the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on July 28, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mandatory Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via USA TODAY Sports

1) James asks – Describe the Oilers/Blackhawks series in three words.

Robin Brownlee:

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Spit the bit.

Jason Gregor:

No consistent intensity.

Cam Lewis:

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Sports are pain.

Zach Laing:

We should worry.

Baggedmilk:

Result they deserved.

July 28, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; A general view of Rogers Place is seen before an exhibition game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on July 28, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mandatory Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via USA TODAY Sports

2) Jayson asks – The Oilers were heavily favoured in the series against Chicago but didn’t at all look like what was expected. What went wrong and how did the Blackhawks pull this one out?

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Robin Brownlee:

Oilers came up short in too many aspects of the game. They didn’t play with enough intensity. They didn’t get good enough defensive play and goaltending. They played too much of an outside game — didn’t get enough pucks and bodies to the net.

Jason Gregor:

They didn’t defend as they had from January to the end of the regular season. And they didn’t get enough saves. The offence wasn’t an issue, although PP had a chance to win game four. I also felt the entire team didn’t battle hard enough in key areas of the ice.

Cam Lewis:

It didn’t seem as though they took Chicago seriously as an opponent from the beginning. After mailing it in and losing Game 1, there was really no margin for error and they simply weren’t good enough to pull off a comeback. Credit to the Blackhawks, they played well.

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Zach Laing: 

Edmonton’s defensive game completely failed them and the team didn’t get saves when they needed them. A veteran team outworked Edmonton and instead of standing their ground, they folded like a cheap deck of cards.

Baggedmilk:

There were far too many moments when they were simply outworked and that’s a problem. Chicago also got better goaltending, which was pretty bad given that Corey Crawford was bad all series except for game four.

Feb 1, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Zack Kassian (44) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

3) Evan asks – We all know that McDavid and Draisaitl are incredible players but it still seems to me like the Oilers are shy on scoring depth, as was evident in their series with Chicago. Who did you like over the four games and who did you think really needed to step up their games?

Robin Brownlee:

They are shy on scoring depth, especially with Tippett going away from the RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto line until late in the last game. They didn’t get any offensive push from the blueline. Zack Kassian was somebody I thought might be a difference-maker in the series but did almost nothing and didn’t play much. I didn’t like Nurse much. McDavid, Draisaitl and RNH, as you’d expect, were the best of the bunch.

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Jason Gregor:

Offence wasn’t their problem. Chicago had 2nd worst Sv% and only Edmonton and Winnipeg allowed more goals in the qualifying round. Oilers lost because they couldn’t defend and get key stops. It would be nice to find another top-six winger down the road, but that didn’t cost them this series.

Klefbom, Nurse, Larsson and Bear all needed to defend better.

Cam Lewis:

The issue was more keeping the puck out of the net than it was generating offence. The blueline looked rock-solid for a good chunk of the regular season but that simply wasn’t the case against the Chicago. The Hawks were able to consistently set up in the offensive zone and get traffic in front of the net.

Zach Laing:

Top-six guys were okay to great and some of the bottom-six played well. Neal and Chiasson showed well as did a guy like Athanasiou. Edmonton scored the second most goals in the play-in round with 15, but allowed the most in 16 goals. That’s where they need to clean it up.

Baggedmilk:

McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins were fine. I thought Athanasiou played about as well as he has as an Oiler but that’s not really saying much. I was incredibly disappointed with Kassian. I didn’t think he played with much energy and looked about as disinterested as one could look during a playoff game.

4) Brett asks – Is anyone else surprised by the favourited teams that were bumped out of the playoffs? In your opinions, who was the most surprising qualifying round exit?

Robin Brownlee:

Surprised Montreal, Chicago and Arizona won. Pittsburgh losing to Montreal is the biggest upset.

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Jason Gregor:

Edmonton. Chicago was ripe for the picking. And Edmonton didn’t play well. Montreal outplayed Pittsburgh, so them winning wasn’t as big of a surprise as they controlled that series more than Chicago did v. Edmonton. Of all the teams who lost I think the Oilers had the best chance to win and blew it.

Cam Lewis:

Pittsburgh getting knocked off by Montreal was the biggest upset, followed by Edmonton losing to Chicago. But I’m not sure it’s overly shocking to see a team like Chicago or Montreal pull off an upset in a quick, five-game series when they have nothing to lose.

Zach Laing:

I mean, it has to be Pittsburgh right? I didn’t think Montreal had a chance. Then again, I’m still shocked Edmonton lost to Chicago so it’s a bit of a toss up for me.

Baggedmilk:

Pittsburgh losing to Montreal was pretty crazy. I didn’t see that one coming, but I guess that’s what happens when you get timely scoring and your goalie gets red hot in the playoffs.

Photo: Twitter.com/NHL

5) Yves – From a pure enjoyment standpoint, which play-in series has been the most exciting to watch?

Robin Brownlee:

Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets. Crazy comebacks from three-goal deficits by both teams in this one.

Jason Gregor:

Arizona and Nashville was quite good. Minnesota/Vancouver and Calgary/Winnipeg were feisty, while Columbus and Toronto had the two most exciting games; three and four. But the other three games weren’t as good. I’d probably choice Ari/Nash, which is funny cause going in that series intrigued me the least.

Cam Lewis:

The Leafs and Blue Jackets was wild. It’s a shame that Game 5 didn’t end up being more of a classic after what went down in Game 3 and Game 4.

Zach Laing:

Gotta go with Toronto-CBJ. What a wild series it was.

Baggedmilk:

The first few games of the Flames/Jets series were fun and I also like the “who knows what’s going to happen” vibe from Toronto/Columbus.

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