Game two looked a lot different than game one.
But that’s the difference that a reset can make for a team like the Edmonton Oilers, who roared back in game two with a dominating 6-0 win over the LA Kings.
Leon Draisaitl on the powerplay, Darnell Nurse shorthanded then Ryan McLeod, Evander Kane and Jesse Puljujarvi all at even-strength made the difference for the Oilers.
Jay Woodcroft’s methodology has exuded patience and tackling what that individual day brings. After Monday, they reset. Credit where it’s due because this mindset and mentality has what got the Edmonton Oilers to this place.
And boy, did it pay off.
More credit’s due to Woodcroft, too, for the way he managed the ice-time all night long.
It was Duncan Keith and Evan Bouchard who played the role of the top pairing, hitting the 20:42 and 21:29 mark respectively, while also leading all Oilers in TOI. But take a look at the stars. Connor Mcdavid played just 16:52. Leon Draisaitl played just 15:10. Darnell Nurse played 18:57.
Guys like Ryan Mcleod (14:37), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (15:52), and Josh Archibald (12:23) to eat some more minutes.
In the big picture, dropping the minutes of some of the Oilers’ most important players is going to be huge for the Oilers. Now, they get ready to head off to Los Angeles for what will be a huge games three and four.
The way the Oilers come out in game three will be interesting to see. Much like the Oilers were shaky in game one at home, I wonder if the Kings might have a little quiver in their game, especially given the fact they just got dominated.
Edmonton opened the game with a much better pace to their play and you could see right away the jitters were gone. They knew what to now expect from playoff hockey and they didn’t let off for one second.
While controlling the pace of play through the entire first frame they wound up outshot by two, but that’s in thanks to a few powerplay chances for the Kings.
Connor McDavid got rung up for boarding Mikey Anderson, a fair call, while Darnell Nurse and Kings forward Sean Durzi got called for roughing from an ensuing scrum. Duncan Keith took the other lone call when he got called for cross-checking Trevor Moore.
But it was the second period where the flood gates opened.
Mike Smith gave the Oilers some oomph to start the frame when 36 seconds in, Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou collided with the netminder who did a, well… great job selling the call.
On the subsequent powerplay, Leon Draisaitl did his thing. From his corner office, he blasted a one-timer shot past Jonathan Quick giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead.
With the Oilers on the penalty kill, five minutes later, it was Nurse who found the back of the net. On the recieving end of a Connor McDavid pass, Nurse wired one to the top corner beating Jonathan Quick.
Ryan McLeod scored arguably the biggest goal of the game, one that really made the game feel like it was out of reach for the Kings. At the 16:05 mark, he found himself in the high slot with Evan Bouchard ripping a cannon from the point. McLeod was somehow able to get the tip on it making it a 3-0 game.
Then in the third, some puck luck came the Oilers’ way. Duncan Keith laid a big stretch pass up the ice to Evander Kane, who flipped the puck towards the net that found it’s way past 4-0.
Jesse Puljujarvi, who had a great game tonight, got off the schneid firing home his first ever playoff goal. 5-0.
Finally, Evander Kane got one more ripping a shot into the top corner to make it 6-0.
- Connor McDavid was around it all night. He had the obvious two assist night, but also laid four hits on the night. No doubt he’s elevated his game in every facet and was a big part of the game two win.
- Evan Bouchard was the Oilers’ best defenceman tonight. I thought he played one of, if not the best game of his young career. He was quiet, calm and cooled and munched minutes at 5×5.
- Credit where it’s due, I thought Josh Archibald had a solid game tonight. He was quiet, which is a good thing, but also laid five hits, blocked two shots and had two takeaways. He didn’t get caved in when it came to his underlying numbers, and that’s always important.
- Mike Smith. He looked solid early in the game and clearly wanted to move on from his big mistake in game one. As a result, he snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak with a massive shutout victory.