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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Clips and Quotes: Connor McDavid OT winner sees Edmonton Oilers eliminate Calgary Flames in 5-4 game five win

They did it!

The Edmonton Oilers have won four straight games sending them to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 2006. It was another wild night in this series that surely didn’t disappoint.

The Clips

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*Note: I probably jumped the gun on Keith here. Upon first glance, it seemed like he blew coverage on that one, but it wasn’t all on him. Really was a lack of communication all around.*

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The Quotes

Connor McDavid

On his game-winning goal: “It was great. Yeah… Hard to put into words what that one meant to me. The guys did a great job of hanging in there all night. Definitely wasn’t our best effort, but we stuck in there and got great performances from a bunch of different guys. Just happy to contribute on a night where maybe I didn’t have my best.” 

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Reflecting on what the Battle of Alberta: “Special, and obviously special to win. I think that’s obviously everything. It was real fun. The fans were amazing in both buildings, especially in Edmonton. The energy and vibe around the city has been amazing.” 

On the Oilers’ maturity, their ability to handle swings in games: “There’s lots of swings in games. Tonight was a bit crazy there at the end of the second. Crazy game one. You got down in game two and kinda just hung in there all series. We found a way to get it done… That was really the moral of the whole series.” 

On Leon Draisaitl’s tremendous series: “He was amazing, that’s all you can really say. It’s hard to put into words really how amazing he was out there. And every game. Every single game he dominated from start to finish. It was fun to watch tonight.” 

Mcdavid on his will to win: “We all want to win. Everybody wants to win. I think our group has been through a lot this year and years past and it’s just made us hungrier and hungrier to be successful. We’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. It’s gotten us to this point and we obviously want to keep going here.” 

On the 1:11 where four goals were scored: “It was a rollercoaster alright. To come out of that all square was big for our group. Obviously, we’d like to have the lead, but to come out of that all square to give ourselves a chance to be one shot away in the third period and in overtime was big.” 

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On what he said to Puljujarvi after his goal: “It was a big goal, big goal, really big goal for Jesse, really big goal for our group. He’s somebody that has stuck with it and for him to contribute tonight with a goal. I thought all series long he was great bringing a lot of energy and physically doing his thing. It was great to see one go in for him.” 

On the tenacity of the Oilers’ group, how much of it comes from Zach Hyman: “It’s fun to watch. He’s really fun to watch out there the way he hunts pucks, the way he holds onto pucks and how much effort he brings each and every night. It really energizes our team. If you can bring half the effort Hyman does, you’re going to have a pretty good night.” 

On the Oilers being halfway to winning the cup, what’s happening this year: “Woody just talks about keeping our picture small just one game at a time, one win at a time. That’s all we’re trying to focus on really. We’ve had eight wins and we’re going to go up against a real good opponent next round, whoever it may be. It’s going to be another really really good test. There will be lots of ups and downs in that series, so we got to be ready for that.” 

On the called back goal: “I didn’t really see the play. I thought Backlund scored the goal, so I didn’t really know what they were looking at. I still haven’t seen it, so I don’t want to make too much of a comment. Certainly glad they saw it our way.” 

On his game-winning goal: “Just trying to get my legs going. They weren’t moving all that well all night, so just trying to focus on skating. Got in on the forecheck and got the puck to Leo. Usually when the puck goes to Leo, something pretty good is going to happen. Tried to get open and he made a great play as always. I’m just trying to shoot it. I had a little second in the slot, and just tried to shoot it on net and it found a way in.”

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Leon Draisaitl

On his own game, McDavid’s game-winner: “It was a really big goal by Connor. Not gonna stand here and talk about myself. I thought our whole team did a great job, other than game one obviously, to kind of adjust and get back to what makes us successful as a team. I’m really, really proud of the guys.” 

On the Oilers coming back in the game: “That’s a good team over there, right? They’ve shown it all season. They’re really hard to play against. We knew they weren’t going to just fold and let us keep going. It was a great battle, I thought. But again, I think it shows our effort in our group, the type of guys we have in our room, the resiliency to stick with it and get back to our game and take control.” 

On what McDavid means to the group: “He’s everything to us. He’s our leader. He’s our go-to guy. He’s the guy everyone looks up to when you need him. He’s done it all season, he’s done it all his career. Last two months, last month or whatever it has been, he’s been amazing for us. Eventually, you just run out of words, so we’ll just leave it at that.”

On the Oilers becoming a stronger, more resilient team, if it’s from past experiences: “As you guys know, we’ve had a lot of down moments. A lot of moments where people were hard on us, we can’t win. And we haven’t won yet. We’re only halfway. It feels good to take that next step for now. It feels good to see we grow as a team, we grow as an organization. I’m really really proud of the guys because this was a hard series. That’s a really good team over there and they made it hard on us. They pushed back, and we had to push back twice as hard. Great, great job by everyone.” 

Draisaitl on 45 goals in five games: “I think maybe the last game of the season here was maybe a little sneak peak of what was going to happen. (laughs) I think everyone expected a tighter checking — not a tighter checking, I think both teams checked hard. It was just a lot of good plays made. A lot of offensively skilled plays being made on both sides that lead to goals. I think no one really expected to score that many goals.” 

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On what the oilers going to the conference finals means to the city, the fans: “It’s a great feeling. I’m sure the people at home are very excited about it. Again, we’re only halfway. We’re very excited, very happy, very proud of what we achieved so far this postseason, but there’s more to be had for us and that’s our ultimate goal. We celebrate this for a couple days, a day, tonight maybe. Be proud of it, happy, but we’re getting ready for the next round.”

On Jay Woodcroft: “Woody’s been amazing for us, no doubt. There’s a calmness to him. There’s an understanding of what needs to happen, what shifts need to happen that help us as a group, settles us down as a group. He’s done a great job so far.” 

On the four goals in 1:11: “It was crazy. I’ve never seen it before, it’s got to be a second or something, right? Oh, you guys know. (laughs) it’s crazy. It happened to quick I felt like I was only out there once and there was four goals being scored. Those are again things we can learn from. When we do tie it up, or we do go ahead, to settle the game down a little more and not go back-to-back shifts with getting scored on. It’s something we can adjust.” 

On the game-winnign goal: “I was celebrating with the fans in the first row there. I actually didn’t see it go in to be honest. I heard the post, then I got snot-bubbled on the other side there. I barely saw it. I heard the post, then saw everyone get excited. Amazing feeling.” 

Jay Woodcroft

Woodcroft opened his post-game press conference with the following remarks: “Before I begin, I just want to pass along some well wishes to a friend of mine, the assistant general manager of the Calgary Flames, Chris Snow who is going through something right now. On behalf of myself, our coaching staff, our players and our organization — and for that matter the city of Edmonton: Chris, everybody up north is with you and your fight right now. I want to congratulate the Calgary flames on a good season.. They pushed us very hard this series. We want to congratulate the leadership of that team, Brad Treliving, Craig Conroy, Brad Pascall, obviously Darryl Sutter and Kirk Muller and their player leadership. Guys like Chris Tanev, and Eric Gudbranson, and Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund who were just excellent in this series and gave us everything we can handle.” 

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On the game: “I thought we didn’t start the game we wanted to start. We fought our way back from 2-0 down. The second period was a little bit of a crazy period, but there were a lot of good things in that period for us as well. In between the second and third, we just talked about the good things we did and how we needed to clean up a few things defensively. I thought we had our best period in that third period. There was some things we could clean up heading into overtime, we talked about that. I think with our group there’s a measure of calm, measure of composure and a strong belief that we have the people in the room that can get us through any type of circumstance. We felt good about our chances.” 

On Leon Draisaitl’s 17-point, record-setting series: “With what Connor’s done, kind of leon’s performance has gone under the radar a little bit. For what he’s doing, I think he has the ability to hold people off and make plays in tight spaces..I think he’s the best passer in the national hockey league, best passer in the world. The amount of plays he makes for our team is unbelievable. To do that with what he’s going through, he’s an absolute warrior. When I walked into that room in the beginning of February, I was bullish on our players because I saw a sincere desire to win. Not just the desire to win, but I saw people willing to pay the price to win.” 

On if he saw 45 goals coming in five games: “I didn’t, especially with the way Calgary defended throughout the season and how hard they played us. Certainly didn’t see giving up nine goals in the first game. That didn’t go according to plan.. But we tightened some things up as the series moved along. We always felt we had the ability to score. For us, it’s sometimes not just about what we’re getting, it’s about what we’re giving up. As the series went on, we got better at that. Tonight wasn’t our finest hour in terms of defending. You talk about 20 men digging in for each other finding a way in less than perfect circumstances, I think tonight was the example of that.” 

On the Oilers’ calm, where it came from, the swings in game and if there was ever a moment he felt the series was out of reach: “No. I never felt that. I think the calm comes from our leadership group. We’ve had some players that have gone through some things. The last six or seven years playoff-wise. We have brought in some players to the organization with a little more playoff experience and I think everyone goes to Duncan Keith and his hall of fame resume and his three cups. But even Brett Kulak went to the final last year. He has an understanding of what it takes. Mike Smith has great experience. I think there’s just a measure of composure with our group. I just keep going back to the fact that we talk about it all the time: we got the people in the room that can get through sticky circumstances. Whether you play four minutes or 24 minutes, your contribution is valued. You’re important on our team. We’ve said this before, there’s room for contribution and greatness from everybody.” 

On the Oilers’ tenacity from guys like Zach Hyman, how it affects others: “Zach is effort personified. You talk about someone who has found his groove here in this series just kind of finding a way to get on the scoresheet every game. I don’t know if you picked it up or not, but I made a flip during the game and I thought it made us better. He’s that type of guy who makes people around him better. You’re talking about the self-sacrifice required to win at this time of year. It comes down to blocking shots, it comes down to making hard plays on the wall. It comes down to guaranteeing pucks behind the other teams d-core. It comes down to a big faceoff, a big save, and we got people that are just willing to work for each other. It’s a fun group to stand behind.” 

On Connor McDavid’s game-winner, the emotion behind it “I think the Edmonton Oilers organization is a proud organization. We’re proud of our history. We’re proud of the hall of fame people that have come through our organization. We’re proud of the different runs the team has gone on throughout the years… But our team wants to contribute to that type of history. Our team is looking to make its own mark. The emotion of that moment, I think was an important moment for our team. But that said, we’re going to the round of four, the third round of the playoffs where there’s four teams left. Right now, we’re going to enjoy this. I’m gonna tell ya, we’re gonna enjoy this one. However long the flight is back from Calgary. o do this against your arch-rival on close them out in their building and close them out in the fashion we did we will enjoy it. We’ll rest up and recuperate and we know that whoever comes out of that other series is going to be a really good opponent for us.” 

On McDavid saying he didn’t have the legs tonight, putting Hyman on the top line: “I thought we were a little sluggish as a group, not just Connor. But as a group, I just thought there was more to give. Just flipping Kane and Hyman the way we did. I thought it boosted Connor and Leon a little bit. It allowed us to get Kane on the matchup we wanted, and it gave us a little spark. It doesn’t always work like that, but tonight it did.”

On going to Kane on the bench ahead of the second, what he said to him: “I just let him know what was going to happen there. I didn’t say it in the room in between the intermission. I wanted him to understand clearly what I was looking for and have an understanding of what we were trying to do as a team.” 

On the overturned Coleman goal: “We were pretty confident they were, it was going to be called that way. We thought it was, but you never know and we’re fortunate it did go our way.”


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]