Clips and Quotes: Edmonton Oilers ‘hunt’ LA Kings in game seven, 2-0 victory

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Man, what a night.
At the time of putting this article together, it’s been a little over two hours since the Oilers closed out the game and it all feels surreal. What a night, what a performance, what a win, what a team. They’re far from done, so it seems.
Quote of the night: “Yesterday, we had a really good meeting that set us up for today. We talked about hunting the game. We wanted to hunt the game. We didn’t want to be on our toes and get after this game. When we come up with a game plan, it’s not for 10 minutes. It’s not for 20 minutes. It’s for the full 60 minutes. That’s a mindset we wanted to coach.” – Jay Woodcroft, talking about the Oilers never letting up in the game.

The Clips

The Quotes

Connor McDavid

On rating this among moments in his nhl career: “It’s definitely up there. But that being said, it’s just one round. There’s a long way to go here. We’re happy to move onto the second round, but that’s all we did. Survive another day.”
On the Oilers playing a complete game offensively and defensively: “It feels good to do it in that fashion. There’s always a lot of talk about the defensive side of the game, and for our group to step up in a big moment and play like that in a 2-0 win with Schmiddy playing great and getting contributions from everyone, it feels good.”
On if there was a first-round hump the oilers needed to get over: “Yeah, of course. It feels good to win a playoff round. It’s only my second that I’m a part of. It doesn’t happen as regularly you think, so it’s definitely a special feeling.”
On Mike Smith, his steadiness and his play after game one: “It just goes to show that series are long, and there’s ups and downs through the whole series. Obviously, game one, not the result we wanted, and Schmiddy owned up and took a lot of blame on himself, which I didn’t think he necessarily deserved. He played well, our group wasn’t good enough in front of him. The disappointment of game five, but to come back in game seven to get the win just shows how long the series is. You got to stick with it.”
On logging big minutes in games six and seven: “I really don’t think about it, I just go when woody calls my name. I try not to think too much about it. I feel like I can play big minutes, I can play smaller minutes too. I’m happy with whatever.”
On the relief of scoring the second goal: “I thought we had a lot of chances to make it 2-0 even late in the second and early in the third. You don’t like missing those chances. They were kind of hanging around, so it feels good to be able to go up 2.”
On Leon Draisaitl’s game: “I thought he was amazing. He was just solid, just his usual self. I thought he was amazing.”
On the Oilers playing a tight game: “It’s just using lessons from previous mistakes. We’ve made those mistakes in the past, and we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot tonight, which is obviously a positive.”
On why the Kings were such a tough out: “They’re so structured. They play such a sound game. Todd has done an incredible job with that team and their players have done such a great job of buying in and they play a stingy game. They do a good job of getting pucks to the net and kind of breaking you down that way.”

Cody Ceci

On his goal, the game-winner and his offensive play: “Just getting a lot of opportunities lately playing with these guys. I found myself getting more chances, more opportunities to chip in offensively. I’m just trying to play with as much confidence as much as I can. We’re just trying to go on a run here.”
On the Oilers defensive play, what changed to in games six and seven: “I think it had a lot to due with work and dedication to what we were doing down the stretch. Just trying to stay up on them as much as possible. A hard track and try to turn it over and spend as little time as we could in our zone. I thought we really bought in the last couple games, played desperate and showed we can be a tough team to beat.”
On if it was the most important goal of his career: “Yeah, maybe. It was definitely an important one. I was happy to see it go in, and to have the building go crazy like that, it’s a pretty good adrenaline rush. It’s one I’ll remember for a while.”
On if he has any sympathy for the LA Kings defencemen who had to go up against mcdavid: “Yeah, definitely. He’s a world-class player. We’ve got to see him in practice all the time, and he has another level in games, especially this series. There’s definitely some sympathy there, but I mean, I’m just happy he’s on our team.”
On what made McDavid so good in the first round: “It’s his will to win. He’s put a lot of time into this organization, he’s worked really hard to be the best in the world. You definitely saw his will to win in this series. It was fun to be a part of.”
On what it’s like on ice level as the fans erupted in the building: “It’s pretty awesome. You can even hear them now hanging around. While we were warming up upstairs, we could see them lining up across the street to just go crazy and support us with everything they have. It makes a huge difference and us coming second place and getting this game at home was big for us. They made a difference for sure.”
On if there’s a preference of Dallas or Calgary in the second round: “No, I think we’ll probably just watch the game tomorrow. Either team is playing great right now. Every series is pretty close. Either way, we’ll have to refocus and get ready for the second round.”
On if the Oilers get a couple extra minutes to celebrate: “Yeah, we’ll have a little bit of fun tonight. The job is far from over. We have to refocus and get ready for round two.”
On being where he is with the Oilers win, vs. Where the Leafs are now with their loss: “I don’t want to compare it too much. I played with a lot of those guys and had a great time there. They’re a bunch of great players. Different series, they had a great season.”

Leon Draisaitl

On how big this moment is: “It’s big, of course. We’re obviously not done. This isn’t the end. We haven’t reached anything, but it feels good to do it with this group. We’ve been through stuff all season through a lot of years, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of negative stuff. It feels great to have this feeling right now. Obviously, adversity in this series being down 3-2, going into LA, grinding one out, coming home and finding a way. It feels good.”
On his injury situation: “I’m fine.”
On if there was a first-round hump the Oilers needed to get over: “You got to win the first round to advance, right? That’s where it starts. There’s 16 teams that are really, really good teams. It’s tough to get past that first round. We saw it in our series. LA is a really good team, but stuck with it, grinded and eventually ended up being successful. That first series is a tough one. Getting over that hump feels good right now, but like I said before, we plan on continuing to play for a while.”
On McDavid: “He’s the best player in the world and I think he showed that in the last two games. There’s lots of skill in him, that’s a given, but it’s the will. You can see it in his eyes, you can feel it every shift he’s out there. He’s determined and there’s just no way he, or us, were gonna be denied. He led the way. He was amazing. Great job by him.”
On if something is clicking with the Oilers: “I think we’ve done it all year though. We’ve faced a lot of adversity all season. A lot of ups and downs, a lot of people that counted us out long before the playoffs started, and we grabbed it. I think that shows what kind of a group we are. We’re a tight group, we love playing for each other, we know that there’s nights where we’re not at our best, but it’s adversity and I think this team does a really, really good job of facing adversity and coming out on top. Going into la in game six, the season on the line, I think we played a heckuva game and then tonight again. Shows a lot of character.”
On Ceci, the way he stepped up: “I think he’s just so steady, right? Steady eddy. He’s so good at what he does. You just know every single day what you’re going to get from Cessil (laughs) sorry. It’s amazing for a guy like him to step up the way he has all playoffs really, the whole season. He’s just been so steady. For a guy like him to chip in offensively is big. Game-winner in game seven. Good for him.”
On what he and Todd McLellan said in the handshake line: “He congratulated me, or us I guess. I have a really good relationship with todd. Kind of brought me into the league and learned a lot under his time here in Edmonton. Great coach. His teams are playing well for him. Really good coach, really good person. It was obviously nice to beat him, no secret about that.”
On the energy in the building: “It’s everything. It’s what we play for, right? Game seven, at home. You can’t write this any better. These people are clearly very passionate, very obvious. (laughs as fans outside chant ‘we want the cup). It’s great for them. Obviously, we play within our group, we play for each other and our team, for the guys in the room, but we also do it for the city. We do it for the fans, the people that support us, that spend a lot of money watching us in these games and really cheering us on when it’s not going so well, or when it’s not going our way. It’s a great feeling to be able to take that step and do it partly for them as well.”

Mike Smith

On how big this moment is: “It’s an experience, right? It’s an experience you can gain confidence from and obviously being down and never panicking, going to la and playing a real solid hockey game to get it back to home ice into game seven, then playing the best game of the series in this moment, you can’t help but gain confidence from that. Getting through the first round has been a crook here for a little while, so I think it’s a big boost for this group.”
Smith on McDavid taking the team on his back, Draisaitl playing 22 minutes tonight: “I mean, our best players have been our best players this series. If you want to win, if you want to get through one of the hardest rounds to get through, your best players have to be at the top of their game or better and both guys were horses for us, and leaders and everyone else followed and did their jobs. Like we talked about, it’s not just on Connor and Leon, but they sure did a heckuva job to push in the right direction and a lot of other guys filled in the gaps and got the job done. Tremendous effort by both guys to kind of boost us in the right direction. When the game was on the line, those guys were there playing their best hockey.”
On how he settled in after game one if his experience helped him move on: “It helps. Mistakes are going to happen. You obviously don’t want to cost your team a game in the playoffs. It was what it was, it wasn’t going to change, so it was about moving on and making sure you put your money where you mouth was next game and try to battle back. On a personal level, as a team, we grabbed it. We played our best hockey in the most important games of the series. Every game is important, but when you’re down 3-2 going into an opponent’s building, you come out with a win and come home and play the way we did tonight, it showed a lot about this team and how we came together as a group and played. It was easy to play hard for this group tonight and obviously throughout the course of the series. It’s a great group to be around, and it’s been a pleasure to play with these guys all season long, and battle with them. It’s put us in a position where we’re moving into the second round. Anything can happen. You just have to believe in what we’ve got here. We’ve battled through some adversity in the series, and overcame that. That can only work in your favour, and like I said before, build confidence moving forward.”
On the fans, the last five minutes: “It’s unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a building so loud and crazy in all my career. I’ve been in the playoffs a couple times, and been in some wild buildings, but that was pretty incredible to be a part of. The last couple years with no fans, it’s sucked to be honest. Even not getting through, but playing with nobody in the building, it was disappointing. Like I said, to win a game seven at home in front of your fans that gave us a boost right from the drop of the puck. It’s an incredible feeling and one you’ll grasp onto and hopefully take us into the second round with the same momentum.”
On enjoying the moment of a game seven, it being his first: “To be honest, I wasn’t really approaching it like a game seven. I know it was an important game, but I just wanted to be calm in there for our group. It was pretty calm in there to be honest with the way we played. Like I said, we played our best game and most important game of the series tonight. When it was easy to get caught up in the emotions of the game with how loud the rink was, we used that energy in a good way tonight and really determined effort by our group that. We weren’t going to be held without winning that hockey game. Played on some good teams, played in the playoffs a little bit, but to play a game seven at home and to win is obviously a moment I’ll remember for a long time. Just the energy in here and this group of guys has been a special group all season long. There’s a lot of work left to do. Obviously, we wanted to enjoy this. To get through the first round is difficult, it’s been a while here, but we want to enjoy it then prepare ourselves for another big test in the second round.”
On McDavid: “I could be here for a long time telling him all the things he can do. He was a determined player and you could see it in his face that he wanted it more than anybody else on the ice. Everyone else just jumped on his back and followed his lead. He can change direction so fast, he’s got unbelievable vision, he can shoot the puck quick, he can find players that are open — he’s a special talent. When you can raise your play after what he’s done in the regular season to what he’s done in the playoffs now, it’s easy to jump on board and give it everything you have for a captain like that.”
On if he’d rather play Calgary or Dallas in the second round: “(shrug, smile) I don’t really care.”

Jay Woodcroft

Woodcroft opens by speaking about Dustin Brown: “I just wanted to congratulate Dustin Brown on one heckuva career. He’s a champion, played his last hockey game tonight. I was proud I got to witness his last game tonight. I’d also like to congratulate the Los Angeles Kings and their leadership under Luke Robitaille, Rob Blake, Todd McLellan, Trent Tawney, and their player leadership: Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Philip default and Jonathan Quick.”
On the series: “I thought that was a heckuva series, and it’s a credit to both teams for playing as hard as they did. As we move forward here, that series pushed us in a certain way that made us grow. We learned a lot about ourselves over the last two weeks and the price that needs to be paid to have success at this time of year. I’m proud of our group and looking forward to moving onto round two, whoever that is against.”
On the Oilers’ play in game seven: “I thought we tried to put an emphasis on playing the game right. Making sure that our numbers were tight, there wasn’t big separation between our players. Ever since Dave Manson and I came up from Bakersfield, our work back to our own end has been a real focal point for our team. Being organized in how we work back to our own end. I thought tonight, in one of the most pressure-filled situations of our year — in fact, in the last two elimination games we were facing — we had habits that held up under pressure and that’s a good sign for us moving forward.”
On if he’s seen a more impressive performance than McDavid in games six and seven: “No. You guys were witness to what I was witness too. I just had an ice-level seat. For me, I remember when he cracked 100 points, and then he set a career-high in points this year. So many great individual highlights and the one thing I kept coming back to is he’s driven to win. He’s a fantastic teammate, he’s a leader who leads by example, and I’m happy for him. Two really, really good hockey games on his part.”
On the Oilers defence: “When you come into a new program, which dave and I did, we didn’t come in with preconceptions about anybody. I had experience with guys in the American League, or guys I had been around in Edmonton, but we wanted to coach with our eyes and give guys opportunities, fair opportunities, to allow them to show us what they could do,and couldn’t do. I think I’ve said it over the last three months, I think we have really good players. We’re bullish on our players. We think we have the necessary ingredients in that dressing room that can play against any team, any individual and as coaches, we try and trust out players.”
On the Oilers never sitting back in the game: “I think that’s the mindset we wanted to have. Yesterday, we had a really good meeting that set us up for today. We talked about hunting the game. We wanted to hunt the game. We didn’t want to be on our toes and get after this game. When we come up with a game plan, it’s not for 10 minutes. It’s not for 20 minutes. It’s for the full 60 minutes. That’s a mindset we wanted to coach.”
On the Oilers playing a 2-0 game in a series clincher: “I thought there was numerous games down the stretch, big games where we saw a lot of really good signs against good hockey teams. That prepared us for these type of moments. Last game we won 4-2, but that was an excellent defensive game as well. Tonight, to finish it off with a 2-0 win, that’s a credit to the self-sacrifice, it’s a credit to their work for each other, it’s a credit to mike smith for coming up big when we needed him. I think our mindset now is to enjoy this tonight, recalibrate tomorrow. It’ll be a day off for our players, and by the end of the evening, we’ll know who we’re playing.”
On Leon Draisaitl, his competitiveness, desire: “He’s a warrior, just an absolute warrior. He’s a big strong guy who, like Connor, is driven to win. I think that type of mindset, when you see people play through stuff, it is contagious and they’re a big reason, a huge reason, why we’re at where we’re at which is we’re advancing to round number two.”
On how big the win was for the Oilers franchise: “I think it’s an important win. I don’t think we’re planning on stopping here. We’re trying to get some rest and some regeneration and prepare for the next challenge. We said this to our group yesterday: ‘we didn’t come this far just to come this far.’ we’re here to progress, and continue to move our needle forward.”
On what it’s like coaching in Edmonton, this atmosphere: “It’s a dream come true for me. The atmosphere, the city of Edmonton is behind us. The rink was electric today. For me, I enjoy when teams come together and really, really lay it on the line for each other. That’s where I get my juice. It’s why I do what I do, and I’m thankful for the people I get to work with and for the hard effort of our players. We know anything worthwhile is achieved through hard effort, and I think we saw that tonight.”

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 zach@oilersnation.com.

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