G8+ Game Notes: Oilers have home-ice advantage over Canucks as series shifts to Edmonton

Edmonton Oilers L.A. Kings
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
1. Despite a frustrating Game 1 loss that featured a blown 4-1 lead, the Oilers are returning to Edmonton with home-ice advantage in their second-round series against the Canucks. The Oilers earned a split in their first two games in Vancouver thanks to a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 2 and they now have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the series with the next two games coming in their building.
“It alleviates a lot of pressure,” head coach Kris Knoblauch said before the Oilers returned to Edmonton on Saturday. “Coming in here not getting one (win) would have been tough for us to go back to Edmonton into a must-win Game 3. Any time you go into another building starting the series and you get the split, you say it’s a success. I thought it was a success we won, but also the way we played and built our game was a lot better.”
The Oilers now have an opportunity to put pressure on Vancouver. They let the Canucks off the hook in Game 1 and had to fight back in Game 2. Taking care of business at home in Games 3 and 4 would put Vancouver in a do-or-die spot in Game 5.
2. The story in Game 2 was the performance from Edmonton’s Dynamic Duo, as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each scored four points in the win. Draisaitl scored on the power play to knot the game at 1-1 after the Canucks got out to an early lead and Connor McDavid scored on a breakaway early in the third period after Vancouver had pulled ahead in the second.
The top line of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Zach Hyman logged 18:31 for the Oilers at even strength on Friday and completely dominated. They had 31 shot attempts and the Canucks only had seven. They also had ten high-danger scoring chances and only allowed two.
“I’m happy to ride passenger with those guys,” Hyman said. “They’re two of the best players in the world and if you want to win, your best players have to be your best players — every coach will tell you that — and obviously they were our best players. Just generating-wise (on offence), I thought we had the puck a lot and we were pushing the pace of the game. Those two in particular, whenever they play together, they’re looking for each other, they have that chemistry and I try to go create space get to the net and go to the hard areas.”
In Vancouver’s Game 1 win, the Canucks did a good job of shutting down McDavid. He picked up an assist on Hyman’s goal in the second period that put Edmonton up 4-1 but couldn’t get anything else going.
“He’s probably his hardest critic,” Hyman said. “If he doesn’t have a game up to his own personal standards, anytime we lose, he feels an onus that he needs to do more. I think that’s just the nature of who he is, and being a captain in this league, he always takes it upon himself when we lose that he could have done more. Whether it’s fair or not, that’s how he is and obviously after a loss, he’s going to step up.”
3. During their first-round series against the L.A. Kings, McDavid and Draisaitl led the way with 12 and 11 points, respectively, but the Oilers got contributions from other forwards, too. Evander Kane scored a couple of goals, Dylan Holloway had a two-goal game, and Warren Foegele and Adam Henrique both found the back of the net.
So far in this series against Vancouver, McDavid, Draisaitl, and Hyman are the only three forwards who have scored a goal for the Oilers. Getting scoring from other lines will help take some of the pressure off of Edmonton’s top line to do as much heavy lifting as they’ve had to thus far. That said, despite the lack of goals, the team’s second, third, and fourth lines have been effective at limiting Vancouver’s offence and driving play forward in Edmonton’s favour.
“Definitely the storyline was our No. 1 line — Connor, Leon, Zach — definitely that side of it, they played outstanding,” Knoblauch said. “But the other three lines, they played extremely well too. They didn’t get on the score sheet, but I thought they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. Even our fourth line, they had a couple of offensive-zone face-offs where they sustained some pressure. That’s important.”


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