GDB +6.0: Closing Time (8pm MT, CBC)

Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to what is undoubtedly a massive day for Oilers fans everywhere as our beloved squadron has the opportunity to wrap up their first round series against the Los Angeles Kings.
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If there’s one thing we know about the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s that this time of year can be endlessly stressful and I think that goes even further when you have to wait three days between games. After picking up a convincing 6-3 win in Game 5 on Tuesday, we’ve all been forced to sit in anticipation for what we hope will be an elimination game at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. And since both games in LA needed overtime to reach a decision, my expectation is that we’re in for another tight one and I can already feel my heart pumping and my nerves ratcheting up by the minute.
Without even drifting into the stakes at play here — we all know what happens if/when the Oilers win — the most important thing I can think of as for how they make that happen is having the boys play their game without getting derailed by the LA sideshow. We’ve all seen the diving, goading, and fishing for power plays that the Kings are trying at every turn, but the Oilers would be wise to avoid the nonsense just as they did four nights ago. I guess Todd McLellan’s game plan is to have his team act as the most annoying versions of themselves, but from our side of the puck, we just need the Oilers to do what they do.
Frankly, if the boys give us another effort as we got in Game 5 then it should be game over for this series, but as we’ve seen several times over the last week or so, the Kings are a very scrappy team that will do just about anything imaginable to try and steer the momentum back in their favour. What I’m most nervous about is whether or not the Oilers will be able to give us a full 60 minutes without the lulls early in periods — the boys have gotten burned a few times now with early goals against — but if they can get themselves geared up from the jump then I have few doubts that we’ll be celebrating a series win. If not, well… I’d rather not think about that.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%57.127.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR37.231.4
TEAM SAVE%.921.930
CORSI FOR%54.1245.88
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Kane – McDavid – Draisaitl
RNH– Bjugstad – Hyman
Foegele – McLeod – Yamamoto
Kostin – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
What I’ll be looking for from the Oilers tonight is the same level of discipline that they showed in Game 5 at Rogers Place on Tuesday. Disciplined and unphased by the Kings’ theatrics, the Oilers did a really nice job of avoiding the nonsense that the Kings were trying to lure them into, and they’ll need another dose of that same approach.
As we know all too well, the Kings will do everything they can to throw the Oilers off their game and a major key to victory for Edmonton will be finding a way to avoid that nonsense. I know I keep repeating myself with this point, but I think it bears repeating since the last thing we should expect is a group of whiney leopards to change its spots, meaning we have to be prepared for their garbage tactics.


Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Iafallo – Lizotte – Vilardi
Grundstrom – Kupari – Kaliyev
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Edler – Durzi
Backs against the wall, I’m expecting the Kings to be fired up and doing what they can to get the Oilers off their game. In the two games they’ve won in this series, LA got under Edmonton’s skin and capitalized on the power plays that followed, and I’d bet all of Gregor’s money on the fact that they’ll try to do it again.


From LA Kings Insider:
Game 5, while the numbers were unkind, actually saw some small improvements on the penalty kill, despite a 1-for-3 performance. The Kings got through 1:55 of their first shorthanded sequence, before the second unit opened the scoring. Later in the game, a shot that was going high and wide hit Zach Hyman in the face and deflected in with just nine seconds left on that penalty. That’s why teams have the full two minutes, though. A goal a second in or with a second left counts the same. There’s no room for moral victories here in the postseason, which McLellan was quick to point out.
“That’s why they penalize you for the full two minutes you have to kill, it doesn’t matter which second they score in,” McLellan said. “When it’s all said and done, you have a full two minutes you have to kill and they get a full two minutes to score and we get the exact same amount going the other way. We’re almost there, but couldn’t quite get it done and that isn’t good enough.”
The players are well aware of the importance, too, and they haven’t shied away from acknowledging that improvements have to come from within.
The Kings weren’t exactly the best team in the league down a man this season, but they improved as the season went along, killing more than 80 percent of their penalties from January 1 on. Even before that, they certainly weren’t a team below 50 percent, which an unsustainable number throughout the course of the season. The penalty kill is important all season long. In the postseason, the spotlight is magnified. Improvements and adjustments are needed and the Kings are focused on executing them.
“It’s so huge, it’s been huge in the season, but right now it’s even more important,” defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov said. “We’ve got to improve that……it’s always challenging and they’re doing a review, we’re doing the same. It’s hard to surprise each other right now, so it’s all about execution.”


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers knew what needed to happen and they got the job done with a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl picks up yet another multi-point night, cementing his first round as one for the ages.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Mattias Ekholm fires a clapper from the high slot and beats Korpisalo low on the glove side.

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