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GDB +7.0: Closing Time (8pm MT, CBC)

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baggedmilk
6 months ago
Game 7, baby, this is what it’s all about.
If you had told me before this series started that it would take seven games to find a winner, I’m not sure I would have believed you. If I’m being honest, I thought the Oilers were going to have their way with this series but as the games wore on, it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t going to be so easy. Instead, Todd McLellan and the Kings put together a game plan that the Oilers have struggled to manage at times, and while it’s been stressful to see them navigate this chess match at times, this is what the playoffs are all about. These are the moments that can lift us to the highest of highs as a fanbase and turn our boys on the ice into heroes provided that they’re able to get this done. So what will it take? Everything they’ve got. From the moment the puck drops until the final buzzer sounds, the Oilers have to be relentless in all three zones, hit everything that moves, shoot from the parking lot, and find ways to get pucks through traffic while also making @Jonathan Quick’s life miserable. Essentially, what I’m saying is that they need to leave it all on the ice with a balls-out effort for all 60 minutes.
As always, the first step to closing out this series will be to get a hot start. In all six games played so far, the team that has scored first has gone on to win the match and that’s something that has to be front of mind. Even if Edmonton isn’t able to grab a quick goal as they did on Thursday night, at the very least, they need to start the night off by throwing pucks on Quick to try and create some chaos. All series long, Quick has left rebounds and loose pucks available near the crease and even though I love a good highlight-reel goal as much as the next guy, there’s nothing sexier to me than a greasy one to get the crowd going. Clapper from the point, snipe from the slot, or squeaker over the line, it really doesn’t matter to me — I’ll take all of the offence I can get. Not to mention, the crowd at Rogers Place will be ready to blow the roof off the place and anything the Oilers can do to keep those 18,000+ engaged could end up paying dividends when all is said and done.
Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERSKINGS
RECORD3-33-3
WIN/LOSS STREAKW1L1
GOALS FOR2517
GOALS AGAINST1725
POWER PLAY%38.912.5
PENALTY KILL%87.561.1
AVG. SHOTS/FOR34.738.7
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST38.734.7
TEAM SAVE%.928.916
CORSI FOR%52.2647.74
PDO1.0120.988
TEAM SHOOTING%8.437.23
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%54.6145.39
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Yamamoto
Kane  – RNH – Hyman
Archibald – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Foegele – Ryan – Kassian
Nurse – Ceci
Keith – Bouchard
Kulak – Barrie
Smith
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reported that @Leon Draisaitl wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate and I have to admit that it made my heart skip a beat. Rishaug clarified that just because Leon wasn’t on the ice this morning doesn’t mean he won’t be playing — I can’t see any way he misses this game — but it does give us an idea of how banged up the former MVP must be as this series moves along. Either way, the line combinations above don’t really mean a whole lot at this stage so I wouldn’t put too much stock into what I’ve got listed. Once news comes out ahead of puck drop, I’ll be sure to jump back in and make the edits.

Kings

Athanasiou – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Iafallo
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Brown
Lemieux – Kupari – Kaliyev
Anderson – Roy
Edler – Stetcher
Maatta – Durzi
Quick
One thing we know for sure is that the Kings are going to be fired up from the jump and that’s a challenge the Oilers will need to navigate, and that’s why another strong start will be so incredibly important. Seeing as we already know that LA will be shooting from everywhere, we need to make sure those shots from the outside don’t result in secondary scoring chances from in tight. Put another way, the Oilers need to take care of their own house before trying to fly the zone in pursuit of offence.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From LA Kings Insider:
“A win is one and a loss is one, no matter what happened, we’re going to watch the video, clean things up and move on to the next one.”
That was Trevor Moore’s take when asked about the differences in turning around last night’s game, which was more or less a one-goal loss, and a game like Game 2 or Game 3, which were a pair of six-goal defeats.
Anze Kopitar put it the same way after the game last night, it’s the same thing and now the Kings have to prepare for one game.
Though the feelings may be different from say a 4-2 loss with an empty-net goal, versus an 8-2 loss that was decided significantly earlier in the game, it’s just a loss at this stage. Mikey Anderson touched on that side of things, with a look ahead to simple looking at doing whatever it takes to get in a win next time out.
“Sometimes the feeling is maybe different, but basically the score is just the games at this point, you lose by 10 it doesn’t matter, you guys go down one game in the series or vice versa,” Anderson said this morning. “At this time of the year, it’s just trying to do whatever you can to help the team come out with a win, take it game-by-game.”
His defensive partner, Matt Roy, touched on taking the right things away from playoff defeats, regardless of the outcome, and fixing what needs to be fixed.
There’s an importance to doing both of those things, making the necessary changes and also trying to emphasize the things that went well.
“It’s never good to give up six goals, or eight goals, but at the end of the day, a loss is a loss,” defenseman Matt Roy said. “Even in those games, we take the things we thought we did well, we try to keep those going and [in Game 6], there were some things we needed to change, too. I think either way, if you lose, you have to just fix things and move forward.”
Move forward the Kings will, with a shot at advancing…

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers get another hot start, grab the lead, and the early efforts power them to a 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers fans all over the world will wear the same clothes and sit in the same spot as they did for Game 6. We must all do our part. Oh, and @Connor McDavid gets another multi-point night.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers get more power plays opportunities than the Kings.

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