GDB +8.0: Betting on a Bounce Back (5pm MT, CBC)

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
It wouldn’t be an Oilers playoff series without the boys dropping Game 1, amirite? Thankfully, tonight’s rematch affords the boys the opportunity to bounce back from an effort that was lacking, to say the least.
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If there’s a silver lining to be found after the Oilers dropped Game 1 of this series against Vegas, it’s probably that the boys didn’t bring their A-game or anything even close to it and still only lost by a goal (yeah, I know there was an empty netter in there too). For the first 40 minutes, the Oilers struggled mightily with the basics of their game, and from my spot in the stands, cleaning up those details is the most important change that needs to be made. I’m not sure why the boys couldn’t connect on passes, get pucks on net, or any of the other things that they normally do so well, but if I’m going to stay positive then it has to be because we know they can be better than what we got on Wednesday.
In a way, the Game 1 loss almost reminded me of what happened last year in the first game against the Calgary Flames. If you remember, the boys had a rough start to that hockey game, battled their way back, but ultimately lost because of their own mistakes. The good news, of course, is that they found a way to turn the ship around. Now down 0-1 to the Golden Knights, I’ll be looking for the Oilers to lean on that experience and know that they can rebound if they get back to playing at the level that makes them successful. I know the NHL site had the giveaways listed at 10 for Edmonton, but my own eyeballs and vantage point from section 216 feel like that number is pretty light, and the reason I bring that up now is that I know the Oilers can do better.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%57.925.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR34.`32.2
TEAM SAVE%.920.942
CORSI FOR%53.0648.41
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)




Kane – McDavid – Draisaitl
RNH – Bjugstad – Hyman
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Kostin – Shore – Yamamoto
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the Oilers need to get more out of basically everyone in their lineup that isn’t named Leon Draisait and Connor McDavid. In Game 1, our top six wingers struggled to get much of anything done and that needs to change if the Oilers are going to bounce back. Not only do they need the offensive side of their game to start popping, but we also need to tighten up what’s happening in the defensive zone in a big way.
On Wednesday the Oilers gave Vegas more than their share of free opportunities and looks on Stuart Skinner that were completely avoidable had they made a simpler play. For me, one of my biggest keys to success in Game 2 is to have the Oilers get back to playing simple, north/south hockey. Let’s not get cute. If anything, let’s get greasy.

Golden Knights…

Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Howden – Stephenson – Stone
Smith – Karlsson – Amadio
Carrier – Roy – Kolesar
Martinez – Pietrangelo
McNabb – Theodore
Hague – Whitecloud
If Game 1 taught us anything it’s that the Oilers need to make better decisions with the puck because the Golden Knights will absolutely punish you for any mistakes, a problem Edmonton had in spades on Wednesday night. Two goals were the direct product of giveaways and poor puck management, and if the Oilers are going to even up this series then they’ll need to clean that nonsense up.


From SinBin.Vegas:
(The Oilers) were displeased with their performance, blaming themselves for making costly turnovers and poor decisions with the puck. Going into Game 2 the Oilers have a different mindset of focusing on cleaning up their mistakes and defending Vegas’ biggest threats. There were subtle cross-checks, jabs, and pokes to the back of Mark Stone in Game 1 and the visiting team plans on continuing the (cheap) playoff physicality as a way to slow down VGK’s top line.
We did see it but it’s not something that we talked about or anything. I mean, he is a net-front guy, and a bigger guy. So, the way that you move him is by getting your stick in there. I know if I stand in front of the net, I’m getting it. I don’t think he’s changing his game to avoid that. -Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oilers forward
Oilers winger Evander Kane had to deal with extra-curricular activity in the first round against the LA Kings. Like Stone, Kane dealt with targeted cheap shots to make it more difficult to get in position or take shots. It’s unlikely that Stone’s impact will be dampened by Edmonton’s abuse. Sure, his ongoing back issues are public, but he’s held up through six postseason games and it hasn’t affected his production.
He’s a world-class player. Everyone talks about Connor, but Leon is a hell of a player. So, we have to be aware of when he’s out there. Even though he scored four, it could have been worse, as odd as it is to say. -Laurent Brossoit
Bottom line, Vegas is in the driver’s seat going into Saturday’s Game 2.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers know they need to bounce back and they come through with a 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl comes up with yet another multi-point game. The guy is a monster in the playoffs and I don’t see that stopping tonight.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Snakebit and generally quiet through seven games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picks up his first goal of the playoffs and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

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