GDB +8.0: Oilers look for series lead in Game 3 at Rogers Place (7:30pm MT, CBC)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
After going 1-1 in Vancouver through the first two games, the series shifts back to Edmonton as the Oilers look to grab the series lead in front of what will undoubtedly be a raucous crowd at Rogers Place.
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Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve been so happy to be home and writing from the comfort of my couch. I love Vancouver — I usually visit a couple of times per year — but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t wild to watch the first two games of the series behind enemy lines. Compared to any arena I’ve ever been to, this was a unique experience. To their credit, many of the Canucks fans we interacted with were pretty funny, and the vast majority of the chirps we got were all in good fun.
There were other Canucks fans, however, that weren’t quite so fun. There was a very small portion of the fanbase that didn’t waste any opportunity to lip us off just for wearing Oilers jerseys, and it was honestly fascinating to watch. I’ve been to enough games in opposing rinks to be used to handling barbs, but there were plenty of folks in that barn who legitimately did not like us just because of our clothes. Despite the beautiful city they live in, there were pockets of rage in that building that were incredibly confusing to deal with.
Back in the smoky safety of our wonderful city, the Oilers have the opportunity to grab the series lead in front of a buzzing Rogers Place crowd to cap off what I assume will be a healthy Sunday Funday for many of the attendees. I don’t want to take away from the atmosphere we experience in Vancouver, but it really doesn’t compare to what we’ve got going on here in Edmonton, and I’m hopeful our boys will be able to feed off the energy.
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the Oilers were much better in Game 2 than in the series opener, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still areas to improve. There were still too many times when the boys got caught with poor puck management — their breakout was a mess at times — and further simplifying their approach could be beneficial. When the Oilers are at their best, they’re supporting each other with the puck, and I think it’s an area they can still work on.
Obviously, the Dynamic Duo was dominant in Friday’s win, but I also don’t know that playing McDrai for just under 30 minutes per night is the move, either. I mean, how long can they sustain those minutes? It would go a very long way if some of their teammates could step up and find a way to contribute. If the Oilers are going to start this two-game home stand with a win, they’ll need more from the crease outward, and that is not asking too much.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%45.815.8
AVG. SHOTS/FOR29.120.5
TEAM SAVE%.892.923
CORSI FOR%46.2050.28
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Leon Draisaitl’s 16 points (6G, 10A) are currently second most in the 2024 playoffs, whereas Connor McDavid’s 17 points (2G, 15A) lead all playoff performers. In Game 2, both McDavid and Draisaitl reached the 90-point plateau in their NHL postseason careers in their 56th career postseason game. That stunning production level is tied for the third fastest in NHL history to reach the 90-point mark, putting the Dynamic Duo behind only Wayne Gretzky (43 GP) and Mario Lemieux (45 GP).
  • Friday’s OT winner was Evan Bouchard’s first career playoff overtime goal, which makes him only the third Oilers defenceman in franchise history to record an OT winner. Bouchard joins Randy Gregg (1984) and Lee Fogolin (1985) as the only three d-men to wrap things up in sudden death.
  • The Oilers are currently 36-23 all-time in Game 3s and 19-10 all-time in Game 3s played at home. The Oilers have also won 19 of the 26 series they’ve played in that have been tied 1-1 after two games
  • Connor McDavid leads all active Oilers in career regular season scoring against the Canucks with 64 points (23G, 41A) in 40 games played. At the same time, Corey Perry is the only active Oiler to have played postseason games against the Canucks. Before this current series, Perry suited up in five games versus Vancouver in the second round of their 2007 series versus the Ducks and recorded three points (1G, 2A).




Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Foegele – Nugent-Hopkins – Kane
Holloway- McLeod – Perry
Janmark – Ryan – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
According to Tony Brar, the Oilers did not run any line rushes at practice this morning, but we do know that the d-pairings will remain the same. We also know that Adam Henrique will not dress for Sunday’s match after playing only 11:38 in Game 2, and that Connor Brown will take his spot in the lineup. Thirdly, Leon Draisaitl didn’t practice with his teammates this morning, but Kris Knoblauch confirmed that it was a maintenance day for Drai and that he will play in Game 3.
As for the line combos shown above, those are just a guess until we get some kind of confirmation in the pre-game skate.


Suter – Miller – Boeser
Karlsson – Pettersson – Mikheyev
Joshua – Lindholm – Garland
Åman – Blueger – Lafferty
Hughes – Hronek
Soucy – Myers
Zadorov – Cole
I was curious to see if the Canucks make any lineup changes after a few of their players had tough nights in Game 2, and it looks like Tocchet will be making a couple of minor adjustments with Nils Hoglander and Phillip Di Giuseppe coming out. All I know for sure is that I’m thrilled to see that Ian Cole will remain on the Canucks’ third pairing because of the magic he made on the Oilers’ OT winner on Friday. I don’t know that Zach Hyman could have tipped that thing home any better than Cole did, and I would love nothing more than to see him rewarded with more ice time for his efforts. Cole may be a double agent, but only time will tell if my theory is correct.


From Canucksarmy.com:
In terms of potential lineup changes, Tocchet highlighted several players as options, including Aman, Karlsson, and Juulsen.
While acknowledging the contributions of veteran defenceman Cole, Tocchet hinted at the possibility of introducing fresh faces into the lineup, stating,
“There are a bunch of guys who could be options right now. Åman could be an option. Karlsson, if he’s coming with us, might be an option. We might need some lineup changes. I’ll talk to the coaches tonight, and we might have some changes. Juulsen is a possibility too. Yes, he is. We might have to get him in line as well. I’m not saying it’s for Cole. I mean, Cole had a couple of tough games in a sense, but he’s such a big part of the team. He’s played a lot of playoff games, so when you play a lot of playoff games, there are sometimes when things don’t go your way. But he’s a warrior. He always bounces back.”


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Rogers Place faithful are loud and excited, powering the boys to a big 4-2 win in Game 3.
Obvious Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl continues his dominance with another multi-point evening.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Mattias Janmark opens the scoring his first goal of the playoffs. I want all of the credit when this happens.

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