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GDB +21.0: Oilers have a simple plan for Game 3 (6pm MT, CBC)

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Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
Keep it simple.
Play fast. Play smart. Win battles.
It is Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, and the 103rd game of the season for the Edmonton Oilers.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.
They won’t unveil a new strategy or forecheck or secret play tonight. They simply need to play to their strengths, and the good news for the Oilers is they still believe in themselves.
Self-doubt isn’t an option — they will leave that to those outside the room. The message from Kris Knoblauch or Connor McDavid or Brett Kulak or Ryan McLeod or Vincent Desharnais is to simplify their game.
“We have another step we can go in our game,” said McLeod. “We weren’t as clean in our breakouts in Game 2 and on our forecheck. They slowed us down by breaking the puck out too easily and it slowed us down (having to back check all the time). We just need to get cleaner and more simple with our puck touches.”
“Use our speed. Make simple plays with the puck and wear them down in their defensive zone,” said Kulak. “Don’t try to deke or make the hard play through two guys, just hang onto pucks and make them work to get the puck back. And we (defencemen) need to be crisper with our breakouts.”
“It will be huge for us to get the crowd engaged right away,” said Desharnais. “It will give us an extra boost of energy and make sure we simplify things. Do the small details well. Check well, have good sticks, be hard along the wall, put passes on the tape. Just the small things, and if we do that early the game should go well for us.”
“Just make simple plays with the puck,” said Knoblauch. “Not looking for a homerun play, not looking to set up a breakaway pass, it is usually chipping the puck behind (opposition) having the speed to recover, protecting the puck, winning battles along the boards. Things that everyone can do.
“When you have that foundation taken care of, that is when you can show your skill and make a better play. Most of the game is about winning battles and making simple plays. It doesn’t take much talent to execute those plays, and if you do that then your skill will show and you can play faster and harder.”
The Oilers are a fast team, and they have more speed than Florida, especially up front. They need to play fast, play smart and play simple. If they do, they believe they will have success.

GAME PREVIEW PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

RNH — McDavid — Hyman
McLeod — Draisaitl — Holloway
Janmark — Henrique —Brown
Foegele — Ryan — Perry
Ekholm — Bouchard
Nurse — Desharnais
Kulak — Broberg<
Skinner
The lineup is unknown. Evander Kane might not play. Sam Carrick was out late after the morning skate, which is often a sign a player won’t play. Could the Oilers play 11-7? Possibly, and that would mean that Carrick and one other forward comes out, because Knoblauch said yesterday is it highly likely Corey Perry will play. Knoblauch also mentioned yesterday he expects Darnell Nurse to play, and they will know if they need to dress seven D-men or go the usual 12-6. We will find out officially in the warmup. Today was the first time all playoffs Knoblauch used the “You will have to wait until the game to find out”  line regarding the lineup.

Panthers

Verhaeghe — Barkov — Reinhart
Tkachuk — Bennett — Rodrigues
Luostarinen — Lundell — Tarasenko
Lorentz — Stenlund — Okposo
Forsling — Ekblad
Mikkola — Montour
Ekman-Larsson — Kulikov
Bobrovsky
The Panthers will stick with the same lineup as the first two games, but they will switch Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues. The reasoning is they believe Barkov can be more offensive on the road, because he won’t be out against McDavid and defending like he does on home ice.  Paul Maurice is 6-0 v. the Oilers in the playoffs dating back to his time in Winnipeg. The Panthers know the Oilers will be fired up, due to being down 2-0 in the series, but also because of the home crowd. They will try to take the crowd out of it, but as we saw in Game 4 v. Dallas, that is almost impossible. When the Oilers found themselves trailing 2-0 in the first five minutes, the crowd was very quiet for a few minutes, but then they became very loud and supportive. The Oilers players spoke about how they feed off their energy. “After Stu, I thought they were the second star,” said Connor Brown when discussing their Game 6 victory over Dallas.
Expect a loud crowd and we’ll see how the Panthers handle it, or if they can dull the roar somewhat.

TONIGHT….

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: It is basically a must-win game for Edmonton. In the salary cap era, teams that lose the first two games of the Cup Final on the road are 10-2 in Game 3 on home ice. Edmonton makes it 11-2 tonight with a 4-1 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: McDavid picks up his first multiple-point game in the Stanley Cup Final.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Warren Foegele scores his first goal of the playoffs with a goalie in net.

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