GDB +3.0: Oilers look to rebound as series shifts to Los Angeles (8:30pm MT, CBC)

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
8 days ago
After a tough result in Game 2, the Oilers will look to rebound as the series shifts to Crypto.com Arena for games three and four.
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Moving the series from Edmonton to LA is going to be interesting. Having been down here for the last two playoff runs, it’s hard to explain what the atmosphere is like without having you here with me. Yes, there are the usual chirps and banter that happen in the crowd, but there is also a small section of Kings fans who act more like Raiders fans, if that makes sense.
My point is that these next two games will have a totally different flavour than what we just experienced back home. Obviously, the goal for these next two nights remains the same, but getting the job done may require adjustments. With the Kings having the last change and the Crypto.com Arena crowd behind them, the Oilers will need to be on top of their game if we’re going to avoid going down 2-1 in the series.
Through the first two games of the series, the Oilers have outscored the Kings 11-9 and have generally looked like the stronger hockey club for a good chunk of those 120 minutes, but that doesn’t mean we can be resting on our laurels here. As we saw on Wednesday night, one bad period can sink the whole ship. Even though I want to believe that this series is going to be over in five games, I won’t be surprised at all if Game 3 is LA’s best outing of the series so far.
The last thing the Kings want to do is find themselves down in the series again, and I’m expecting a big push out of them early. I’m also expecting that the crowd will be fully engaged and ready to explode, so the best thing Edmonton can possibly do is try and get a quick start. If they can find a way to get on the board early and keep the crowd out of it, the path is there to lock in another win.
Of course, the Oilers will need to be a whole lot better than they were in Game 2 if they’re going to make that happen. The first period of Wednesday’s game was a disaster and essentially gave the Kings most of the offence they would need to win. Needless to say, the Oilers will be playing with fire if they come out that flat again.
From the crease outward, everyone in an Oilers jersey needs to be better. Skinner needs to make some saves, the top dogs have to start scoring some goals, and the team as a whole needs to be much better with puck management. I don’t know why it was nearly impossible for Edmonton to complete a 10-foot pass on Wednesday, but they basically gifted the Kings all kinds of zone time, and that just can’t happen again.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%57.10.0
PENALTY KILL%100.042.9
AVG. SHOTS/FOR38.031.5
TEAM SAVE%.830.886
CORSI FOR%48.2351.77
TEAM SHOOTING%11.3216.98
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)

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Henrique – McDavid– Hyman
RNH – Draisaitl – Foegele
Holloway – McLeod – Perry
Kane – Carrick – Janmark
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
Obviously, the big question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Stuart Skinner will be able to rebound after a tough night in Game 2. I personally think he’s going to be fine Outside of that tough stretch for the whole team back in October/November, Stu has been able to rebound quite nicely after an off night, and I’m expecting that he’ll be able to do it again.


Laferriere – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Dubois – Byfield
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Lewis
Anderson– Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence
The Kings are already annoying me in every possible way. They whine, they’re cheap, they don’t stop yapping, and apparently the refs will only call a fraction of the penalties they deserve. Now that the series has moved to L.A., the Oilers will need to be especially wary of their nonsense and do what they can to avoid getting sucked into the mud. Also, stop Adrian Kempe.


From LA Kings Insider:
Following the NHL All-Star break, no team around the league had more points on home ice than the Kings did. No team had a better winning percentage on home ice from February 10 on than the Kings, who were the only club playing at above a .800 clip at home. 14 victories out of 18 games played, with an overall record of 14-3-1.
The Kings understood that home performance was an area that needed to change this season, after a first half that saw them at the other end of the spectrum. With just eight victories from their first 23 games played, the Kings ranked 30th of 32 teams in the first half of the season in winning percentage at home heading into the break. It was something they set out to change and it’s something they’ve certainly done.
“That was the emphasis for us in the second half, to take back home-ice advantage,” Byfield said. “I thought we did that. Going home, we have some confidence going in.”
The Kings are also departing Alberta with a series split for the third straight season, as opposed to heading home in a hole. That gives them confidence. You don’t go into the first two games playing for a split but as the road team, you’re typically not upset when that’s the outcome. As it played out, the Kings depart Edmonton on a high note, confident in what they’re bringing home.


Photoshop by Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers kick off the festivities in Los Angeles with a beautifully executed 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: At least three Kings fans will yell in my face at some point today just because I’m wearing a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins jersey. On the ice, the Kings will dive and flop and cry for 60 straight minutes.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Cody Ceci fires as a seeing-eye wrister from the point that snakes its way through bodies and into the back of the net to put the Oilers up by two.

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