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How the Oilers can get back in the series with a Game 3 win

Baggedmilk Shoot
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Having the Oilers get back from Florida down two games in the series is certainly not ideal, but I’ve still got plenty of hope that the boys can get the job done. The question is: How can the Oilers pull this off?
Even knowing that only three teams in NHL history have come back from being down two games in the Stanley Cup Final to win the series, I still believe the 2023-24 Edmonton Oilers can do this. This season has been too weird from start to finish for me to stop believing in this team. From 2-9-1 to 5-12-1, this team has gone from looking finished before the season even really started to being one that’s four wins away from the Stanley Cup.
In my Oilers theme park brain, being down two games to a very good Florida Panthers team only sets the stage for an incredible pro sports comeback. If any team in the NHL has been forced to overcome adversity, it’s Gord damned Edmonton Oilers. Started from the bottom now we’re here. Of course, they may have already blown two of their own toes off in the pursuit of getting a leg up on the opponent.
Losing the first two games to the Panthers is literally as bad as it gets, and the only thing that will get the boys out of this mess is to come back home and knock out two wins of their own. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy by any stretch, all I’m saying is that if ever there was a team to pull off something unlikely as the bookend to the weirdest season ever, it could be the one wearing blue and orange. Hope Will Never Die around these parts, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it happen in the finals.
The problem is that the Panthers aren’t about to roll over and die, either. If we’re going to watch a SCF miracle, it has to start tonight in Game 3. It has to be on a night when Edmonton will host its first non-bubble Stanley Cup Final game since 2006. A night when the crowd is likely to be the loudest thing either of these two teams have heard so far in these playoffs. But if that’s going to happen, the Oilers will need to execute at the highest level we’ve seen yet.
Thankfully, your ol’ pal Baggedmilk has some ideas on how to make that happen.

SHOOT THE PUCK AND MAKE CHAOS HAPPEN

In Game 2, the Oilers only have seven shots on goal after 40 minutes and I don’t have to tell anyone reading this why that’s a problem. When a goalie is as dialled in as Sergei Bobrovsky has been so far in this series, the last thing the boys can do is afford to pass up chances to get pucks on net. This is one of those games where the boys can’t look for the perfect opportunity, but rather to do everything possible to make their own.
That said, if the Oilers are bringing a shooter’s mentality into this game then they’ll also need to crash the crease to create some chaos around the goaltender. It’s all well and good to shoot from the parking lot, but if there’s no one there to get in Bob’s eyes or cash in on the garbage then the effectiveness of the plan will really be limited. If the Oilers commit to shooting when they have a chance that’s a good first step, but they also need to flood the crease with bodies to manufacture a little bit of chaos too.

ROAD HOCKEY POWER PLAY

To this point in this series, the Oilers are 0-for-7 on the power play, and we desperately need that to change. The good news is that the Oilers have been one of the best teams in the NHL of adapting to the opponent’s PK and making good on their chances. I expect we’ll see at least one power play goal tonight, but I’d also guess that it won’t happen via the usual means or strategies.
Connor McDavid talked about playing a little bit of “road hockey” yesterday in his media availability, and I’m thinking that means the boys are going to try a little more free flowing power play tactics as a means of breaking the goose egg. If the Panthers are going to be as aggressive as they have been when down a man then I think the Oilers need to do the exact same thing on offence. Instead of passing the puck around, I want to see quick zone entries and flooding the puck toward the net with all kinds of bodies crashing the crease.

FEED OFF THE CROWD

Having just been in Florida for Games 1 and 2, I can tell you that the atmosphere at Amerant Bank Arena was pretty solid but nothing quite like what we’re about to experience tonight at Rogers Place for Game 3. Even hours before the game, I can tell you that Rogers Place is going to be the loudest rink the Panthers have played in in these playoffs, and it will be up to the Oilers to capitalize on that atmosphere.
If you’re heading down to Rogers Place tonight for the game, I hope you have the time to get a nap in before puck drop because we all need you to bring your best. We need you to head into that barn with max energy and be fully prepared to scream until you lose your voice. I want every single person in that barn struggling to speak tomorrow. I truly believe Oilers fans can act as an X-factor on home ice, and I’m asking the Hockey Gords and every single one of you to do your part in making some magic happen.

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