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Monday Mailbag – Who was the best Oiler in Round 1, and who needs to improve in Round 2?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Happy Monday, friends! Welcome to a brand new Monday Mailbag. This week, we’re discussing the three series against the Kings, which Oilers need to step up in Round 2, officiating, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
May 1, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings shake hands after the Oilers 4-1 series win in game five of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1) Lance asks – The Oilers beat the Kings in only five games this season after needing seven games in 2022 and six games last year. What was the biggest difference you noticed in round three that led to the shortened series?
Jason Gregor:
Oilers are deeper, but they are also more consistent defensively. Outside of Game two, they didn’t have many glaring giveaways or bad decisions that led directly to goals against.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
The Oilers made fewer mistakes. There were plenty of points in the last two series where they just gift-wrapped goals and this time around, they didn’t do that nearly as much. The powerplay was still dominant, Stuart Skinner was solid for four of the five games, and their big guns had really good series but the biggest difference was the drop in defensive zone mistakes.
Baggedmilk:
The Oilers were more skilled, their special teams were significantly better, and they managed to stay disciplined at times when L.A. could not. The better team won the series, simple as that.
Feb 26, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) skates with the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty (8) during the second periodat Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Trevor asks – Who was the best Oiler in Round 1, and who needs to pick it up in Round 2?
Jason Gregor:
Leon Draisaitl was the best player for me. Had a major impact on the game offensively and he was sound defensively.
Oilers would like to get some production from the third line. They didn’t play poorly, just didn’t provide any offensive punch.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Leon Draisaitl was the best Oiler. He always finds a way to dial it up in the playoffs and it’s been no different this season. One player who I want to see more from is Corey Perry. He took three minor penalties in round one, didn’t score and didn’t do anything offensively. I want to see a bit more from Perry against the Canucks.
Baggedmilk:
My pick would be Leon, but to be different, I’m going to give some love to Stuart Skinner. Outside of Game 2, I thought Stu was fantastic. He was easily the best of the three goalies who played in that series. Also, you’ve gotta like the way Evander Kane played even though he “only” finished with two goals, an assist, and a fight.
I’d like a little bit more from Warren Foegele just because we know it’s in there. I’m not saying he was bad or anything like that, but Foegele has more to give than we saw in Round 1. I believe in him.
May 1, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings in game five of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
3) Ed M. asks – There is a thought out there that the Oil got a few breaks with officiating in the L.A. series. Is this a case of a veteran team getting veteran calls, or was that overblown?
Jason Gregor:
As Drew Doughty said, “We lost the series 4-1. The refs weren’t the reason.” LA’s inability to score on the PP and defend on the PK is why they lost.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think it was overblown. There were bad calls on both sides and at the end of the day, officiating didn’t cost the Kings multiple games. There were nights when they called everything and nights like in game four where they called nothing. The Kings lost this series in a number of different ways.
Baggedmilk:
The Kings are so dirty that it’s honestly hilarious to me that people complained when they started getting busted for cheating. FAFO, you know?
Apr 13, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; LA Kings center Quinton Byfield (55), LA Kings right wing Adrian Kempe (9) and LA Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) celebrate after a goal against the Anaheim Ducks in the first period at Honda Center.
4) Connor asks – Let’s say we were playing the playoffs in a conquest form where, when we defeat a team, we get to steal one of their players. With this said, which rat are we saving from the sinking ship that is the Kings’ to take with us?
Jason Gregor:
Drew Doughty. He’s still an outstanding player. Highly competitive and he’d be a huge addition to the right defence.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
It would be Drew Doughty for me. Even as he moves into the later part of his career, he is still a wildly good defenseman and a pain in the ass to play against.
Baggedmilk:
To be different, I’ll say Adrian Kempe. The guy has wheels, can score, and would be a lethal addition to the Oilers’ forward group.
Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) hugs goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) after a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
5) Tanner asks – The first round of the NHL playoffs has been great as usual, but I’d like to know which series has been the most surprising and why?
Jason Gregor:
I was surprised how much Colorado dominated Winnipeg and lit up Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets defence. They averaged 5.6 goals/game against the best defensive team in the regular season. Stunning.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I was surprised with how quickly Florida was able to take care of the Bolts. I thought that Tampa Bay would have a bit more fight. The Avs winning in five was surprising to me too.
Baggedmilk:
I was surprised the Leafs/Bruins went to Game 7 and wrapped in OT given that the Bruins were up 3-1 and looked to be in total control. Tough break for Toronto on the OT winner, but you can’t let David Pastrnak behind you like that. Great series all around.

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