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Oilers force Game 7 with a dominant 5-1 performance at Rogers Place

Rogers Place Game 6
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
28 days ago
The Oilers were either going to pick up and win and extend their series with the Canucks to seven games or get themselves bumped in Game 6 at home for the second straight season. Needless to say, the stakes were high. And just like we all hoped they would, the Oilers rose to the challenge and put in their best effort of the series, extending the series with a convincing 5-1 win.

STUART SKINNER BOUNCES BACK

I didn’t think I’d see a day when the decision to play Stuart Skinner over Calvin Pickard was at all controversial, but that was certainly the case yesterday morning when it was announced that Stu was back in the crease after losing the net to his backup for Games 3 and 4. Now, with their backs against the wall, Stuart Skinner was tasked with rebounding after a tough start to the series and keeping the Oilers’ Cup dreams alive.
Even though he wasn’t nearly as busy as his counterpart, Skinner was solid from the opening draw and made the saves he needed to make to keep the series alive. I know he only faced 15 shots, but there was never a time on any of them when I felt uncomfortable or nervous about having pucks thrown on our net. Skinner came ready to play, and the only goal that beat him happened due to a defensive breakdown where I’m not sure there was much he could have done about it.
To his credit, Stu handled his business and turned in a .933 save% that we all needed to see from him. Had Game 6 gone any other way than it did, there would have been so many people concerned and rattled about what we would do going forward, but I hope this performance quieted all of that down a little bit. If nothing else, Skinner was steady when we needed him to be, and that’s a huge improvement from where we were at back in Game 3.

THE FIRST LINE SHINES

After a quiet night in Vancouver on Thursday in Game 5, the first line of Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman came alive in a big way last night at Rogers Place. In total, that trio combined for seven points (2G, 5A) that were all produced at 5v5, and it was the kind of dominance we desperately needed from them in order to push this series to seven games.
It’s not very often that an opponent can keep this line quiet, and the Canucks really didn’t have any answers for them on a night when it mattered the most. On an elimination night, our top line put their hard hats on and got to work, leaving the Canucks scrambling and confused almost every time they were on the ice. In fact, I might be so bold as to suggest they probably could have had another two or three goals with a little bit of luck, but I guess they want to save a few for Monday.
The larger point is that we needed these three to come up with a statement game after being held pointless two nights before, and they did exactly that. From start to finish, the first line was fantastic for the Oilers and a nightmare to defend for the Canucks, and all I can hope is that they’ve got a little bit more of that magic left in the tank for Game 7 on Monday. Gord knows we’ll need them again.

THE VIBES AT ROGERS PLACE WERE FANTASTIC

Despite feeling understandably nervous about what was to come, the vibes at Rogers Place were electric in the moments before puck drop. I’ve been lucky enough to go to a handful of playoff games this year, but that might have been the loudest I’ve ever heard in that barn. Fans were excited and engaged, and the team on the ice gave us plenty to cheer for in all three periods.
As the clock was winding down, the place started to go bananas to the point where I could barely hear the whistle or any announcements they made between stoppages. It was incredible. And as a cherry on top, some hero on the production team thought it would be funny to start showing Canucks fans leaving the rink up on the jumbotron and it might have been one of the greatest pieces of trolling I’ve seen in quite some time.
All-in-all, that might have been one of the most fun hockey games I’ve ever been to in my life. What a night. What a team. What a result. Oilers in seven LFG.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

-Leon Draisaitl became the fourth player in NHL history to register 60 assists in only 60 career playoff games. Draisaitl also became the third fastest player to reach the 100-point plateau, trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only other players to accomplish the feat in fewer games. Playoff Draisaitl is elite in every possible way, and it is truly a pleasure to watch him do his thing.
-There were a lot of folks who were unhappy with Evan Bouchard after the mistake he made that led to a goal in Game 5, but I’m guessing every one of them is quiet after the night he had in Game 6.
-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led all Oilers forwards with 21:04 in TOI to go along with the goal and pair of helpers he collected as part of the first line’s dominance. With the three-point night, RNH finds himself quietly putting together a solid little post-season run of six points (2G, 4A) in his last five games. We asked for secondary scoring, and Nuge has come up with a dose of it over these last handful of games, and my body is here for it.
-How about the goal Dylan Holloway scored? Our guy carved through the Canucks’ defenders like butter and sunk the puck through Silovs’ legs like he’s done it 200 times in his career. What a play by a guy that’s really blossomed into something special over the last few months.
-I will never forget when the crowd was singing Livin’ on a Prayer and Evander Kane scored. That moment was electric.
-Sam Carrick replaced Corey Perry in the lineup and posted six hits, went 7/12 on the dot (58%), and was generally effective every time he was on the ice despite playing only 10:29 in TOI.
-The Oilers got shutout in five power play opportunities in Game 5, and I really didn’t see that happening again in a game as massive as the one we saw yesterday. Yet, despite being given three opportunities with the man advantage, including an extended 5-on-3, the Oilers were again unable to get anything done on the power play. On the flip side, the PK remained perfect as they killed off all four shorthanded situations they faced, including an extended 5-on-3 after the Oilers got caught with too many men on the ice. I suppose if the PP is going to falter a little bit, then it sure is nice to have the PK do their part against a Canucks team that struggled to generate much of anything.
-Were the Oilers going to make it six straight games where they lost more faceoffs than they won? The answer: Yes, sadly. Looking at the boxscore, our boys won only 48.3% of the draws they took, and I just wish there was some improvement in that department as the series wore on. As we saw on the clean draw by Draisaitl on the Kane goal, life is better when you start with the puck.

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