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Oilers have similarities to Penguins who came back from down 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

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Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers return home for Games 3 and 4 after dropping 0-2 in the series against the Florida Panthers.
After the Game 2 loss, Oilersnation’s Zach Laing shared an interesting tidbit, stating that there have been only three times in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals when a team has lost Games 1 and 2 on the road and won the Stanley Cup: the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2011 Boston Bruins.
Taking a closer look, Edmonton has striking similarities to the 09′ Penguins team. To start, the 09′ Penguins and the current Oilers were/are led by two superstars in search of their first Stanley Cup.
Moreover, Connor McDavid has frequently drawn parallels to longtime Penguin, Sidney Crosby, throughout his career. McDavid is still in his prime, but both have been labelled as the best players on the planet at various points. Both are generational talents who have won numerous individual awards, and both will be regarded as some of the best ever to play the game when their careers are over.
Also, comparisons could be made between Leon Draisaitl and a prime Evgeni Malkin. Both use their size and strength to dominate, both have won the Art Ross and Hart trophies and while their superstar teammates were/are regarded as the best players on earth, both have risen to the occasion at specific moments and have also been referred to by that label on some nights.
That said, with the Oilers currently down 0-2 in the series with the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Finals, they find themselves in a scenario reminiscent of the 09′ Penguins. Below, we look at the unique similarities between the two teams.

Similarities Between Oilers and 09′ Penguins

The 09′ Penguins won their second-round series against their divisional opponent, the Washington Capitals, by winning Game 7 on the road. Similarly, the Oilers accomplished the same feat this postseason by winning Game 7 on the road against their divisional rivals, the Vancouver Canucks in the second round.
Pittsburgh went on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final and faced the Detroit Red Wings, for the second year in a row, in the Stanley Cup Finals.
That said, this is the first Finals experience for this Oilers’ group, but another comparison between them and the 09′ Penguins is that Pittsburgh lost Game 1 on the road, falling 3-1 despite outshooting Detroit. Additionally, their best player Crosby, was held pointless, much like McDavid was in Game 1 against Florida.
The Penguins also lost Game 2 on the road, just like the Oilers did against the Panthers last game. Once again, Crosby was held pointless in 2009 for the second game in a row, a situation comparable to what the Oilers’ captain recently faced.
Additionally, the Penguins were on the verge of a loss in Game 2 in 2009, and tensions rose in the closing moments of the game. Malkin was frustrated, and went after one of Detroit’s best players, Henrik Zetterberg. He became physical towards him, which led to a penalty. After the game, Malkin was investigated for a possible suspension due to a late instigator penalty but was not suspended in the end.
In a similar fashion, in the Oilers’ Game 2, Draisaitl, also seemingly frustrated, also got physical, but to a lesser extent than Malkin did. He delivered a high hit to one of the Panthers’ best players, Aleksander Barkov, which forced him out of the game and resulted in a penalty. Also, the next day the play was reviewed for a possible suspension, and the NHL Department of Player Safety ruled that he would neither be suspended nor fined. The scenario was reminiscent of Malkin’s in 2009.
 
Moreover, the Oilers have only scored one goal against Sergei Bobrovsky in two games. Similarly, Pittsburgh also struggled to beat Detroit’s netminder, Chris Osgood, in Games 1 and 2 of 2009, as Zach Laing described in more detail:
“Despite all the pressure the Penguins put on the Detroit Red Wings through the first two games, 64 shots on goal — 32 in each game — Pittsburgh only were able to put two past Chris Osgood, who had a sparkling .969 save percentage. But that changed in the next two games with the Penguins at home, where he allowed seven goals against on 51 shots.”
Of course, there are no guarantees that the Oilers are on the same path as the 2009 Penguins, but it’s intriguing how alike they are and in the end, Pittsburgh overcame the adversity. They were down 0-2 on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals, and despite the odds, they won Games 3 and 4 and won the Stanley Cup in Game 7. For Oilers fans losing faith, remember, it’s possible that history can repeat itself.
As well, overcoming adversity has been the theme of the Oilers this season. They were tied for last in the league at one point, fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the Canucks series to win in Game 7, and were viewed as underdogs against the Dallas Stars, ultimately eliminating them in six games. While only three teams in NHL history have come back from losing the first two games on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals to win the Cup, doesn’t this Oilers team feel like a team of destiny that could do it as well?

McDavid and Draisaitl Need to Raise the Bar

The Oilers have only scored one goal in the first two games, despite registering 32 shots in Game 1. While they may have been ‘goalie’d’ by Bobrovsky in that game, he didn’t face much action the next game, facing 19 shots in Game 2. Additionally, the Oilers generated zero high-danger chances at 5v5.
They need their star players to take it up another level, starting in Game 3, if they’re going to have a fighting chance, and it starts with their leaders, McDavid and Draisaitl. That said, the Oilers’ captain appears ready for the challenge, saying after Game 2:
“I’m excited to see our group come together, I’m excited to see us fight through adversity, and I’m looking forward to people doubting us again. We’re good with our backs against the wall.”
Additionally, Draisaitl recognized that he needs to elevate his game, saying, “We can certainly be better, and it starts with me.”
McDavid and Draisaitl are both in the top five for highest playoff points-per-game in NHL history, yet they have zero points so far in their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. Still, some of the true legends of the game, like Crosby and Malkin, have an uncanny ability to elevate their play when the pressure is on and as Jason Gregor wrote, if the Oilers are going to come back and win a Stanley Cup, their best players have to lead them.
That said, Oil Country can count on the Oilers’ superstar duo to have their best games of the series in Game 3, in front of their hometown crowd where the decibel levels will surely be high in Rogers Place. With that in mind, what are your predictions for Game 3?

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