Random Thoughts: Oilers get back in the win column in Game 2

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
Last night’s win in Game 2 was a huge one for the Edmonton Oilers, but by no means did it come easy, and that’s why I’m emptying out my brain again in the hopes that all of you can help me make sense of what happened.


What can you say about the performance that Leon Draisaitl has put in over the first two games? With five points (2G, 3A) in two games, Draisaitl is giving the Kings more than they can handle and I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to stop him. A problem on almost every shift, Draisaitl has been doing basically as he pleases on the offensive side of the puck, and the result is that the Oilers are getting clutch goals from his line regardless of who the wingers are. Any time he was on the ice, the Kings struggled mightily whenever the puck was on his stick and I really, really hope that continues as the series moves to LA. And the thing I think is most impressive about his game right now is that he looks unstoppable in the offensive zone, which bodes well for an Oilers team that needs its stars to be the best players.


When Ken Holland traded Dmitri Samorukov for Klim Kostin in October, I’d bet that most of us a) would have never expected him to score a game-winner in the playoffs and b) even knew who he was in the first place. So to have him pick up a big goal last night in the third period to restore the Oilers’ lead and eventually turn into the game winner was a beautiful sight and a testament to this team’s depth. Then, as if his picking up the winner wasn’t good enough, Klim Kostin dropped a post-game interview that had the Rogers Place faithful buzzing and falling for him even more than we already were.


As President and CEO of the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fan club, I feel as though it is my duty to speak up to my beloved king and let him know we need more from him throughout the rest of this series. So far, through the first two games, Nuge has looked almost unsure of himself when he has the puck, which is a wild observation to make after the 104-point season he just put up. I know the playoffs are a different animal and the points aren’t nearly as easy to come by, but I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that we need more than one assist and six shots on goal. The other thing is that RNH isn’t looking like himself on the defensive side of the puck either, and that’s what’s almost weirder about the way these playoffs started for him.


I know a lot of people are talking about the fact that Connor McDavid has only one point through the first two games, but one of the things I noticed last night while at the game was the way the Kings are covering him. The thing that stuck out most to me was how quickly the Kings are collapsing on him whenever he has the puck to the point his time and space are eliminated almost immediately. I also noticed that he’s getting a lot of double coverage at 5v5 in the offensive zone, and I think he’s had a tougher time navigating that than even he’d probably expect. That said, if I was a betting man, which I absolutely am, I would bet that McDavid will find a way to navigate the guys literally hanging off of him sooner than later.


Listen, I’m not trying to put on some tinfoil hat here with the refs or anything, but I am starting to find it incredibly suspect that the Kings have had 10 power plays through the first two games of this series while the Oilers have only had four. I mean, I was at the game last night and I think everything that was called on the Oilers was pretty reasonable and worthy of a penalty, but the same cannot be said for the other side. For the LA Kings, it seems like there is no limit to the amount of interference they can throw down without being penalized. It’s almost like if you’re not committing stick infractions then the refs aren’t going to call you for anything, and the Kings have been incredibly lucky that this seems to be the case because they are water skiing on guys all over the map. At the very least, I found it incredibly odd that a team that got dominated for most of the night didn’t do anything worthy of a penalty outside of the one infraction we saw in the first period. I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy, but it’s starting to feel weird.


New episode of the podcast came out last night before the game! This week, I was talking about what the Oilers needed to do to bounce back after Game 1, why you’re an idiot if you threw things on the ice, and a whole lot more.


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