Scenes from morning skate: Oilers hoping to create something ‘Zach Hyman can write a storybook about’

Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Zach Laing
Zach Laing
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers put the optional in the optional morning skate on Saturday morning ahead of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, as few players were present ahead of what could be the last game of their season.
Down 3-0 in the series, the Oilers played two games they feel they should’ve won, and another they know they had no business in. Even still, Edmonton is optimistic they can make something of this series.
“I think the message has been to enjoy it and I’ve been saying that message, but I think they have been feeling that also,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch Saturday. “Hopefully Zach Hyman can write a storybook about this when it’s all said and done.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for us. I said before if I’m going to do this, this is the group. I just think they’ve got a lot of confidence. They don’t get too rattled about things, and there’s frustration, but I don’t know if it’s frustration, or disappointment that we are down 3-0. We’re going to make the most out of it.”
In order for that to happen, the Oilers will need to pull off a miracle that has only happened once before, when the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs came back to reverse sweep the Detroit Red Wings. For the Leafs, it started with a Game 4 in which they won 4-3, followed by 9-3, 3-0, and 3-1 wins to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug. Their superstars showed up, as future Hall of Famers Syl Apps and Sweeney Schriner scored three goals each, with four assists and three assists, each.
They scored often and got contributions throughout the lineup, something the Oilers of today will need to do tonight, and the process has to be one game at a time.
“I said that yesterday, I said you can’t look too far ahead,” said Oilers winger Corey Perry. “If you start looking too far ahead, it’s a daunting task.
“They’re a great team, we know that, but you start with one period, one game, and you work your way from there. That’s all we can do.”
Knoblauch didn’t glean anything about his lineup, as with the stakes getting higher and higher throughout the playoffs, fewer and fewer indications have come about who will hit the ice.
On Friday, Knoblauch and co. had shifted some lines around, as both Darnell Nurse and Evander Kane were absent. The top line remained the same, with Warren Foegele and Corey Perry alongside Leon Draisaitl. The third line of Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown, remained the same, as Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway flanked Derek Ryan on the fourth.
Sam Gagner had taken part in practice with the main group, skating on the fifth line with Sam Carrick and Lane Pederson.
On the blue line, Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard were together, while Philip Broberg and Vincent Desharnais were a pair, and Brett Kulak and Cody Ceci skated together.

Words from Corey Perry and Connor Brown

Now taking part in his fifth Stanley Cup Finals, Perry isn’t letting the moment pass him by, knowing just how difficult it is to get to this position in the first place. With a shake in his voice,
“You are savouring it, because you don’t know how many more you’re going to have of these I am getting older, and time is running out.
“Everytime you’re coming to the rink, you’re excited. I said this a bunch of times, that when I won, what was it, 17 years ago, or something like that, it was pretty special. I was 22-years-old, I just came into the league and it took me 12 years to get back to the final.
“You can’t take these things for granted. You have to lay it out on the line, because you might not ever get a chance again. There’s guys in that room, there’s only a few guys that have played in the finals, and there’s some guys that might not ever get back to the final. This is what you live for, this is why you play the game. You grow up as a kid wanting to play in the Stanley Cup Final. It’s a pretty special feeling.”
For as much of the hole the Oilers are in, the Oilers have found themselves in a comfortable position, winger Connor Brown said.
“The unique thing about our club, I think over the year, we’ve shown when we are backed in to a corner, that’s where we feel most comfortable. And that’s when we seem to play our best.
“For the majority of this series, we’ve kept up or pushed and had them on their heels. It’s just coming out and doing it for a full sixty, and playing the way we know we have to play to win games.”

No lineup changes for the Cats

The Florida Panthers took to the ice Saturday for a full morning skate, keeping their lines and pairings the same from Thusday night’s Game 3. They’ll look for their seventh win in a row Saturday night, and the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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