Will Cody Ceci’s Game 7 magic reappear for the Oilers?

Edmonton Oilers Cody Ceci
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Few players have taken more heat in Edmonton over the last year or two than Cody Ceci.
Some of it has been justified and may have been harsh, but the truth is he’s often found himself playing above where he should in the Oilers lineup.
But no matter how you feel about his game, one thing is true: he’s come up in big moments for this team.
Now in his third year with the team, he’s experienced all the trials and tribulations this team has gone through since then, now having played nine playoff series with the Oilers. While there haven’t been many Game 7’s in that stretch, Ceci has stepped up big in them.
Both Game 7’s he’s played in — one against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the 2022 playoffs and another against the Vancouver Canucks in this year’s second round — he’s found a way to score a big goal.
His one against the Kings was the game-winner, and one of two the team scored that night, coming 13:15 into the second period of that game. It was a tense game which was sealed by Connor McDavid with four minutes left in the game with a 2-0 win.
His goal against the Canucks was also the first of that game, coming 1:16 into the second period. The Oilers would score two more goals in that period as Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found the back of the net, with Edmonton going on to win 3-2.
What makes his Game 7 production fascinating is that he’s only scored three goals in his 51 playoff games with the Oilers so far. His only other goal came in the second period of the Oilers’ 5-4 Game 1 loss to the Canucks this season.
It goes without saying that on Monday night the Oilers will need all their players pulling on the same rope, something we’ve seen them do in huge ways since the third period of Game 3, which this scribe saw as the turning point in the series. Ceci stepping up with a goal would be huge, and for as much of a longshot as it may be, who knows what can happen in this sport.

Who else has stepped up in Game 7’s?

The Oilers’ two Game 7s over the last three years have largely been low-scoring affairs. 2-0 and 3-2 wins have shown how offence can be at a premium in these situations.
Ceci leads the team in goals with his pair, as Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman have also scored goals. Hyman and Ceci are the only ones who haven’t added an assist.
Evan Bouchard, Leon Draisaitl and Brett Kulak each have a pair of assists in those games, while Dylan Holloway has an assist, as well.
Mike Smith was the starter for the game against the Kings, but Stuart Skinner got the crease for Game 7 against the Canucks this year, turning aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced for a .882 save percentage, and 0.58 goals saved above expected, according to Evolving Hockey. It goes without saying that a big performance from Skinner will be key, and the good news is that since he sputtered against the Kings, he’s been a stonewall in the crease.
He’s posted a 9-5 record, a .915 save percentage and a 2.05 goals against average, while saving a staggering 10.7 goals above expected, according to Evolving Hockey. He’s shown up in these playoffs for the Oilers, and they’ll need him to do so again.

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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