The Edmonton Oilers are still hoping to forget their hard fall in the playoffs last year, but time is running out and now that they have their backs against the Los Angeles Kings, they will first and foremost have to play better , more often, to prolong their journey.
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Swept in four games by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of 2021, Connor McDavid and his teammates find themselves one loss away from another elimination in the opening round, which is far from their starting goal. A 5-4 overtime loss on Tuesday prompted more questions about the squad. Can they just bounce back to tie the series on Thursday in Los Angeles after a mixed performance?
To do this, they must first start the game properly. In Game 5, the Kings could have taken a few-goal lead in the first period, which they outshot 16-5. In overtime, the Oilers were never in the game, spending most of their time in the defensive zone and Adrian Kempe eventually made them pay the bill. However, in Edmonton, we remain confident.
“The answer lies inside this locker room. We have to start with more enthusiasm. We have to land on the ice with our legs. We haven’t really done that in the last two games,” said forward Leon Draisaitl, as reported by the Edmonton Sun.
“Do we really have a choice to win?” he also said, knowing full well that a failure on Thursday or Saturday would mean the end of the shows for his people.
For his part, McDavid was very simple about the changes to be made during the sixth meeting. “We scored four times this time. That should be enough in a playoff game. Obviously, that was not the case here. We have to keep the puck out of our net.”
Not disastrous, but…
So far, McDavid is having a good time on offense with nine points against the Kings. Draisaitl is doing well with five goals and two assists, while Evander Kane has scored five times. However, despite the efforts of goaltender Mike Smith, who posted a .930 save percentage, head coach Jay Woodcroft’s team fell 3-2 in the series due in part to a few defensive deficiencies. . The -3 record of Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard, Duncan Keith and some others shows it well.
In McDavid’s eyes, the solution is very simple: the sense of urgency to act must be very real in his locker room.
“Each match is different, there is no rhythm that carries over from one match to the next. Each is new in itself. In the fourth part [gagnée 4 à 0 par les Kings dimanche], they were the best line-up all night. They worked harder and were desperate,” he cited as an example.
Edmonton hasn’t won a series since the spring of 2017.
Les Oilers sans Darnell Nurse
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will miss Game 6 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings after being suspended for one game by the National Hockey League.
Sure enough, Bettman Tour player safety upheld the penalty Wednesday afternoon after asking the back to justify headbutting Phillip Danault during game five the day before. With seconds to go in the second period, Nurse hit the Quebecer after a save from Oilers goaltender Mike Smith, who had just pinned the puck. No penalty was assessed as a result of the streak. Danault was able to continue the match without problem and even scored a goal in the third period.
At the Montreal Canadiens, defender Chris Wideman received an identical suspension for a whim that seemed more harmless last January. Surrounded by the arms of Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula, a move for which he was penalized, Wideman slammed his helmet against his opponent’s.
Nurse’s absence could hurt Edmonton, which trails 3-2 in Thursday’s showdown in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old defender has two points in this series, including a shorthanded goal in Game 2.
Nurse has been suspended only once during his National League career. It was in 2016 when he was the aggressor in a fight against Roman Polak of the San Jose Sharks.
In addition, Zack Kassian was also punished at the Oilers, since he will pay a fine of $ 5,000 because of a cross-check against Sean Durzi.