Renewed Effort Puts Edmonton Right Back In This Series
Well that was far more fun to watch.
Considering the abomination of a game 1 the Oilers presented to the fans, nerves being strained prior to this game was an understatement to say the least. Connor McDavid helped by scoring the third quickest Oilers goal in playoff history only 19 seconds into the game and Captain Connor would not stop there.
It wasn't always pretty but that should be expected in any playoff series. What matters the most is Edmonton finally looked more like the team they were through the regular season and out matched the Hawks in the areas that they should have. Final shot count was 35-26 but more importantly Edmonton racked up over double the High Danger Chances, finishing 17-8 in favor of the Oil.
Connor McDavid was the clear cut first star but a number of guys came out ready to bring their A game. Let's get into the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
- There are a few guiding principles of the universe that every being should follow. One of those is don't piss off Connor McDavid. From the get go, McDavid was clearly a man on a mission with both of his first two goals being scored almost entirely by his sheer will alone. His second goal in particular was a highlight reel thing of beauty and vintage Connor; using blinding speed to move past a few defenders and then scoring at a near impossible angle. Connor finished with his first career post season hat trick.
- Big props to the big man Mikko Koskinen. His 0.886SV% wouldn't normally suggest he played well but he made some key saves when the team fell flat in the second period and kept his team going. The only really bad goal was the last one that deflected odd off of Russell so we will write that off as a fluke.
- After being a major reason why the Oilers lost game 1, the penalty kill came back huge in Game 2. Edmonton took four penalties in the game, including two that were back to back. The defense were engaged, blocking shots and managed to limit the quality chances of the Hawks. PK finished a perfect 100%.
- Andreas Athanasiou came on huge and played his best game in an Oilers uniform. After playing the fewest minutes in his last game, the AA line ended up playing more this time than the Neal line. Athanasiou's speed was on full force and he forechecked and backchecked like a fiend. This line played a healthy amount against Kane, Dach, and Debrincat and came out positive. Their breakouts from the defensive zone were particularly impressive. Tippett needs this AA to continue playing at this pace.
- Big shout outs also to the 4th line. When the game started getting dicey and the Oil were up by only one in the third, James Neal got to work. First he jumped in on a misplay by Crawford to bury one past him and shortly after he sped into the zone under pressure, got a shot off and the rebound ended up on Chiasson's stick who potted the final goal of the game.
- There were still some mistakes we will discuss but the D as a whole came much more prepared. The third period in particular was excellent as the backend played a much more physical game.
- Though he did not get an assist on the play, Yamamoto did all the work on the goal that Ennis scored. Yamamoto got into it with a much bigger man than he in Duncan Keith throughout the game and even managed to draw a penalty. The little guy continues to impress.
- Add another 3 points for RNH. The center turned winger continues find good chemistry with McDavid and is finding the scoresheet.
- Scoring the one power play goal was great but with the amount of chances the Oil had it was unfortunate they couldn't score one more. A minor nitpick.
- Adam Larsson was the only defender who finished with a CF% below 50%. The Klef and Larsson duo were head and shoulders better than their first outing but Larsson still had some issues in his own end.
- The first Kassian penalty was a bit of a weak call but the Oil nearly shot themselves in the foot by taking another penalty immediately after the first expired.
- No double minor for the blood drawn on Yamamoto... really refs?
- Still too many missed assignments and issues getting the puck out of the zone. The Koekkoek goal in particular was completely avoidable and a result of too much time being hemmed in their own end. An improvement from the first (anything would have been) but the Hawks are capitalizing on those mistakes.
- Leon Draisaitl did not come out to play. The big winger did not register a shot on net and while his linemates played well he never seemed to impact the game. The Hawks have placed Dach against Leon and the rookie to his credit has performed well in shutting down the German superstar. Its been a slow start for #29 but he will find his game eventually... Edmonton just needs it to happen soon.
With the series now tied up the Hawks will now get their turn at playing as the home team, getting the matchups they prefer. We once again have a real series and if the Oilers can put in at least the same effort on Wednesday they should be able to come up with another win.