PG3 OILERS @ BLACKHAWKS - Traction
Edmonton responded beautifully in their last game with Connor McDavid leading the way with a hat trick and each line contributing at least one goal. It is that kind of depth that any playoff team needs in order to make a good run of things. The Oilers rebounded strong and will now need to build off of that and earn their first lead in the shortened series.
Tonight the Hawks will be the home team which means almost nothing except for the fact that they will have the last change. Matchups have been difficult to figure out this series because of how different the first two games were but expect the Dach Debrincat line to likely see another healthy dose of the Draisaitl line as they have been very effective against so far.
In the last game Patrick Kane was moved around a fair amount as Colliton tried to find ways for his star winger to get unleashed but the Oilers stood tall against him. Seeing how the Hawka try and matchup will be telling for the next two games.
Edmonton gained some traction in the last game but they still look like they are playing themselves into this series. Once again the Oilers need to come into the game strong and continue to put the pressure on.
- Will update if this changes but don't expect Tippett to move away from a winning lineup.
4 KEYS TO VICTORY
1.) CALLING ON LEON - No one on the Oilers played well in the first game but really it was only Leon Draisaitl who wasn't playing well in game two. Leon is a competitive guy and is always the first in line e to criticize his own game. With how McDavid has elevated his game you can bet the Hawks are going to zero in more on him. Edmonton needs Draisaitl to explode on the scene and force the Hawks attention on different lines.
2.) BLOOD IN THE WATER - Mikko Koskinen allowed one goal in his shortened first game and three in his second for a total of 4 goals against. Corey Crawford meanwhile has allowed a total of 10 goals in his two starts. As long as the Oilers are able to pressure as they did last game, Crawford has shown to be very beatable.
3.) PUCK BATTLES - One area the Hawks have shown very well in has been their ability to jump on loose pucks and win puck battles in the offensive zone. While Edmonton outclassed Chicago last game, when the Oilers failed to clear the puck the odds were high the Hawks were going to bury it. Clean it up.
4.) GOALS FROM THE BLUE - Through two games no defensemen for the Oilers have scored a goal while the Hawks have received two (Koekkoek and Maata). Edmonton's defense has appeared in the assist column but getting the defense engaged more in the offensive end and directing more pucks on net should be a priority tonight.
- FILM OF THE DAY
Edmonton has a chance today to come out with a huge win that would put them just a single game away from the Stanley Cup Quarter Finals. A loss would mean they would be fighting off elimination in their next game. The team currents sits on the edge of a skate blade and should they slip even a hair tonight they could pay dearly. Enjoy this scene from Blades of Glory.