Playoff Game 5: Kings @ Oilers - Best of 3
As I said in my last blog; if the Oilers play their best hockey than they will beat the Kings... well Edmonton certainly didn't play their best hockey on Sunday night as they were shut-out 4-0. LA came out desperate as if it were an elimination game and the Oilers weren't ever really able to respond to that kind of push. In every period, LA out chanced the Oilers and hemmed them for long periods in their own end. While the score was 2-0 after the first it could have been 5-0.
There was still plenty of game left and if the Oilers were able to push back they could have come within one or tied the game up but LA persisted and did not relent. Edmonton wasn't able to find any great line combinations during the game.
The Hyman-Draisaitl-Yamamoto line was outshot 1-7 at 5 on 5, the Archibald RNH and Brassard line did absolutely nothing. The only line that was able to really find anything consistent was the Kane-McDavid-Puljujarvi line which outshot the opposition 8-3.
Tonight we will see a mixup in the lineup:
The defensive pairings remain the same.
I've been saying for a couple games now it makes more sense to elevate McLeod in the lineup and to bump Puljujarvi down, not because the big Finn has played bad; far from it. Instead it's because he is one of the best 5 on 5 players on the team and that third line desperately needs a boost and to out-chance the Kings own bottom six forwards.
Edmonton will receive not only the boost from the home crowd tonight but will have the added advantage of last line change. That was not the sole reason why they lost in Game 4 but having this at home for potentially two more games if the series goes 7 does give the Oil another advantage.
After being arguably the best duo for the first three games, the Keith and Bouchard pairing had a brutal showing against the Kings with Keith in particular taking a huge chunk of the blame for both of the two goals LA scored in the first period. That duo can make or break the Oilers playoff run aspirations and they need to bounce back in a huge way tonight.
Even when Edmonton won in game 3, the Kings still outshot the Oilers early in that game. The tables need to be turned and the Oil need to come out as the aggressor and start by firing pucks in all directions on Quick. Edmonton won games 2 and 3 when they made LA play their game and in Game 4 the Oilers played LA's game. I'm expecting at least two big hits from Oilers forwards in the first couple minutes of this game.
As the title said, this is now a best of three series. The Oilers will play game 5 tonight at home, Game 6 in LA on Thursday and if the series needs it will play a game 7 at home on Saturday. Obviously it would be great to see Edmonton win tonight and on Thursday but as long as the Oilers can win one of those games the final game would be at home. Have to like the Oilers chances in that case but let's not get ahead of ourselves yet.
Some quick thoughts from other games going on:
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a different beast and it just goes to show how much luck and randomness can exist in this League. Who would've thought the Penguins would be up 3-2 on the Rangers, especially with Louis Domingue as their starter? Many including myself thought Calgary could sweep the Stars or maybe just go 5 games but Calgary's offense did not show up until last night which now ties them 2-2 with the Stars.
Panthers/Capitals, Oilers/Kings, Bruins/Hurricanes, Lightning/Leafs, Blues/Wild are all tied at 2-2. Every series with the exception of the sweep of the Predators at the hands of the Avs have been back and forth affairs. The first round is always crazy and it continues to not disappoint.
I hope everyone enjoys the game tonight!