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Round 2 Game 4 - 5 on 5 Play Will Decide This Series

May 10, 2023, 5:36 PM ET [15 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Edmonton Oilers are getting absolutely dominated by the Golden Knights at 5 on 5 in this series. While Game 2 was a great performance by Edmonton, it began due to Vegas playing undisciplined and letting the Oilers special teams do what they do best. The Golden Knights fell into a hole and couldn't dig themselves out. In Game 1 and Game 3 that was not the case and the Oilers simply have not had a strong enough response.

Things need to change in this game for the Oilers; that should be obvious as a lose tonight would put Edmonton in a very difficult 3-1 series heading back to Vegas. We need to see the best from every Oilers player tonight to get this series tied up once more.

One of the major issues Edmonton has right now is the Eichel line is just feasting on the Oilers lesser lines. Eichel and Marchessault played the most against the Bjugstad, Kane, RNH line and went 2-0 against them and the Nurse and Ceci pairing. Neither of those groups should play together in this game, nor should they go up against Eichel the most. This was a gaffe by Woodcroft. He has last change on home ice, that should not have been the line he put up against them.

We likely won't know what lines will be deployed tonight until they hit the ice. Right now, this is what I would like to see:




Edmonton needs an answer for the Stone line and the Eichel line and they cannot do that if McDavid and Draisaitl are playing together. Some have suggested slotting Foegele up into the top six. I don't hate that idea but the McLeod, Foegele, and Ryan trio have been the Oilers most consistent 5 on 5 line at limiting shots. It would be hard to make the call to split them up.

There are some reports/belief that Janmark will dress tonight, meaning Edmonton may go 12/6. Broberg was out later which could mean he is the odd man out but I would play him over Desharnais. Physicality isn't the Oilers issue right now. They're getting outskated and beat in almost all puck battles on the ice.

No one on the blueline had a good game in Game 3. Bouchard tripped but also had bad coverage throughout the game. Nurse was doing the Nurse thing where he sticks his stick out and doesn't really do anything. Cody Ceci just looks completely lost at all times out there. The Golden Knights are the complete opposite of the Kings. While LA sat back in their defensive positioning, the Golden Knights constantly attack. Guys like Nurse and Ceci who do not adjust well to quick changes in the game are struggling.

McDavid and Draisaitl were held off the scoresheet in a rare instance. Both players struggled with their passes and were just a hair off on most plays.

One of the biggest problems right now? The Oilers are back to trying to be too cute with their passes and shots. Laurent Brossoit went down early in the game and Adin Hill, who had not started a game since March 7th came in relief. That should have been the opportunity for Edmonton to fire pucks from all angles and get Hill uncomfortable early. Instead, the Oilers over passed and the shots they did create weren't much of a threat. The only goal Edmonton did score was a shot towards the net with a man in front. Maybe try that some more.

It's been rough for Stuart Skinner. I thought in the first and early in the second period, Skinner did an excellent job of keeping the team in the game, giving them a chance to figure things out. Instead the players in front of him continued to sit on their heels, giving Vegas chance after chance. There were a couple goals Skinner likely wants back but it's hard to win when you score a single goal and play like that.

This has been a bizarre series. Neither team has played their best hockey at the same time but Vegas looks like they've finally figured things out and gotten comfortable. The Oilers must play their best tonight or this series will be close to being over. They have the personnel to do it; can they execute? We will find out tonight.

Thanks for reading!
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