Home sport With a new patient approach, the Oilers are well prepared for the Kings rematch

With a new patient approach, the Oilers are well prepared for the Kings rematch

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April 14, 2023 02:03

Edmonton – They haven’t had a season like this in Edmonton since the glory days, and we all know how five of those seasons ended.

Now, for the current Oilers, it’s time for a postseason game on par with what the Hall of Fame did back then. The game will begin in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings, last year’s first-round opponent that took Edmonton to a thrilling seventh game.

Los Angeles plays Edmonton aggressively, setting up a low-scoring defensive game that requires a patient approach from the opposition. It’s something previous Oilers teams have struggled with, but the game this team is finally learning to play has defeated the Kings in their last two meetings.

What sets this Oilers team apart from recent playoff editions?

“I would say we (we) are more mature,” said Connor McDavid. We’re gone. We’ve gone one step further now, with this past year, and those are all learning experiences…you need to build on them now.”

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The winner of the Kings-Oilers will face the person coming out of Vegas against Winnipeg. The Pacific Division did not clear its final picture until the last night of its season, when the Golden Knights arrived in Seattle and won, 3-1. in the regulations.

After a trip to the Western Conference Finals a year ago, Edmonton have put together a season that makes you wonder if they finally have what it takes to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, which was once a rite of spring here in Oil Country.

After a comfortable 5-2 victory over San Jose in Game 82 on Thursday night, the Edmonton Oilers finished their season with a record nine-game winning streak, 14-0-1, and became the first Oilers to win 50 games in a season. Since 1987 Stanley Cup Champion.

They posted the best power play in NHL history at 32.4%, while McDavid led the league in goals (64), assists (89) and points (153), winning his first Rocket Richard Trophy and third consecutive Art Ross. League Top Scorers Cup.

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Of course, he’s focused on the playoffs and hates shooting himself, even after setting new personal bests in goals, assists and points.

“It’s the regular season. It’s really time to play,” said McDavid, which became a very good quote when he wasn’t asked to talk about himself. “It was a good regular season—both individually and for the team—but now it’s time to have fun. »

As a team, Edmonton has a record of 29 wins in their last 40 games of the season, something that has never been done before in Edmonton. On goal, Stewart Skinner’s 29 wins is a new record for an Oilers rookie goaltender, breaking the record set by Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr in 1981-82.

“Growing up in Edmonton, all I could hear was how great a guard Grant Fuhr was,” said Skinner. “The challenger – he’s a Hall of Fame keeper. One of the best matches of all time. (It’s) a really cool moment.”

Only four other Oilers, all in the early 80’s, can get 109 points or more in seasons.

“Yeah,” Coach Jay Woodcroft began when asked about the stats. “It’s good, but it’s over. It’s in the rearview mirror.”

“The way we get better is by continuing to do tough things in times of pressure. That’s the point of the playoffs.” It’s finding a way to be at your best when the other team is at their best, and whoever does that the longest is usually the winning team. »

Edmonton has gone 2-2 against the Kings this season, but has won its last two games — March 30 and April 4 — by scores of 2-0 and 3-1. They’ve found ways to win games that McDavid or Leon Draistel haven’t won for them, like on Tuesday in Colorado, when both of Edmonton’s goals came from defenders.

Or Thursday, when Matthias Janmark scored twice and Ivan Bouchard added one in a 5-2 win.

“Everyone is playing well,” said McDavid. Everyone stuck on the team. »

The playoffs are about finding a new champion every night, and as this season draws to a close, the Oilers have a pair of 50-goal totals, four 30-goal scorers and 13 different 10-goal scorers spread across their rosters – probably most of them all.

“Where we’re going, you need everyone’s input,” Woodcroft said. “Sometimes the best players from both teams have seen each other and you are looking for a little bit of production elsewhere. We have a lot of players who could score if given the chance.”

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