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5 Takeaways From Edmonton Oilers’ Game 2 Overtime Victory Over Canucks – Hockey Writers – Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 at Rogers Arena on Friday (May 10), evening their 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs second-round series with one win apiece.

Related: Oilers Take Game 2 In Overtime 4-3 vs. Canucks

Evan Bouchard scored 5:38 into overtime for the Oilers, who also got goals from Leon Draisaitl, Mattias Ekholm, and Connor McDavid. Goalie Stuart Skinner made 16 saves in the winning effort.

Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Nikita Zadorov each lit up Vancouver, while Canucks goaltender Arturs Silvos went down after being hit four times on 31 shots.

Here are five takeaways from Edmonton’s exciting Game 2 victory.

Finally the Oilers beat the Canucks

Edmonton entered Game 2, having lost five straight games to the Canucks. The Oilers went 0-4-0 against Vancouver in the regular season and dropped Game 1 by a score of 5-4 on Wednesday (May 8).

There was an asterisk next to all those losses. The first three came in October and early November, when the Oilers were full of excitement and still had to make the coaching change from Jay Woodcroft to Kris Knoblauch that would turn their season around. Then, the fourth was in April when the Oilers were without McDavid, who missed the game due to injury, and the fifth was an inexplicable collapse in Game 1 by the Oilers, who scored three goals in 22:46. scoring a shot on goal.

But while a few losses may be easy to brush off, five is a pattern that no number of excuses can explain. And while the Oilers continued to exude confidence coming into the game against Vancouver, there had to be growing doubt in their heads with each subsequent loss to the Canucks. With that in mind, for the Oilers to finally win in Vancouver, it had to be big for the Edmonton players, whether they would admit it or not.

Skinner Gets The Monkey Off His Back

Speaking of overcoming obstacles, Skinner finally got the first overtime playoff win of his NHL career. Edmonton’s netminder was previously 0-3 in overtime play in an NHL postseason game and had stopped six of the nine shots he faced in sudden death. He took the loss in two overtime games against the Los Angeles Kings last spring and had his first hit in overtime in Edmonton’s first-round loss to the Kings on April 24.

Stuart Skinner, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / Hockey Writers)

Skinner had to stop three shots in overtime on Friday, and none were particularly dangerous, but there’s no such thing as an easy save, given the pressure of the situation. Like his team in beating the Canucks, Skinner must feel good about getting his first OT win.

Oilers Ride Stars to Victory

Knoblauch lined up his No. 1 line with Edmonton’s top three scorers on Friday, playing Draisaitl with Zach Hyman and McDavid.

Edmonton’s coach doubled down on two changes to the trio as the game wore on. At the end of overtime, Hyman had put in 25:48, Draisaitl had played 27:01, and McDavid was on ice at 28:12. Between the three of them, Draisaitl, Hyman, and McDavid combined for 82 shifts; Edmonton’s other nine players combined for just 153 shifts.

Knoblauch took a similar approach on the back end, too, relying heavily on the defense of Bouchard and Ekholm, who played 29:49 and 25:42, respectively. Edmonton’s other four blueliners logged between 17:19 and 18:22 of ice time.

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The coach’s tough strategy finally paid off in Game 2, with members of the No. 1 front line or top defensive unit accounting for all of Edmonton’s goals on Friday. But how far can the Oilers go in the postseason without getting more contributions from deep down their roster? Half of Edmonton’s 30 goals in the playoffs so far have come from Hyman (nine) or Draisaitl (six), while only five Oilers have more than three points through the team’s first seven games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. -2024.

That’s not a model for sustained success, but the Oilers weren’t worried about a 16-game winning streak Friday. They had to do whatever it took to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole in the series. Knoblauch knows for sure that in order for his team to win more games to advance to a multi-series, his entire roster needs to contribute.

Draisaitl Ain’t Too Worse For Wear

On the other hand, seeing Draisaitl log such heavy minutes without any apparent difficulty should have been a relief for Oilers fans, as he was doubtful to play for hours before Game 2.

In Game 1, Draisaitl missed most of the second half and appeared to be in pain when he returned to play in the third. He did not participate in practice on Thursday (May 9) or the optional pregame skate on Friday. Little is known about what the problem is with Draisaitl, other than Knoblauch saying the forward suffered “mechanical issues” in Game 1.

The five-time All-Star’s status was all over Oil Country, but as it turned out, there was nothing to worry about because if anything bothered Draisaitl, it certainly didn’t hinder his play. He worked 29 shifts, the most of any Oilers player, and accounted for all of Edmonton’s goals, with one goal and three assists. McDavid was also there for all of his team’s goals, recording three more assists than his third season tally.

Oilers Refused to Lose

Perhaps most impressive about Edmonton’s Game 2 win was the resilience shown by the Oilers. They trailed three times Friday, and each time, they responded with the next goal: Pettersson gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead 4:14 into the game before Draisaitl tied it with a power-play goal at 10:56 of the first. Ekholm got the Oilers back on track with a goal 1:16 into the second period, just 23 seconds after Boeser put the Canucks up 2-1. After Zadorov scored late in the second period to restore Vancouver’s lead, McDavid came up with a clutch goal at 5:27 of the third period.

Through the first two games of the series, the most dangerous situation seems to be playing with the lead. Vancouver won Game 1 despite leading 5:34 to the Oilers’ 51:36, but lost Game 2 despite leading 14:25 while the Oilers never led. The team that scored first has lost both games.

We’ll see if that trend continues when Edmonton and Vancouver meet again in a crucial Game 3 on Sunday (May 12) at Rogers Place.

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