After a humiliating Game 1 loss, the Edmonton Oilers need to regroup and make the series even in Game 2.
The Edmonton Oilers came into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a lot of confidence. However, that confidence was shattered by the Chicago Blackhawks, as the Hawks beat the Oilers 6-4 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Only two garbage-time goals by Edmonton make it as close as it was.
In a five-game series, losing the first game can ruin a team. However, the Oilers aren’t out of this yet. If they can bounce back in Game 2, the series is still well within reach.
Here’s what the Edmonton Oilers need to do in order to even up the series on Monday against the Blackhawks.
Clean Up Their Even Strength Play
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Though the Oilers scored four goals, none of those goals came at 5v5. Three of them came on the power play while the fourth goal came with the goalie pulled late in the third period. The Blackhawks thoroughly dominated the Oilers at 5v5 and that proved to be the difference in Game 1.
At 5v5, the Hawks outshot and outscored the Oilers, and they had more scoring chances than them as well. Considering 45 minutes of the game were at 5v5, it’s easy to see why the Blackhawks beat the Oilers.
It simply doesn’t matter how good Edmonton’s special teams are if they can’t do anything at even strength. While it’s easy to point the finger at Mike Smith, who had a very bad night in net and allowed five of those six goals, the Oilers allowed way too many scoring chances and didn’t give their goalie much help.
Head coach Dave Tippett needs to get his players to focus and clean up their act at even strength or this series could get out of hand very quickly.