The Oilers want to pull themselves together after a more difficult half of the game

The Oilers want to pull themselves together after a more difficult half of the game
The Oilers want to pull themselves together after a more difficult half of the game

(Edmonton) Head coach Kris Knoblauch needed someone – anyone – to take charge.


Posted at 7:24 p.m.

Joshua Clipperton

The Canadian Press

The Edmonton Oilers were sinking after a strong start in Game 3 of the Western Conference final against the Dallas Stars on Monday.

Connor McDavid started the game hot, setting up the Alberta team’s first goal before scoring one. He gave his team a 2-0 lead in the first period, at the end of which the Stars only took three shots.

The momentum, however, decidedly shifted during the intermission, and the Oilers were unable to respond quickly.

All the combinations that Knoblauch sent on the ice were unable to slow down the Stars during a disastrous 10-minute stretch at the start of the second. The visitors took the opportunity to chain offensive surges.

McDavid’s line was unable to get going. Leon Draisaitl and his wingers did not do better, nor did the third and fourth lines. Before they knew it, the Oilers were trailing 3-2.

The Oilers eventually regained their bearings on the ice to tie the game 3-3 before Jason Robertson completed his hat trick midway through the third period for the Stars. The latter won 5-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

“We got away from our game,” said Knoblauch on Tuesday, who is leading a National Hockey League team for the first time this season. I don’t want to take anything away from the Stars. They played a much better period in the second than in the first. But I come back to what we did.

“There are things that we didn’t do in second grade that we did in first grade. »

That includes the inability to make simple plays at the Oilers blue line and botched coverages in the defensive zone – a lack of attention to detail that has come up at various points this spring.

The Oilers notably let a 4-1 lead slip away in the first game of the second round against the Vancouver Canucks before making almost the same mistake with a score of 3-0 during the final meeting.

Then there was Monday’s radical turnaround.

“It’s just the little details,” argued Knoblauch, on the eve of the fourth game in Edmonton. To be successful, these little details are non-negotiable. If we want to be successful, we need everyone to do them every time. »

The Oilers have not scored a goal in the third period in this series and are 0-4 since the start of the playoffs when the scoreboard shows a tie after 40 minutes of play. This was the case in the last two games.

“We didn’t do a good job of putting the finishing touches on games,” Draisaitl said. This is usually a strong point of our team. »

The Oilers trailed the Canucks 2-1 heading into Game 4 at home and have no plans to deviate from their game plan.

“There’s nothing to get upset about, there’s nothing to sulk about,” Hyman said. We have been in this position before. We have a great opportunity in the fourth home game to turn this series into two of three.

“That’s the mindset we should have. »

But if things don’t go as planned, the Oilers will need to find a better answer or they’ll find themselves on the brink.

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