After a game like the one played last night, I normally roll my eyes about the Oilers once again playing down to their opponent’s level. This time, after news of Edmonton’s coaching staff making hysterical changes to the line-up, it’s a tad more understandable. The second line of Evander Kane, Leon Draisaitl, and Corey Perry can stay; that’s it. Everything else needs to go back to the way it was before, no questions asked. A win is a win, but there’s a mutual agreement amongst Oilers fans that the line-up changes didn’t mix all that well. Goaltender Lukas Dostal started the third period for the Ducks, as John Gibson reportedly left the game with a lower-body injury. We hope that he is okay and wish him a speedy recovery.
Perry slashed the goalie stick out of the goalie’s hands, no penalty was called, Ducks fans were outraged, and our team scored. It feels weird being on the other side of that. I still don’t forgive Ryan Kesler, by the way. Congrats to Perry on getting the assist for his first point as an Oiler, even though the goal really shouldn’t have counted. Kane set a franchise record for the fewest games to record 5 hat-tricks. It was initially held by Wayne Gretzky, doing it in 136 games. Glenn Anderson was second, doing it in 173 games. Now Kane is first, doing it in 130 games.
Edmonton was playing better hockey after the first period, but it was still a pretty lucky win. I’d hate to sound like I’m being too harsh on a team that recently won 16 in a row. But when you’re labeled a Stanley Cup contender, you have higher on-ice standards to set on a nightly basis. The sky would’ve been falling if this game was played back in October and November. We’re still in a better place right now, just keep the focus and momentum going. The keys to the game are…
Have A Better PK: Heading into last night’s game, Edmonton’s penalty kill was ranked 4th. It had a bad game, going 0/2 against Anaheim’s now 20th ranked powerplay, and their PK dropped down to 9th. L.A.’s PP is slightly better at 16th, but went 1/4 in the last meeting between these teams. The Oilers have to get back to the PK that has been such a huge part of their comeback in the standings.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: How I worded this key is what I’ve appreciated about Kris Knoblauch since he took over behind the bench. I get that he wanted to try something new against a weaker team, and that having a long win streak end felt like the more sensible time to do it. But I commend him for going back to what worked before to start the third period. He wasn’t stubborn about it, he learned quickly that he’d seen enough and moved on.
Postseason Vibes: The last meeting between these teams felt like a Playoff game from the last two first rounds against them. Tuesday night against Vegas felt like a Playoff game from last year’s second round. Tonight is also L.A.’s first game with a new head coach. Still hanging onto a Wild Card spot, 5 points behind Edmonton in the standings, the Kings will want to show up hard and have a coaching change spark them the same way it sparked the Oilers.