NHL Playoffs: Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks | Round 2, Game 2 | 05/10/2024

Photo via NHL.com

They pulled a Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Edmonton Oilers did their best Dallas Stars impression and opened the second round by blowing a 3 goal lead in Game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks. It’s only the first game; you have to win four, and every series is long. But that loss still stings pretty bad.

More than one thing can be true at the same time. Both teams got lucky breaks and bounces that led to goals. Stuart Skinner could’ve and should’ve been better in net. Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci have not heard the end of it in the social media atmosphere. You’d be right in saying all of those things; I won’t tell you that you’re wrong. But the stats and eye test don’t lie. The third period shots on goal are 8-0 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game when Vancouver made it 5-4. Say what you will about the defense and goaltending, but where did the offense go so suddenly?

The collective eye-roll among Oilers fans wasn’t so much the team blowing a huge lead as it was how they blew it. They allow the 4-2 goal late in the second period, fine; it happens. They weren’t even that great in the second period and still found their own luck, which also happens from time to time. But they just randomly shut their brains off and took their foot off the gas. It’s almost as if they’d already been mentally planning Game 2 without finishing Game 1 first. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hit the post on a scoring chance before Vancouver went the other way and scored, or else it may’ve or would’ve been a different game. It is fair to point that out. But with all this team has been through in years past, especially this one, they really should’ve known better than to fall back into an old habit.

It felt like they wasted a massive opportunity with the other team’s #1 goalie being out of the line-up. You can’t let go of the killer instinct ever, no matter what the scoreboard says. Consider all of this a bonus key to the game before I list the actual keys.

I hope you’re not the sort of person who trash talks online before a game finishes because doing so during that one would not have aged well for you. But, as I said in the first paragraph, it was only Game 1. The players didn’t beat themselves up about it in the post-game interviews. They took it like pros and understood that there’s still lots of hockey left to play. Last year, the Oilers suffered a similar Game 1 loss in Round 1 but still won that series. Fans freaked after Game 2 of Round 1 this year, and it still turned out okay in the end. It’s a part of the game that makes you pull all your hair out, but it’s still a part of the game. Here’s hoping they can respond positively on the ice and bring a tied series back to Edmonton. The keys to the game are…

German Sheppard: Leon Draisaitl headed back to the locker room halfway through the second period after getting hurt on a play. He would come back for the third period, but some are wondering how healthy he’ll be for the rest of the series. I’m honestly not too concerned. If you remember the Calgary series in 2022, he was practically skating on one leg and still breaking Playoff records. Draisaitl is a beast; he has a history of playing through nagging injuries. The only reason he wouldn’t dress for a game is if he were dead. Otherwise, you’re not keeping him off the ice. If he were to miss even one game, it’d have to be something serious.

Let’s Get Physical: Game 1 started with a lot of hits. The final hit count was 35-31, favoring Vancouver. I think we can expect more of that for Game 2, in a situation where Edmonton will need to make it a 1-1 series. Nurse, in particular, is, for whatever reason, not hitting as much as he used to. Since throwing 6 hits in the opening game against Los Angeles, he only has 1 hit in his last 5 games. I don’t blame him all the time; I’m not as hard on him as other fans are. But we need to see that version of Darnell Nurse again.

Don’t Blind The Goalie: On Nikita Zadorov’s tying goal on Wednesday, there were two or three Oilers standing in front of Skinner. I think Arturs Silovs had that issue as well when Mattias Ekholm scored to make it 2-0. Yes they still need to be mindful of bounces, like the ones we saw on some of those goals. But if you want your goalie to make the save, let him see the puck.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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