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Can the Oilers Get Back in it?

They say a series is never over until a team loses at home!

After two games in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a spot very few teams get out of. In the history of the best four of seven Finals format, teams that go up 2-0 are 49-5. The last team to win the Cup after dropping the first two games was Boston in 2011. Clearly, history isn’t on Edmonton’s side at this point. However, when you have two historically good players and one of the loudest arenas in the league to come back to, your chances at reversing the series are still far from zero. So, let’s talk about how they can get back into this series (and make it to seven games for our prediction’s purposes).

Feed off the Energy

To end up with the Cup, I think the Oilers need to win both games 3 and 4 at home. However, these games must be taken one shift at a time, and the best way to get going in the right direction is feeding off what should be an insane atmosphere at Rogers Place for Game 3. There’s no doubt that fans will have the arena rocking, and if Edmonton can get on the board or deliver some big checks against Florida early on, they may be able to carry that momentum well into the game. Being at home should also help their powerplay, a unit the Oilers desperately need to get going if they want to come back in this series. The man advantage is currently 0/7 against Florida, and speaking of goals…

Beat Bob

This one is easier said than done, but there’s no getting around it. The Oilers scored just one goal in two games against Bobrovsky in Florida, and they need to find a way to be much better at converting offensively in Edmonton. Of course, the powerplay’s success or lack thereof will largely impact the scoresheet, but the Oilers also need to find ways to create opportunities 5-on-5. In Game 2, they produced almost zero high-danger chances after Mattias Ekholm’s goal and mustered just seven shots on net in the first two periods. This may not mean starting Game 3 with McDavid and Draisaitl playing together, but if things don’t start well, I’d be surprised if Kris Knoblauch didn’t make a move pretty quickly. Also, more on Draisaitl…

Get Leon Going

He’s got to get going. Nothing is easy this deep into the NHL playoffs, but it’s clear Leon Draisaitl hasn’t been as effective recently as he was in the opening rounds. In Edmonton’s first thirteen playoff games, he collected 25 points. In his last seven outings, however, Leon has just one goal and two assists. The defensive skill of Alex Barkov has certainly played a role in that this series, but if the Oilers have any chance of winning four games, they’ll need Draisaitl to work through the challenges he’s facing. Hopefully, an energized home crowd and a little more success on the powerplay will help him do exactly that. 

For Edmonton to succeed, we do keep coming back to the same points. They weren’t terrible in Games 1 and 2, but to beat a team as good as Florida, their offence will need to find a way to produce, which starts with their best players. One goal in two games will never cut it, and Sergei Bobrovsky won’t be making anything easy on them in this series. The Oilers need to buckle down, and at this point, it’s now or never.

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