Last game the Oilers fell apart almost immediately and while they were able by the third period to dig their way back towards some respectability it was far too late and just like that, Edmonton now must find a way to win 3 of the next 4 games in order to move on to the Quarter Finals. This is the reality the Oilers face but what is done is done.
Three years ago, the Oilers were manhandled by the Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Semi Finals to the tune of 6-3. A couple games later in Game 6 Edmonton crushed the Ducks with a 7-1 performance. Just because one game was a blow out doesn't mean the series is over, but Edmonton needs to tighten up every facet of their game if they hope to stay in this.
It is rare to see Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both have such a horrid performance, and it would be even rarer for them to do so twice in a row. Expect both of Edmonton's best players to be royally pissed off and ready to take it out on the Hawks.
Around the league we have seen game 1 upsets with underdogs like the Coyotes, Canadiens, Blue Jackets, and Hawks all stealing the first game. It's more clear now than before that the work put into the regular season prior means almost nothing now. Edmonton needs to put in the commitment to be the better team in Game 2.
1.) Assignments - Three of the goals the Hawks scored were a direct result of players completely missing out on their defensive assignments. There were Eakins level swarm tactics being used by the Oilers and clearly they did not work. Most importantly Edmonton needs to protect the slot and ensure they aren't leaving guys wide open in the most dangerous scoring area on the ice.
2.) Oh Captain My Captain - McDavid isn't only the best player in the world; he might also be the most competitive. No one hates losing more than Connor, especially when he knows much of that failure falls on himself. The players who spent the most time against Connor at 5 on 5 were David Kampf, Ryan Carpenter, and Matthew Highmore and if you had to just Google each of those players I don't blame you. Yet this line not only prevented Connor from scoring any goals, they actually out-chanced McDavid's line. If #97 and whoever is on that line with him get that assignment again they need to cash in on what should be easy money.
3.) Smart Anger - Seriously every player in that Oilers locker room is livid after what happened on Saturday. In the 48 hours since that game we have heard media guys berate this team, suggest they aren't worthy of being a playoff team, and suggest that Connor McDavid is a bad captain and his lack of emotion has rubbed off on his teammates. These guys have nothing to do in the Bubble but listen to all of this noise. Using that anger can be good. Players can finish their checks a little harder, skate a bit faster and unload the puck with a bit more oompf. But if say Kassian goes out of his way to level a guy while the play turns into an odd man rush against the Oilers... that would be bad.
4.) Discipline - And on that same note, maybe don't take 6 penalties against your opponent this game. If Edmonton does gain some traction early in this game, it could immediately be thrown away should they take a dumb penalty. The Oilers used to be able to rely on their PK but if last game is any indication, they need to avoid being shorthanded at all costs.
Don't play Smith Tippett... you know that will end bad right? You know that..... you know that Tippett..... Tippett you know that...... right?
FILM OF THE DAY
For those who have studied film or story structure as a whole, you might be familiar with the 9 Act Structure. It is a structure that most modern films follow with some variants but overall all meet this standard. Act 4 is sometimes called The Commitment. It is the part of the story where the main character decides to take up the call that has been presented to him. One great example of this is the now infamous red pill/blue pill moment from the Matrix. It is in this moment where Neo decides to go down the rabbit hole.