Last night the Edmonton Oilers were thoroughly embarrassed 7-0 in San Jose tying the series 2-2. It started badly right from the outset. Todd Mclellan put Connor Mcdavid on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff just 15 seconds into the game where he proceeded to lose the draw and the Sharks scored just seconds later. It was all downhill from there. I’m not one to criticize N.H.L. coaching but it seems odd to put Mcdavid out early for a dzone faceoff. Just an odd choice in my opinion.
To me today and tomorrow are critical to seeing what Mclellan can accomplish. What did he say to the team after the game? What does he say and do today? What about tomorrow morning? Whatever he does…it is his job to make sure his team is able to not only forget about last night but to come out tomorrow with their best game and right from the first whistle. This team needs to come out tomorrow flying, finishing every check possible. It can’t afford to get down early again to a veteran Sharks team. They have too much experience and the Oilers have too little experience to get down early again…especially with the way last nights game went.
I also wonder what Mclellan does with the lines. Does he go back to the way the Oilers finished the season? Does he hit the Mcblender or does he lightly tweak? Zach Kassian has been the teams best player which is good and bad… It’s great that he has been playing the best hockey of his season but it also means that the stars haven’t shown up…yet. Mcdavid and Lucic both have 2 points, Eberle has 1 helper and then it is all zero’s for Nuge, Draisaitl and Maroon. Is it time to muck all the lines up and see what happens or is it time to go back to what worked and hope they figure it out? I don’t have the answers and I’m sure Edmonton fans will have their opinions but I’m going to leave it with the N.H.L. coach who knows a lot more than any of us.
On one hand I’d like to see Mclellan go back to what has worked in the past. Maybe go back to the lines that finsihed the regular season and see if they can’t find the magic again:
Maroon McDavid Leon Lucic Nuge Eberle Pouliot Desharnais Kassian Caggiula Letestu Slepyshev
Or if the Mcblender comes out and Mclellan wants to give Kassian more ice maybe it looks like this:
Pouliot McDavid Kassian Lucic Nuge Leon Maroon Desharnais Eberle Caggiula Letestu Hendricks
If I was running the show..well the Oilers would be f*#%ed and would be awful but this is what I would do:
Maroon McDavid Leon Lucic Nuge Eberle Pouliot Desharnais Kassian Caggiula Letestu Henricks
I would go back to what has worked for a good portion of the season. I don’t think there’s enough time to try new lines and hope they find chemistry. I would take out a rookie fourth liner and add the experienced Hendricks. I think he is chomping at the bit to get in and would provide some spark in a very limited roll. He would finish every check and provide some leadership on the bench. I have a feeling Mclellan’s lines look something like how they finished the season but time will obviously tell.
If history tells us anything it is that whoever wins tomorrow’s game almost always wins the series so it is a must win in my opinion. So whatever Mclellan comes up with for lines tomorrow needs to work and needs to work from shift one! I have faith the Mclellan gets it right and that the team will come out on fire!!! I can’t wait for tomorrow!!!
Keep the Faith!!!
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