‘We’re not completed’: Edmonton Oilers eager on persevering with deep playoff push

EDMONTON — The Oilers aren’t settling for the second spherical. Edmonton moved on to the subsequent section of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the L.A.

EDMONTON — The Oilers aren’t settling for the second spherical. 

Edmonton moved on to the subsequent section of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the L.A. Kings in Game 7 on Saturday evening, however Leon Draisaitl stated the group’s work stays unfinished. 

“It feels good, however we’re not completed. This isn’t the tip. We haven’t reached something,” he said. “It feels good to do it with this group. We’ve been by stuff all season — for lots of years, even — loads of ups and downs, loads of unfavourable stuff. It feels nice to have this sense proper now.

“Being down 3-2 (in the series), going to L.A., grinding one out, coming home and finding a way — it feels good.”

After beginning the season on a scorching streak, the Oilers struggled by December and early January earlier than firing head coach Dave Tippett on Feb. 10 and changing him with Jay Woodcroft, then-head coach of the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors. 

Edmonton completed the regular-season second within the Pacific Division with a 49-27-6 file and earned a house ice benefit. 

But L.A. got here into the post-season robust and took a 4-3 win in Game 1. The Oilers roared again with lopsided victories in Games 2 and three earlier than the Kings blanked Edmonton in Game 4 and pushed the membership to the brink of elimination with a 5-4 extra time win in Game 5. Game 6 in L.A. noticed the Oilers keep alive with a tightly contested 4-2 victory.

“We’ve faced a lot of adversity all season,” Draisaitl stated. “There were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of people who counted us out long before the playoffs started. And we grabbed it.”

It’s the primary time the Oilers have superior within the playoffs since 2017 once they beat the San Jose Sharks in a six-game first-round collection, then fell to the Anaheim Ducks in seven video games in spherical two. 

Since then, the post-season has been stuffed with heartache for hockey followers in Edmonton. 

The Oilers did not make the playoffs in 2018 or 2019, then misplaced to the Chicago Blackhawks in a play-in collection on house ice within the bubble throughout the COVID-condensed 2020 marketing campaign. Last 12 months, the Winnipeg Jets swept Edmonton in a four-game first-round collection. 

The staff took these experiences to coronary heart, stated captain Connor McDavid. 

“It’s just using lessons from previous mistakes,” he said. “We have made those mistakes in the past and we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot tonight, which was obviously positive.”

McDavid — who led the NHL with 123 factors within the common season — has continued his dominance within the playoffs, posting a league-leading 14 factors (4 objectives, 10 assists) by the primary seven video games. He had a aim and an help, and registered greater than 27 minutes of ice time in Saturday’s essential victory. 

“Our greatest gamers have been our greatest gamers on this collection,” said goalie Mike Smith, who made 29 saves for his second shutout of the post-season in Game 7. “And if you wish to get by one of many hardest rounds, your greatest gamers must be on the prime of their sport or higher. 

“Both (McDavid and Draisaitl) have been our horses, our leaders and everybody else adopted. It’s not simply on Connor and Leon, however they certain did a heckuva job to get us entering into the precise course and loads of different guys stuffed within the gaps.”

Draisaitl appeared to play Saturday’s sport with an ankle damage he suffered throughout a scrum in Game 6. While the star sniper advised reporters after Game 7 he was “fine,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft acknowledged he was taking part in by one thing.

“He’s a warrior, just an absolute warrior,” Woodcroft said. “He’s a big strong guy who, like (McDavid), is driven to win. I think that type of mindset when you see people play through stuff is contagious. And they’re a big reason, huge reason, why we’re at where we’re at, which is we’re advancing to round number two.”

Saturday’s win is vital, the coach stated, however the group has no plans to give up any time quickly. 

“We’re trying to get some rest and some regeneration and prepare for the next challenge,” he stated. “We stated this to our group yesterday: we did not come this far simply to come back this far. We’re right here to progress and proceed to maneuver our needle ahead.”

The second spherical will pit the Oilers towards the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 matchup between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars. 

Most of the staff can be watching the sport however nobody is rooting for one facet over the opposite, stated defenceman Cody Ceci. 

“Either team is playing great right now. Every series is pretty close,” he stated. “Either manner we must refocus and prepare for the second spherical.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed May 15, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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