Neither the Vegas Golden Knights nor the Edmonton Oilers are expecting an easy or quick Second Round series. Each team advanced under the seven-game limit in their opening series but in all likelihood, this matchup could go the distance. Both have opposite strengths which could impact the ability to score or defend. No matter how it plays out, both locker rooms are expecting a challenging and entertaining two weeks of hockey.
"I would expect it to be maybe a little bit more up & down the rink."
Connor McDavid on the matchup vs. the Golden Knights. @Enterprise | #LetsGoOiler pic.twitter.com/MUbdI0cJlu
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 1, 2023
Going into tonight, the Oilers are likely feeling good about their situation. In the regular season, Edmonton had the upper hand between the two Pacific Division rivals. The Golden Knights dropped 3 out of 4 games (1-2-1) and struggled to outscore the lamp-lighting Oilers. Altogether, both teams scored more goals per game than their season averages in the matchups against each other. 4-3, 5-4, or even higher scores appear to be the expected outcomes in these games.
It’s a different animal this series than what we saw versus LA. A big difference, actually. Different styles, different challenges, different problems they present. And they seem to be firing on all cylinders. They have a deep forward group that likes to play a pressure-based game. They finished at the top of the conference for a reason. They had a pretty steady year and they get contributions up and down the lineup. -Jay Woodcroft, Oilers coach
Unlike the Golden Knights, the Oilers faced adversity several times in their six-games series with the Kings. LA climbed back from multi-goal deficits and took two games in overtime. On the flip side, outside of Game 1 vs Winnipeg, Vegas controlled the final 263 minutes of the series. Against Edmonton in the regular season, they were rarely in control.
When asked about their success against the Golden Knights, superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl side-stepped any comparison between the regular season and the postseason.
It’s a different animal. The regular season to the playoffs, I don’t think that translates very well. -Connor McDavid, Oilers captain
It’s clear Draisaitl, McDavid, and the rest of the Oilers are aware of their achievements vs the Golden Knights this year. Winning the season series can boost an away team’s confidence going into Games 1 & 2. Listening to the coaches and players over the past few days, the team wholly disregards regular season results.
Against the Golden Knights in 2022-23, Draisaitl recorded eight points (5 Goals, 3 Assists) in four games. However, he redirected questions about individual productivity like pucks past overwhelmed goaltenders.
It’ll be a good series. Two good teams. They had a really good year, so did we. We’ll be ready. -Leon Draisaitl, Oilers center
Believe them or not, having past success undoubtedly adds confidence. Like most veteran teams in the playoffs, the Oilers are keeping their comments generic and short. They’re complimenting the Golden Knights but not in an over-the-top or disingenuous manner. It’s possible Draisaitl and his teammates kept things quick so they could enjoy more sun in Southern California.
Ken, got anything on Mark Stone
He is expected to play.
Not again please. But that did not look good . F*ck!