It all comes down to this.
Game 7 is liked by everyone except the team and the fans who find themselves at a loss. The Edmonton / Los Angeles series was something of a mix of complete one-sided explosions and close affairs throughout the series.
The first-round meeting returns to Edmonton, where the Oilers will seek to finally reach the second round only for the second time in Conar McDavid’s career. The Oilers have the skills to inflict serious damage in the second round, which of course could be against the Calgary Flames.
Meanwhile, the kings have already found themselves in such situations and hope to quickly cope with their opponents on the road. It won’t be easy, but if Jonathan Quick can stand on his head, the Kings may be able to take it as a lower seed.
Let’s tune in to what must be wild Game 7 on Saturday night:
1. This is the House of Conor McDavid
Ever since Connor McDavid entered the league in the 2015-16 season, the Oilers have won one playoff round, a 4-2 series over San Jose in his second campaign. Taking second place in the Pacific Division, the Oilers had high hopes for the postseason, but things did not go smoothly.
McDavid scored 12 points in six playoff games and was by all accounts the best player in the postseason. But McDavid hasn’t been able to overcome the hurdle since 2017, so that’s real evidence of what he’s capable of. He can’t win everything and the depth of this team needs to be strengthened, but McDavid is the best player in the world for good reason.
2. Can the Kings count on the playoff experience?
Fans love to do a lot about the playoff experience. There’s nothing like the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs.
So if you believe in the concept, it would be a good time for Kings to launch it. They still have some key core pieces that won the Cup in 2012 and 2014, including forwards Anse Kopitar and Dustin Brown and goalkeeper Jonathan Quick.
But that was a long time ago. Since the last Cup, the Kings have reached the playoffs three times: Kopitar scored 10 points in 15 games, and Brown – only four points, without goals. In Brown’s case, he’s looking for a last chance at fame before retiring this offseason, and losing in 7 games wouldn’t be a good way to get out.
This is essentially the last chance with the key parts of these two Cups to win again. They had real stinks against Edmonton, but they found ways to fight back and take energy away from the Oilers.
If anything, the Kings are going to do it for Dustin. In recent years, the Kings have had more experience in the playoffs than the Oilers, even if over the last eight years it has not been much. Let’s see if it makes a difference.
3. The difference may be in the gate
At one point Mike Smith of Edmonton was a weird name at the top of the goalkeeper stats column. But overall, Quick’s figures – a retention rate of 0.932 and 1.59 rebounds above average – made him the best goalkeeper in the playoffs outside the Dallas / Calgary series.
Smith, however, is not far off with .928 SP and 1.09. Both had their ups and downs, but the gallantry really looks like the X-Factor that goes into the 7th game.
Will this be the last chance for Quick to win the playoff series? Could this be Smith’s last game? Both teams had a hard time getting a consistent defense, so it allowed the goalkeepers to stay busy.
With the exception of Igor Shesterkin, who inflicted most of the damage in the triple play to start the playoffs, Quick (46) and Smith (37) faced the most dangerous blows 5 to 5 of all goalkeepers in the playoffs. They are not alien to quality chances, but now they need to close everyone.
3 Keys to Win Game 7: The Edmonton Oilers vs. the Los Angeles Kings
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