From top to bottom, the Oilers are finding a rhythm in the way they play – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — On the day we drink Guinness, the Edmonton Oilers made the perfect point.
Fitted with a 3-0 lead for the second straight game, the Oilers proved this time that they know what to do with it, shutting ‘er down and defeating the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 in a game they controlled from the drop of the puck to the final horn.
“It was a full 60 minutes. Maybe as good a game as we have played all year,” said defenceman Tyson Barrie, who had a goal and an assist on a plus-2 night. “After two periods we realized that we had played a pretty solid game up to that point and we made a point of coming out and drilling home that last 20 minutes — to show us what it feels like to play the full game.”
After leading 3-0 five minutes into the game against Detroit on Tuesday, Edmonton found itself tied 5-5 in the third period before winning 7-5. Two nights later it blunted the Sabres, who were not very good at all.
“What I saw was what everybody else saw,” said Sabres head coach Don Granato. “That was not a very good game.”
For his team, perhaps. But the Oilers collected another two points on a what has been a perfect four-game homestand so far, and they’ll try for five straight when they host New Jersey in a Saturday matinee.
The Oilers rolled four lines right overtop the Sabres on St. Patty’s Day, and as they begin to get their ‘A’ team back from Injured Reserve, Edmonton is finding a rhythm in the way it plays.
“I thought we got contributions from everybody,” head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “All four lines, three D-pairs, Mike Smith was excellent, the penalty kill was good, we got a shorthanded goal and we scored a power play goal. All facets of the game seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and because we had everybody going, we were able to spread the minutes out nicely tonight.”
On a night when five different Oilers had two-point nights, Zach Hyman was perhaps their most industrious player on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi. Hyman was a catalyst all night, the buzz saw that GM Ken Holland envisioned when he lured him in as a free agent last summer.
“Just when it looks like there are three guys on him, he finds a way to outwork them all. That’s why he was so coveted,” Barrie said. “The thing about him is that he plays the same way every night. You can rely on him.”
The Oilers’ quest is to get the flightiness out of their game. In a league where everyone seeks consistency they’re no different, seeking an identity that they can roll out one night after the next.
That means being a better defensive team to go along with the plethora of offence the Oilers possess, with Leon Draisaitl scoring his 40th Thursday and Connor McDavid flying around the ice, simply on a different level than his peers.
He had two points but left early when he took a late stick in the chops.
“Yep, sutures and he got zipped up. He’s just fine,” said Woodcroft. “I don’t think he’s getting enough credit for what he’s doing defensively. He makes a lot of really subtle good plays in his own zone. He stops on pucks, and had some really good box outs tonight as well.”
It’s true: McDavid’s defensive game has found a new level. With him and Draisaitl both playing a proper two-way game — and each of them heating up production-wise — the Oilers are rounding into a team that can beat you.
“The Detroit game was a good lesson for us,” Hyman said. “It was nice to have learned from that and put it to the test. I thought we were great all the way through (Thursday).”
A subplot against the Sabres was goalie Mike Smith getting another start, as he continues the journey to finding his game with his 40th birthday set for Tuesday. It’s hard enough for a young forward to overcome the games lost to injury that Smith has endured, and catch up to the pack as everyone else rounds into playoff form.
But a 40-year-old goalie?
Oilers fans were wondering if the task was impossible, but they received a ray of hope Thursday on a night that was exactly what the doctor ordered — a game where the shots arrived (mostly) methodically, and rarely in succession. This was a confidence-builder for Smith, beaten only on a quality one-timer by Victor Olofsson.
He made 28 saves, but was asked to make very few spectacular ones. It’s a game he can build on, and he can thank the skaters for applying themselves against Buffalo the way they had not against Detroit.
“That is always the goal, to make sure you help your goalie out as much as you can,” Hyman said. “In the first (period) there was a half breakaway and drive to the net and he made the saves on both of those. He just played steady all night and I thought his ability to move the puck…
“It was great to get him the win and he earned it.”
Canadiens Prospect Owen Beck Clutch At Memorial Cup – Montreal Hockey Now
Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck has enjoyed a rather wild ride since the OHL playoffs started.
Not only did the Peterborough Petes, who finished the regular season with just 74 points, eliminate the league-leading Ottawa 67’s and the powerhouse London Knights to capture the OHL Championship, but thanks to their never-say-die attitude, they managed to once again avoid elimination at the Memorial Cup.
Before we get into the game details, which include a fantastic drive to the net by Beck to set up the game-winning goal, I’d like to once again take to my soapbox to discuss the entertainment value provided by Junior hockey.
I’ll keep it short, this time, I promise.
However, in exchange for not rambling at length about the unmatched excitement you’ll witness during most games, I need you to make an honest effort to catch a Junior hockey game at your local rink.
It’s easily the best bang for your hard-earned buck available when it comes to hockey.
You won’t be disappointed.
Beck Plays The Hero
The tie-break game between the Petes and the Kamloops Blazers featured everything you look for in a hockey game.
There were dramatic goals, great saves, momentum swings, big hits, and for those who partake in the sweet science, a rather nasty knock-out punch by New Jersey Devils prospect Chase Stillman.
We’ve got a fight at the #MemorialCup!
Chase Stillman obliterates Matt Seminoff with a big hit (charged), then obliterates Caedan Bankier in a fight.
Big knockout punch for the Petes forward. pic.twitter.com/2J4JnSTL6T
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Despite allowing the Petes to score first, the Blazers quickly took control of the game by scoring four answered goals. As exciting as Peterborough’s Cinderella run had been, it seemed inevitable that their fun had come to an end.
They needed a little magic.
And they got it from New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann, who cut the lead to 4-2 thanks to a fantastic individual effort midway through the second period. Peterborough then quickly tied the game following goals from Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti.
New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann scores for the Petes after a great individual effort.
Cuts the Kamloops lead to 4-2. #MemorialCup pic.twitter.com/kvZxsnPY9X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Both teams played a very safe style of play in the third period, giving the Petes, who have now played a total of 96 games this season, an opportunity to play the underdog role to perfection once again.
And that’s where Beck, who had been quiet up to that point, took matters into his own hands.
The cerebral Canadiens prospect cut through the neutral zone, using his speed and positioning to open up a lane toward the net.
Everyone in the building expected Beck to shoot, which would have been a reasonable decision considering he was in a high-danger shooting area.
But Beck, who had drawn the attention of both Blazers defencemen, knew his teammate, JR Avon, had plenty of time and space to take a shot that had a better chance of fooling Dylan Ernst.
It was a play that combined offensive awareness, great skating, vision, and anticipation, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from an intelligent prospect such as Beck.
WHAT A GAME!#GoHabsGo prospect Owen Beck drives the net, draws the defenders, and sets up JR Avon for the game-winning goal.
Peterborough simply refused to die.
The Petes will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds in the #MemorialCup semifinal. pic.twitter.com/BYpBTDuj6X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
On The Docket
Beck’s heroics have set up a Canadiens prospect vs. Canadiens prospect semifinal at the Memorial Cup.
The Petes, who seem to have been blessed by hockey gods, will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday.
The puck drop for this must-see event is scheduled for 10 PM ET.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Treliving Hiring Shows Shanahan's Incompetence – Editor in Leaf
The problem isn’t that Brad Treliving is the newest GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but instead, it’s Brendan Shanahan’s explanation of it.
As previously mentioned, Brad Treliving is a good executive with a long hockey career, but he never should have been hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM.
Reports already indicate that the core-four will remain the same next year, which is fine, but why hire someone new if they’re going to do the same thing and not at least scare the roster that they could be moved?
A new GM is supposed to ignite change and bring a new approach to the game. It’s not someone who’s just going to re-do the job that Kyle Dubas just did.
When Shanahan fired Dubas, he wanted someone who had experience, which is what Treliving brings, but it’s not like he has a ton of winning experience. He’s never been to a Stanley Cup Finals before and only advanced to the second round twice in nine years in Calgary, so what’s really the difference between him and Dubas?
Nothing, at least not in terms of experience or success.
The only difference is that Shanahan is a bitter old-man who was scared that the young buck in Dubas was getting too much attention and that he might take his job one day.
Toronto Maple Leafs: New GM Brings Nothing Different From Dubas
If you look across the league, it’s crazy how much esteem Dubas has. By the way Shanahan described Dubas during his firing, it’s like he was only in the league for 10 minutes and didn’t have the respect of his peers.
Shanahan’s statement was actually hilarious when you compare his words to what other people have said about Dubas. Here’s what Shanahan said during his press conference:
“Treliving earned tremendous respect during his time in the NHL and built excellent relationships … We are confident that Brad’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate the Maple Leafs in our continued pursuit of a championship.”
As for Dubas, if you read Pierre LeBruns’ article in The Athletic last week, the same words were essentially said about him, here are some quotes from that article:
- Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus Blue Jackets): “I have the utmost respect for Kyle, both as a professional and as a person. He’s always a straight shooter to deal with. No bulls—. Just an all-around really good person and a professional. All our discussions were straightforward and analytical. I think he has a very thorough approach to everything; you have to be prepared when you talk to him because he’s going to look at things from every angle. I have a lot of respect for him.”
- Bill Zito (Florida Panthers) : “Obviously, a very bright man. And a guy that I have a lot of faith in his character. He’s a guy you could do a deal with. And if it wasn’t papered, you could tell the (player) go ahead get on the plane. As an agent, we used to say if you did a deal with a GM and you didn’t have a contract back yet, would you send your player on the plane? That’s a level of respect I have for Kyle’s integrity. Obviously, I’m very fond of him. I think he did a hell of a job there.”
- The GMs of Nashville, Tampa and Edmonton were all quoted as saying really nice things about him as well.
All of these old-school and experienced GM’s said nothing but great things about Dubas, yet the Leafs didn’t want him. They explained all of the attributes that Shanahan wanted in a GM, yet they decided to move on and hire Treliving instead.
Shanahan took a bitter approach and gassed one of the most thoughtful and intelligent hockey minds of this generation and instead hired a guy who hasn’t doesn’t seem to be an improvement in any way.
No disrespect to Treliving because I think he’s going to do a fine job, but the explanation of Dubas’ firing gets dumber with every second and continues to show the incompetence of Shanahan as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How much are Stanley Cup Final tickets? – ESPN – ESPN
The Stanley Cup Final will return to Las Vegas and South Florida for the Florida Panthers vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. For fans of the Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, tickets to the first two games at T-Mobile Arena are a bit cheaper this time around.
The average price for a ticket to Game 1 is $763, according to Vivid Seats data. In 2018, during the franchise’s first trip to the Final, the average was $1,062. That was the highest in recent years for a team making its Final debut or returning after a long drought. Last year’s Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche had an average price of $1,052. The Avalanche, who hosted Game 1, were playing their first Final game since 2001. When the St. Louis Blues hosted their first Final game in decades in 2019, the average was $869.
For Saturday’s opening game, the lowest-priced available ticket is going for $405 on the Knights’ website, while TickPick lists a no-view, standing room only ticket for $311. The most expensive ticket is $9,750. These prices don’t reflect taxes or fees.
For Game 3, the Panthers’ first Stanley Cup Final home game since 1996, the average price for a ticket at FLA Live Arena is $628, according to Vivid Seats. At Ticketmaster, the Panthers’ ticket-seller, the lowest-priced ticket is $538. The most expensive ticket is reselling for $9,000 before taxes and fees. The average price for Game 4 is a bit higher at $689.
If the series goes to seven games, fans might need some extra casino winnings to get into the arena. Prices via the Knights’ website range from about $900 to $25,000.
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