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Game Notes Edmonton Oilers at Montreal Canadiens: Owning Carey Price – Oilers Nation

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The Oilers are 10-5-2 against bottom-10 teams in the NHL, which the Montreal Canadiens are after a seven-game winless streak has them plummeting down the standings to 25th place. They were winless in eight games earlier this season, and going 15 games without a win almost guarantees you won’t make the playoffs.

But despite their winless skid, I don’t think they are as bad as their record.

1. The injury bug is a contributing factor in their losses. They are in games, but ultimately lose by one goal. During this seven-game winless skid they have lost 4-3, 3-2, 3-2 (OT), 2-1, 3-1 (empty net goal), 6-5 and 5-4. They lost six games by a goal and the other by two goals with an empty net. They could get Brandan Gallagher back tonight

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2. The Habs loss on Tuesday to Detroit stung the most. It became worse because it was the third time this season Montreal has lost to the last-place Red Wings. The Wings have played 44 games. They are 3-0 against Montreal and outscored them 10-6. They are 8-30-3 against the rest of the league and were outscored 161-86. It’s amazing the Habs lost to them three times and that 27% of Detroit’s wins have come against Montreal.

3. Ilya Kovalchuk has three assists in two games with the Habs and Claude Julien is playing him a lot. He played 19:25 against Winnipeg on Monday and then 21:22 against Detroit on Tuesday. He played the most 5×5 minutes of any forward against the Wings. Good for Kovalchuk. If he keeps playing that well a team will likely come calling at the trade deadline. His league-minimum salary of $700,000 makes him easy to acquire, and maybe he has more in the tank than many of us, including myself, expected.

4. Carey Price is in the second year of an eight-year deal with a $10.5m AAV. He is 32. He will be 38 when the final year of his deal begins. He is 16-15-4 with a .302Sv% and a 3.01 GAA. Price was solid to start the season, but he’s struggled since. In his first 18 starts he was 10-5-3 with a .912Sv% and a 2.71 GAA. In 17 starts since November 23rd he is 6-10-1 with a .890Sv% and a 3.34 GAA.

5. Last season he started 66 games and had a strong .918Sv% and 2.49 GAA. But he hasn’t been close to that this season. If we consider .915Sv% to be very good (only nine goalies with 40+ starts had over .915Sv% last year), it is clear by Price’s play this year he has struggled. In his first 18 starts he had a .915Sv% or better in 11 starts. Over his last 17 starts he has only had four games with a  .915Sv% or higher.

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6. Despite the Oilers having the fewest wins in the NHL since 2009, they have owned Price. He is 3-8-1 in his career against Edmonton with a .859Sv% and 3.70 GAA. Some stats are inexplicable and this is one of them. His career Sv% is .917 with a 2.49 GAA, yet the Oilers have lit him up. He had a .960SV% in a win on March 12th, 2017, and a .906Sv% in a win on March 10th, 2009, but in his other ten starts he’s posted a .889Sv% or lower. Amazing. His best performance came against the playoff bound Oilers in 2017. Against those other teams, who floundered near the bottom of the standings, he struggled.

7. This quote from Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe after Monday’s game illustrated perfectly the biggest difference we’ve seen in the Oilers since New Year’s Eve: “From the drop of the puck it was clear they were here for a reason. They played at a higher level than we did today, and at a higher level than any of the opponents we’ve played in quite some time,” Keefe said.

He was bang on. That was the fourth consecutive really good start by the Oilers. They dominated the Rangers, jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Buffalo, and even though Boston scored on a deflection off of Kris Russell’s stick, the Oilers controlled the majority of the play in the first period in Boston and carried it through the second period. The dominated the Maple Leafs in the first period and scored twice in the first 1:45 of the second period.

8. The biggest issue during their December swoon was their inability to score first or have a strong first period. They were down 2-0 far too often, and then they tried to play catch up. I believe that was a factor in Leon Draisaitl’s ridiculous GF-GA at 5×5. He took some chances when they were down, and Dave Tippett understood why. “He wants to make a difference so he was trying to get us back in the game. At times it can lead to more mistakes, but it is a normal reaction. As a former player, I understand it. We talked about it. He is very aware of how he is playing, more aware than most players. He will be better,” Tippett said to me when I asked him about Draisaitl’s struggles prior to the Rangers game.

The snowball effect can impact even the best players. Draisaitl, like the rest of the team, has been much better since. They need to continue it tonight.

9. Here is the Oilers scoring last year compared to this season, as well as the Canadiens scoring, through 45 games.

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10. Edmonton has a big advantage among their top-five point producers, but mainly on the powerplay. Max Domi leads the Canadiens with 11 powerplay points. Tomas Tatar leads with seven goals. Brendan Gallagher has no powerplay goals in 85 PP minutes. The Canadiens’ PP is actually pretty good, 10th in the NHL at 21.2%. Edmonton is first at 29.2%. They have 40 goals, while the Habs have scored 26.

11. Connor McDavid leads the Oilers with 30 PP points, followed by 28 for Leon Draisaitl, 17 for James Neal, 15 for Oscar Klefbom and 14 for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Each player on the Oilers’ top unit has more points than any Canadiens player on the PP. And they have the 10th best PP. It shows just how good Edmonton’s first unit PP has been this season.

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Blue Jays beat Twins on Berrios’ pitching, Kirk’s hitting, Varsho’s fielding

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Berríos made another solid start. Alejandro Kirk delivered a timely hit. Daulton Varsho did a little bit of everything.

The Toronto Blue Jays took another step toward a turnaround at the end of a rough month, posting their first series win in four ties in well-rounded fashion.

Berríos pitched around a season-high five walks and into the sixth inning for Toronto to beat his old team, and the Blue Jays blanked the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Sunday.

“Hopefully, this kind of springboards us forward,” manager John Schneider said after the Blue Jays played their 17th game in 17 days.

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Kirk hit a two-run single in the second inning that held up for Berríos (5-4), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his last nine turns after a rough start.

Daulton Varsho scored all the way from first base on Kirk’s hit. Handling center field for Kevin Kiermaier — the day after he twice had a leaping catch attempt turn into a Twins home run when those balls bounced off his glove and into the grass berm — Varsho was superb. He assisted on the third out of the fourth inning when he fielded a single and threw out Alex Kirilloff at third.

Then in the eighth, Varsho jumped above the center-field wall to take a homer away from Carlos Correa.

“For as magnified as he was yesterday, I’m thrilled that he gets to be celebrated today,” Schneider said.

Jordan Romano recorded his 12th save with a scoreless ninth, allowing a two-out single to rookie Matt Wallner. He was 2 for 2 with two walks and has reached base in eight straight plate appearances.

The Blue Jays (28-26), who are in last place in the AL East, are just 10-17 in their last 27 games.

“You’re going to go through a rough stretch at some point during the year, and for us it’s like right now,” Varsho said. “Hopefully we can get hot here and finish off the year strong.”

With Alek Manoah struggling at the top of the rotation, the Blue Jays need several more starts like this from Berríos, who was traded by the Twins at the deadline two years ago. The right-hander, who is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his last five starts, helped lead a players-only meeting on Thursday after the Blue Jays lost three out of four to division leader Tampa Bay.

“It’s just on us to stay back, get relaxed and try to be ourselves,” Berríos said.

Bailey Ober (3-2) finished five innings for Minnesota for the fourth time in five May starts, with seven strikeouts in a bad-luck loss.

The Twins (27-26) had their lead in the AL Central cut to one game over Detroit (25-26). They’ve led the division for 58 of 60 days this season.

“Every time the opportunities were in front of us, every time there was something we could have done, it felt like we went in the wrong direction,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

JULIEN’S LAPSES

Twins rookie Edouard Julien, a native of Quebec City, Canada, whose favorite boyhood team was the Blue Jays, had a rough afternoon. He made a diving stop of Varsho’s two-out single in the second, but he dropped the ball before he could make the throw to first. The play was ruled a hit.

In the bottom of the inning, the Twins had the bases loaded with none out — for a few seconds. Julien rounded second base too far, ignoring the runner in front of him, and was thrown out by the catcher Kirk.

“Those are mental cramps right there,” Baldelli said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Kiermaier was on the bench after being removed from the game on Saturday with discomfort in his right lower back. “All things are trending in the right direction,” Schneider said.

Twins: RHP Emilio Pagán was pulled with a strained left hip flexor after seven pitches in the seventh.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (5-2, 4.56 ERA) starts on Tuesday night against Milwaukee after a return home and a day off. RHP Adrian Houser (1-0, 2.25 ERA) takes the mound for the Brewers.

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.82 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series at Houston on Monday afternoon. RHP J.P France (1-1, 3.43 ERA) starts for the Astros.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

 

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Pressure mounts on both sides as Stars and Golden Knights prepare for Game 6

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Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) stands with his team during open net at the end of the third period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals against the Dallas Stars, Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Ronda Churchill/AP)

DALLAS (AP) — Jason Robertson is frequently scoring goals again for the Dallas Stars, Jake Oettinger is stopping shots and captain Jamie Benn is about to return from a two-game suspension.

The Western Conference Final isn’t over yet, and suddenly feels much different.

After the Vegas Golden Knights won the first three games, the Stars staved off elimination two games in a row in these NHL playoffs. They are now back home for Game 6 on Monday night, looking to do it again and force a Game 7 to determine who faces the waiting Florida Panthers for the Stanley Cup.

“We put ourselves in a really tough spot, and to get to this point right now, it shows you the character that we have in our room and the belief we have,” said Oettinger, who has stopped 64 of 68 shots since allowing three goals on five shots in the first 7:10 and getting pulled from Game 3. “Even being down 3-0, the series was far from over. We’ve done our job up to this point, but unfortunately for us, our backs are still against the wall.”

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Dellandrea delivers remarkable Game 5 performance to keep Stars’ season alive

Dallas is only the fifth team to extend a conference final or NHL semifinal series to a sixth game after losing the first three, and first since the 2008 Stars lost Game 6 against Detroit. Only the 1975 New York Islanders against Philadelphia, and the 1939 New York Rangers versus Boston then forced Game 7, and both lost those deciding games.

Still, has the pressure shifted to the Golden Knights, as Stars coach Pete DeBoer said would happen if his team won Game 5? Vegas lost both Games 4 and 5 after leading 1-0 and 2-1 in each of them.

“We’re playing a desperate hockey team, and nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We’ve got match their urgency and desperation,” Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez said.

“This is the Western Conference Final, right? He’s trying to make a story in the media, I think,” Knights captain Mark Stone said. “There’s pressure on both teams to try to make the Stanley Cup Final.”

Dallas will host Game 6 on Monday night at the same time the NBA’s Boston Celtics, who overcame 3-0 deficit in their conference final, are playing Game 7 at home against the Miami Heat.

The Florida Panthers completed their East Final sweep of Carolina last Wednesday. They are waiting to see if they will go to Las Vegas or Dallas for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final next Saturday.

Vegas, which led the Western Conference in the regular season with 51 wins and 111 points, has consecutive losses for the first time since mid-March. The only time the Knights lost four games in a row was at the end of January, part of a month-ending stretch when they lost seven of eight. But they are also trying to get to their second Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s six seasons, and are this deep in the playoffs already for the fourth time.

Benn was suspended after his cross-check and stick to the neck of Stone, who fell to the ice without his stick after the captains collided less than two minutes into Game 3 on Tuesday night.

The Stars came off the ice Saturday night and were welcomed by Benn dressed in a suit and tie. No. 14 will be back on the ice Monday night.

“I think what it tells you is what Jamie Benn means to them,” DeBoer said. “I think that’s a direct reflection on what the guy means to our team in that dressing room, what they’ve done the last couple of nights.”

Why Stars’ Benn deserved to be ejected for cross-checking Golden Knights’ Stone

Ty Dellandrea, a healthy scratch earlier in the series and in the lineup with Benn and Evgenii Dadonov (lower body) both out, scored twice in a span of 87 seconds in the third period Saturday night as Dallas won 4-2.

Robertson scored the Stars’ second tying goal Saturday night. He had both of their goals in regulation to twice tie Game 4 at home Thursday night, getting his first career multigoal playoff game before 38-year-old Joe Pavelski became the oldest player ever with an overtime goal for a team facing elimination.

“The fourth (win) is always the hardest, right? I mean, the season on the line, so obviously they feel that they’ve got to get it done. And, you know, it’s just as much pressure on us to keep it going, keep our composure,” said Robertson, with five goals this series after only three in his previous 20 playoff games. “All we can do now is focus on Game 6. Hopefully, ideally, we don’t go down by a goal, but if we do, we’re going to look for that same response.”

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IIHF Hockey: Canada downs Germany 5-2 – CTV News

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TAMPERE, Finland –

Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

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Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

Lawson Crouse, Tylor Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.

LATVIA GETS BRONZE

Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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