EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers really had no other option but to find a way to win Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.
They found that solution with superior special teams.
The Oilers had a power-play goal from center Leon Draisaitl and a shorthanded goal by defenseman Darnell Nurse 4:41 apart in the second period and rode that momentum to a 6-0 victory at Rogers Place to tie the best-of-7 series 1-1. Game 3 is at Crypto.com Arena on Friday (10 p.m. ET; TBS, CBC, SN, TVAS, BSSC).
Teams that had lost the first two games in the history of NHL best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs lost the series 86.6 percent of the time, and when they dropped the first two at home, they lost 80.8 percent of the time.
Those were not odds the Oilers cared to face, not to mention taking the ice with a seven-game postseason losing streak going back to the best-of-5 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Kings series coverage]
So they did something about it.
“We stayed calm, believed in our structure, believed in the way we can play,” said Nurse, who buried center Connor McDavid‘s pass on the shorthanded rush at 6:03 of the second period to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead after Draisaitl opened the scoring on the power play at 1:22. “With that said, it’s one game; there’s still a lot of hockey to be played in this series. But it’s a game we can build off of, a game that we can look back and see some of the positives in our structure, within the way we played. We get to L.A., we reset and get ready for the next one.”
Edmonton has dominated on special teams through Games 1 and 2; it has killed all eight Los Angeles power plays in the series (4-for-4 in each game) and scored a shorthanded goal. Edmonton went 2-for-4 on the power play in each of the first two games.
The Oilers’ special teams success in Game 2 began in the first period when they killed two over-aggressive penalties; a boarding call against McDavid at 6:44 and a cross-checking penalty to defenseman Duncan Keith at 11:32.
“The second period was a breakout period for us (with three goals),” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said, “and it was led by our leaders who went out and scored a huge power-play goal and kind of broke the ice for us. It was a strong game, 20 players deep, in our lineup tonight.
“I thought those two penalty kills in the first period really set us up. We scored a shorthanded goal, which is a huge thing to create momentum. And the power play was a factor in our team winning the game tonight.”
The Oilers power play ranked third in the NHL during the regular season at 26 percent, behind only the Toronto Maple Leafs (27.3 percent) and St. Louis Blues (27 percent).
But their penalty killing, though it finished 17th at 79.4 percent over the entire season, was the NHL’s best from March 24 to the end of the regular season, 92.5 percent over their final 18 games.
That momentum has continued into the playoffs.
“In the last couple months, we’ve laid a good foundation in what we want our special teams looking like,” forward Derek Ryan said. “That rolled into playoffs.
“There’s been more penalties than I expected in the beginning of the playoffs, but we all know special teams are huge come playoff time. You only get so many power plays. We want our power play to be lethal. If they’re not scoring, they’re creating momentum for us right now, which is good. The penalty kill’s been doing the same. It’s creating momentum by killing it off.”
One of the keys to Edmonton’s penalty killing in Game 2 was the sharp play of goalie Mike Smith, who made 30 saves for his fifth NHL playoff shutout.
It was a critical rebound performance for Smith, whose late-game giveaway in Game 1 led to the Kings’ game-winning goal by center Phillip Danault with 5:14 remaining in the third period.
Los Angeles had eight power-play shots during their four opportunities on Wednesday, all denied by Smith.
“He was really sharp for us early on, especially on those penalty kills,” said forward Evander Kane, who scored two goals for Edmonton, including one on the power play at 11:55 of the third period that made it 6-0. “Personally, I really didn’t expect anything less from him. He’s so mentally tough. He played a great game the other night, a mistake was made, it happens all the time and he had a great performance tonight and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him as a group.”
Smith said he simply adopted the no-panic approach, opting for the calm demeanor and strong belief that Nurse spoke of when preparing for Game 2.
“To be honest, I really didn’t feel too bad in Game 1,” Smith said. “I made one bad play and it cost us the game. I think I just carried the same kind of mindset into tonight and obviously wanted to put in a good showing, especially after you feel like you’re maybe the cause of the loss. A bounce-back is obviously important and obviously tonight the team played more up to the capabilities of how we’re able to play, and we got rewarded because of it.”
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
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Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
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Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
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