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Oilers' special teams come up big in Game 2, help even series vs. Kings –



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 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).

Video: 5 goal scorers for Oilers gets the Game 2 win

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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Matt Irwin Deserves a Spot on the Canucks’ NHL Roster, Right?



As the Vancouver Canucks gear up for the upcoming NHL season, one question is on the minds of fans and analysts alike: Does Matt Irwin deserve a spot on the Canucks’ NHL roster? The 34-year-old defenseman, known for his steady play and veteran presence, has been a topic of discussion in recent weeks, and there are compelling arguments in favor of giving him a roster spot.

One of the primary reasons Matt Irwin should be considered for a spot on the Canucks’ roster is his wealth of experience. Irwin has played over 400 games in the NHL, with stints on multiple teams, including the San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, and most recently, the Buffalo Sabres. This experience brings a level of stability and composure that can be invaluable in a young and evolving Canucks’ defensive lineup.

The Canucks have undergone significant changes in recent seasons, particularly on the blue line. Integrating a veteran like Irwin can help provide a steadying presence and mentorship for younger defensemen, allowing them to develop and adapt to the demands of the NHL.

Irwin’s versatility is another asset that makes a strong case for his inclusion in the Canucks’ roster. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated the ability to play in various defensive pairings and adapt to different playing styles. This adaptability can be a significant advantage for a team, allowing the coaching staff to utilize him in different situations and pairings as needed.


Furthermore, Irwin is known for his reliability and consistency. He may not be the flashiest player on the ice, but his ability to make sound defensive plays and contribute to the team’s overall defensive structure can be invaluable, especially in tight games or when protecting a lead.

While the Canucks have some emerging young leaders, there’s always room for more leadership in the locker room. Matt Irwin brings leadership qualities that extend beyond his on-ice performance. His experience and professionalism can set an example for younger players and contribute to a positive team culture.

Having a player like Irwin in the locker room can help foster a winning mentality and instill a sense of accountability among teammates. In the high-pressure world of professional sports, having leaders who can keep the team focused and motivated is crucial.

Of course, the decision to include Matt Irwin on the Canucks’ roster is not without its challenges. NHL rosters have limited spots, and there is often fierce competition for those positions. Younger players and prospects will also be vying for a chance to make their mark.

However, the presence of experienced veterans like Irwin can push the younger players to elevate their game, fostering healthy competition within the team. Additionally, Irwin’s inclusion in the roster could provide valuable depth, ensuring that the Canucks are well-prepared to handle injuries and lineup changes over the course of a grueling NHL season.

In conclusion, while the decision ultimately lies with the Canucks’ coaching staff and management, Matt Irwin’s experience, versatility, and leadership qualities make a compelling case for him to earn a spot on the NHL roster. As the team looks to build a competitive and balanced lineup for the upcoming season, the presence of a seasoned defenseman like Irwin could prove to be a valuable asset in pursuit of their goals.

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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.

Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation

One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

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

Security is paramount when it comes to online gambling. A trustworthy online casino will have robust security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. Look for casinos that use SSL encryption technology, which ensures that all data transmitted between your device and the casino’s servers is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Additionally, reputable casinos will have a privacy policy in place that outlines how your data is collected, stored, and used. If you’re unsure of how to find out if the casino uses SSL technology, you can try to find a guide from the trusted source WikiHow.


Examining the Casino’s Game Selection

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.

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Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks



The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Tanner Pearson from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade seeing goaltender Casey DeSmith going the other way.

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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