After a Game 2 that saw the Edmonton Oilers generate next to no offense, head coach Jay Woodcroft is going to need to figure out how to spark his roster, one that has been pretty good all season at fighting back when the chips are stacked against them. During their regular season they battled their way back into a playoff spot. After two disastrous Game 1s in both of their series’ against the Kings and Flames, they found a way. Can they do the same against a much deeper team in the Colorado Avalanche?
Related: Three Takeaways from Avalanche’s 4-0 Win Over the Oilers
Woodcroft tried a different look than what had been working for him against the Calgary Flames and he split the top-two stars up for good portions of the game. The idea must have been to get two lines going and it was probably sparked by Draisaitl feeling a bit better with his injury and able to carry a heavier load. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Woodcroft was asked about having McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line Saturday for Game 3 and responded, “I think we’ve maintained a level of flexibility over the last three-and-a-half months that makes us hard to predict and allows us to make necessary adjustments.” In others words, he’s not tipping his hand and revealing his strategy.
The good money is probably going on those two being reunited to start the game in the hopes the Oilers can jump out to an early lead. “I probably haven’t been at the top of my game here,” McDavid said after Game 2. He added, “They’ve done a good job of limiting chances and stuff like that.” McDavid will never admit that he needs Draisaitl, and he probably doesn’t. The Oilers captain typically finds a way. At the same time, he’d probably like to play with the other leading scorer on the team and the two have undeniable chemistry.
Oilers Have to Spark Their Offense
The Oilers have to figure out how to get around a very speedy Avalanche team, especially a strong defense that has been smothering the Oilers and limiting chances against. Again, the two best weapons on the Oilers could potentially offer the most dangerous opportunities for the Oilers if they are playing together. “We’ve got to find a way to create off the forecheck and off [offensive] zone play,: said McDavid. Noting, “we’ve got to find a way to figure them out,” one has to think he and Draisaitl would figure it out.
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