3 Keys To An Edmonton Oilers Victory In Game One

The Edmonton Oilers open the second round tonight against the Calgary Flames Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Edmonton Oilers open the second round tonight against the Calgary Flames Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Tonight is game one in second round of the NHL Playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers will be on the road taking on the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome. I think this series will be very tight on a game to game basis, but here are three keys for the Edmonton Oilers to win this crucial first game.

1. Edmonton Oilers Need To Show Up To Play

This isn’t really just a point specifically for this game, but for every game. In the Los Angeles Kings series the Edmonton Oilers had slow starts in 5 of the 7 games. The two best games they played where game 6 and 7, I don’t think it is a coincidence that those were the games they played the best right at puck drop.

The Calgary Flames are a significantly better team than the Kings. If the Edmonton Oilers struggle at the start of the game they will not be able to stay in the game. In the first 5 games of the series the Oilers gave up a lot of shots in the first period and barely kept their head above water. The only reason they stayed in those games is because the Kings don’t have very many high powered players.

The Calgary Flames do though. They Flames have 4 lines that can put the puck in the net and can cause the Oilers issues. This is two more lines than the Kings had. There will be no off time for the Edmonton Oilers forwards and defenseman. They will need to play the whole game.

If the Oilers give up a chance early Mike Smith will need to come up with a big save. He played good in the Kings series aside from the mistake he made in game one. After he owned up to the mistake he followed it up with 2 shutouts in the remaining 6 games.

2. The Power Of McDavid

In games 6 and 7 Connor McDavid played otherworldly and put this Edmonton Oilers team on his back and willed them into the second round. This was the best we have seen him play. He is getting hot at the perfect time.

The Calgary Flames don’t have any player that is close to the high end skill Connor McDavid can bring. This should cause the Flames problems. If McDavid can use his speed and skill against Calgary, hopefully the refs show up to the series and call penalties when they are taken against Connor.

I know they will not call everything against him because that would be a penalty every time he touched the puck. If they call the obvious call this should give the Oilers at 2-3 powerplays per game. At the rate the powerplay is running this postseason that is at least one goal. One goal is a big difference in playoff game.

3. Mike Smith

I talked earlier about how Mike Smith needs to be good early in the game to give this team a chance to win. That is limited to just early in the game as well. The Flames struggled to score last series against a hot goalie, so if Smith can do that this series it could really frustrate this Calgary Flames team.

In the first round Mike Smith played really good for the majority of the games. That was against the Los Angeles Kings though. The Flames have better and more goal scorers than the LA Kings do. If Smith can keep the goal against totals below 3 that should give the Edmonton Oilers a chance to win every night.

Giving your team a chance to win is what you need to provide your team in the playoffs. It also would be nice if he could steal you a game or maybe two, but you can’t expect that from him. He has the ability to do it though as he showed us in the first round.

This will be a very entertaining game to watch no matter what side you are cheering for. These two fan bases despise each other. I would love to see every game be a close nail bitter. The closer these games are the more nerve racking and exciting they will be.

The psychological war in the BOA. dark. Next