3 Areas The Edmonton Oilers Need To Improve On For Game 3

After losing a close game 2, there are several areas that the Edmonton Oilers need to improve if they hope to win game 3.
Leon Draisaitl, Matt Duchene
Leon Draisaitl, Matt Duchene / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

As the Edmonton Oilers gear up for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Stars, they find themselves in a pivotal position. After a strong performance in Game 1, the Oilers stumbled in Game 2, allowing the Stars to even the series. To regain their momentum and secure a crucial victory in Game 3, the Oilers must address key areas that need improvement: enhancing their powerplay, increasing defensive toughness, and becoming more powerful offensively.

1. Enhancing the Powerplay

The Oilers’ powerplay has been a vital part of their success throughout the season, with superstars like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the charge. However, as of late, the powerplay unit struggled to convert opportunities, which proved costly. The Stars' penalty kill effectively disrupted the Oilers' setups, pressuring puck carriers and blocking shooting lanes.

To turn this around, the Oilers need to inject more creativity and unpredictability into their powerplay. Quick puck movement and positional rotations are essential to breaking down the Stars’ penalty kill. Bouchard at the point need to create shooting lanes and distribute the puck efficiently, while forwards must be ready to capitalize on rebounds and screen the goaltender. Ensuring constant motion and leveraging their skilled players can help the Oilers regain their powerplay potency and exploit the Stars' penalties effectively.

2. Increasing Defensive Toughness

Defensive toughness, particularly in clearing the front of the net, has been a weak spot for the Oilers. In the first two games, the Stars capitalized on this vulnerability, crowding the crease and creating chaos in front of goaltender Stuart Skinner. The Oilers’ defensemen need to be more assertive in protecting their net, preventing Dallas forwards from setting up scoring chances from close range.

This improvement requires a commitment from the entire defensive unit to be more physical and disciplined. Defensemen must box out opponents and clear any loose pucks swiftly, while forwards need to support by backchecking diligently and helping in defensive coverage. Communication is also key; ensuring everyone is on the same page can prevent defensive breakdowns. By tightening their defensive zone coverage and being more aggressive around the crease, the Oilers can significantly reduce the Stars' scoring opportunities and alleviate pressure on their goaltender.

3. Becoming More Powerful Offensively

While the Oilers have some of the most talented forwards in the league, including McDavid and Draisaitl, their offensive output has been inconsistent. To win Game 3, Edmonton needs to unleash a relentless offensive attack that involves contributions from all lines. Depth scoring is crucial to avoid over-reliance on the top stars.

The Oilers should focus on quick transitions from defense to offense, using their speed to create odd-man rushes and high-quality scoring chances. An aggressive forecheck can disrupt the Stars’ defensive schemes, forcing turnovers and generating additional opportunities. Additionally, the Oilers must ensure that they are capitalizing on their scoring chances by maintaining a high shooting percentage and getting pucks on net from all angles. Contributions from secondary players, such as Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod, will be vital in providing the necessary offensive support. By adopting a more balanced and forceful offensive approach, the Oilers can overwhelm the Stars' defense and keep their momentum going.

Next. Re. Waking Up With The Edmonton Oilers- Game 2 Loss, But Home Ice Still Stolen. dark

The Edmonton Oilers need to enhance their powerplay, increase their defensive toughness, and become more powerful offensively to secure a win in Game 3 against the Dallas Stars. Addressing these key areas can help the Oilers regain their form from Game 1 and put them in a favorable position as the series progresses. With the stakes high in the Western Conference Finals, the Oilers must rise to the challenge and demonstrate their resilience and skill on the ice.