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The Wraparound: Oilers looking to bounce back in Game 2 vs. Avalanche

oilers avalanche

DENVER, CO - MAY 31: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates with left wing Evander Kane (91) and defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) after a second period goal during a Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on May 31, 2022. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down today’s NHL playoff games with the all-important television information.

• Filip Chytil scored twice to help the Rangers take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final over the Lightning, 6-2.

• After failing to advance out of the Second Round for another season, what should the Hurricanes do next to help get over the hump?

• Speaking of teams out of the playoffs, would the Jets be better served keeping Mark Scheifele than trying to get a haul in return via a trade?

When the Edmonton Oilers have lost games this postseason, the red light behind Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen has been busy. In five defeats during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Edmonton has allowed a total of 30 goals. Of course, 17 of those have come in their last two Game 1s.

But the Oilers have managed to bounce back after rough series starts. They shutout the Los Angeles Kings 6-0 in Game 2 of the First Round and topped the Calgary Flames 5-3 after their wild Game 1 of the Second Round. So, despite how hectic Tuesday’s 8-6 series opener was against the Colorado Avalanche, it hasn’t been an indicator that they’re out of their depth.

“In all three of those games, they were tied or within one goal,” Oilers interim head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “So did we play perfectly? We didn’t play perfectly. We know we can be better just like we could be better after Game 1 versus L.A., just like we could be better after Game 1 versus Calgary.”

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

The Avalanche are certainly a different beast than the Kings or Flames, and their offense came in waves and answered Edmonton’s first three goals within minutes, sometimes seconds, before building up a 7-3 second period lead. Colorado was first to most pucks and the Oilers were unable to match the speed they were up against. Game 2 will have to see big changes in that department.

Screen Shot 2022-06-02 at 9.00.26 AM

via Natural Stat Trick

“I definitely think we’re a fast team and we have the ability to match that,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “Playing fast in the neutral zone is something we need to be better at moving forward. Just being able to put pucks in positions where we have an opportunity to play in the offensive zone.”

[Conn Smythe watch: McDavid, Shesterkin lead after two rounds]

Woodcroft wouldn’t reveal if Smith or Koskinen will start Game 2, but if history is any indicator Smith has bounced back from those tough Game 1 starts in the last two series, so staying with him could be expected.

Smith, like his teammates, have been through this before and they realize that while they’re close to playing for the Stanley Cup, there’s still plenty of hockey left.

“When you’re on the bench halfway through the game, it’s not a good sign,” Smith said. “In saying that, it’s one game and I’ve been in this position before, so you park it. It’s a long series.”

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Western Conference Final

Game 1 : Avalanche 8, Oilers 6
Game 2 - June 2: Oilers at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 3 - June 4: Avalanche at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, SN, CBC, TVAS)
Game 4 - June 6: Avalanche at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, SN, CBC, TVAS)
*Game 5 - June 8: Oilers at Avalanche, TBD
*Game 6 - June 10: Avalanche at Oilers, TBD
*Game 7 - June 12: Oilers at Avalanche, TBD

* If necessary