Oilers’ 2nd Period Disaster Makes Finals All But Lost

Oilers fans disappointed after Game 3 loss.

It’s been a long road to get to the Stanley Cup Finals for the Edmonton Oilers. Years of hard work and ups and downs. This season started with Cup aspirations which was quickly followed by a coaching change 13 games into the season.

After cruising past the Kings in the first round, they had to win two in a row to avoid elimination and beat the Canucks, and won three in a row to eliminate the Stars.

Not even a week after the Finals started, the Oilers were one loss away from being swept after a 4-3 Game 3 loss at home on Thursday night.

Game 4 is on Saturday at 8:00 pm EST.

A Tale of Two Oilers

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The first edition of the Oilers started the game exactly how they needed to. In the first period, they outshot the Panthers 13-10 and had more high-danger chances than they had in all 60 minutes of Game 2. Sam Reinhart scored for Florida with a minute left in the opening frame, but based on how little they could generate on Monday, the Oilers had a lot to hang their hat on to open the game.

They were physical, beat the Panthers to pucks, played with a lot of pace, and controlled much of the play. Fast forward to the third period, the Oilers found themselves down 4-1, staring down a 3-0 hole in the series. The Panthers did a great job defending the lead, but even so, the Oilers were able to control the play for the most part.

Philip Broberg scored his second of the playoffs six minutes into the final period. With just over five minutes left, Ryan McLeod scored his second of the playoffs to cut the lead down to one. A few minutes later, Bobrovsky made the save of his life against McLeod, and the rest is history.

Before we move on, let’s go back to the second period.

The 6 Minutes From Hell in Edmonton

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In the second period, the Oilers outshot the Panthers 16-8, and again, controlled a lot of the play. But sloppy, careless play from the Oilers turned a well-fought game into an absolute nightmare. Especially on home ice. Eetu Luostarinen came up with the puck due to Stuart Skinner mishandling it behind his net. He then threaded the needle to Tarasenko, who one-timed it home to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

Just under five minutes later, Darnell Nurse had yet another brutal turnover, which resulted in a Sam Bennet marker to give Florida a two-goal lead. 94 seconds after that, Aleksander Barkov scored another off of bad neutral zone play. Right in the middle of professional, playoff hockey, an ensemble of undisciplined behavior gave the Panthers a 4-1 lead in just over six minutes.

When the margins are this thin, your powerplay is anemic, and you’re getting nothing past Bobrovsky, this type of mental lapse is simply unacceptable. It doesn’t matter what the shot clock says, or how good their first and third periods were—those six minutes ended the game for the Oilers.

Powerplay or 5-on-5, the Big Boys Can’t Score

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It has been said that because of their top-heavy offensive production, the Oilers’ powerplay is their depth. Well, on this night, their depth was their depth. Warren Foegele opened the Edmonton side of the scoring early in the second period, while Philip Broberg and Ryan McLeod scored later to make the game interesting.

The Oilers went 0-for-3 on the power play, making it an awful 0-for-10 for the series. As far as their “big boys” go, McDavid had two assists, and five shots, and finished the game with a +1. He skated well and was doing all he could to create chances for his team.

Whether it’s injury, or something else, Leon Draisaitl has looked invisible for the entirety of this series. He was a -1 with three shots on goal and was barely noticeable for large stretches of this game. Zach Hyman had three shots on goal and was a +1, but again, there was little contribution by one of Edmonton’s best goal scores. Offensively, Bouchard did everything he could in Game 3. He finished the game with six shots in just under 28 minutes of ice time.

Is There Any Hope for the Oilers?

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There is no question that Sergei Bobrovsky has been lights out between the pipes for Florida. He is heavily favored to win the Conn Smythe is the Panthers win it all, and rightfully so.

The bottom line is, when you can’t score on the powerplay and you can’t get pucks past Bobrovsky, the room for undisciplined defensive play becomes none.

This Oilers team has proven they can hang with the Panthers. They’ve done it time and time again during this series. But when the inevitable mistakes come, the Panthers are waiting to pounce, and take advantage.

As far as this series is concerned, let’s be honest. It is almost impossible for the Oilers to come and win this series. A team has only come back from a 0-3 hole in the Stanley Cup Finals once, and that was 80 years ago.

However, it’s the classic “one game at a time” mentality from here on out. Can they win one game? Sure. So if they can win one, then maybe they can win two, maybe three, then who knows?

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About The Author

Marc Sautter is a self-proclaimed sports addict, with the NHL being his specialty. After being a sports fan from afar, Marc made a career change in his 30s to cover sports through journalism and podcasting. His daily NHL preview and betting show “Pucks Across Borders” airs every weekday morning. In addition to hockey, you can read his work on the Canadian Football League all summer on  Total Apex Sports.

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