The Oilers were trailing 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks in the first game of the mini-series but scored 4 unanswered goals to win the game 4-3. This game is a microcosm of the entire season where Edmonton can turn on a switch and pile on goals at any time and Vancouver has a poor enough defense to assure that no lead is safe. Both teams are heading in the opposite direction and the Canucks need to win this game to avoid the sliding position in the North Division.
Oilers offense is firing awayThe Oilers have won the last 4 games, scored 11 goals in the last two games, and have won 7 of the last 8 games. The offense has been credited enough for their great play and understandably so, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl proving to be two of the best skaters in the game. McDavid leads the Oilers with 13 goals and 25 assists while Draisaitl has 10 goals and 23 assists to give the offense two of the top goal scorers in the game.
The difference between this Oilers team and the ones of previous seasons is their improvements on the defensive side. The addition of Tyson Barrie has paid off tenfolds as he is paired with Darnell Nurse, who leads the NHL with 1.9 defensive point shares while the pairing has combined for 58 blocked shots this season. In addition, Adam Larsson has blocked 66 shots for the Oilers this season, an unprecedented number even for a defenseman. To top off the improved Oilers team, Mike Smith has emerged as a valuable backup goaltender starting 6 games and allowing only 2 goals per game.
Canucks hope to end three-game skidThe Vancouver Canucks have lost their last three games and once again, the poor defensively play is to be blamed. To start, the Canucks have no answer in the net with Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko both struggling this season, allowing over 3.5 goal goals each this season. In addition, the young and promising Quinn Hughes, who is one of the best young talents in the game has been a liability defensively, constantly allowing breakaways the other way and opposing offenses to score at will.
Speaking of Hughes, the 21-year-old defenseman has been playing poorly on the defensive end but has been one of the team's best players offensively, leading the Canucks with 19 assists this season. In addition, the Canucks offense has been able to pile on the goals with Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat combining for 21 goals this season while Elias Pettersson is adding on 8 goals this year.