We are now twenty days into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There was only one game yesterday. In the Western Conference the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers played the second game of their round two series. There are three games set for today. The Carolina Hurricanes play the New Jersey Devils. The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Florida Panthers. The Dallas Stars play the Seattle Kraken. It should be a great day of hockey action.
The Vegas Golden Knights came into game two with a 1-0 lead over the Edmonton Oilers after winning game one of the series 6-4. The oilers got on the board early with a goal from Leon Draisitl on the powerplay less than three minutes into the game. Evan Bouchard scored on the powerplay to get the Oilers up by two. Connor McDavid scored short handed to add to the Oilers lead. Leon Draisitl scored again to further add to the Oilers lead. After the first period the score was 4-0 Oilers.
Connor McDavid scored on the powerplay to give the Oilers a huge lead. Late in the period we would finally see some fights in the playoffs again. The Golden Knights were picking up their aggressiveness. Brett Kulak (Oilers) and Brett Howden (Golden Knights) dropped the gloves after a few big hits from the Golden Knights. There was only a couple of punches in this fight. It was more like a wrestling match. Behind the play in the Golden Knights zone everyone grabbed a partner and started a big old fashioned scrum. The scrum would lead to what will be one of the most iconic photos in Golden Knights, Oilers, and NHL history. A woman flipped off Evander Kane (Oilers) as he was being separated by the officials and he blew her a kiss. According to hockeyfights.com the initial fight was a draw. The fight and scrum would result in over 30 minutes of penalties. A couple of minutes later a push after the play by the Golden Knights resulted in a scrum. Out of that scrum Klim Kostin (Oilers) and Zac Whitecloud (Golden Knights) dropped the gloves. it was another fight with not a lot of punches that felt more like a wrestling match. According to hockeyfights.com Klim Kostin of the Edmonton Oilers won the fight. The score was 5-0 Oilers heading into the third period.
Ivan Barbashec scored the only goal of the third period. His goal got the Golden Knights on the board. The final score was 5-1 Oilers. The series is now tied at 1-1. The next game will be in Edmonton.
The Oilers got on the board early and didn’t let off the pressure. The Golden Knights upped their aggressiveness but it didn’t help them in this one. It does set the tone for the rest of the series though. There was a lot of penalty minutes in this one. I think going forward in this series the Golden Knights are going to switch to being more aggressive in an attempt to stop the Oilers from scoring. It is the same thing that the Los Angeles Kings did when they were winning cups back between 2011 and 2014. The Philadelphia Flyers did it a lot back in the 1970s too. Basically the strategy is to hit whoever has the puck in an effort to stop the other teams forward momentum. In ice hockey the enemy of a fast skilled team is an aggressive team. It worked for the Kings and Flyers they both won multiple cups with that strategy. The question is will it work for the Golden Knights?
On the other hand this is exactly how I thought this series was going to go. I do not think that the Golden Knights can stop the scoring power of the Oilers. This game proves that. So unless something happens to the Oilers to cause them to not produce four or five goals a game they are going to take this series. Will the Oilers continue to score at this rate? What can the Golden Knights do to stop the Oilers scoring? Will the Golden Knights continue to up their aggressiveness?
Game three will be on Monday, May 8th 2023. Puck drop is set for 5:30pm PST.
Round two game threes start today. The Carolina Hurricanes have a 2-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils. They won game one 5-1 and game two 6-1. Will the Hurricanes continue to dominate? Will the Devils show up for game three? As of writing this the Devils have a 3-0 lead in game three. So it looks like their offense is showing up but will it be enough?
The Florida Panthers lead the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 in their series. The Panthers won game one 4-2 and game two 3-2. Will Toronto respond in game three? Can Florida keep outplaying Toronto?
The Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken are tied in their series 1-1. The Kraken won the first game 5-4 in overtime. The Stars won the second game 4-2. How will the Kraken respond after being out shot? Will The Stars up their aggressiveness in game three? Who will break the tie?
The Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Seattle Kraken, and New Jersey Devils have advanced to round two. The Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and New York Rangers have been eliminated.
The Vegas Golden Knights will play the Edmonton Oilers in round two. The Carolina Hurricanes will play the New Jersey Devils in round two. The Dallas Stars will play the Seattle Kraken in round two. The Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Florida Panthers in round two.