We are now twenty eight days into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There was only one game yesterday. The Vegas Golden Knights had the chance to win their series over the Edmonton Oilers. There is only one game going on today. That is game seven of the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken series.
The Vegas Golden Knights were up 3-2 in their series with the Edmonton Oilers coming into game six. The Golden Knights won game one 6-4. The Oilers won game two 5-1. The Golden Knights won game three 5-1. The Oilers won game four 4-1. The Golden Knights won game five 4-3. It really was a back and fourth series heading into game six. The Golden Knights scored first in game six. Reilly Smith scored to give the Golden Knights the lead 24 seconds into the game. Connor McDavid scored to tie the game 55 seconds into the game. Warren Foegele also scored early in the game to give the Oilers the lead. The score was 2-1 Oilers after the first period.
Jonathan Marchessault scored to tie the game. He scored again to give the Golden Knights the lead. He scored again late in the second period to put the Golden Knights up by two goals and complete his hat trick. The score was 4-2 Golden Knights heading into the third period.
William Karlsson scored the only goal of the third period to put the Golden Knights up by three goals. His goal came within the final minute of the game. The final score was 5-2 Golden Knights. With that result the Vegas Golden Knights are onto the Western Conference Finals. The Edmonton Oilers have been eliminated.
This was another game where the Oilers couldn’t hold onto the lead. This was also the second game in a row where they just let the Knights do whatever they wanted in the second period. Every time a team is eliminated from the playoffs there are emideatte calls for people to be fired or whatever. I don’t think the Oilers core is going to be shaken up this offseason. I don’t think coaches will be fired. I don’t think Connor McDavid will request a trade. I think the 2023/24 season will be a lot of the same. The Oilers need better defense and goaltending. They were not able to keep a lead the entire playoffs. They have been building to that for a while now and I think they will continue to improve on the back end. As they do they will become unstoppable. I just think this series comes down to the Oilers not being able to stop the Golden Knights from scoring at key times. That could be a positive for the Golden Knights as well but up to this point in the playoffs they have not faced strong goaltending. The Golden Knights have also been able to win games in both rounds because they have been able to score in bunches. If they end up not being able to score in bunches or facing a team with a strong defense then their offense will come into question. The one thing the Golden Knights have been able to do very well is continue to battle and win with their goaltending issues.
With the Golden Knights eliminating the Oilers there are no remaining Canadian teams in the 2022/23 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last time a Canadian team was in the Stanley Cup Finals was in 2021. That was the Montreal Canadians. The last time a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Canadians in 1993. Since the 1967/68 season a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup seventeen times. Since the 1992/93 season a Canadian team has only appareled in the Stanley Cup Finals seven times. Currently in the 2022/23 playoffs three of the four remaining teams are from the southern United States. Their is a 100% chance a southern United States team will be in the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals. There is also a 75% chance that a southern United States team will win the Stanley Cup. If the Seattle Kraken do not make the Western Conference Finals or the Stanley Cup Finals there will be a 100% chance that a southern United States team will win the 2023 Stanley Cup.
This was the first time that Jack Eichel faced Connor McDavid in the playoffs. This is also the first time that Jack Eichel has been in the playoffs. I like to compare these two players since they are both supposed to be on the same level. I still remember Buffalo Sabers fans saying he was better than McDavid and some people still hold on to that. Up to this point in the playoffs Eichel has played one less game in the 2022/23 playoffs. McDavid has twenty points (combined goals and assists). Eichel has fourteen points. In this series McDavid got five goals to Eichels two. I have always thought that McDavid is a better player than Eichel. That’s why Eichel was drafted number two. McDavid was clearly the better player in this series. I feel like Eichel was irrelevant in this series. I feel like he hasn’t had a big impact in Vegas. Part of that could be due to injury but I feel like he hasn’t had an impact in Vegas at all. The guys who were winning games for the Golden Knights before he came along are still the ones winning the games for Vegas now. I am not saying that he hasn’t improved the team. He just hasn’t had the same impact playing for Buffalo or Vegas that McDavid has had playing for Edmonton. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the current success of Vegas in the 2022/23 playoffs is pinned on Eichel even though he isn’t really making an impact.
Anyway one of the greatest tragedies this season is that Leon Drasaitl won’t be able to break the playoff scoring record. He was six goals away just twelve games into the playoffs. That guy is a beast in the playoffs. Oilers fan or not it is always cool to see players break records like that. The record for goals in a single playoffs was set by Reggie Leach of the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1975/76 playoffs. Jari Kurri of the Edmonton Oilers tied the record back in 1984/84. Kurri scored twelve of those goals in a single series. Drasaitl couldn’t get it done this year but I wouldn’t be surprised if the does it in the future even if it is not with the Oilers.
The Vegas Golden Knights are now in the Western Conference Finals. They will face the winner of the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken series. They will know their opponent after tonight. Games and dates for the Conference Finals are still to be announced.
Todays only game is game seven of the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken series. That series is tied at three games a piece. It is the last game of round two. The winner of tonights game will go on to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals. Will the Kraken win game seven? Will the Stars win game seven? Who will advance to the Western Conference Finals?
The Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Seattle Kraken, and New Jersey Devils 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 were eliminated in round one.
The New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Edmonton Oilers have been eliminated in round two. The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Vegas Golden Knights have advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
The Dallas Stars are playing the Seattle Kraken in round two.