2022 Stanley Cup playoffs — Can Avalanche Oilers Western Conference Final get more wild?

DENVER — Two superstar-laden offensive powerhouses went head-to-head in the Western Conference finals to compete for Lord Stanley's Cup.

Colorado Edmonton These lofty expectations have been exceeded.

In Game 1, the Oilers and Avalanche went back to their NHL's glory days in a back-and forth affair that saw no safe lead. The total combined score of 14 goals and 84 shots was an astounding analogue to the NHL's roaring, scoring 1980s heyday. 8-6 win Colorado and it left everyone a little shell shocked.

Jay Woodcroft, Oilers coach, recalled that after Game 1, “We score a point, then we lose a goal.” “They go up, but we find a way in the final minute to claw back.” [first] We give up a goal after a period and then immediately after a faceoff. We understand that they are a dangerous hockey team. [And] We can all do better.

Let's recap: Evander Kane J.T. Compher The series' first goals were traded 36 seconds apart in each period. We were then off to the races. Colorado won 6-3 after Compher's second goal at 6:20 in second period. Edmonton lost their goalie. Mike Smith The pull was successful. It was 7-4 Avalanche that entered the third, Connor McDavid Getting on the board was not an easy task for the Oilers. Derek Ryan Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Closed the gap to 7-6 Gabriel LandeskogColorado's empty-netter iced the deal.

We needed to take a moment to reflect on all the scoring. Are we seeing the end of this series? Is it just an endless stream of chances where the team that beats the goalie wins?

Is this level sustainable? Or even desirable?

History shows that there will be some stabilization. These teams are made up of emerging and generational talents who want to make it to the Cup final.

So, how long can the Avs/Oilers keep it up? These are the factors that favor and against the Western Conference Onslaught.

2022 Stanley Cup playoffs -- Can Avalanche Oilers Western Conference Final get more wild?

For Scoring DNA

What were the best performances of both Edmonton and Colorado in the regular season? Scoring goals.

The Avalanche had an average of 3.76 goals per match, while the Oilers had an average of 3.48.

What did they do to make the playoffs a success? Score goals.

All playoff teams in this category are led by Colorado (4.64); Edmonton follows at 4.46.

McDavid is a good example of this time of year, as it emphasizes strengths. Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar Leon Draisaitl They will be able to steer their respective ships. They will steer their respective ships. It is all about quick-paced transition attacks, often ending in a celebration.

Why wait?

MacKinnon stated, “They're really dangerous team.”[McDavid and Draisaitl] They looked great as usual, but their depth and professionalism were impressive. We need to do better. While we have some issues to address, we're happy that we won.

McDavid acknowledged that “run and gun feeling” isn’t always the preferred way to play, but the Oilers are masters at it, as shown by Tuesday’s nearly complete comeback.

“[The Avalanche are] He described them as “a really good team”. If you give them opportunities, they will score. We've got to defend. We also found a way for six to be obtained. [goals].”

We can't forget about the number of points scored by these series' top players during the postseason. McDavid is at 29 points, Draisaitl at 28, Makar 16 and MacKinnon 15 respectively. It's a strange and wonderful game. These teams exist because of their offensive success.

For: The Coach is the best

Jared Bednar was not disappointed in what he saw at Game 1. But he isn't convinced that it's the best way to achieve long-term success. But it does require some significant defensive improvements.

“You won't win many playoff games if you lose six or seven of your favorite players [goals]He said so Wednesday. “There will be adjustments, and I would expect it tightening up. I will always be mindful of the scoring opportunities that we lost and the goals they were achieved. It's a mistake to give up a scoring chance. It's as simple as that.

Woodcroft couldn't be more agree. Woodcroft was quick to point out Edmonton's numerous defensive zone mistakes, which Colorado used in order to establish its lead. They cannot rely on more chaotic rallies to bail them in.

Woodcroft stated, “We don’t feel like we executed at a level we are capable of executing at.” There are some things that we need to fix. While we did find a way to fight back, we fell behind very quickly. We are not set up for success. “Our execution and attention can be improved in terms of our checking and fundamental defensive skills.

This is a message that the Oilers were ready to hear.

“I don’t think that we played well enough defensively,” Cody Ceci said. “But we showed a lot character in trying to make this a close match. Although we had some opportunities late on, we lost too many goals to win that match.

For: Crease chaos reigns

This series is only one game old. Each of the four goalies has already appeared.

Neither the coach nor his starter could or would be available on Wednesday for Game 2.

What's the point of stability?

Smith was ejected midway through the second half of Game 1, after Smith had allowed six goals on 25 shots (.760 save%). Mikko Koskinen The Oilers desperately tried to get back at them, but they were unable to stop 21 of 21 shots (.952) and played well from there.

Meanwhile, Colorado's Darcy Kuemper He was injured in the upper body and had to leave the game. He had 13 saves, or.813, to end the night. Backup Pavel Francouz The performance was slightly better with an 18-save performance (0.857).

Bednar replied, “We'll see,” when asked about Kuemper’s availability for Game 2. This will depend on the severity of the injury.

Woodcroft refused to support Smith's incumbent status, telling reporters that the team would “determine Mike’s status and Mikko’s status.” [Thursday].”

This was a game of chance? Maybe. It was not a positive endorsement of the Oilers' goalie situation. Smith has shown a strange mix of brilliant and confused play in the postseason. He held Edmonton in games with great saves, while letting loose goals at the worst moments. Can he keep the team's confidence?

The series could turn into a battle between the backups. This could open the floodgates for offensive play. Francouz, who was swept by Nashville in the first round by Colorado, has not started any playoff games. Koskinen is yet to start a single one.

It favors goal scorers.

Contra: It can't last, as the recent history shows.

There is no comparable to what Edmonton and Colorado did in Game 1.

Vancouver and San Jose scored 10 goals in Game 2 of 2011's Western Conference Final. This was their record for most goals in a Western Conference Final game since 2006. Since 2006, no other team had ever scored more seven goals in one game. That was until the Avalanche achieved it Tuesday.

This series might be different. However, it was just one night and the years of past results suggest that this level of scoring cannot be sustained.

Conference finals don't usually see major shifts in offensive momentum. The series that was goal-heavy in the beginning (like the West in 2019, where San Jose and St. Louis scored 24 goals each), tended to lose their offensive momentum over the following three games, with only 14 goals between the two clubs.

It's often the reverse, with low scoring winning in the beginning. Since 2006, the average number of goals in a Game 1 is four. As the series progresses and the urgency grows (or maybe as fatigue sets-in), the goals start to rise.

Each team played in Game 1. They had a lot of fun driving on the ice and scoring as they pleased. However, the possibility of this being a one-off performance is real.

For: Deep attacks

Colorado and Edmonton are not just about their top lines.

Game 1 was a success.

The Oilers' third and second units played key roles in the final scoresheet. McLeod’s timely second-period responses and Ryan’s first postseason tally early on the third set the tone and paved the way for Edmonton's push.

Compher and Cogliano had a similar role in Colorado. Their goals proved to be pivotal at the end.

These lineups are also very versatile. The players are finding their rhythm.

Woodcroft has been able swap Kane with Hyman (whose nine postseason goals surpass McDavid’s eight) on the Oilers’ first unit. Nugent-Hopkins, who was shut out in Game 3 of the first round, has now scored in two games of his last 3. Woodcroft noted the same on Wednesday Jesse PuljujarviIt is now a better game.

Rantanen could finally be in the game. This is good news for Colorado, but a huge negative for Edmonton. Rantanen was a snake-bite in the playoffs. He scored only one empty-net goal in Game 1 before lighting the lamp. Look out, if this is a sign of the future for the winger who scored 36 goals in the regular-season.

This team could score more than 14 goals in a single night.

Against: It's fun to watch, but not to play in

High-scoring hockey games are a favorite with fans.

It is quite a different experience to play in one, especially late in the playoffs. Even though Colorado won Game 1, the mood was not so positive.

Makar stated, “We gave them many options that we weren’t giving up these two previous series even.” They have many skilled players, and we must mark them. These guys are not the best way to play games. We can do better defensively and it's difficult when the game opens up. [like that].”

It might be fun to ride the roller coaster of emotions in-game in February. It's not the same in June. The coaches insisted on good defensive habits for Game 1, but they didn't show them. It is easy to see that players are aware of this and realize how quickly a chance at a Cup could disappear.

“We were unhappy with our position of being down three goals, and we don’t want to be there.” [again],” Nugent-Hopkins said. “There are specific things we will have to do that we didn’t do well enough, and we need to fix.”

This series could be transformed quickly by a buy-in for either Edmonton or Colorado.

Or would that just lead to fewer goals? Or it could increase the chances of winning lopsidedly as the offense heats up.

Game 1 taught us one thing: almost anything is possible in this series.

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