2022 Stanley Cup playoffs – Can the Oilers come again? Who’s the MVP for the Avalanche to this point?

Following the Colorado Avalanche‘s 4-2 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, the Edmonton Oilers are one loss away from a sweep. After a six-goal outburst in Sport 1, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl & Co. have managed simply two mixed within the following two contests.

Will the Oilers clear up the Avalanche puzzle in Sport 4 to start out a serious turnaround? Or will Colorado shut issues out after which get one other prolonged break earlier than internet hosting Sport 1 of the Stanley Cup Remaining? Our panel weighs the massive questions forward of Sport 4 (8 p.m. ET Monday, TNT).

2022 Stanley Cup playoffs - Can the Oilers come again? Who's the MVP for the Avalanche to this point?

What do the Oilers have to do to get again into the sequence?

Victoria Matiash, NHL analyst: If these banged-up Oilers are to have any likelihood in anyway of extending this sequence past 4 video games, they should be flawless in their very own finish. Excellent. No determined, errant passes, no irresponsible wayward sticks, no misplays by the goaltender. There's been an excessive amount of undisciplined play on behalf of Edmonton out entrance of Mike Smith up to now, and the Avalanche have taken benefit.

Additionally, the Oilers want to remain out of the penalty field. Applaud the penalty kill all you want, however McDavid & Co. have a significantly better likelihood of scoring once they're not watching the kill from the bench. Altogether, Edmonton must play extra disciplined defensively, whereas nonetheless working to stifle Colorado in transition as a lot as doable, to enhance their odds.

Arda Ocal, NHL host: I am not simply saying this due to the astronomical mountain a 3-0 sequence deficit is to climb (solely 9 groups have compelled a Sport 7 after being down 3-0, and solely 4 of these groups pulled off the reverse sweep), however the Avs simply appear to be the higher staff, up and down the ice.

The simple reply could be manufacturing out of your superstars and from Mike Smith in web, however Cale Makar alone has made Connor McDavid look pedestrian in sure situations, and that is an extremely tall process for anybody to perform (given what number of instances McDavid has made all 5 opponents on the ice appear to be pylons on sure performs).

Kristen Shilton, NHL reporter: Overcoming a 3-0 sequence deficit is just not unimaginable. It is extra like, impossible-adjacent.

There is a particular confluence of things required for Edmonton to be a kind of uncommon groups that recovers from such an enormous gap. Happily, the Oilers have a top-end secure of expertise surrounded by stable depth up entrance. Goaltender Mike Smith is pouring his coronary heart and soul into each save to present his staff an opportunity. Maximizing these positives will go a great distance in figuring out whether or not there shall be handshakes after Sport 4 or one other go to to the Mile Excessive Metropolis.

How do the Oilers clear up their mess? By channeling the opportunistic Avalanche. Colorado has completed extra with its probabilities on this sequence. The Avs have performed a extra aggressive sport. The urgency was there from Edmonton in Sport 3; it was there for Colorado in Sport 1. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can strive strapping Edmonton to their backs and incomes their first win. However that system does not characterize the Oilers at their finest.

Sure, McDavid and Draisaitl have to drive the bus, however Edmonton's defensive buy-in has to match its offensive contributions. The Oilers placed on a clinic within the impartial zone throughout their second-round sequence in opposition to Calgary. They have nothing to lose now within the convention finals, so they need to be mucking it up in all three zones and flinging each puck doable on Pavel Francouz. That is how the Oilers rattled Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom within the final spherical. After all, the Avalanche have a deeper staff than Calgary, however Edmonton is deep, too. They only aren't exhibiting it typically sufficient.

Backside line: The Oilers should let their stars shine, however there's lots of work to be completed within the trenches by everybody in Sport 4 (and probably past). Making Colorado uncomfortable — if that is doable — is their probably manner by means of.

Greg Wyshynski, NHL reporter: The very first thing the Oilers have to do is rent a religion healer to fix Leon Draisaitl's harm, which all of us assume is a bum ankle. He was clearly laboring in Sport 3. He hasn't scored a purpose since Sport 2 of the sequence in opposition to the Flames. He had two photographs on purpose and simply three whole shot makes an attempt in Sport 3 in opposition to the Avalanche, who're too deep offensively for the Oilers to have a 55-goal scorer like Draisaitl turn into a nonfactor, as he has been for the previous two video games.

The second factor the Oilers want is for Smith to drag a rabbit out of his hat. Like Draisaitl, he did not look 100% wholesome throughout Sport 3, but when there's something we learn about Smith it is that he is a battler. We additionally know he is a goalie who makes adventurous saves look routine and turns routine saves into adventures. The Oilers cannot afford one other effort wherein Smith deflates their momentum by permitting a purpose on a stoppable shot, or else their postseason is over. The excellent news is that Smith can ship a magnificence while you least count on it.

The third factor they want is to buck probably the most dependable traits in Stanley Cup playoffs historical past. Heading into Sunday, groups that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven maintain an all-time sequence document of 198-4 (.980). Groups that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven sequence when beginning at residence maintain an all-time sequence document of 144-3 (.980).

Like Kristen stated, “impossible-adjacent.” However principally unimaginable.

Who's the Avs' MVP so far this postseason?

Victoria Matiash: Cale Makar is the right reply, however let's give ahead Nazem Kadri his due for his efficiency at each ends of the ice all through this postseason. Sport 2 is a special story if Kadri, an elite playmaker, does not contribute three assists in a span of beneath three minutes within the Avs' 4-0 win. That is only a pattern of what this top-notch heart has managed to muscle out beneath an ugly shroud of racist social-media messages.

Colorado would possibly very effectively win the Cup ultimately, and Kadri, regardless of presumably lacking the remainder of the video games after taking a hit from behind in Game 3, will nonetheless be a giant motive why.

Arda Ocal: I'd have chosen Makar, however within the curiosity of differentiating my reply I am going to go along with Pavel Francouz, who has posted a .920 save share and allowed 5 targets in two-plus video games in opposition to the Oilers after relieving an injured Darcy Kuemper in Sport 1. And if nothing else, “Frankie, Frankie” chants from the Denver devoted have solidified him as an unlikely people hero.

Kristen Shilton: Cale Makar. We knew Makar was dynamic, however he has been stunningly good in opposition to two of the sport's finest in McDavid and Draisaitl. On this sequence particularly, we have seen his capacity to not solely defend at an elite degree, however create area to make performs and tilt the ice in Colorado's favor. Makar is a major motive Edmonton is within the place it's. Colorado has proven inconsistencies, however Makar has been dependable all through.

You'll be able to see on the opposite aspect how troublesome it has been for the Oilers to handle an injured Darnell Nurse. A staff's prime defender is extremely vital this time of 12 months. Each shift Makar takes, he is oozing confidence and is a real risk to dominate. It has been a deal with to look at.

Greg Wyshynski: I feel Makar has the within lane for the Conn Smythe Trophy if the Avalanche win the Cup, however there are two different names worthy of a shout out right here.

One is clearly Nathan MacKinnon, who's tied with Makar at 17 factors and has 10 targets within the postseason, together with two on this sequence. He stays a driving pressure on the ice whose singular focus off the ice — saying issues like, “We're 0-0 heading into the following sport,” and that means it — additionally drives the Avalanche.

The opposite is a little bit of a preemptive choose: J.T. Compher, who has 5 targets — all of them coming prior to now 4 video games. With Nazem Kadri out for the sequence and probably past it, Compher could possibly be tasked with filling his position. He did it admirably in Sport 3, and he could possibly be an under-the-radar MVP candidate if that continues.

What's your last rating prediction for Sport 4?

Victoria Matiash: 4-2 Oilers. The superior staff is beset with a contact of subliminal complacency, up 3-0 on the highway. Connor McDavid wills his staff to seize one final style of glory at residence.

Arda Ocal: 9-6 Avalanche. Alright, that is extra as a result of I need this to occur; Sport 1 was a ton of enjoyable, so why not hope for an additional high-scoring sport? Both manner, my prediction is that the Avs full the sweep.

Kristen Shilton: 3-2 Oilers. Edmonton has been resilient on this postseason. The Oilers misplaced a heartbreaker in Sport 3, and doubtless deserved a greater end result. I am going to wager they get no less than one earlier than it is over.

Greg Wyshynski: 5-3 Avalanche. Whereas I feel a gentleman's sweep is not an outlandish prediction, we'd have seen the Oilers' finest effort in Sport 3 — and it nonetheless wasn't sufficient. Colorado is on one other airplane of postseason existence proper now. Anticipate them to play one other robust, environment friendly highway sport. Or as MacKinnon framed it, one that's “boring and gross.”

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