The Edmonton Oilers line of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane is arguably the most potent in the NHL.
Last night (May 22), there was no argument.
That line combined for a total of 10 points, four by Draisaitl, and three each from McDavid and Kane, to lead Edmonton to a decisive 4 – 1 win over the Calgary Flames and a 2 -1 lead in the second round best of seven series.
Kane's points came in the form of a natural hattrick that was scored during a six-minute span in the second period, the one in which the Oilers did all their scoring in the game. McDavid-the-magician and Draisaitl assisted on the three Kane goals with Draisaitl also chipping in on Zach Hyman's goal to open the scoring under a minute into the second.
Jacob Markstrom was pulled following the second period and the four-goal onslaught but he could hardly be blamed for any of them. Markstrom stopped 30 Edmonton shots in two periods, including 21 in the first where, without his work, the Oilers could have been up by a bunch as the Flames started the game flat. Dan Vladar came on in relief of Markstrom and stopped all seven shots he faced in the third.
At the other end of the ice, Mike Smith showed some brilliance, stopping 32 shots from the Flames. The only Calgary player to beat him was Oliver Kylington with his first-ever playoff goal. The goal came after Smith returned to the game after being replaced by Mikko Koskinen after being forced to observe concussion protocol. Smith was run into the boards behind the net by the Flames' Milan Lucic. The big winger was assessed a five-minute charging major and game misconduct for the incident. When asked about it following the game, Flames Head Coach Darryl Sutter replied, "They called it charging, correct? Could you imagine if Looch did charge? What would have happened there? He actually tried to slow it down a bit, I think."
Sutter felt the environment at Rogers Place was a lot to handle for some of Calgary's younger players. "I think we had a lot of our younger guys who haven't been in this situation before were a little bit intimidated by the atmosphere."
The Oilers will try to capitalize on home ice again tomorrow night while the Flames try to rebound when game four goes in Edmonton. Start time is 7:30 pm.
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