The Edmonton Oil Kings square off against the Portland Winterhawks in game one of their WHL finals series tonight in Portland, OR. The Winterhawks boast one of the more electric buildings in the WHL (the Moda Center) and will most certainly look to capitalize on that home-ice advantage. On the other side of things, the Oil Kings will also look to harness that energy and take away that intimidation factor.
“Intimidation is a good word, from their point of view,” Edmonton Head Coach Derek Laxdal said. “But from our point of view, we want the energy, we want to be excited coming into this building and for some of our kids that have never played here, I think it’s going to be quite a treat for them tonight and probably to get by the first couple of shifts will be really tough for our group. There will be some butterflies but if you can’t get up for a game one in a league final in a building like this, then you have to ask the question. But I’m pretty confident our guys are ready to play tonight because our leadership group has done a really good job of just kind of talking with the young kids and letting them know what to expect.”
Portland beat the Oil Kings in last year’s WHL finals in six games. A fast start at home was a part of the problem.
“When you look at the way the Portland Winterhawks play in this building, it’s just that they really feed off the crowd and if you look at our first game last year in this series, we came off a seven-game series. I think we got caught off guard in that first period, we got outshot 16-6. They play to their advantage. They’re a great home team and obviously, you’ve got to be prepared. We’ve put a lot of focus this week on preparing for that first shift, that first period, that first game. If you watched our players over the last three days, you could see a lot of focus on their part and we feel pretty confident they’re ready to have a great start.”
The Edmonton Oil Kings are familiar with the Portland Winterhawks, having faced them the last three seasons in the WHL finals. They defeated their opponent in seven games in 2011-12 but lost last season in six.
The Oil Kings feel a sense of seeking redemption for the way things ended last year.
“If you look at the first year we won, that was part of their focus coming into the finals last year,” Edmonton Head Coach Derek Laxdal said. “Redemption and obviously they’d lost two years in a row coming in at that point. This year it’s a little bit of a rubber match kind of a mentality but we’re definitely a lot more hungry than we were last year. We’ve got a new group of kids here, we’ve got a different team and I know our guys are real focused and we’ve got different leadership. You can see from our leadership right now that there’s a hunger in this group and you can see it in the practices we’ve had in the last three days and you can just kind of feel the intensity in our room.”
|Photo courtesy of Bakersfield Condors
The Bakersfield Condors defeated the Stockton Thunder in Game 1 of their second-round series, coming from behind to overcome a two-goal deficit in a 3-2 victory at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield on Friday night.
After Stockton took a 2-0 lead early in the second, Ryan Watson scored at the 8:47 mark to make it a one-goal game. With 1:13 to go in the middle frame, Chase Schaber scored to tie the game at 2-2.
In the third, Joel Broda scored at the five-minute mark to make it 3-2. That goal ultimately held up as the winner.
Oilers prospect Laurent Brossoit stopped 24 of 26 shots in the victory.
Listen to David Perron speak on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer
There was a noticeable difference in the Edmonton Oilers hockey team once general manager Craig MacTavish solidified the goaltending by trading for Ben Scrivens (and eventually Viktor Fasth). Oilers winger David Perron was on Oilers Now with the team’s colour analyst Bob Stauffer on Tuesday afternoon and he talked about the Scrivens trade and how his confidence was clearly evident.
“As soon as he came in from L.A. you could see the confidence that he had with his game,” Perron said. “When he replaced (Jonathan) Quick when he went down early in the year, he did a really good job there and it gave him confidence. He’s a guy that’s battling every single practice, every single save he wants to make it. It’s funny, sometimes I just shoot pucks in the net when we shoot around before practice and he’s pulling them out. As he’s pulling them out, he still doesn’t want to get scored on. He’s trying to knock them down with his stick and he gets frustrated. It’s a pretty good atmosphere that we’ve got, goalie-wise. Adding Viktor (Fasth) is kind of the same mentality, he doesn’t want to get scored on. I think it’s awesome that you see guys like that who work so hard in practice and want to be better.”
Scrivens will join Perron in representing Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus in May.
Edmonton Oilers winger David Perron will join goalie Ben Scrivens in representing Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus in May. Perron spoke with Oilers Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now on Tuesday and talked about his decision to go to Belarus when other players decline.
“Just because I wanted to keep playing,” Perron said. “I think it’s up to every individual and some of those guys from our team have been there before and in many years they were banged up. Everyone’s banged up at the end of the year and it’s a decision that should be to the individual. The biggest thing is next year it’s not only the World Championship right now, it’s about the Edmonton Oilers next year and with me going there, hopefully I can be a better player next year and hopefully establish myself a little bit by playing some good minutes there in a good role. I’m going to try and do as best as I can over there.”
Perron finished the season with 57 points (28-29-57) in 78 games for the Oilers. If he could improve his game even more from those career numbers, the Oilers would undoubtedly be thrilled in Perron’s decision to keep playing this off-season.
Edmonton Oilers winger David Perron was on Oilers Now with Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer on Tuesday afternoon and he gave some insight on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Perron talked about how the teams in the post-season are the examples the Oilers need to look up to heading into next season. Chicago was a team the winger said the Oilers could model their game after.
Chicago beat Perron’s former team, the St. Louis Blues, four games to two in their opening-round series.
“Those teams that are there, they’re going to want to be there next year and they’re not going to want to give their spots away,” Perron said. “It’s going to be up to us to work hard to get to the dance. There’s a ton of work here to be done and it starts with the first 15-20 games. We talked about it at the end of the year, we can’t just come into this season wondering what kind of team we’re going to have this year. We need to know right away. We need to be playing the way that we can. I think Chicago is the best example for us because it’s the style of play that can beat anything.”
Another blow has been dealt to the Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League affiliate. The Oklahoma City Barons, down 2-0 in their best-of-five series against the Texas Stars, will continue to play without one of their top offensive weapon, Mark Arcobello.
"Arcobello will not play in this series. He hasn't responded the way we wanted (health wise) to get him back in the lineup." Nelson #OKC— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) April 29, 2014
It was originally a possibility that Arcobello could return at some point in this opening-round series. However, Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson said in a radio interview that Arcobello would not be back in the lineup for this series.
Oscar Klefbom has a 50/50 shot to play tomorrow night in game three in Cedar Park, Texas.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Barons, who are now in a do-or-die mode with the remaining games in the series. With the Dallas Stars knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, they have reassigned Chris Mueller and Dustin Jeffrey to their AHL affiliate.
The Edmonton Oil Kings downed the Medicine Hat Tigers 4-3 on Saturday night to capture a Eastern Conference Championship and advance to the Western Hockey League Championship.
The Oil Kings beat the Prince Albert Raiders, the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat to advance to face the Portland Winterhawks for the third-straight year in the championship series.
Games one, two, five and seven will be played in Portland while three, four and six will be played in Edmonton.
Edmonton Oilers prospect Mitchell Moroz is fifth on the team in scoring throughout the playoffs with 13 points (4-9-13) in 14 games.
It is often said that goals allowed at the end of periods are a momentum killer and the Oklahoma City Barons were a victim of two of those in a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to the Texas Stars, which puts them down 2-0 in the series.
Barons Captain Anton Lander opened the scoring, in game two of the AHL opening round playoff series, when he found Roman Horak for a breakaway opportunity. The Barons leading scorer sunk a shot past goalie Jack Campbell for the 1-0 lead.
The Stars would tie the game in the final minute of the second period on the power play.
Edmonton Oilers prospect Jujhar Khaira gave the Barons a 2-1 lead at 11:57 of the third period.
The celebration was short-lived as AHL MVP Travis Morin scored with 40 seconds remaining in the game to tie it up again.
Brendan Ranford scored the game-winning goal at 15:04 of the overtime period.
Down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, the Oilers affiliate heads to Cedar Park, Texas for a do-or-die game three on Wednesday April 30.
The top defensive prospect in this year’s draft, Aaron Ekblad was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Friday and he provided his thoughts on another top draft-eligible player, Kingston’s Sam Bennett.
Ekblad and Bennett faced off a few times in the regular season but the game Stauffer was referring to and asked Ekblad about in particular was the Barrie Colts’ 10-6 loss to Kingston on February 20.
Bennett finished the game +4 with three assists while Ekblad went -6 with no points and even got into a fight.
Ekblad had this to say in his short scouting report of Bennett and that game:
“Bennett’s always been one of my good friends,” Ekblad said. “He’s a pretty tenacious player, while being a skilled guy. I think that’s a pretty great combination for him. He’s going to be a great player one day in the NHL and I wish him the best of luck. That game was a pretty hard game to play in. Sometimes you have your nights, sometimes you don’t. That was probably the worst game of the season for myself and the Barrie Colts. It is what it is and I didn’t put much stock into it. Too get too long on a situation like that, it’s not worth it. I think you have to keep an even keel and realize there’s always going to be another game.”