After scoring 29 points in his first 13 games of this postseason, prolific Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid got to know the Colorado Avalanche's tight defensive play Thursday night in Denver.
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“They have good players and good defensemen,” acknowledged McDavid, quoted on the National Hockey League website after the 4-0 loss suffered in the second game of this Western Conference final. We didn't get a ton of scoring chances. We will have to find a way to create opportunities in the offensive zone with the forecheck.
McDavid was cleared of the score sheet for only the second time in the 2022 playoffs. In the first round, against the Los Angeles Kings, the Oilers were also beaten by the score of 4 to 0, last May 8.
“The Avalanche are doing a lot of good things and we will have to find a solution,” said the Oilers captain, hoping that a return to Edmonton starting on Saturday will turn things around.
Colorado leads 2-0 in the series and a loss to the Oilers in Game 3 could well put the Alberta club in ruins. In such a scenario, McDavid and his teammates would then find themselves in the obligation to beat the Avalanche four times in a row.
Makar, Toews et... Byram
Among the defensemen who contained the Oilers offense on Thursday night, Cale Makar and Devon Toews top the list. The young Bowen Byram, only 20 years old, was used for more than 21 minutes.
“The first period was very competitive, summed up the head coach of the Oilers, Jay Woodcroft, recalling that the score was still blank Thursday at the end of the first period. There was this short moment in the second period which really hurt us and where we lost the wind we had in the sails.
The Avalanche then scored twice in just 15 seconds before adding a third goal just two minutes later.
Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto also had to leave Thursday's game in the second period with an upper body injury. His case remains uncertain for Saturday's meeting.