Three players the Oilers need to step up against the Canucks

It didn’t take long for the Oilers to roll through the Kings in Round 1. Five games, to be exact.Three players the Oilers need to step up against the Canucks

They were led by the usual cast of productive players in doing so. Connor McDavid (1-11—12), Leon Draisaitl (5-5—10), Evan Bouchard (1-8—9), Zach Hyman (7-1—8), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1-5—6) were the driving forces for the Edmonton Oilers.

The remainder of the roster contributed in more than a few other ways, too. Edmonton was perfect on the penalty kill, they played rock-solid defensive hockey, and Stuart Skinner stood on his head more often than not, with key performances in Games 3 through 5 to close out the series.

But if the Oilers want to progress through the second round, they are going to need some other players to step up in other ways. The Canucks boast a deep forward group, with the ability to roll three scoring lines who can score at a moment’s notice. That was something the Kings couldn’t do, and something the Oilers need to be everso cautious about.

Let’s look at three players the Oilers need to step up in Round 2.

Corey Perry

It’s not that Perry had a bad series against L.A., but he never seemed to assert himself in the game how many hoped. He didn’t get on the score sheet despite five shots on goal and .99 individual expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick, but alongside Ryan McLeod, helped provide loads of defensive talent.

If the Oilers want to progress, he’s someone who is going to need to make his mark on this series. Some point production would obviously be welcomed, but he also has the ability to be a pest on the ice and get under the Canucks’ skin. His doing so could help get the Canucks off their game and caught up in the extracurriculars.

Perry’s been productive in the playoffs in recent years from an offensive standpoint. Last year with Tampa Bay, he scored two goals and five points in their lone six games, while in the 2022 post-season where they would fall to the Avalanche in the finals, he racked up six goals and 11 points in 23 games.

Dylan Holloway

Not to put too much pressure on the young man, but he was very impressive against the Kings. He mixed it up physically, laying some tempo-setting hits, and found his way onto the scoresheet with two goals in Game 2 against L.A. Those helped the Oilers comeback in that game and force overtime, and depth scoring from the team — as mentioned above with Perry — is going to be important for the Oilers to find.

Holloway doesn’t get time on the special teams units, so his fresh legs off the bench are going to be needed. He, just like Perry, can contribute on the scoresheet, but his 15.35 hit per hour of ice time was the second-highest rate among Oilers forwards among those who played in all of Round 1, trailing just Adam Henrique (16.64) and above that of Evander Kane (12.98). Keeping that up can help get the Canucks off their game.

Warren Foegele

Contract year Warren Foegele is in there somewhere, but wherever it is, it wasn’t around for Round 1. Foegele started in the top-six and finished on the fourth line, and looked far too disengaged for my liking. He scored a goal and an assist, which is good to see, but his play without the puck was poor and he was on the ice for five 5v5 goals against, the second most on the team against L.A.

He made mistakes out there and that led to his demotion. Still, he scored 20 goals and 41 points in the regular season, and his playoff point total is already just one off from all of last year’s playoff run, and double what he put up in 2022. He’s a good player, but he needs to be better.

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