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Last Week in Hockey: September 9

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, folks!

A new thing here at Copper n Blue is the “Last Week in Hockey” segment I want to put together for all of us Oilers fans, who like many, lost some interest in the NHL and the playoffs after the Oilers were devastatingly and unsurprisingly bounced in the play-in round.

What I plan to do here is recap a few things from the previous week, whether that’s games or other hot topics, and hopefully keep everyone informed.

If there’s anything you’d like to see in this weekly feature, please don’t hesitate to tweet me at @AKSC on Twitter.

Canucks get dominated but still lose a heartbreaker?

I’m not sure about you, but I was completely on the bandwagon of this year’s edition of the Vancouver Canucks. They were young, fast and had just beat the defending champs. I felt hooked.

What we saw after the Vegas Golden Knights took a 3-1 series lead was absolute domination by one team, and one team backed by the stellar play of a backup goaltender. Thatcher Demko was a man possessed in the series against the Golden Knights, stopping 91 shots in a row at one point to backstop the Canucks to one win away from the conference finals.

Did they deserve that chance? No. Mustering shot totals of 17, 23 and 14, they should have never been in the series. But wasn’t it fascinating watching the Golden Knights (an easy team to dislike, frankly) struggle to score so mightily against this goaltender? It was.

And even in Game 7, the Canucks had glorious chances to seal the series. A massive save by Robin Lehner. Many missed opportunities on the powerplay. The list goes on – they blew it. But my oh my, I think they might have a team here for the next little while. Quinn Hughes, Elias Petterson, Brock Boeser and that goalie tandem have the opportunity to stay together for the next couple of years, and I think that core should excite Canucks fans and make Oilers fans slightly unhappy.

Dallas beats Colorado in a shootout series riddled with Avalanche injuries

The Stars won this best of 7, games which it seemed like it was always first to 5 goals, and that’s great for them. But man oh man did they ever luck out with the injuries the Avalance faced – Johnson (the shutdown defender), Donskoi (the penalty killer), Grubauer (the starting netminder) and finally their captain, Landeskog, in the final game.

Truth be told, I loved watching the Avalanche play – MacKinnon is a wizard on the ince, scoring 25 points in 15 games. The only game he didn’t have a point in these playoffs? This game 7 loss. The rest of the team couldn’t pull it together, and the overtime winner was a disaster defensively.

However, this Dallas team seems to have something cooking. Their Western Conference final matchup with Vegas is fascinating.

Islanders win a boring series that should’ve ended days before

The New York Islanders series win against Philadelphia was expected. But why did it take so long? With their defensive style of play, any goalie should thrive. But they just always let the Flyers in it when they shouldn’t have, and better teams will always take advantage of that.

Tampa Bay Lightning lay a SMACKDOWN on the Islanders in Game 1

I feel like this transition sits well, no? Tampa Bay is the best team left in these playoffs, and they showed why. They want the puck, they take the puck and they use the puck better than anyone. And this is WITHOUT Steven Stamkos, their captain. Brayden Point is an astoundingly good player, Kucherov is a point getter and that team is loaded from top to bottom. They’ve got castaways on defence like Luke Schenn, Zack Bogosian and Kevin Shattenkirk playing meaningful minutes and producing every night.

In Game 1, Kucherov and Point each had 5 points on NYI. I expect that trend to continue.

Series Prediction: Tampa Bay win series 4–1. Never even close.

P.S. Manon Rheaume was on Spittin’ Chiclets podcast last week, the first woman to ever play in the NHL. She played a game for the Lightning in 1992, and has quite an interesting story. Worth a listen.

Golden Knights and Stars knotted at one game apiece

Both games ended in shutouts, and I struggled to pick this series. To be honest, I’ve found it to be kind of boring so far. I feel like Vegas is the better team, but Dallas seems to have something going for them right now.

Series Prediction: Dallas wins series 4–3 on an overtime game winner from Corey Perry.

What to do with these Edmonton Oilers?

Who the hell knows – but I have an idea of what I’d like to see:

Ehlers – McDavid – Puljujarvi
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Benson/Nygard – R. Nash – Kassian
Neal – Khaira – Haas

Klefbom – Bear
Dunn – T. Barrie
Jones – Bouchard

Koskinen
Khudobin

In this iteration of the 2020-21 Oilers, I have shipped out Darnell Nurse for Nikolaj Ehlers, everyone’s hopeful trade, and Adam Larsson for Riley Nash to provide that right shot third line center. I flipped Athanasiou and Benning for Vince Dunn, and signed Tyson Barrie and Anton Khudobin to $6M x 5 years and $3.5M x 2 years respectively. Kris Russell and Alex Chiasson were flipped to Ottawa with a fourth to recoup a second round pick and to free up cap space.

I think the top line of Ehlers, McDavid and Puljujarvi will score many goals and control the puck constantly. DRY line continues to dominate, with Yamo potting 20 in his first full season. Our bottom 6 does its job perfectly by NOT getting caved in at 5 on 5 and chipping in a few timely goals here and there. The top 4 D are shaken up and provide crisper transitions, less defensive zone time and improved possession. Goalies are good enough, and the Oilers finish 2nd in the Pacific division.

Anyways, that may be a pipe dream. But would love to chat about it anytime.

Like I said before, please feel free to reach out or comment below if you think I’m crazy, want me to explore another topic, or even just want to say hello. This was a pretty cursory, surface-level view of hockey topics, and I hope to dive in deeper as we keep going.