The Edmonton Oilers are down. They aren’t out. The Oilers trail the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in their best-of-five Qualification Series to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This afternoon, they’ll play for their season. A loss prematurely ends what looked to be a playoff season in Edmonton. A win quite literally buys them another day.
The men inside the locker room, who dealt with the ups and downs of the regular season head-on, are quite confident in their group. Veteran Alex Chiasson, who won a Stanley Cup in 2018, believes in this group and their ability to handle adversity and rise to the occasion.
“All we can worry about is winning the next game,” Chiasson said Thursday. “We faced adversity all year, we got a group to do something. If there’s a group that can do it, it’s this group here.”
How can they do it? Well, their veteran coach believes it will take a simple, focused game. It’ll also take all hands on deck to make it happen against a young opponent ready to seize the moment.
“Your back is against the wall, you gotta go out and play well,” Dave Tippett said. “We need everybody in our lineup to play well, right from the goaltender on out. You just gotta, we gotta manufacture a win. We’ve been very good in back-to-back games this year, so our goal is to go out, get that next game and then we’ll deal with the next one the next day.”
Chiasson has been in desperate spots before. In 2018, his Capitals trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 in the First Round of the playoffs. It was a similiar situation, but one the Caps faced and got through. Chiasson believes this group can do it too, mostly because the same ingredients are there.
“I’ve been on the winning team, we have a lot of the same ingredients of two years ago when I was in Washington,” Chiasson proclaimed. “It’s on us now as players. I think our mindset has to be on Game 4 tomorrow. That’s all we can control, our preparation and we go from there.”
Defenseman Oscar Klefbom has seen a lot in his young career. He’s played through brutal winters with the Oilers, injury-plagued years and, in 2017, the postseason. He’s dealt with blowout playoff losses and heart-breakers.
He knows the challenge ahead, and is confident the group can handle it.
“We knew Chicago was not gonna give down easy, so we have to step it up here,” Klefbom began. “I think we’re up for the challenge. I think, like Alex said, we have all the ingredients in our team to start winning the next game and then focus on the fifth game. If we start worrying about the fifth game or whatever, back-to-back, it’s not going to happen. We just need to focus on our game and play a solid fourth game here and then go on.”