Captain Connor McDavid has called on the Edmonton Oilers to tighten up their defence after they lost 8-6 to the Colorado Avalanche in the first game of the Western Conference Final.
The Oilers, 7/2 to win the conference final and 10/1 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, have lost Game 1 of each round of the playoffs, and on top of a 9-6 defeat against Calgary Flames in the last round, McDavid says they must improve in their own end.
Colorado matched their record for goals in a playoff game, forcing Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft to pull netminder Mike Smith after he allowed six goals on 25 shots.
The 14 total goals were one shy of tying the record for any game this late in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
McDavid had a goal and two assists to extend his playoff leading points tally to 29 (eight goals, 21 assists) in 13 game and he is amongst the contenders to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
The Oilers improved defensively in Game 2 against the Flames to win 5-3 and they then took the next three games to prevail in the series.
To get past an Avalanche team who won the Central Division and have charged past St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators in the playoffs, McDavid knows the Oilers won't be able to simply rely on their high-power offence saying to the media:
"They're a real good team. You give them chances, they're going to bear down and score.
"We've got to defend. At the same time, we found a way to get six, so it was real similar to Game 1 last round."