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Splitting up Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl proved to be costly for Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft as the Oilers struggled defensively in Game 2.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: There was, however, some kind of strange strategy from Edmonton in the game with Jay Woodcroft breaking up Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, spreading those two superstars across two lines. To this point, Draisaitl had been tethered to McDavid mostly through necessity, right? Because he picked up that high-ankle sprain late versus the Los Angeles Kings in round one and could no longer skate the way he needed to in order to hold down a center ice position. He was limited, but what he could do was hang out around the boards, pass the puck to McDavid, be the guy McDavid passes to.
But at least, I guess, now that we've reached the second round-- or the second game of round three, Woodcroft and the training staff believes that Draisaitl is on the mend. So he decided, Woodcroft being, that the Oilers needed a little bit more balance. They needed more balance to take on Colorado, to neutralize what Colorado had, to be able to create some sort of mismatch. But I think he was wrong. The Oilers, all I think they needed in game 2 was better goaltending in order to have a chance, which they got from Mike Smith.
But the offense was disjointed with McDavid and Draisaitl apart. And the Oilers were limited to 24 shots, no goals, of course, were doubled in scoring chances. I think they spread themselves a little bit thin in the game. Draisaitl is that guy, right? He can drive his own line. One of my Hart Trophy votes went to Draisaitl, fourth on my ballot.
But he's not right right now. And the Oilers stumbled into something pretty spectacular, probably beyond even their expectations, when they put together McDavid and Draisaitl. And it hurt them, I think at least, moving away from that.