It was a sequence that showed the Edmonton Oilers had taken their commitment to another level.
In the second period of Game 2 against Chicago Monday night, the Oilers took three straight minor penalties. The Blackhawks power play kept shooting. Many of the pucks never even got to Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen.
That was one of the stories of the game. The Oilers finished the game with 22 blocked shots compared to 14 for Chicago.
“You have to have a gut instinct that is basically driving to do everything you can to help the team win. That is what good players and players who are all in about winning do. You saw a good example of that in the second period (Monday),” said head coach Dave Tippett. “I think there was six or eight shots in a sport span that we blocked. That’s just guys doing whatever it takes to win.”
While blocked shots have become an accepted part of defending in the NHL, there’s still a debate over their value. Is it worth it for a star player to block a shot, only to suffer a broken bone and wind up on the injured list?
Tippett said the fear of injury doesn’t factor in it for the men on the ice.
“The fear of losing becomes the trump of anything. If you don’t block shots you’re not going to win, so it’s a fear of losing,” explained Tippett.
Mikko Koskinen, who earned his first NHL playoff win on Monday, will once again start in goal on Wednesday night. Catch Game 3 on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. The best-of-five qualifying round series is tied 1-1.