The season is on the line Friday afternoon for the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s a good test for our group. Backs against the wall, you have to go out and play well,” said head coach Dave Tippett.
“We’ve been very good in back-to-back games this year, so our goal is to go out, get that next game, then we’ll deal with the next one the next day.”
The Oilers trail the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in their best-of-five qualifying round series. They need to win Friday to force a series-deciding game on Saturday.
“We gotta win the the next game. We can’t worry about the day after,” said winger Alex Chiasson. “We’ve faced adversity all year. If there’s a group that can do it, it’s this group. I’ve been on a winning team. We have a lot of the same ingredients as two years ago when I was in Washington.”
Winger Tyler Ennis is out indefinitely after being injured on a check from Kirby Dach in the second period on Wednesday.
Ennis was helped off the ice and wasn’t putting weight on his right leg.
He had been playing on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto. With Ennis out, could Ryan Nugent-Hopkins move back in to reunite a trio that was deadly in the second half of the regular season?
“We talk about those things every day. We weigh all those options,” Tippett said. “You’re looking for flow, for rhythm in your lineup. You’re looking for people who give you the best advantage to win.”
The Oilers have given up 13 goals in three games, but Tippett doesn’t have too many complaints about the recent defensive play.
“The last two games we haven’t give up a ton of chances. You look at the four goals we gave up last night, three of them are deflections,” he said.
The Oilers had the lead with six minutes to go in Game 3, but gave up two goals to lose 4-3. Tippett said it’s just a couple of details that cost them the game.
“The two goals, we turned it over on the wall and didn’t get in a shooting lane. It’s an innocent-looking shot that gets deflected and finds its way in,” he said.
“The second one, we don’t take our centreman to the net. Didn’t get a chance to get in the lane on that one. The guy’s shooting it from a real bad angle and it goes off Bearsy’s stick and in.”
Defenceman Adam Larsson was unfit to play in Game 3. He was to be evaluated at Oilers practice on Thursday afternoon.
Catch Game 4 between the Oilers and Blackhawks on 630 CHED Friday afternoon. The Face-off Show at starts at 2 p.m. and the game starts at 4:45 p.m.