In the aftermath of his team’s Game 5 loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, head coach Jay Woodcroft believes the pressure for the next game is on the opponent’s shoulders, even if it’s the Edmonton Oilers who face elimination.
“We know the pressure is on Vegas. They have to come to our amphitheater to eliminate us in Edmonton,” Woodcroft said after his morning press briefing.
“On our side, we keep the mentality of taking things one at a time. Right now we have to prevail on our ice rink and it’s a place where you feel comfortable. “
The Oilers’ performance in the 4-3 loss – marked by a brace from Connor McDavid – in no way worries the pilot of the Alberta team.
“There are things that we liked and there are certain aspects to improve. With a few adjustments, we will be in a good position tomorrow evening”, which clearly played the card of confidence in front of the journalists.
The return of defenseman Darnell Nurse to the lineup is one of the main reasons why Woodcroft looked relaxed. In Game 4, Nurse received a one-game suspension for initiating a fight with less than five minutes left in the game.
“He’s an emotional catalyst, he’s a jack of all trades on defense and he’s a great teammate,” Woodcroft said of his defender. He’s a player we missed yesterday, but we’re excited to have him back for Game 6.”
Woodcroft made more stingy comments when asked about the identity of his goalkeeper for the 6e duel. Stuart Skinner, who started every game for the Oilers in this series, was taken out of the game in 2e period in the team’s last two losses.
In relief, Jack Campbell stopped 19 of 20 shots aimed at him in the series against the Golden Knights.
The loss in Game 5, however, is not attributable to the performance of the goalkeepers, but rather to a lack of discipline. The two goals conceded in 29 seconds in numerical inferiority at the end of the second period tipped the game in favor of the Golden Knights.
“You can’t win two games in a row if you don’t win the first one. We have to focus on one thing at a time. Today, we have to rest and make sure we are in the right state of mind. Preparing for tomorrow starts today. On Sunday we will make some adjustments and we will let our players go because we have complete confidence in their ability to bounce back,” Woodcroft added.