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WIN OR ELSE FOR OIL KINGS

Thursday, 05.24.2012 / 1:46 PM / News
By Kevin Snow  - Sabres.com (@kwsnow)
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WIN OR ELSE FOR OIL KINGS

After a dominating run through the Western Hockey League playoffs, it’s now do or die tonight for Mark Pysyk and the Edmonton Oil Kings at the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec.

Edmonton will face the host Shawinigan Cataractes tonight in a tiebreaker game at 7 p.m. ET (NHL Network-US, Sportsnet-Canada). The winner will move on to face the Saint John Sea Dogs in Friday’s semi-final game. By virtue of a first-place finish, the Ontario Hockey League-champion London Knights have already earned a spot in Sunday’s championship game.

History isn’t exactly on either team’s side tonight. Only two teams in Memorial Cup history have advanced to the final game after playing in a tiebreaker: Victoriaville (2002) and Windsor (2009). However, that Windsor team (led by Adam Henrique and Taylor Hall) did go on to win the championship two games later.

Edmonton and Shawinigan both come into tonight’s contest with a 1-2 record after the round-robin portion of the tournament. The good news for Edmonton is that their only win was a 4-3 triumph over Shawinigan on opening night last Friday, thanks to a game-winning goal by Henrik Samuelsson late in the third period.

Edmonton head coach Derek Laxdal has been frustrated with his team’s performance through the first six days. The Oil Kings have scored a tournament-low seven goals in three games, while also allowing 12 – the most of the four teams. This is a far cry from the Edmonton team that scored 74 goals and allowed just 43 in their 20 playoff games.

“They’re not seeing the team that we are. Definitely not. 100 per cent,” Laxdal told reporters after a 4-1 loss to London on Tuesday night. “We’re playing like we’re waiting for an invitation to join the game. We’ve earned the right to be here and we’re not showing that. We’ve got to show what we did this regular season to get here. It’s not a mistake we’re here; we’re just playing like it is.”

It’s also been a tough week for Pysyk, who was a rock for the Oil Kings during their march to the WHL championship. Pysyk has collected just a pair of assists in three games, and was a minus-three in a 5-2 loss to Saint John on Monday. He also has eight penalty minutes in three games – after picking up just 16 PIMs in 20 WHL playoff games.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82