Over the course of these 2014 WHL playoffs, Oil Kings centre Curtis Lazar has traditionally played his best games in the opening contest of each series. In game ones this post-season, Lazar has seven points (2-5-7) in four games. This series has started off slow offensively for Lazar however, with him not recording a point until last night’s crucial game three win over Portland.
As the “heartbeat of the team,” according to his head coach, Lazar is an important piece for Edmonton as they look to knock off Portland. Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal said last night after the win that Lazar is starting to look like himself.
“I had a chat with Curtis this morning and we just talked about his first two games,” Laxdal said last night. “When Curtis is playing well what does he do? Smiles. I said, get that smile back in your game. I thought he got that smile back tonight and with that comes the energy in Curtis’ game.”
Lazar says he’s feeling more comfortable.
“I’m gripping my stick a little less tight,” he said. “I’m just enjoying myself out there. It was a big game for us last night but also for myself, for my confidence standpoint. I was really happy with my play, I’m contributing in all ways and I’m looking to build off my performance last night.”
In a series like the final where it could wind up being a long and tough battle, having Lazar build momentum the deeper it goes could be huge for the Oil Kings. That doesn’t necessarily only mean point production for the centre.
“Momentum,” Lazar said. “It’s a scary thing in the playoffs and if I can continue to improve each and every game it’s going to really benefit our team. I key in on those little details and the statistics, the goals and assists are good and all but the blocked shots, the face offs and all other things too, I’m really keeping an eye on those stats as well.”