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BLOG: McLellan, McDavid on tightening up on defence

Todd McLellan and Connor McDavid talked on Monday about keeping the defence tight

by Marc Ciampa /

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan was asked on Monday after practice how the team has grown since he started. 

"I think it was pretty obvious it was something that needed to happen," McLellan began. "When you threw the numbers at the group two years ago when we started, Edmonton had a reputation of play real fast, get on offence and see what happens. That doesn't win at this time of year, I think we're proving that right now.

"We came up with a bit of a formula for success and slowly implemented it, slowly pounded it away and chipped at it."

That hard work has paid off, particularly in the results in this postseason as the Oilers have won each of their last two games despite scoring only three goals total in those contests. 

Oilers captain Connor McDavid said that was how teams need to play in order to have success in the playoffs. 

"We're two offensive teams where if you let it open up, we're going to find a way to score. It's gotta be tight checking. That's the way it is in the playoffs." McDavid said. 

"That's how you're going to win the games and how you're going to win the championship. It's how everyone has to buy in. Sure it'd be better if these games ended 7-6, fans would love it but that's a coach's nightmare."

McLellan was quick to point out that while the team has made great strides, they still have some work to do in order to get where they need to go. And games are only going to get tighter. 

"We're still doing it. We're not there yet. We've got a lot of work to do. But they're experiencing playoff hockey right now and it's tight checking. Every shift is of the utmost importance. You can't overextend. You manage situations much more intently than you do during the regular season. To this point, we've done an adequate job but it's going to get tougher as we go on and that's what we're learning."

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