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GENE'S BLOG: Night to Remember

In his latest blog, Gene Principe talks about the lessons learned from the Game 4 7-0 loss and motivation moving forward in the series with San Jose

by Gene Principe / Special to

To look at the title of this blog you must be wondering how early I woke up Wednesday morning to write it or how much I had to drink after game 4. I had nothing to drink. I woke up at 4am but lack of sleep isn't the reason I came up with 'Night to Remember'. Lack of brain cells maybe. But the reason I went with it was simple. Tuesday night was a 'Night to Remember' as motivation for Game 5, Game 6 and beyond for the Edmonton Oilers. Keeping it in the foreground for a few hours makes sense but never losing sight of it in the background could be a key in moving forward.

Let's get it out there. It was, as Craig MacTavish once said about a 10-2 loss to Buffalo, a debacle of monumental proportions. Alright, I said it. I wrote it because it was. One night gone bad. That's all it was. As the former high school honour student who doubles as captain of the Edmonton Oilers pointed out: "My math says the series is tied at 2. You don't get two wins for a 7-0 score."

That's right. It may have had two games worth of goals but I point to this as a case of being thrown to the wolves or the Sharks for one night. Not even Roy Scheider from the trilogy of 'Jaws' movies could have saved Edmonton from this defeat to San Jose.

You could almost see or feel this coming. Hard to believe a series with eight goals in three games would see seven in one game by one team. Let's not forget, while they limped into the playoffs, San Jose was the second-best team in hockey last season. That doesn't evaporate over night or over the course of one season. Just listening to Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton on Tuesday morning, you came away with the sense they had something to prove and they did. With an energized crowd leading the charge and an early goal, it was for one night simply too much for one team. It happens. It's over but not to be forgotten.

I'm not suggesting it's camp fire material over the summer or a topic of conversation to be shared while waiting to tee off before the next hole. I also don't believe it's an event to be cleared from your conscience forever. It can serve as a reminder and a motivator for the remainder of these playoffs. I can't help but think the Oilers are downright pissed off over Game 4. They know that's not their team. Not the one which nearly won the Pacific Division or the one that made a 33-point jump in the standings from last season to this one. They are better than what was on display April 18. Much better in fact and they get a chance to prove it only two days later.

Imagine how Connor McDavid will be wheeling in Game 5 or how focused Cam Talbot will be with eyes piercing through his mask or what Shark Milan Lucic will look to send into, and maybe through, the end boards. Game 5 will be a release of many emotions lingering from Game 4. A best of seven is now down to a best of three with home ice advantage. If SJ felt good about a split at Rogers Place there's no reason for Edmonton not to feel just as strong about their split at the SAP Center. A do over in life is a luxury after something has gone horribly wrong. Edmonton has the chance to return the favour and #OrangeCrush San Jose on Thursday night. Whether it's for a second, a minute or more, flashbacks will surface from the 7-0 loss. A 'Night to Remember' can't be completely blocked out nor should it be to make sure it never happens again.

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