PREVIEW: Oil Kings attempt to make history tonight in Game 5 at Rexall Place
/ Edmonton Oilers
PLAYOFFS-AT-A-GLANCE: The Edmonton Oil Kings are on the verge of their third straight Eastern Conference title as they lead the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-1 in the conference final heading into Game 5 tonight at Rexall Place. Edmonton has an 11-2 record in the 2014 playoffs, outscoring their opponents 54-24 along the way.
LAST GAME: Brett Pollock had two goals and an assist, Griffin Reinhart had two points and Tristan Jarry had 22 saves as the Oil Kings won 4-1 in Medicine Hat on Wednesday. Luke Bertolucci had the other Oil Kings goal as Edmonton outshot Medicine Hat 30-23.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Edmonton’s power play is fifth in the WHL this postseason, converting 21.7 percent of its chances. Edmonton’s penalty kill is third in the playoffs at 84.4 percent.
THIS SEASON VS. MEDICINE HAT: Edmonton carried the play between the two teams this season, winning five of six games and taking 11 of 12 possible points with a 5-0-1-0 record against the Tigers. Henrik Samuelsson led all scorers with eight points in five games played, while Tristan Jarry posted a 1.99 goals-against average and .937 save percentage over six games as the Oil Kings outscored the Tigers 22-12 in the season series.
7 DAYS OF GLORY: Curtis Lazar was named the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week after posting three goals, one assist and two first-star performances in two games. Lazar is the first Oil King to win the award this season. Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry was nominated by the WHL for the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award after posting two wins and a .938 save percentage in two games.
CENTRAL SCOUTING: Five members of the Oil Kings organization were ranked in the final NHL Central Scouting 2014 draft rankings. Brett Pollock (34), Dysin Mayo (82), Aaron Irving (90) and Edgars Kulda (145) cracked the North American skater rankings, while Oil Kings prospect Alec Dillon was 13th among goalies in North America.
CLOSING TIME: Since 2011-12, the Oil Kings are 9-4 in games in which they have a chance to finish a playoff series. The Oil Kings have yet to lose at home in these playoffs, posting a 7-0 record, and they are 22-6 at Rexall Place over the last three postseasons. A win tonight would make the Oil Kings just the eighth team in WHL history to play in three straight league finals.
FIRST TIMERS: Seven different Oil Kings have made their postseason debuts this season. Brandon Ralph, Mads Eller, Tyler Robertson, Ben Carroll, Aaron Irving, Lane Bauer and Brett Pollock all saw their first playoff action in the WHL. Eller, Robertson, Pollock, Riley Kieser and Brandon Baddock have all scored their first career playoff goals this season.
UP NEXT: If necessary, the series will return to Medicine Hat for Game 6 on Monday.