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Oilers’ Coach Tippett Talks Defense, Goaltending, Ennis After Game 1

Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett spoke to media after an embarrassing 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett spoke to media after an embarrassing 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Clearly, Tippett wasn’t happy with the way the team played.

Edmonton went down early and the team was severely outplayed in the first two periods, letting the Blackhawks take an quick lead in a short five-game series. The Oilers tried to mount a comeback in the third and used their power play to get back in the game, but it was too little, too late.

According to notes by Reid Wilkins of 630 CHED, Tippett made the following comments:

Tippett said they worked on and talked about some things in practice today, but added “unless you bring it in a game, it’s all for naught.” Says several players weren’t up to par in game one and expects them to better tomorrrow.

Among the players Tippett pointed to, Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom took some of the heat. “Both of them need to be better,” he said. He added, “We rely on them for big minutes. Both of them were poor last night. We need to have them better.”

He’s got a good point as this is supposed to be Edmonton’s top pair and it will be interesting to see if he relies more on the pairing of Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear going forward.

Related: Game 1: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Goaltending Not the Issue

Goaltender Mike Smith was pulled during the second period after allowing five goals, but Tippett says the blame isn’t to be placed on Smith. Tippett notes it was the players in front of him that were the issue, adding that Smith made a couple of big saves early in the game before he coughed one up to Dylan Strome.

While Smith might have been considered the surprising starter in Game 1, and the expectation that he might go to Koskinen in Game 2, he did not reveal who would get the start tomorrow. He said the team will make that decision tonight.

Upate On Tyler Ennis

Tippett says that forward Tyler Ennis is fine after taking a high hit from Drake Caggiula. Caggiula did not get a penalty on the play, but was suspended by the NHL Player Safety Committee on Sunday. Caggiula will miss one game.

Ennis was a full participant at practice today after taking a check to the head yesterday.

Players like Connor McDavid and James Neal said the Oilers weren’t ready and Neal said the team just “tipped their toes in” to the way they should play. Unfortunately, if the Oilers don’t figure it out, Edmonton won’t have many more games to rebound. Going down 2-0 in a five-game series would make it so the Oilers would have to win three straight.

Next: Shesterkin At Practice Sunday, Latest on Rangers Goalie

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