From the Edmonton Journal:
The Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t just regain their mojo Wednesday night, they took over momentum in the Western Hockey League final series with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Winterhawks.
The clubs head back to Portland for Game 5 on Friday night tied 2-2, but with the high-octane Winterhawks not having scored a goal in 116 minutes and 30 seconds dating back to the 3:30 mark of the first period of Edmonton’s 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
This from a club that scored a WHL-high 338 regular-season goals.
The Oil Kings shut out Portland on Wednesday night for the first time since December 11, 2011, and beat them back-to-back for the first time since New Year’s Eve.
Oil Kings goalie Tristan Jarry, victimized for early first-period goals in the first three games of the series, was spotless on Wednesday night, supported by an outstanding defensive effort from his teammates, particularly team captain Griffin Reinhart.
“I take a lot of pride in my defensive game,” the six-foot-four, 215-pound Reinhart said. “I know if I’m going to have an impact at the next level, I’ve got to play like that.
My Take: This years Edmonton Oil Kings team reminds me of the New Jersey Devils in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, once they get a lead, they have a defensive system in place that just shuts the other opponent down and Reinhart is flourishing in that kind of defense-first system. Capuano’s system requires the defense to be more involved in the offensive zone, so there may have to be an adjustment period for Reinhart. However, considering the blown leads the Islanders sustained this past season, perhaps it would be if beneficial if Islanders head coach Jack Capuano tweaked his system a bit so that Reinhart could flourish in a shut down, defense-first role and with better goaltending the Isles could suffocate other teams when they have a lead. Reinhart, like many others needs to improve on his skating, but that will come with time.
Reinhart has the talent folks, make no mistake of that. He’s not benefitting from the system. The Oil Kings do not have a lot of offensive weapons, which is why everyone must contribute on a nightly basis. That is also why their goal totals are usually so low. Reinhart playing this long and deep into the playoffs is exactly why the Isles sent him down. Had he not gotten injured last season he would have played in last years WHL Championships and he may have made the team this year. But with another year under his belt, the longer he plays in this tournament, the better for the Isles and the fans, not to mention his confidence at the next level.