The young Edmonton Oilers are gearing up for the biggest game of their season Wednesday night.
In Anaheim, the Oilers will battle with the Ducks in a do-or-die Game 7. The winner will move on to play the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference finals, while the loser will see their season end.
With those kinds of stakes there will be immense pressure, but don’t worry yet Oilers fans, the team has impressed two Edmonton area sports psychologists. Both think they have what it takes to get the job done, citing their mental toughness as a big factor.
“Their resiliency has been fantastic,” said sports psychologist Nicolas Allen. “Being able to come back from some of those losses, and their ability to bounce back after a loss has actually been very impressive.”
Allen said ahead of the game the team will surely be dealing with butterflies, but as long as they are embracing the pressure and not letting it affect them negatively, they can come out on top.
Allen also stressed that keeping the focus on things within their control will be important in a game of this magnitude.
John Stevenson, a performance psychologist with Zone Performance Psychology, agrees.
“When they keep it to things that they can manage and things they can control there’s a lot less pressure put on themselves.”
“You just keep playing one game at a time,” he added. “You go and do your job and your assignment and your roles.”
Both Allen and Stevenson agree that the impact a veteran like Milan Lucic is going to be a big resource for the young team.
“Having someone this experienced who’s gone through those situations before can be incredibly valuable for a team, especially a young team like the Oilers,” Allen said.
Stevenson said having Lucic’s experience is invaluable.
The Oilers face the Ducks Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Listen to all the action live on 630 CHED, starting with the City Ford Face-Off Show at 6p.m. (BM)