Matheson: Philip Broberg a revelation for Edmonton Oilers

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So Philip Broberg?

Pretty good, eh?

No kidding. If there was a beacon of light after the grey clouds of a 3-0 Game 1 loss to Florida Panthers Saturday, it was the strong play of the young Edmonton Oilers defenceman, who moved the puck with alacrity, often in traffic, and when there was no play, he skated it to safety.

He’s been a revelation since replacing Vincent Desharnais for Game 4 in the Dallas series in a move that seemed a Hail Mary.

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And he’s playing his off-side, a left-shot D, on the right. No easy chore.

“It feels like he’s played the whole playoffs and taken steps, but it’s only been four games and he’s been amazing,” said fellow Swede Mattias Ekholm.

“I’ve only been here and seen him for a handful of games, but I think the way he’s playing right now, I just see his confidence, him just grabbing the puck on the breakouts and just skating out of trouble,” he said.

“He’s amazing back there when he gets his feet moving. I think that he’s been a huge energy boost and a huge insert for us on the back end. I hope he keeps it going.”

In game 1 against the Panthers, Broberg played 17:55 minutes with partner Brett Kulak, which included 1:40 on the penalty-kill. He has the third most ice-time behind Evan Bouchard and Ekholm. Like, where has this been all season?

Maybe coach Kris Knoblauch shakes things up for Game 2 and moves Broberg up with, say, Darnell Nurse with Cody Ceci sliding into a partnership with Kulak.

“Throughout the playoffs we’ve been open to trying things and some have worked, some haven’t. For the defensive pairs in Game 2, we’re open to some experimenting but we haven’t decided anything yet,” said Knoblauch, who wasn’t unhappy with Desharnais’ work, he just wanted a different look, more of a skater.

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The nearly 18 minutes in the Stanley Cup final was the most he’s played in the post-season. He was 12:40, 13:14 and 14:21 against Dallas.

“Brobie’s been outstanding for us and we’ve put him in a lot of difficult situations. I look back to the Dallas game (fourth, down 2-1 in the series) where it was almost a must-win,” said Knoblauch.

“He’s gotten better and better and better. He’s a player we wanted in the lineup throughout the season but it didn’t work out because everything was going so well for our team and our six defencemen.”

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