The Oilers simply need to play smarter. They played decent for long stretches against the Flames, Canucks and Coyotes, but when they made a mistake it usually was a major gaff that resulted in a goal against.
Right now, the Oilers issues are more about a lack of focus and concentration than the system.
This is not simply a “systems” issue. I’m not making excuses for Eakins, yesterday I wrote about questionable coaching and management decisions, but last night’s loss was not because the Oilers can’t play the system, it was because they made too many egregious errors.
Let’s look at the goals they allowed last night…
The Coyotes have used that stretch pass before on the PP, so this likely was talked about in pre-game scouting, but even it wasn’t, there is no excuse for Petry to leave Boedker that wide open. That is not a system issue. That was a simple lack of awareness by a player who should know better. The other issue is that on the replay it sure didn’t look like there was a lot of chatter/warning coming from the bench. Petry should recognize that himself, but the bench should also help him out.
Scrivens needs to stay in the crease, make better decisions with the puck or have better communication with his teammates. That is the fourth time this year Scrivens has misplayed the puck and it resulted in a goal.
That is a shot your goalie has to stop. Scrivens’ reaction tells me he think he needs to make that save. I don’t see a significant system breakdown. They got the puck out of the zone, but Phoenix had an excellent transition game to get off a decent scoring opportunity, but for me, Scrivens needs to make that save.
Schultz has to protect the net better. That has to become a mantra of all the Oilers D-men. But I’m not sure what Purcell is doing on that shift. Skating around, but not going to any specific area or player. This is the one goal where they were running around in their own zone and making inefficient plays.
Simply a save your goalie has to make. I’m not sure what else you can ask your skaters to do on that rush. I didn’t see a glaring wrong read, or a system breakdown. If Scrivens makes that save, which he should have, that would be classified as a low-rate scoring chance on my chart.
Oilers were down two goals and Yakupov tried a fly by at the blueline. He took a swipe at the puck, but didn’t get it out. I’d hope in a one-goal game he stops and ensures he gets the puck out. It has to become a habit for the entire team, not just him. I think Yakupov has looked much more responsible defensively this year, but like many of his teammates he still needs to work on making the small, simple plays in the D-zone.
After that it was a bit of bad luck for Nurse, and overall I wouldn’t say there was a five-star error during this sequence, but Yakupov’s play highlights an issue with many of the forwards; they need to be more intense on the puck inside their own zone, especially when they are that close to getting the puck across the blueline.
The game was over, but the play by Schultz illustrates a bigger issue. Too often the Oilers don’t make the simple play. Get the puck deep, get the puck out at the blueline and be aware on the ice in all three zones.
Coaching has made some bad personnel decisions, and we’ve discussed those often, but when you have given up 22 goals in 4 games, the players have to look in the mirror. They need to play better, play harder, play smarter.
They should look at Taylor Hall.
Hall’s effort yesterday was outstanding. He has elite skill level, there is no debating that, but Hall plays with passion and a purpose. Sure, he makes some mistakes, but how many Oilers matched his passion last night?
They can’t match his skill, but they have to play as hard as him. If they do, this team will be more competitive, but if they don’t the ugly losses will continue to pile up.
You can’t simply blame the coach for all the failings of the Oilers.
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