The Oilers have to find a way to win. The Arizona Coyotes, a team with no more talent or experience than the Oilers, just defeated the Ducks and Kings on consecutive nights. Both games were on the road.
The Oilers’ “difficult” schedule cannot be used as an excuse.
The Oilers need to play a strong defensive game. Once again they are near the bottom in the goals against category. The Oilers have allowed 47 goals, tied for 26th in the NHL, but they’ve allowed the third most 5×5 goals, 34, behind only Columbus, 38, and Calgary’s 46.
The majority of the game is played 5×5 and the Oilers are -10 in EV goal differential (27th in NHL), allowing 34 and scoring 24.
It is the same issue we’ve witnessed for years, and until this group becomes more efficient and competitive at EV they will remain near the bottom of the NHL standings.
The good news for the Oilers, and those of you brave enough to watch, is that the Ducks have not been productive at EV this season. They have scored the fewest EV goals in the league, 16, and they’re right behind the Oilers at -8 in EV goal differential.
The Ducks are playing better, however, going 4-0-1 in their last five games.
At some point the Oilers need to beat good teams if they want to improve, and excuses about a new coach, new system, new players or tough schedule are simply excuses. Other teams endure the same challenges, yet they find ways to improve.
It is time the Oilers do the same.
- When you watch the game tonight take a moment to thank the brave men and women who fought in World War I and II, and those who currently serve.Their bravery allows us to live in this great country with the freedom many citizens in other countries could only dream of. Lest we forget.
- Anton Lander and Mark Letestu need to produce. Both are playing with skilled players tonight and neither has an EV point this season. Very few teams would offer them the same opportunity. They need to take advantage of it and reward their coach and teammates.
- Andrej Sekera is starting to play well. The Oilers desperately need him to continue to improve and become a reliable defender every game. His play will help the Oilers, but most importantly, he will help mentor the development of Darnell Nurse and the other young D-men.
- Brandon Davidson hasn’t played poorly, I just think the organization wants to give Fayne an opportunity to play out his funk. I’ve heard rumblings the are Oilers looking to move a D-man when Justin Schultz returns, so having Fayne playing instead of sitting seems to jive with the trade talk. If he is playing he’d have more value.
- The Oilers need one of Anders Nilsson or Cam Talbot to grab the starting job and run with it. Talbot played well for his first few games, but he did not look comfortable in the last two. The team defence needs to improve, but the goalies need to do their job. If they are worried about the D-man not covering the far side forward, and cheating off their post, then they are adding to the problem.
Both of these goalies wanted an opportunity to be a starter and this is the best chance they will get. One of them needs to take advantage of it.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
It’s been eight days since first overall draft pick Connor McDavid left the Oilers 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers with a broken clavicle. After putting up five goals and seven assists in his first thirteen games, McDavid helped Edmonton average 2.77 goals per game over that stretch, while the team has managed just one and two goals in their losses to Pittsburgh and Chicago without him. Now with McDavid on the shelf indefinitely, it falls back on the rest of the core in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkinsand Nail Yakupov to keep the offense up.
Stop if you’ve heard this before, but there are goalie questions in Edmonton. First it was former-Ducks backup Viktor Fasth that was supposed to stabilize things between the pipes, then former-Los Angeles backup Ben Scrivens. Now it’s former Henrik Lundqvist-understudy Cam Talbot and former Islanders farmhand and starter with KHL side AK Bars Kazan last season in Anders Nilsson that have the net. The two have combined for a .899 save percentage while allowing an average of three goals against per game. While better play is needed, it doesn’t help that the Oilers defense is once again in the bottom third of the league for allowing shots, shot attempts, and high danger scoring chances.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: A low scoring affair sees the Oilers lose 3-2 in a SO.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Getzlaf scores his first goal of the season.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: During the first intermission the comment section becomes a heated debate over which team has a better orange jersey, the Ducks or Oilers. Which shade of orange looks better becomes a hot topic. Sadly, a heated fashion debate is a welcome reprieve for the diehards who are frustrated after watching the Oilers trail after 20 minutes.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Random Thoughts on Oilers, World Cup and More
- GDB 14.0: McDavidless
- New Line Combos
- Goaltending 101: What was Talbot thinking
- McDavid injury update
- GDB 13.0: Looking to bounce back
- McDavid: Exceeding Expectations