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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Blame the Keepers?

The Oilers have now allowed six goals in back to back games and while fans are still willing to be patient with Mikko Koskinen they are completely done with Mike Smith. Koskinen will most certainly start against the Leafs on Saturday and this club will need a huge effort from the big Finn.

I know it’s easy to pile on the goaltenders when they combine for 12 goals against and a save percentage of .793 in the last two games but the team in front of them has suffered some catastrophic breakdowns.

Here are all 12 goals from the past two losses, let’s break them down.

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KOSKINEN VS CAROLINA

CAROLINA’s 1st Goal – Sebastian Aho

This was a beautiful play by the Hurricanes and it resulted in a tap in for Aho at the side of the net, Koskinen had no chance on this play. Nugent-Hopkins should have stuck with Aho but sometimes you just have to give the other team credit for making a nice play.

CAROLINA’S 2nd Goal – Nino Niederreiter (PPG)

This was a power-play goal but once again the entire penalty killing unit was watching the puck which allowed Niederreiter to have a wide open tip-in, yet again no chance for Koskinen.

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CAROLINA’S 3rd Goal – Ryan Dzingel (PPG)

The Oilers had this puck off the faceoff but gave it away before it came back to Dzingel. Archibald got in the shooting lane which may have caused some issues for Koskinen. Tippett mentioned after the game that he’d like to get this save from Koskinen but I don’t think I would describe this as weak. Two of the three goals Koskinen allowed against Ottawa were the definition of weak, this one was not. Would have been nice to see him stop it though.

CAROLINA’S 4th Goal – Jordan Martinook

A centering pass jumps past Khaira and onto the stick of Martinook. Koskinen had followed the puck well behind the net and as you can see, he gets up, takes a look over the crowd to reset and then has to deal with 4 or 5 bodies as Martinook fires it home blocker side. No chance.

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CAROLINA’S 5th Goal – Sebastian Aho (PPG)

Can’t blame Koskinen on this one either, the Oilers PK allows a pass right through the box followed immediately by an easy backdoor tap in.

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CAROLINA 6th Goal – Dougie Hamilton

No explanation needed on this goal, it was awful and likely won’t happen again this season. 100 percent Koskinen’s fault.

KOSKINEN SUMMARY

NO CHANCE / UNLIKELY SAVE: Four goals.
COULD HAVE HADE IT: One goal.
WEAK: One goal.

You can’t hang the Hurricanes loss on Koskinen.

SMITH VS MINNESOTA

MINNESOTA’S 1st Goal – Jordan Greenway

The Oilers looked like they were on the way out of the zone but turned it over. This was a shot from the point with some traffic right on the doorstep but with that being said Smith had a chance to glove the puck and couldn’t get the job done. I kind of want to classify this somewhere between one he should have had and weak.

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MINNESOTA’S 2nd Goal – Jason Zucker

Ethan Bear gets absolutely torched by Zucker who then puts a beautiful backhand upstairs. No chance for Smith.

MINNESOTA’S 3rd Goal – Marcus Foligno

An ill-advised pinch by Bear leaves the Oilers facing an odd-man situation. Foligno is allowed to have a clean look from just outside the hash marks. You would have liked Smith make a glove save here but I’m not blaming any goalie for a goal against from the slot unless it goes right through them, this one didn’t. If an Oiler scores this same goal at the other end of the ice, nobody is calling it weak or saying the goalie should have stopped it.

MINNESOTA’S 4th Goal – Ryan Donato

A turnover at the offensive blueline combined with an awful line change from Darnell Nurse led to a 2-on-1 the other way. Ryan Donato is allowed to walk in and fire from inside 15 feet and he beats Smith glove side. Point blank and once again it was a shot that squeaks through Smith, sometimes you have to credit to the shooter.

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MINNESOTA’S 5th Goal – ERIC STAAL

The Oilers lose a battle in the corner and the Wild manage to work the puck back up to the high slot. The first pass is stopped in the middle of the ice and Smith stops there to try and locate and as he resets a second pass is flipped over to Staal which leads to Smith being a split second late coming across. Staal is wide open for a one-timer three feet above the hash marks and by the time Smith gets there Klefbom is screening him anyway. The puck may have deflected off the tongue of Nygard’s skate as well but I can’t 100 percent tell if it did. I’ll say you’d like Smith to get there a bit earlier and stop this one.

MINNESOTA’S 6TH Goal – Luke Kunin

Smith plays the puck to Nurse in the corner and Darnell fans on an attempt to play it behind the net to Jones who was waiting on the other side. The Wild hop on the puck and feed Kunin who had beaten Jones back to the front the net. Kunin has a free one-timer from the slot, back of the net. That shot beats the majority of goaltenders in the NHL.

SMITH SUMMARY

NO CHANCE / UNLIKELY SAVE: Four goals.
COULD HAVE HADE IT: One goal.
WEAK: One goal.

The four goals I have down as unlikely saves were all point blank chances from the slot, it’s not the goalie’s fault his team allowing players wide open looks from the hash marks, but it sure would have helped if he came up big on one of them.

Koskinen needs to be a little bit better, Smith needs to be a lot better, and the 18 skaters in front of them also need to get their heads back in the game.

Previously by Dustin Nielson: