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A Lethal Combination

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Robin Brownlee
7 months ago
The combination of bad plays, bad decisions and bad luck almost always makes for bad outcomes. It’s not exactly rocket science, is it? The Edmonton Oilers proved that yet again in a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars Thursday. Why would they expect anything different?
On a night when Sam Gagner was easily the best Oiler on the ice with two goals to put an exclamation mark on the beginning of his third stint in Edmonton, Evander Kane, who wasn’t far behind Sam in terms of performance, characterized this latest loss as the product of too many “boo-boos.” Sure.
The Oilers now face the Nashville Predators in a Saturday matinee at 2-6-1. They were 6-3-0 after nine games a year ago. They’re not remotely close to that in the standings or on the ice right now, and last night against a Dallas team with back-up Scott Wedgewood in net was another stark example of that.

TRIPLE TROUBLE

Bad plays? Philip Broberg’s flubbed dump-in made worse by the timing of Dylan Holloway going to the bench for a change on the 2-1 goal by Joe Pavelski tops my list, but there’s more to choose from than that.
Bad decisions? Lots of those, but Cody Ceci’s ill-timed pinch on the 1-0 goal by Matt Duchene is probably the most obvious. And why, coach, was Gagner standing at the bench instead of on the ice with Stuart Skinner pulled at the end of regulation?
Bad luck? Evan Bouchard rattling three slappers off the pipe with the man-advantage would qualify as that during a game the power play could have made a difference but instead went 0-for-4. That’s not to dismiss the result as simply bad luck, but it was a factor.

BIG GUNS SILENT

Nov 2, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner (89) celebrates a goal with teammates during the third period against the Dallas Stars at Rogers Place.
When you add up all the above up and factor in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both being held pointless, the Oilers were lucky to finish up being down by just one after Gagner’s two goals in the final 10 minutes.
McDavid, who missed two games with an injury before coming back for the Heritage Classic, played 25:35 but he doesn’t look right to me. Something is off. Draisaitl didn’t get anything done either, but I’m not hanging this on them. Simply put, outside Gagner and Kane, the Oilers had to be better at figuring out Wedgewood. Having even one clue about keeping the puck out of their own net wouldn’t hurt either.
“I feel like a couple of mistakes get magnified and end up in your net,” Gagner said. “I thought for the most part we drove play. It’s just a matter of having that intensity throughout the game to bear down on certain things to happen, so I think there’s a lot to like too, a lot to build off of, and we just got to keep pushing forward.”
“We just made too many boo-boos tonight yet again,” Kane said. “You look at three of their goals and they’re off the rush. They’re odd-man rushes and they end up in the back of our net. Every time we get some pucks to the net in the third period, we score some goals, but we can’t expect to score four or five goals every night to win. It’s just not realistic.”

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