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Instant Reaction: Edmonton Oilers blow two-goal lead, fall 5-3 to Senators

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
24 days ago
An all too common theme for the Edmonton Oilers rang true again on Sunday night as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators.
Say what you will about the awful officiating calling phantom calls amid questionable ones, this was another game where the Oilers were unable to seize the moment. Some of that might come from the fact that the Oilers hit a huge high in the second period when Zach Hyman scored his 50th goal of the season, but as soon as that moment ended, the team seemed to think they could coast to victory.
Mind you, Adam Henrique had kicked things off in the right way for Edmonton scoring the opening goal 3:49 into the game, and even with Jakob Chychrun tying it back up two minutes later on the power play, the Oilers had little issue in the way of dominating the pace of play. While Leon Draisaitl and Hyman would add back power play markers before the second period was four minutes old, Ottawa never left the game and goals from Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson would tie it up at three by the end of the second frame.
And with a hair over three minutes left in the third and Mattias Ekholm in the box for holding, Chychrun would score again to break the tie, moments before Parker Kelly’s empty net goal sealed the Oilers’ fate.
They weathered the Oilers’ storm, making the most of the bad penalties called against the Oilers to score goals on three of their power play opportunities. You can complain as much as you want about those calls with validity, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Oilers need to kill them off. Their penalty kill was nowhere close to what was needed against a Senators club whose power play ranks 26th in the entire NHL. It didn’t help that they seemed to have the book on Calvin Pickard, shooting high and scoring three of four against him upstairs.
The Oilers made the most of their power plays, too, scoring on two of three chances, but it was too little too late. And despite peppering Joonas Korpisalo with 31 shots through the first two periods, they somehow only mustered up five shots on goal in the third period, missing on far too many.
In this morning’s The Day After, I opined that the Oilers can’t rely on their ability to come in third periods anymore. 24 hours after sitting through a slog of a game in which the Oilers couldn’t put themselves in the right positions, those same issues were present again.
Arguably his worst individual performance of the year, too much of the blame can’t be placed at Calvin Pickard’s feet. After all, in his two games prior to this since the NHL Trade Deadline, he went 2-0 with a .970 save percentage, allowing just two goals against on 66 shots faced. Nights like these will happen for netminders, where the wheels seem to fall off the tracks, but a larger look at his body of work shows he’s continuing to play well, and be more than capable of holding the backup spot.
The Oilers need to find a way to shake these two games off, as their three-game road trip ends on Tuesday night when they pay visit to the Winnipeg Jets — one of the league’s best teams, but one who is 5-5 in their last 10, and on a three-game losing streak in which they’ve dropped games to the Devils, Islanders and Captials, getting outscored 13-4.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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