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Oilers streaking wrong way with third straight loss, and a chat about Stuart Skinner’s struggles

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baggedmilk
4 months ago
Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild marked the first time the Oilers had lost consecutive games since December. Last night, the Oilers were either going to snap the skid with a Battle of Alberta win or find themselves on their fourth three+ game slide of the season. Unfortunately, we all know how that went. Final score: 6-3 Flames.

OILERS ARE STREAKING THE WRONG WAY

For the fourth time this season, the Edmonton Oilers are on a losing streak of three or more games. After a solid but fruitless effort against the Minnesota Wild on Friday, the boys looked like they didn’t have much gas left in the tank. I know it was their third game in four nights, but I can’t be the only one who thought a date with the Flames would bring out the best on our side.
Instead, we got an uneven effort that saw the Oilers give up a trio of goals in the first 15:53 of the game and basically put themselves out of the running for two points before the game was a period old. As much as it was fun to watch Zach Hyman do his best to drag the Oilers back into the fight, the closest they would get was a 3-2 score that lasted barely seven minutes.
As much as it’s fun to talk about the games the Oilers have in hand over the Golden Knights and Canucks, they’re nothing more than a talking point if Edmonton can start winning some of them. Yet, winning has been a struggle since the calendar flipped to February, as mistakes, bad habits, and inconsistencies are sinking Edmonton’s ship.

WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT STUART SKINNER

I’m starting this off by saying I fully believe in Stuart Skinner, but this six-game run is making me nervous. Not that I think he’s going to be sub .900 forever, but last night’s start against the Flames marks the sixth consecutive game when that’s happened. Objectively, that’s not good enough.
I know every goalie has their ups and downs over the course of a season, but Stu’s highs and lows have swung pretty wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other, almost on a month-to-month basis I don’t know if it’s a confidence thing or a workload issue — I’m obviously not around the team — but it’s been tough to watch him battle the puck after looking unbeatable only a few shorts weeks before.
Tagged for five goals on 30 shots, there’s not much to say apart from the obvious: Stuart Skinner needs to be way better than this. Now, to be fair, it’s not like all five goals were on him — how many giveaways did the Oilers have that resulted in strong scoring chances in front of him — but Stu certainly didn’t do himself any favours with a couple of goals that I’m sure even he’d say were questionable.
Given how tight as the Pacific Division is right now, an extended losing streak is the last thing the Oilers need right now and a big part of preventing that from happening lies with Stuart Skinner. The bad news is that it’s tough to win when nearly 20 per cent of the shots are going in. I think we can all agree that solving the issue starts with the team defending better, but Skinner also has to do his part and make a few more saves.

ANOTHER FREE PERIOD FROM EDMONTON

What can you say about the Oilers’ first period other than it was basically a freebie for the Flames to do as they pleased. Edmonton had next to no jump through the first 20 minutes outside of a shift or two here and there, and they coupled that lack of legs with giveaways and poor execution. Needless to say, it was a recipe for a putrid gumbo of sadness.
It was one of those periods where you just had to hope it would end without any further damage happening, but there were Calgary scoring chances at almost every turn. The worst part about it was that the Oil were almost lucky that Calgary was “only” able to score three because it honestly could have been worse than that. Gord knows they had the chances to get more than three.
What I don’t understand is why this keeps happening for 1/3 of every game the Oilers play lately. How this team went from one that couldn’t lose if they tried to one that basically gifts the opposition a head start every night is beyond me, but it’s wild to see them battle consistency like this. Even though I absolutely believe that this is a temporary hiccup that the boys will sort out, but putting together a full 60 is a real struggle right now.
Then again, it’s not like the Oilers’ fortunes improved much as the game went along. Outside of the tinge of excitement that came with the Hyman-led comeback, there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about from an Oilers perspective apart from cheering for violence. Had it not been for the spiciness that spilt out on the ice as the game wore on, it was an otherwise lopsided loss to a provincial rival, and that’s not the way any of us wanted to spend our Saturday.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

-As he’s done all season long, Zach Hyman continues to produce goals in his third season with the Oilers. Now with a career-high 37 goals in 54 games, no one would have ever predicted that Hyman would keep besting himself year over year the way he has, but I don’t think I could have ever imagined him being a better fit than he is now. At the time of the signing, I was nervous about commiting to a guy whose career high (at that time) was only 41 points. He’s going to have more goals than that this year, and that’s a wild gift to have given how so many free agent signings have gone around here before he got to town.
-How about the fight that Mattias Janmark had with Blake Coleman midway through the second period? Frankly, I never expected anything like that from Janmark but he dusted Coleman off with a flurry of rights that had him leaking blood when all was said and done. Not done with the fight, Janmark picked up his third goal
The NHL recap claims that the Oilers had 15 turnovers but there’s no way that number is right. If anything, I’d probably double it at least.
-Going with the empty net with 7:39 left on the clock was a bold choice by Knobby. Not one I would have made, but my opinion really doesn’t matter. With the Flames up by three goals at that point, it just seemed obvious that they wouldn’t care much about icing the puck for an empty-netter. I get that you need three goals to tie, but I just thought the gap was too wide for Calgary to care much about icing the puck.
-A faceoff won is possession earned, and you know how much I love it when the Oilers win more than they lose. Against the Flames, the Oilers won 50% of them but I can’t even pretend to be excited about it.

THE BRUNCH FOR BEN

Oilersnation invites you to the most magical event this season – The second Annual Brunch for Ben on Saturday March 2, 2024! This special event welcomes attendees of all ages to enjoy an afternoon of fun and excitement at Greta Bar YEG, where you can take part in an endless amount of arcade games, family friendly activities and, of course, cheering on Edmonton as they take on Seattle. Join us on March 2nd for a memorable experience where every ticket purchased contributes to making a positive impact on the Ben Stelter Foundation. Get your tickets now at nationgear.ca!

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