Photo credit:© Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
The Day After 12.0: “That might be it”
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
Welcome to the basement.
Going up against the San Jose Sharks — the team who just won the first game of the season a week into November, the one that had allowed 10 goals against in back-to-back games last week — was supposed to be an automatic.
Not even a team with a 1-10-1 record was easy enough for the Edmonton Oilers, who found a new way to lose a hockey game in San Jose on Thursday. The talk all week had been about goaltending and how the Oilers couldn’t get a save but this loss came down to the team’s inability to get a shot past Mackenzie Blackwood and a few costly defensive errors.
Edmonton more than doubled San Jose in shots but the Sharks managed a 3-2 victory. The Oilers are now 2-9-1 on the season.
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
It’s impossible to come up with one single reason why the Oilers, a team picked by many to finally get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup this season, have fallen completely flat. Despite almost always outshooting their opponents, they can’t score and they can’t keep the puck out of the net. The slow start to the team’s season has snowballed into a complete disaster.
“It’s just the way it goes sometimes, it’s a tough league,” Leon Draisaitl said after the game. “Guys play you hard. Obviously, not too many guys in this locker room have confidence right now. I’m part of that group.”
Among the issues on Thursday was Edmonton’s power play not being able to convert on four chances. The team’s historically good results with the man advantage last season gave the Oilers a lot of room for error and they haven’t been cashing in at the same rate this year.
“It can only go up,” Draisaitl said. “We’re gripping the stick a little too tight in general. That tends to happen. Last year everything seemed to be going our way, this year, it’s obviously not going our way.”
For a team with aspirations like the Oilers apparently have this season, there isn’t any room for moral victories. Outshooting teams over and over but never being able to come out with a win is a serious problem rather than a reason to be optimistic things will eventually turn around.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft might wind up taking the fall for the team’s terrible start to the season, though it’s difficult to blame him for what’s gone wrong here. Woodcroft said after the game that he’s focused on taking things day by day.
“I worry about taking care of my daily business, my daily process, and making sure I give my players something to focus on, and concentrate on,” Woodcroft said. “No one is happy where we’re at. we all own it. We can be better and that’s where my focus is.”
The Oilers will wrap up their three-game road trip on Saturday when they face the Kraken in Seattle.
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