The Day After 2.0: Early season woes follow Edmonton Oilers home in 4-3 loss to Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
If you want to let your hair catch fire and lose your mind about game two of the regular season, by all means, go ahead.
After watching the Edmonton Oilers drop Saturday night’s home opener 4-3 to the Vancouver Canucks after getting walloped 8-1 only days prior, you’d have a right to.
But before you do, please take three deep breaths with me.
Inhale…. exhale.
Inhale…. exhale.
Inhale…. exhale.


It’s not to say you can’t have frustration over watching the Oilers rip 40 shots on goal, scoring three, yet still losing the game.
After he allowed four goals on 16 shots, Stuart Skinner said that some of that was in the air.
“I think theres a little bit of frustration. Obviously you want to start 2-0, not 0-2,” he said after the game, “but in my opinion, adversity nevers kills ya. I think it makes you a lot stronger.”
That doesn’t sound like somebody whose hair is on fire.
Somebody has to be feeling that way, no? It could be Zach Hyman, who notched one assist and fired four shots on goal, unable to beat Casey DeSmith.
“You lose two games in the middle of the season, and it’s not the end of the world. You lose two games here, and you’re getting all these questions about ‘how’s your defensive game?’,” he said. “Not ideal, obviously to lose the first two games, but there’s no panic here.”
Hmm. That doesn’t sound like someone whose hair is one fire, either.
Undoubtedly, the coach has to be losing his mind. Right? I mean, come on. The Oilers allowed another goal against on the penalty kill, and they couldn’t buy a goal when they needed it!
“I think the big thing for our team that I personally wanted to see was a response. There was a lot of good things in our game,” Jay Woodcroft said. “We’re not in the moral victory business, I know that, but I saw a response.
“I saw us way more competitive. We’re not there just yet, but I think any game you have 88 shot attempts, 41 on net, you earn seven power plays, you give up 16 shots on net, you expect to win those games. ”
I think nobody around this team has their hair on fire.
And rightly so. We are talking about a sample size accumulating to less than 2.5 percent of the regular season. If, as Hyman mentioned, these two games happen in the middle of January when it’s -30 degrees out, you had to work late, and now the plug-in for your car doesn’t want to work correctly, you’re not that concerned about dropping two games.
With the bright lights at the start of Cup or Bust season, the assumed reaction here would be to be overtly upset about what’s transpired to start this season. It is, after all, not pretty. Outscored 12-4, a penalty kill that’s allowed four goals against on nine attempts, a goaltending duo combining for a .750 save percentage, a lone goal at 5×5, and defencemen who can’t appear to defend. It’s not pretty.
So what’s next?
“For us to face (this adversity) early on, might be a really good thing for the long term,” Skinner said. “Just really depends on how we bounce back from this, and determines how we bounce back from any adversity we’re going to encounter moving on, because we are going to face adversity. We’re going to have games like this. I face 16 shots, let in four.
“It’s how you kind of respond to that. I know everybody in here, and we have a lot of grit and we know how to bounce back. We’re a helluva team, so I have nothing but trust for these guys.”
The Oilers will be able to do it Tuesday night against a foe they love to play: the Nashville Predators. Leon Draisaitl, who has scored 22 goals and 35 points in 23 games against them, and Connor McDavid, who has nine goals and 33 points in 10 of his own against Nashville, will undoubtedly look to lead the way.
They helped lead the charge last night and will continue to do so the rest of the way.

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@oilersnation.com.

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