The Day After 4.0: “We all have another level to get to,” Connor McDavid following frustrating loss
Photo credit:© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
The Philadelphia Flyers played their style of game on Thursday evening and the Oilers weren’t up for the task.
Not a highly-skilled team by any stretch, the John Tortorella-led Flyers had their motors on and made life difficult for the Oilers, winning races to puck battles, finishing checks, and playing tight in the defensive zone.
Joel Farabee opened the scoring for the Flyers in the first period and Cam Atkinson gave them a 2-0 lead early in the second. Zach Hyman put the Oilers on the board later in the second frame but a short-handed goal from Sean Walker zapped all of their momentum. Atkinson added an insurance goal in the third and the Oilers showed little fight.
Edmonton is now 1-3 on the season. They had a horrible loss in their first game on the road against the Vancouver Canucks, they bounced back with a strong performance at home against those same Canucks but couldn’t score, and they earned their first win of the campaign with a 6-1 spanking of the Nashville Predators. Against the Flyers, the Oilers simply got outworked by a team they should beat.
Two good efforts and two bad efforts, one successful result and three poor results. What needs to change for the Oilers, a team said by many to be a real Stanley Cup contender, to look the part consistently?
“I think we all have another level to get to and we haven’t been there yet this season,” captain Connor McDavid said after the game in Philadelphia. “Lucky for us, it’s only been four games. But with that being said, it’s been four games. It’s time to put our best foot forward and start winning some games.
While McDavid recognizes that the Oilers haven’t played to their potential with consistency yet this season, he doesn’t believe that work ethic is a weakness on the team.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a questionable work ethic in our room,” McDavid said. “That’s something that we don’t taker lightly and nobody around the league takes lightly. By no means do I think we’ve ever sat back and said, ‘Oh well, we’re skilled, we’ll win.’It always takes work, it’s hard to win in this league. It takes everybody and everything you’ve got.”
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
Head coach Jay Woodcroft agreed with the team’s captain about the Oilers knowing what it takes to win hockey games. Based on their experience in the playoffs over the past few seasons, this is a group that knows you can’t just get by on skill alone.
“I think we’re past that point,” Woodcroft said. “I think at our life stage of our team, we should know better. We’ve been in a lot of playoff wars. We’ve gone through some adversity here over time that isn’t always fun to go through, and we know we have a recipe or a standard that we need to play towards and we’re falling short. We’re falling short right now. We have to better and we have to show it.”
The Oilers came home after playing in Philadelphia and will head to Winnipeg on Saturday to play the Jets, another team off to a disappointing 1-3 start. Winnipeg’s most recent loss came at home to the Vegas Golden Knights, who are showing no signs of a Stanley Cup hangover. They’re 5-0 on the season with a goal differential of 20-to-8.
What happens in October won’t define what happens the rest of the way but the Oilers can’t afford to dig themselves a hole early in the season if they want to win the Pacific Division or have home-ice advantage through the playoffs. Vegas’ eight-point lead in the standings will only continue to grow if the Oilers don’t stop playing like it’s the pre-season.
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