The Day After 5.0: Golden Knights make history while Oilers stumble out of the gate

Photo credit:Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
6 months ago
This has been far from the start the Edmonton Oilers were looking for.
After losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winners in the playoffs in back-to-back years, the goal for the Oilers this season was to put themselves in a better position to win in the spring. Put up the best record in the Western Conference and get home-ice advantage — a reasonable task for a veteran team with championship aspirations.
Through five games, the Oilers have three points. They’ve put up two terrible efforts and three solid efforts and both of the poor games resulted in losses while only one of the good games wound up as a win. Most recently, they got out to a 2-0 lead against the Jets but lost in overtime after Winnipeg tied the game with a shorthanded goal.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft is trying to keep things positive but he’s aware that the Oilers can’t afford to dig themselves too big of a hole early in the season.
“What’s more concerning was the areas of certain games that I didn’t feel were playing to a standard. I think that stuff kind of sorts itself out over time,” Woodcroft said. “In these first five games, we are 1-3-1. That’s not good enough to get us to where we want to get to, so that’s an opportunity for us to continue to work at our process and our game so that we can find ways to collect points, because collecting points in October is certainly just as important as collecting points later on in the season.
“I think there were positives in our game today. It’s easy to go to the negative, but we’ll try and take some of those positives and build off of it.”
While the Oilers have been struggling to find their footing early on, the defending Stanley Cup Champions look like they might never lose again. The Vegas Golden Knights picked up a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday and improved their record to 6-0-0, the best start to a season ever for a team coming off of a Stanley Cup.
There’s a lot of season left to be played but Vegas already has a nine-point lead on Edmonton in the standings. The Golden Knights were better than the Oilers in the spring and the gap appears to be wider at this moment. The Oilers are the team with something to prove and yet they’ve come out of the gates looking like they’re prepared to try to sleepwalk their way through the season.


Things worth mentioning…

  • What have the Oilers been missing so far? “Our killer Instinct,” Darnell Nurse said. “We had a good start to the game. It’s a 2-1 game for a good chunk of it. (You need) killer instinct. Try to find the next one. We can sit here and dwell, and dwell, and dwell. We need to put ourselves in positions where we have leads, and we need to trust that killer instinct.”
  • Evander Kane was moved to the third line alongside Connor Brown and Ryan McLeod and didn’t see much ice time in the first period because of two penalties to both the Oilers and Jets. After dropping the gloves in the second frame, Kane was interviewed during the intermission and said, “I didn’t play much in the first period, so I thought I might as well get into a fight and take seven or eight minutes in the box.”

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