The Day After 55.0: Edmonton Oilers continue to snooze out of All-Star break dropping 5-4 decision to Detroit Red Wings
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing9 months ago
If you’ve watched the Edmonton Oilers since the All-Star break, you’d be hard-pressed to tell they’re in the middle of the hunt for a division title and playoff spot.
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It’s not to say it’s been all bad, but they just went 2-1-2 through what should be one of the easier stretches of the season. They beat Detroit 5-2 a week ago, then meandered through a sloppy game against the Philadelphia Flyers as Stuart Skinner bailed them out in a shootout loss. Last Saturday against Ottawa, they looked as inspired as you could ask them to in a 6-3 win, but since then, the last two games haven’t been pretty.
The Oilers dropped an ugly 6-2 decision Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens. Stinkers happen, and boy did that one smell like the south side of a northbound donkey. But last night? Boy, did that one feel like it slipped through the cracks? Edmonton dropped a 5-4 decision in the shootout to the Red Wings. If you look at the scoresheet, there are things to like, for sure.
Edmonton outshot the visiting side 45-23. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Leon Draisaitl looked vintage from his office on the powerplay. A depth goal from Derek Ryan, and you could count the scoring up to a win. They also dominated the pace of play, too. At 5×5, the Oilers controlled 72.63 percent of the shot attempts. 74.36 percent of the scoring chances. 76.8 percent of the expected goals. 60 percent of the actual goals!
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And yet, the Oilers fell flat. They allowed Detroit to score on both of their powerplays. They’ve now given up goals on five of their last seven kills. Jack Campbell? Not a great performance at all. He allowed four goals on 23 shots with his .826 save percentage and overall reminiscent of the Campbell we saw at the start of the year. Big save in the third game aside, it was a night where the Oilers needed him to stand tall and instead he crumbled.
The goals against weren’t all scored during defensive clinics by the Oilers, either. Dylan Larkin’s opening goal on the penalty kill saw him stand unabated near the side of the net and jam one home. You hate to see Mortiz Seider’s goal scored, but not a ton you can do off a flukey bounce. Robby Fabbri’s powerplay goal was in thanks to a great screen by Brett Kulak. The dagger? Olli Maata’s blast from the point with under four minutes to go in the second. That’s one Campbell has to get in front of.
It felt like last night we saw the Oilers get a lot of chances, and they sure did. In fact, over the whole game at even-strength, the Oilers had 39, according to Natural Stat Trick, but they couldn’t find a way to keep themselves in the game. They spotted Detroit a 2-0 lead after the first period and the Oilers really did make a game of it with Draisaitl and Ryan scoring two minutes apart early in the third to tie it at 4, but they just couldn’t bear down to get that fifth.
They held onto pucks on 2-on-1s when they should’ve shot. They iced the puck when they should’ve held onto it. They lost draws they should’ve won. They gave up special teams’ goals. Death by a thousand cuts
Next up, a few tougher games for the Oilers. They take on the New York Rangers, who just won a 6-4 slugfest with the Canucks last night, and the Colorado Avalanche Saturday. Both games are very winnable for the Oilers and that’s how every game needs to be treated the rest of the way.
No nights off.
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 email@example.com.
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