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Three Key Things: Death, Taxes, and the Oilers breaking your heart

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baggedmilk
3 months ago
After coughing up two-goal leads in losses to the Lightning and Panthers, the Oilers were looking to pick up their first win of the road trip against an opponent in the Hurricanes that have not been very kind over the years. Unfortunately, last night’s game was another chapter of the same story as the Oilers dropped their third straight game by a 6-3 final score.

A DISASTER FROM THE JUMP

Listen, it’s not very often when an NHL game is over the before the first period is even 15 minutes old, but that’s exactly how it felt last night in Carolina. The Hurricanes had already built themselves a three-goal lead by the 11:23 mark of the opening frame, and the Oilers looked more likely to spontaneously combust than they were to find a way back into the hockey game. Whether it was missed assignments, mistakes, or shoddy goaltending, the list of reasons this game sucked was as long as it was ugly. Jab, hook, knock down… On the mat, the 10-count was coming. Even when Zach Hyman (x2) and Mattias Ekholm narrowed the gap to manageable distances, I think you’d be hard pressed to find an Oilers fan that felt any those goals would be truly meaningful. Down and out, it almost didn’t matter what happened between then and the buzzer. But how else are you supposed to feel when pretty much everything is going wrong at the same time? These are dark days, friends.

THEY TEASED US A LITTLE BIT, THOUGH

I know I just wrote a whole paragraph about how last night’s game was basically over before it started, but I also have to acknowledge the little tease they gave us with about 23 minutes left to play. Even though I wasn’t feeling overly inspired when Ekholm scored to make it a 5-2 game, I’d be lying if my curiosity wasn’t piqued when Zach Hyman made it 5-3 early in the third. When that goal went in, the boys were actually playing their best hockey of the night and gave us the type of effort that could have led to a comeback. Put another way, they played with the levels of urgency we’ve been dying for all season. For basically the first (or second) time all season, the Oilers outworked the Hurricanes throughout the final period and legitimately looked like they were going to make a game of it. Alas, twas only a tease. They got me again.

HOW CAN WE TRUST MANAGEMENT TO FIX THIS?

Given that the current management team is the one that put this team together and decided firing Jay Woodcroft was a good idea, why should we trust that they’ll be able to fix the disaster they’ve created? I know Jeff Jackson is new around here, but so far, from my side of the TV screen, we have yet to see a single reason why we should buy into whatever nonsense he and Ken Holland are selling. Let’s be honest, their first call of the year to fire Jay Woodcroft and replace him with Kris Knoblauch hasn’t exactly worked out so far, and I say that while 1000% feeling sorry for Knobby. It’s not his fault he was offered and accepted a dream job, but for the rest of us, the decision leading up to his announcement is suspect to say the least.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

  • I legitimately cannot believe the Oilers are 5-12-1. Unfathomable.
  • Zach Hyman picked up a pair of goals as he took over the team lead with his 8th and 9th of the year. Make that six goals in Hyman’s last six games.
  • Mattias Ekholm picked up his second goal and sixth point of the season after he made a smart read to follow the play up ice, putting himself in the perfect spot to tap home a rebound.
  • Stuart Skinner got the hook after four goals on 13 shots. There were some unlucky bounces in there for sure, but I’m not here to make excuses for anyone anymore. Skinner’s night finished after only 14:48, getting the hook after nine saves and a .667 SV%.
  • Despite coming into the game in a horrible spot, Calvin Pickard played very well in relief. I know the goal that did beat him was one he’d probably want back, but he was mostly fantastic in the 44:17 he ended up playing. Pickard finished with 13 saves and a .929 SV%.
  • How about Darnell Nurse taking a puck to the mush in warmup after a teammate’s shot hit the cross bar and bounced right back into his face. Of course, wearing a helmet would be an easy solution to this problem, but who am I to recommend common sense?
  • Diving into the special teams, the Oilers finished 1/4 on the power play while also killing off all five shorthanded situations they faced. It’s been a minute since they’ve had a special teams win, and I’m going to take it.
  • I’m not saying that more power plays would have mattered much, but I am absolutely saying that the refs were horrible from start to finish.
  • Love hearing about faceoffs? Of course you do. Unfortunately, the Oilers thankfully won 56.1% of the draws.
  • Looking at the Corski counter, the Oilers were outshot by 27-23 margin.
  • New episode of Better Lait Than Never came out before the game started.

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