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Three Key Things: Oilers waste strong start with terrible third period, contract year Warren Foegele, and more

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baggedmilk
5 months ago
With a record of 1-3-1 and their best player on the shelf for the next week or two, the Oilers are dealing with more adversity than any of us would have ever expected in October, and things didn’t get any easier last night in Minnesota as the boys squared off in a building that has been anything but kind. Unfortunately, the kicks to the pills continued as the Oilers coughed up three separate leads on their way to a 7-4 loss. Shocking.

ANOTHER STRONG START WASTED

I know there are a lot of frustrating aspects of this season, but one of them has to be how the Oilers have had decent starts and wasted them with avoidable mistakes that wind up in the back of their net. Edmonton coughed up a two-goal lead on Saturday night against Winnipeg, which was only mildly more annoying than giving up two separate one-goal leads before the first period was finished. To make matters worse, the goals the Oilers gave up were utterly avoidable had they not been butter-soft to play against in their own zone. There were chances to clear the zone, chances to make a play, and more than enough reasons to believe they should have been able to get out of those situations, but instead, the Oilers found new and creative ways to get in their own way and they paid for it.

BOUCHARD GIVETH, BOUCHARD TAKETH AWAY

I’m not going to spend much time piling on the kid but it was hard to ignore Evan Bouchard’s struggles in last night’s hockey game. Outside of the assists and grabbing his second goal in as many games with a blast from the point that beat Gustavsson low on the blocker side, the bulk of his night was painful to watch. Clearly the guy is battling with his confidence because he’s handling the puck like a live grenade right now, and unfortunately, those mistakes are took often winding up in the back of the net. The bigger problem is that the Oilers can’t really shelter the guy as they should be because the right side of our defensive group is a glaring weakness on the depth chart. So, what’s the answer here? I wish I knew.
In 18:18 of TOI, Bouchard finished with three points (1G, 2A) to go along with three shots on goal and a -3 rating.

CONTRACT YEAR WARREN FOEGELE

Warren Foegele has been a wrecking ball through six games, and I loved seeing him finally get rewarded with his first goal of the season on a nifty shot from the circle that beat the goalie on the glove-hand side. It was an excellent play and a great result for McLovin. Of course, the Oilers coughed up that lead only 33 seconds later on a late one from Ryan Hartman, but I digress. The good news is that Foegele wasn’t finished with one, as he opened the second period with a laser beam snipe from the high slot that Gustavsson still hasn’t seen fly past him. I don’t know if signing Foegele to one-year extensions so that he’s always looking for a new deal and keeps playing like this is an option, but it might be a strategy worth exploring if we can swing it. We’ve gotta think outside the box here, people. Either way, Foegele was easily the Oilers’ best forward against the Wild.
Foegele finished with two goals, three shots, and a -3 rating in 13:38 of TOI.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

  • At least we got a third period goal?
  • Evander Kane has been taking a bunch of heat around here for a lack of production, but the big man came through with a Gordie Howe hat trick against the Wild. We know Kane wasn’t thrilled with hit low minutes based on his interview with Scott Oake, and I wanted to give him some credit for responding in a productive way after being bumped back up to the first line. No, I’m not saying he had the perfect night but I’ve gotta mention it when we’ve been begging for the guy to produce.
  • How about the penalty kill being significantly more effective than the power play again last night? The boys killed off 3-of-3 shorthanded situations while going 1-for-5 with the man advantage. And before you get at me about the power play scoring a goal, they were also a whisker away from giving up another shortie so let’s not pretend we’re firing on all cylinders. Who saw that coming?
  • How do I put this? Had it not been for Jack Campbell’s work in the second period — it was basically a shooting gallery from the slot — the Oilers would have been down and out long before the third period implosion. That’s not to say that Soup was perfect or anything close to it, but what I will absolutely say is that we’re all lucky Minnesota didn’t hit double digits on the scoreboard. Campbell finished the night with 24 saves and a .800 save%.
  • Ryan McLeod has only four shots on net through six games and that’s simply not good enough for a guy that we’ll need to chip in with some offence from time to time.
  • Same with you, Connor Brown. In four more games, the Oilers are going to get tagged with a $3.25 million cap hit for 2024-25 and to this point, that deferred payment is going to go over like a turd in the punch bowl.
  • Fan of the Corskis? You’ll be upset to know that the Oilers were outshot by a 31-28 margin.
  • Faceoffs? You wanna know about faceoffs? No problem, I’ve got you. The Oilers finished the night at 60% on the dot, which was one of the few bright spots to talk about.
  • Couldn’t help but wonder what kind of snacks Connor McDavid was eating during the game. Think he’s a chip guy? I bet he’s a chip guy. Maybe sour gummy worms.
  • As much as the start to this season sucks, there’s still plenty of time for the Oilers to turn things around. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be angry — Gord knows the Oilers are a maddening team to follow — but I don’t think it’s time for the panic button just yet.

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