Three Key Things: Wasting two-goal leads, the power(less) play, and Calvin Pickard’s Oilers debut
By baggedmilk3 months ago
After dropping a tough 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon, the Oilers were back in action against the Florida Panthers and looking to avoid another losing streak. Unfortunately, the Oilers coughed up another early two-goal lead, and allowed the Panthers to claw their way back into the game before eventually taking it over. The pain continues, my friends. Final Score: 5-3 Panthers.
ANOTHER TWO-GOAL LEAD WASTED
After starting out like a house on fire for the second straight game, the Oilers built themselves another two-goal lead in the first few minutes of the hockey game. Normally, you’d think that building a lead in the first half of the opening frame would be a good thing, but instead of building upon the hot start, the Oilers continue to find new and creative ways to shoot themselves in the foot. Whether it’s bad penalties or bad luck, it’s like every mistake Edmonton makes is sure to wind up in the back of their net, and I wonder if we need to consider some kind of exorcism to get rid of whatever demon is haunting us right now. I found a dude on Fiverr who will do “long-distance exorcisms” for only $281 CAD. Might be worth it.
THE POWER(LESS) PLAY
Of all the struggles the Oilers could ever face, I never would have expected the problem that the power play has become. Over the past few years, the Oilers’ PP was basically automatic, and anytime we needed a goal, there was a reasonable chance to expect that the boys would cash one in. This year, however, has been a completely different story. The Oilers have lacked the killer instinct when up by a man that we’ve seen in the past, and the lack of execution has contributed to the disaster we’re living in. I wish I had a solution for how to fix the problem, but I’m honestly so dumbfounded by the lack of success.
CALVIN PICKARD GETS THE START
If you had told me before the season started that the Oilers would be in a hole and Calvin Pickard would be starting games, I would have thought you were trying to mock me to my face. Yet, on November 20th, 2023, Pickard started his first NHL game in nearly two years and was tasked with giving the Oilers the kind of goaltending needed to get back in the win column. Not exactly an easy to-do given that the boys have struggled to maintain structure in their game. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Pickard could not stop the bleeding and bail his teammates out for all the mistakes in front of him. I know his stat will probably come under fire — Gord knows the numbers ain’t pretty — but I’d also suggest he did more to help against the Panthers than he did to hurt the team’s chances. Pickard finished the night with 26 saves and a .867 save%.
OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
- After getting blanked on the scoresheet against the Lightning, McDavid gave the Oilers the early lead with a goal from Leon’s office alongside the net with the kind of shot we’ve been waiting for all season. McDavid followed it up with a filthy penalty shot dangle in the second period after he was hauled down on a breakaway, giving the captain the opportunity to go go one-on-one with the goaltender. With four goals in his last four games, Connor McDavid is starting to play his best hockey of the season, and Gord knows we’ll need him if the Oilers are going to climb out of this hole.
- Can I give Leon Draisaitl a hug? He looks like he needs one. And don’t give me this, “the Oilers would be better off without him” narrative that I’ve been seeing on Twitter because anyone that truly believes that can’t actually be a fan of this hockey team.
- I know he’s got 13 points in 17 games, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins desperately needs a goal. He’s had some very good looks over the last week or so, and he’s only managed to pop a single marker.
- If the Oilers didn’t have bad luck they would have no luck at all, and there was no better example than Philip Broberg tripping over a stick and giving up a 2-on-1 rush against. Broberg was in the right spot defensively, but the Hockey Gords decided to throw a wrench in the mix with an errant stick that found its way between his feet.
- Kris Knoblauch benched Evander Kane at the end of the first period after he took two avoidable penalties within a span of four minutes. Despite grabbing the Oilers’ second goal of the game, Kane played under four minutes in the first period as the new guy set a tone of accountability that was refreshing the see.
- Sticking with Evander Kane, his hot streak continued with a goal in the first period to put the team up by a pair. Unfortunately, the penalties and 10-minute misconduct probably derailed what could have been a stellar night for Kane, but I guess it’s hard to complain much when he’s one of the few consistently filling the net.
- Looking at the special teams, the Oilers finished the night at 0/3 with the man advantage while the PK went 1/4 when down a man. Make it a second straight game in the state of Florida
- Love hearing about faceoffs? Of course you do. Unfortunately, the Oilers won only 42.3% of the draws.
- Looking at the shot clock, the Oilers were outshot by a 32-28 margin.
- Make it scraps in back-to-back games for Vincent Desharnais as he tried to spark his team with a fight near the midway point of the second period.
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