Welcome to the day after where we dive into what’s happening with the Oilers the day after a game. Here’s last night’s post-game article. 
Last night the Montreal Canadiens gave the Edmonton Oilers the gift of seven power-play chances with some sloppy penalties.
The Oilers gifted Canadiens back by not only not scoring on a single chance but by giving the down-a-man Habs a 2-on-1 chance they converted in the third period to put the game away.
The Oilers power-play just isn’t right. They’ve had a total of 18 power-play chances through the first four games of the season including an outrageous seven chances last night.
They’ve scored just twice and last night, the unit’s issues were on full display. Disorganized, unable to muster much on net, and that shorthanded goal was flat-out terrible. To cap it all off, with Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear watching from above, for some ungodly reason Kris Russell spent five minutes of power-play time on the ice. I’ve mentioned the woes of the power-play in some other day afters, but last night’s brutal showing earned a piece of its own.
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It was clear that there were going to be some growing pains having Tyson Barrie working the point this year and it’s apparent how much the Oilers miss Klefbom running the point. There’s the level of familiarity Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have with Klefbom and it’s clear that’s missed early on.
Alex Chiasson has also struggled down low in the net-front presence. I mentioned it on Twitter the other night, but I’d really like to see Jesse Puljujarvi get a longer look there. He’s playing very engaged hockey and is showing he’s not afraid to get to the dirty areas. Plus some potential power-play points could do wonders for his confidence.
I’m not totally surprised to see some problems here, however. There’s a sizable shift in having a right-shot, and smaller defenceman in Barrie out on the ice vs. a bigger, left-shot guy in Klefbom.
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Nonetheless, the Oilers lost last night because they weren’t able to capitalize on the mistakes the Habs made. Good teams do that and it’s clear the Oilers are not a good team right now. “We have to shoot the puck more,” said head coach Dave Tippett of the power-play after the game. “We had some chances but you have to burry those chances. Montreal’s doing a good job in front of their net. you’ve got to pay the price to score.”
Edmonton chose to sit Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear last night in favour of William Lagesson and Russell and it was clear the Oilers missed them. The former two both can move the puck well and with ease and while I understand there are some growing pains for young players but I think it was far too soon in the season to be having them sit.
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Doubly so considering Edmonton put a “fresh face” in Russell out to work the point with the man advantage. Either Jones or Bear could’ve done better there.
Whatever happened last night, Edmonton will have a chance to fix this. Tomorrow night they head to Toronto and take on the Maple Leafs — a team that has given up 17 chances and have allowed a whopping seven goals there, the second-most in the league.

Backhanders…

  • How great has Jack Michaels and Harnaryan Singh been on the play-by-play broadcasts? I’ve been a big fan of Michaels going back to when I was working through school listening to Oilers games on 630 Ched. He calls a great game and I’m really happy to hear him calling Oilers games on the TV. I’ve thought Singh has been equally as good, too. He’s been a breath of fresh air.
  • Some brutal reffing last night. McDavid was dinged for a hook? a hold? I don’t know what it was but he committed no infraction. The refs called a total of 12 penalties last night so no surprise, I suppose.
  • Off to Toronto now. They beat Winnipeg 3-1 and have three of the top goal scorers through four games: Mitch Marner (3g-3a), John Tavares (3g-3a) and William Nylander (4g-2a). They also scored the most goals as a team with 14. Edmonton has its work cut out for them.
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 protected]