The Oilers dropped a key divisional game to Minnesota last night, this time by the score of 4-2.
It wasn’t so much the fact they lost to Minnesota, it was the high fashion in which they did so.
Where are we? This team has missed the playoffs every year after 2006. It’s now 2013.
But remember, this is a process. Yeah, okay, sell it somewhere else.
Where are we in this rebuild?
The answer is: I’m not sure.
Every third or fourth game, I’m blown out of the water by the riches that this team has. Ales Hemsky zips to the net and puts one in with acrobatic fashion, or Nail Yakupov wires a laser behind the opposing goalie, or Hall leads the train to the net…you get the idea. So on most nights, I’m encouraged by progress.
I wasn’t encouraged by much progress last night. The Edmonton Oilers went an entire period without gaining a shot on goal. That’s a third of the game, an entire 20 minute frame. That’s not encouraging in the least. At one time, they were outshot 35-8. That’s over a 400% margin (it’s actually 437.5%) that the team was outshot by. That’s a red flag. Two red flags.
If you haven’t already, I’m encouraging you to check out Michael Parkatti’s site Boys on the Bus which breaks game numbers down in a simple, easy to read way. To break it down super easy, the Oilers are getting outchanced on a more than regular basis. In 21 games this year, the Oilers have been the better team in just two of them. Yes, they have eight wins (thanks, 40+35), but they’re getting housed in the scoring chances department. Every game.
So, it won’t surprise you when you read the Oilers were again outchanced against the Wild, especially when the fourth line was on the ice. If your team is driving the game less than 10% of the time, you’re relying on your goaltenders to win the game. If the Oilers had average goaltending, I can’t imagine what this would look like.
The zero shots in the second period thing is going to stick in my craw for some time. That’s really bad, it’s not good at all. The Oilers even had a power play in the period, and still nothing got on net.
So in brighter times, Magnus Paajarvi gets on the first line, and he scores a goal. Crazy talk. He also does the dirty work in order to deliver the goods. THIS is grit, this is the “toughness” that this team needs. Not a marginal NHL guy on the fourth line that plays four minutes a night and plays the puck like a grenade on the end of his stick.
Pictures don’t lie. That’s Paajarvi taking a punch to the head to get the job done. Full marks. A+ on a night full of fart sounds.
NOTHING BUT NET
Sam Gagner got credit for Edmonton’s second goal, a goal that bounced off himself, Ryan Suter, and went behind Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Somehow this brought the Oilers to within one goal with seven minutes remaining. That’s as close as they’d get.
As this team gets ready for Tuesday night’s game versus Columbus (a team that outshot the Oilers 40-14 a few weeks back), think about throwing the puck on net a little more. With no shots in the second period of last night’s game, it can’t hurt.
- The loss in Minnesota puts the Oilers are 1-2-1 on the current nine game road trip.
- Did I mention about the ‘zero shots in the second period’ thing? Just checking.
- Sam Gagner’s pinball goal gives him his 20th point in 21 games.
- Can Taylor Hall come back to play on Tuesday? What about Horcoff?
Follow Oil On Whyte on the Twitters.
Jeff – @OilOnWhyte
Ian – @ibleedoil
Jonathan – @jonrmcleod
Troy – @heavyoilcountry
Dave – @rustyknuckler
Check out the Oilers Army!
Click Here to visit our NHL main page “Too Many Men” – Fansided’s Hockey Home on the Internets