The Edmonton Oilers Are Pretty Tough to Read Right Now


It is still premature to be making bold statements about the well being of the Edmonton Oilers, however Saturday’s Halloween bash against the Calgary Flames came with no shortage of controversial play and questionable circumstances. One can say that this recent battle of Alberta is the epitome of the same old story with the same old outcome. A typical scenario of the Flames scoring garbage goals and the Oilers inability play a game from start to finish.

In all honesty, the Oilers should have won that game on Saturday night. Benoit Pouliot’s disallowed goal in the second period certainly impacted the final outcome of the game. Although the refs made a terrible call on the disallowed goal, they still gave the Oilers a handful of power play opportunities. Momentum was clearly on Edmontons side and they were dangerously attacking Calgary with key offensive opportunities in the second half of the game.

Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Taylor Hall were easily the Oilers best players. They were the driving force behind the comeback from the 3-1 deficit and combined for 8 points on the night. Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson had exceptional games and played well over 20 minutes. They handled the large workload well. Davidson’s howitzer goal from the point on the power play was a defining moment in the game that sparked the Oilers momentum swing.

With that being said, the Oilers continue to make the same mistakes on the ice. The defence cannot seem to make a proper pass and the turnovers they cough up on a game to game basis is astronomical. I notice that the defence are having major issues covering their man in the defensive zone. Too many times I’ve seen an opposing player wide open in the slot. There is always a massive gap that the D refuse to recognize when teams come in for an offensive rush. Closing those gaps is key as it will eliminate scoring chances and make opposing players ineffective on the offensive rush. Sadly, many goals have been given up by the Oilers as a result of the failure to correct this issue. The D is simply not good enough.

It is more important than some people may think to be the team that scores the first goal of the game. The Oilers give up the first goal quite often. When that happens, the momentum shifts and it becomes very difficult to regain composure after going down early in the game. It is imperative to score the first goal because it sets a team up for success in the game and provides an edge. The old saying goes, “The team that scores first is the team that wins the game”. The games are usually close 1 goal games for the majority of the contest. But the Oilers have to find a way to get the job done at the most crucial times. They have to stop putting themselves in situations where they are forced to scramble as a result of being down by a few goals.

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Another issue that most people have right now is the performance of Cam Talbot. So far this season, he has a 0.897 save percentage and 2.88 goals against average in 10 games. By no means are those numbers outstanding and we know he is public enemy number 1 after the game against the Flames on Saturday. But before we completely right this guy off and demand that he be traded, let’s take the time to realize that he has actually been decent for the Oilers up until this point.

Everyone makes mistakes and clearly Talbot made a significant mistake when he let in a softy with 8 seconds left in the game. Saturday against the Flames just wasn’t his night. Believe me he is a good goaltender. Oilers management has taken the time to scout and identify Talbot before they acquired him from the New York Rangers. Peter Chiarelli knows what he has in Talbot. There is no need to panic as the season is still quite young and Talbot’s sample size is not nearly large enough to give a full assessment. Having said that, if Talbot makes a habit out of the performance he had against the Flames and he keeps letting in soft goals, then we might have a problem.

It seems as though there is always someone on the Oilers roster that is not doing there job. In order for a team to win games, everyone must realize what they have to do as players and contribute to the best of their ability. If it’s not this its that. And if it’s not that it’s this. It never ends. The Oilers need EVERYONE, not just a few players, to do their jobs right and smarten up. The work ethic is there but when it comes time to seal the deal, the bell is not answered. A slow start in the first period put a damper on the Oilers efforts to get back into the game from the very beginning. Playing a full 60 minutes is essential if they ever plan on advancing to the next level of being legitimate playoff contenders. Thankfully the Oilers have one of the best coaches in the game to crack the whip, Todd McLellan. Lets see what happens.