3 Takeaways as Oilers suffer frustrating 4-3 loss to Canucks

EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 14: Dylan Holloway #55 of the Edmonton Oilers draws a tripping call against Filip Hronek #17 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Place on October 14, 2023 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 14: Dylan Holloway #55 of the Edmonton Oilers draws a tripping call against Filip Hronek #17 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Place on October 14, 2023 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Edmonton Oilers
Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

2) The ups and downs of special teams

Coming off a season where the Oilers had the best power play percentage in NHL history, more of the same was expected in 2023-24. In this respect, three of their four goals so far this season have indeed come on the power play.

However, you can make the argument that on Saturday night in particular, the Oilers were not as sharp as usual with the extra man. They had seven power play opportunities in total, but ‘only’ managed to convert on two of them. (This included a two-man advantage for 52 seconds in the third period, which they did not score from.)

Yes, statistically speaking this converts into a 28.6 percent success rate, which would have been second-best last season behind their own record-breaking effort. However, when it’s the home opener and you’re looking for revenge versus a team which humiliated you just three days earlier, you need to take better advantage of these situations.

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Let’s be clear in saying the Oilers’ power play will be just fine over the course of the season – how could it not be with the likes of Connor McDavid and Draisaitl? Regardless, for one night at least, you can make the argument this unit let them down.

On the flip side, the Oilers entered the 2023-24 campaign with concerns about a penalty kill unit which ranked just 20th last season. Unfortunately for the fans, the struggles have continued through the first two games.

The Canucks went a sizzling 3-for-6 in the season opener, and followed this up with another goal in three attempts on Saturday night. As a result, the Oilers have the NHL’s second-worst penalty kill in the way-too-early rankings, as of Sunday morning.

More generally speaking, the Oilers dominated the Canucks 40-16 in shots on goal, albeit including 12 shots on the power play. However, this doesn’t matter, if you can’t be more clinical with your finishing.