It was a 2-7-1 team against an 8-2-1 team, what did you think was going to happen?
Anyone who was expecting an Edmonton Oilers upset hasn’t been watching. And those who did watch the latest face plant Monday night in Vancouver had a hard time comprehending what they saw.
In a loss that nobody would believe if Edmonton hadn’t been the team doing the losing, the Oilers managed to turn a 19-2 first-period shot advantage into a 6-2 defeat.
By game’s end, Leon Draisaitl was sitting out a 10-minute misconduct, head coach Jay Woodcroft was ejected for yapping, Connor McDavid was was nursing a six-game scoring drought and the Oilers had sunk to yet another low.
Pull the upset? If people didn’t understand it before, they do now. It’s time to stop looking at the Oilers based on pre-season expectations and what the top end of their roster looks like on paper. They are what their record says they are: the second worst team in the NHL.
There was some ferocity in Edmonton’s game for a while. They were pushed hard and competed with the second best team in the Pacific Division for a good 30 minutes, but they simply aren’t in Vancouver’s league.
The Canucks have outscored Edmonton 18-6 in three games this year while the Oilers have given up four or more goals in seven of their 11 games.
Oilers are now 18 points behind Vegas, 14 points behind Vancouver and 11 points behind Los Angeles.
On the bright side, the Oilers will take on a team in their own weight class when they take on the 0-10-1 San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
The first period had to be seen to be believed.
It was by far the best period the Oilers played all season. By a mile. The shots were 9-0 through three minutes, then 13-2. Then 16-2. Then 19-2. The Oilers were absolutely running Vancouver out of the rink. Wouldn’t let them touch the puck.
So why was it 3-1 Vancouver at the first intermission?
Because this is what the Oilers have been doing since opening night. Some net front problems here, some bad goaltending there, some penalty killing troubles and the Canucks score three goals in 3:22 (their third, fourth and seventh shots on Stuart Skinner) and Edmonton was back its usual hole.
Even after Edmonton got a free goal in the second period to make it 3-2 when Dylan Holloway took out Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko’s legs, the Oilers gave it right back with another gift.
Evan Bouchard made another bad pinch at the blue line to set up the odd-man rush, then didn’t think to tie up a trailing Nils Hoglander, allowing him to restore the two-goal lead and take the wind out of Edmonton’s sails.
“Can he be better on that play?” asked Woodcroft. “Yeah, he can. I’m not going to dress that one up in any way.”
Bouchard has been making the same costly mistakes over and over again and has yet to see any consequences for it. He remains third on the team in even strength minutes per game.
THEY LOSE IT
The unravelling peaked in the third period with the score 4-2 and the 14 minutes left in the game.
McDavid took himself off with roughing penalty, Draisaitl got a 10-minute misconduct in the ensuing scrum and Vancouver scored the back-breaker on the ensuing power play. Not long after that, Woodcroft lit into the referee from the bench and got the heave.
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