Well…if this isn’t rock-bottom for the beleaguered Edmonton Oilers, they can sure see it from here.
A 3-2 loss to the last-place San Jose Sharks, to fall to a record of 2-9-1.
The game contained more of what has ailed the Edmonton Oilers most of this frustrating season. Lots of chances, outshooting San Jose 41-18. A failure to capitalize (0-4 on the PP). And a couple or three key defensive errors that ended up in the back of their net.
Of those missed chances, the ones that stand out in this reporter’s recollection was the pair of failed Power Plays in the 1st Period.
Here’s the tale of the tape…
Edmonton Oilers Player Grades
STUART SKINNER. 5. Important save from Stuart Skinner early in the 1st on an Eklund breakaway. A tougher stop off Zetterlund a few shifts later. Left entirely to his own devices on the 1-0 and victimized by a crazy-fortunate bounce in front on the 2-1. Huge kick save on Lebanc to keep the score at 2-1. The 3-1 against was a 2-on-1 jailbreak with a 1-timer finish. Stopped 15 of 18. No blame on any of the 3 against. Do we dock him for not making a circus-like save?
LEON DRAISAITL. 4. Late to the slot on the 1-0, I had him just as at-fault as his young winger on that sequence. Fine head man pass to spring Nurse through the neutral zone on the 1-1. A terrific backhand flip in front to Hyman late in the 2nd but he could not drain it. Just missed a wrap-around. Seemed to visibly fight the puck at times. A blocker save stymied his best chance of the game in the 3rd. 5 shots in all, 13 shot attempts. 50% on draws. Like the other top players on this club, the PP has become a problem.
DYLAN HOLLOWAY. 4. Had a man in front on the 1-0 but when he shifted over to defend against a pass to the point, no one picked up the slot behind him. The decoy on the 2-on-1 that Nurse capitalized on. Heavy hit on Addison in the 2nd. Generally, the puck was headed in the right direction with him on the ice. 2 hits, 2 shots.
WARREN FOEGELE. 6. Good shot in the 1st off a pass from Hamblin. Smart defensive play deep in his own zone and then chipped the puck up to Leon Draisaitl on the wall on the 1-1. 5v5 CF of 20-7, 74%. Continues to be among the better Oilers through a brutal stretch. was the best over-all, 2-way performer tonight.
DARNELL NURSE. 5. The Oilers best 2-way D-man for most of this night. Saved a goal early as he cleared a puck rattling around loose in the crease. Fired a shot in the 1st off a Gagner feed. Wired home the 1-1 with a hard wrist shot under the blocker, bar-in. Followed that up with an excellent defensive play off a charging Duclair. Lost a board battle on the 3-1 but where was the back support on that slow developing play? I place primary fault on the 2 high forwards, nut Nurse gets docked, too. Gutsy shot block on a 3rd Period PK.
CODY CECI. 3. Got off to a tough start and it did not get a lot better. Ceci got caught on a pinch (but with back support) on a Sharks odd-man rush. A bit late to close off the far post on the 1-0 and then was unable to intercept the subsequent pass into the slot.
CONNOR McDAVID. 4. A turnover led to a breakaway against on 1 1st Period PP but Skinner did the job. Threaded through a pass to Hyman for a dangerous tip on the PP in the 1st. A nifty reserve later in the 1st. Involved in a furious flurry at the end of the 2nd, but both of his resulting shots were stopped. Drew a penalty late with a trip in the neutral zone to give his team a chance. 4 shots. Created, but…mired in the worst cold-streak of his career including on the PP.
RYAN McLEOD. 3. Nicked the post in the 1st but not much was happening for him and he was dropped from the top line. Set up Ekholm for a great look in the 2nd. Drove the net hard and drew a 3rd Period PP. But also failed to cover for Nurse along the wall on the 3-1 against.
ZACH HYMAN. 5. His tip in front easily the best chance from two Oilers Power Plays in the 1st. Drew that call plus another in the opening frame. Could not bury a Draisaitl pass late in the 2nd right in front. 4 shots.
MATTIAS EKHOLM. 5. Double-teamed behind the goal line in the 1-0 and then late to recover back to the slot (but on the list of those at-fault, he would be 3rd on my list). Good shot off a Nugent-Hopkins feed. Could not cash on another set-up from McLeod. Smart play at the blueline on the 3-2, earning him an assist.
EVAN BOUCHARD. 6. Early turnover on the PP but settled in after that and created well. Set up McDavid for two excellent chances late in the 2nd. Primary assist on the 3-2 goal with a bomb from the point. Had another good point shot late but it deflected wide. High Dangers were 10-3 with him on the ice 5v5. Much better, on what was otherwise a damn tough night.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS. 5. The Nuge set up Mattias Ekholm for a 1st Period opportunity. But took a pair of 3rd Period penalties, including an unnecessary hold in the offensive zone 185 feet from his own net. Pulled the score to 3-2 with an empty netter late. A 5v5 CF of 80% But part of the problem on the (tonight) pop-gun power play.
EVANDER KANE. 3. The 2-1 against was terribly unlucky but Kane was slow to follow his man in off the point. Net-front on the 3-2. Then, could not get back to cover for Nurse on the 3-2 and he was the high man. 2 hits and a shot. Not near his best result of late, and to be fair…he has been quite good.
SAM GAGNER. 5. Good 1st Period back-check. Fed Nurse for a good look in the 2nd. No assist but started the play on the 3-2 goal with a pass from behind the goal line. Has been solid or better since his return.
BRETT KULAK. 5. The flow of play was strongly positive with him on the ice. 2 shots in 12:40. The coaches leaned pretty heavily on the top two pairings.
VINCENT DESHARNAIS. 5. 1st period GA. Good D-zone stick in the 2nd. Only one HDSC against 5V5. Better than recent efforts.
JAMES HAMBLIN. 4. A tidy backhand sent Foegele in on a partial break in the 1st. But faded away after that. A hit, a shot.
DEREK RYAN. 4. Quiet game in limited action. Decent PK work. On for the 3-1 but he was the deep man in the O-Zone.
RAPHAEL LAVOIE. 3. A bunch of zeros in just 7:44. Looked slow.
The Oilers are in Seattle next.
Given the acute lack of results, one wonders what may transpire between now and then.
Now on Threads @kleavins. Also, find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and Mastodon at [email protected]
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