The Edmonton Oilers continue to take points out of their games, but that’s not good enough considering the tight competition they’re facing in a wide-open Pacific Division. Not only that, but the team is continually blowing early, three-goal leads and then failing to finish off teams in overtime and the shootout. It happened again on Sunday afternoon as the Oilers allowed the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche to battle back from a 3-0 lead and win in extra time.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft said of the disappointing loss and missed opportunity to get two points: “to dress this up any other way than to say it’s utterly disappointing would be false.” Sure, the Oilers only have one regulation defeat in their last 15 games, but they’re without a win in their last three and have now dropped fourth straight.
It started rough for the Oilers on Sunday as Warren Foegele took a couple of untimely penalties in the first period. The Oilers killed both off and Foegele ended up scoring the first two goals of the game to redeem his earlier gaffes. The Oilers extended their lead to 3-0 when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fed Leon Draisaitl at the side of the net. Goals by Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin made it 3-2. Tyson Barrie made it 4-2, until MacKinnon scored again to make it 4-3. Mattias Janmark made it 5-3 and then Colorado scored two more to tie it up with under five minutes in the game.
Mikko Rantanen finished things off in overtime for a 6-5 Colorado win.
The Oilers Need to Figure This Out
Even though they’re earning points, the Oilers badly need to figure out what they’re doing wrong. A team that was once viewed as never out of any contest because they can score in bunches, they’re starting to be viewed as a team that can’t hold a lead or capitalize when they should be dominating clubs with their skill in three-on-three play.
Rumors heading into the trade deadline are that the Oilers need to find defensive help and someone to help them break the puck out of their zone. It’s not clear who the Oilers are targeting, but it’s starting to become evident the team needs a wake-up call. They can’t keep blowing leads and expect to make it far in the postseason.
The other issue here is that the teams the Oilers play are starting to realize they can make a comeback. It’s not just the contenders either. The Oilers have been losing close games to teams they should be beating, including Philadelphia, Detroit, and Montreal. The team has to be feeling as though no lead is safe and no game is given two points if the team plays the way they’re capable of.
Next: Blackhawks Choosing Not To Move One of Biggest Assets
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