Connect with us

Edmonton Oilers

The Importance of 60-Minute Hockey for the Oilers This Season

The Edmonton Oilers have struggled post all star break, especially in the second period. Lack of sustainable hockey will kill the Oilers.

If Friday’s matchup against the Minnesota Wild proved anything, it’s that 60 minutes of solid play matters in the NHL. Recently, the Edmonton Oilers’ second periods have been destructive. They’ve gotten into a bad habit of letting in goals at an unbelievable rate and have needed the third period to pull out recent victories. The results have shown since the All-Star break as they’ve won less than half of their games. Frankly, up until Friday, whatever they were in December to all of January has all but faded away. 

Then, things flipped. Edmonton played a strong second and third but came out flat in the first. They pushed when they needed to, but momentary lapses cost them. Up until Friday, it’s been like the team has forgotten how to play hockey in the second period. Post-all-star break, they have been outscored by their opponents 17-8 in the middle frame.

Oilers Connor McDavid vs Blackhawks

Fortunately, this second-period struggle has been a recent development. As quickly as it showed up, they could find a solution. During the Oilers’ win streak, they outscored their opponents 16-6 in the middle frame. Remarkably, in those 16 games, they only let in a total of six goals. So to see that in the nine games post-all-star break the Oilers have let in seventeen goals in the second is a head-scratcher. That’s a 283% increase. It’s a problem and the hope is that their showing against Minnesota is a step in the right direction.

The Oilers’ Third Periods Have Been Their Savior

Fortunately, this is all fixable and the Oilers still sit in a good position. They had the chance to tie Vegas for second in the Pacific on Friday night, with games in hand. And, still confident, they’re aware they can turn it on late in games. Despite the idle hockey in the second period, the Oilers have outscored their opponents in the third period by a wide margin.

Related: Analyst Tries to Decode the Oilers’ Trade Deadline Blueprint

Then again, the two quick ones the Wild scored in third in the team’s most recent loss prove that even good third periods aren’t a guarantee. While Edmonton has been a third-period team for most of this season and they outsourced their opponents 30-6 in the third, it’s not enough.

The Oilers Need a Full 60-Minute Effort

Sustainable hockey is playing hard through all sixty minutes; something the Oilers can do. When they did, they were created history. For the Oilers to make a deep playoff run, they must tighten their defense in the second period, but keep their foot on the gas in the third.

Furthermore, the 79.1% penalty kill needs to improve. It was good on Friday night, but it needs to stay that way. Ultimately, the Oilers must show up for all three periods, not just the third. This unsustainable hockey will be the death of the Edmonton Oilers in this year’s postseason if they don’t get it sorted. 

Next: Oilers Face Re-Emerging Goalie Issues as Trade Deadline Nears

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More News

Discover more from NHL Trade Talk

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading