Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Back To Reality
Well…it was nice while it lasted. After ending their eleven game winless skid on Sunday night with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place, the Edmonton Oilers wasted little time in returning to form during Tuesday’s return engagement at the Shark Tank.
In typical Oilers fashion, Dallas Eakins’ crew managed to fall behind by a couple of goals early on and despite doing their very best to climb back into this one before the opening period was up, in the end it mattered little in what turned out to be a 5-2 defeat. While Edmonton did create their fair share of chances throughout the evening, only Jordan Eberle and David Perron were able to slip pucks in behind starter Alex Stalock, who made twenty-seven stops in earning his third win of the season.
Despite surrendering five goals in the loss, netminder Ben Scrivens had himself a decent evening down at the other end of the rink, as the Sharks were clinical in their finish from start to finish. With that said, it was another game in which the Oilers clearly had the second best goalie on the night. While the Western Conference cellar dwellers continued their season-long struggle to score enough goals to win games, San Jose made the most of their opportunities.
It almost felt as though if the Sharks wanted to take it up notch or two, Edmonton could do absolutely nothing to stop them. With that said, it was not as though the night was a complete and utter disaster. The trio of Leon Draisaitl, Eberle and Nail Yakupov were by far and away the Oilers top line over the full sixty minutes, whereas the threesome of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyler Pitlick continued to be as ineffective as they were on Sunday in Edmonton but yet the coaching staff decided to have them remain together for much of the night.
Defenceman Oscar Klefbom had himself yet another solid along the blueline showing, leading all defencemen in ice-time with a total of 23:22 and saw regular duty on the Oilers second unit power play…unleashing a couple of absolute bombs from the point that gave Stalock all sorts of problems. Just as he did during his late-season call-up in 2013-14, the big Swede appears to be getting better and better with each passing game he plays.
Regardless of who he is partnered with, Klefbom continues to impress and with all due respect to Jeff Petry, that is something you simply cannot say about any other defenceman on this team. Despite having seen action in just eight games to this point in the season and with a total of twenty-five under his belt for his young career, the mistakes he was making early on are now few and far between and he has arguably already become the Oilers best all-around blueliner.
Again, at this stage of the game, this season is a complete write-off and if this organization can find a way to somehow use the final fifty-four games of their schedule to have the likes of an Oscar Klefbom take a step forward in his development, it would be well worth the heart-ache that will certainly come with yet another bottom five finish in the overall league standings,
With that said, would it really be too much to ask this coaching staff to refrain from using their two best players with a guy who is essentially an bottom six AHL forward? This roster is bad enough that competing on a nightly basis could turn out to be a pretty tall task to start with but having both Hall and Nugent-Hopkins struggling to the degree they have of late, makes it an almost impossible task.
Hopefully the head coach and his sidemen come to their senses in short-order and make sure they take care of this oversight prior to Wednesday night’s tilt with the Corey Perry-less Anaheim Ducks because if all goes well…those are two points this team good easily grab a hold of.