Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not Good Enough

For those who were hoping to see some sort of positive response from the Edmonton Oilers in their first game after the dismissal of former head coach Dallas Eakins, last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes probably wasn’t how things were supposed to play out. 

While the Oilers put together two fairly decent periods of hockey on route to their fifth consecutive defeat, it was their performance during the second period that was so disturbing. As bad as this team has been, Arizona hasn’t been much better and yet they somehow managed to outshoot Edmonton 27-5 period number two. 

It is one thing to go out and have your show run by the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks or San Jose Sharks, which both clubs have done with some regularity to this group over the last number of years, but we are talking about the Arizona Coyotes here. With all due respect to Dave Tippett’s crew, we are not exactly talking about an offensive juggernaut here. 

On a typical evening, that sort effort would have generally led to Edmonton giving up three or four goals in the frame and essentially have their opponents put it into cruise control the rest of the way. Luckily for them, Ben Scrivens was in the zone and despite being peppered with one high-quality chance after another, he gave his team a chance at stealing a couple of points they truly had no business getting. 

To their credit, the Oilers did respond with a fairly solid third period but at some point have to score some damn goals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the only player who found a way to put a puck in behind Devan Dubnyk, courtesy of a partial screen and a misread from his former teammate, but as we all know, one goal is nowhere near enough for this team to win games. 

As painful as Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s last second overtime winner may have been for every one of those players to stomach, it was a result this group richly deserved. For them to have come out with the sort of uneven performance that they did, considering what had just occurred on Monday morning back in Edmonton, is simply unacceptable. 

In all honesty, the Oilers could not have hand-picked a better opponent or scenario for the Craig MacTavish - Todd Nelson era to get underway and yet this team managed to do absolutely nothing with it. So off to San Jose they go where barring another all-world outing from one of their netminders, this group will return home on Sunday afternoon to take on Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars on a six game losing skid. 

With the Stars playing as poorly as they are, Edmonton should be more than capable of holding their own against Dallas on home ice but at this stage of things, it is almost impossible to expect anything but the complete opposite from this group. 

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