Sunday, February 15, 2015
Hockey Day in Canada has traditionally not been kind to the Edmonton Oilers and Saturday’s afternoon tilt against the Ottawa Senators was no different. After stringing together three consecutive solid outings in the midst of a season-high six game road trip, Todd Nelson’s crew laid an egg in our nation’s capital in dropping a 7-2 decision.
The loss saw the Oilers record fall to 3-9-3 during Hockey Night in Canada’s annual event and they have now posted a dreadful 1-6-1 mark in their eight appearances on CBC’s weekly broadcast in 2014-15.
Despite being outplayed for much of the opening twenty minutes, Edmonton were lucky enough to find themselves in a 1-1 tie heading into the first intermission, thanks to Derek Roy’s sixth of the season with just over four minutes remaining in the frame. It certainly was an ugly start but considering how well the Oilers had been playing of late, expecting them to bounce back with a strong final forty did not seem that far fetched.
Unfortunately for them, their goaltending let them down for the umpteenth time and it is frankly a theme which has become all too familiar to both the players inside that dressing room and their throngs of supporters across Oilers Nation. For the second consecutive weekend, Viktor Fasth proceeded to crash and burn in a game in which his teammates struggled to find their form out of the gate and not surprisingly…both ended up being blowouts.
As bad as their first period was, Edmonton would have likely been more than capable of righting the ship but when your starting netminder allows two god awful goals against within fifty-seven seconds of the puck being dropped to start period two, it would be difficult for even the best teams to come back from. While Fasth had played better of late, his inability to string together more than handful of quality starts together continues to make it next to impossible for this team to get on any sort of extended run.
In his defence, his partner in crime in Ben Scrivens has been equally as poor this season and the Oilers are simply nowhere near good enough to compete with below average play from whomever it is this coaching decides to throw in between the pipes. While the thirty-two year old Swede was yanked from the crease following Kyle Turris’ 3-1 goal, the damage had already been done and his replacement was simple in over his head.
With Edmonton’s struggles in goal being what they have been over the last couple of seasons, there are those who have suggested giving Richard Bachman some sort of extended look could be road worth going down. While that is all well and good, outside of standing on his head and stealing a point for the Oilers in his debut against the Los Angeles Kings back on October 27th, 2013, the twenty-seven year old has looked completely out of his element in his other three appearances in Orange and Blue.
The former fourth round pick of the Dallas Stars has turned himself into one heck of an American Hockey League goaltender and is in the midst of a very impressive campaign with the Oklahoma City Barons. Regrettably, this isn’t the AHL and against real National Hockey League shooters, Bachman does not stand a chance and everyone knows it.
While they were never going to figure it out in season, Craig MacTavish has no choice but to make finding a legitimate No. 1 goaltender his top priority in the coming off-season. There is no questioning the fact this organization badly needs an upgrade at centre and along their blueline, never mind going out and finding some scoring depth, but until this general manager can go out and finally address the gaping hole this roster has in goal…nothing else really matters.