The Edmonton Oilers played 3 games this week. 3 games against teams at various levels of the standings. Unfortunately they lost all 3. All three were for reasons that are the running reasons they have now lost 13 games in a row. Last nights loss against the hated Calgary Flames set a team record. It is the first time in franchise history that they have gone 0fer in a month. ZERO wins and 2 lousy points from scraping through to overtime before succumbing to the loss.
Tuesday it was the Chicago Blackhawks making a trip to Edmonton. The game started off in typical fashion these days with the Oilers forgetting to show up to start the game and Jeff Deslauriers letting in that easy goal only 44 seconds into the game. It was bad enough the team didn’t show up to start the game but this made it even worse. In fact, by time the team did show up to play it was 4-0 for the Hawks and they were just in cruise control and you could see they had taken their foot off the pedal. It was a game of men (Hawks) vs. boys (Oilers). In watching the first 39 minutes it was hard to realize that both these teams were in the same league.
The Oilers finally got on the board in the last minute of the second with Fernando Pisani finding the net. The Oilers then came out in the third and played a pretty decent period, although I am not sure if it was a case of the Oilers stepping it up a bit or the Hawks laying back. Probably a bit of both. Ryan Potulny closed the gap for the home team at 5:44 of the period but that was as close as it got. Again, weak goaltending and only playing for 21 minutes are not going to win you many games.
Thursday it was the St. Louis Blues at Rexall Place. Things were looking up right? I mean, the Blues are in 19th place in the league and not the same caliber as the Hawks right. And surely the Blues wouldn’t come in and spank the Oilers like they did on December 21st when they whipped the Oilers 7-2. Right? Well this was probably the best game the Oilers have played in the last month. The games was scoreless through to the 7:44 mark of the second period when Dustin Penner put the Oilers in front. So far, so good. Yea right! In typical Oilers fashion they handed the Blues a goal only 17 seconds later to tie the game. Another glaring problem with the Oilers exposed. They either relax after getting a lead or get too high as the goals are infrequent and can’t calm themselves down to start playing the game again.
1-1 after 2 periods and the Oilers were playing a decent game. Could the streak be over? Nope, as has been the case so many times this year, it is a soft goal that costs the team the game again. 2:09 into the final period it was Alex Steen firing a shot short side over the shoulder of Deslauriers from the top of the right circle. Again the big goalie was down on his knees early and the top side was open. I am sure this is the book on Deslauiers as he lets in lots over the shoulder or short side. 2-1 final for the Blues and the streak continued.
Saturday the Oilers traveled to Calgary to take on the Flames in what I had dubbed the Loser Bowl 2010. The Oilers were winless in 12 and the Flames were winless in 9. But has been the case this season, there is nothing like a game against the Oilers to quell those losing skids. The Flames got on the board early, 3:45, and they were in full control. The Oilers did show a bit of life and at 12:25 of the period as Gagner scored a powerplay goal but that was it and the Flames took over big time and made sure to put an exclamation point on their losing streak.
The Flames piled on the pressure and you would never know that they were a team that had been suffering offensively as they fired 6 goal behind Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers looked like they were happy getting that tying goal and played embarrassing the rest of the way as they were totally outclassed. Unlike the Hawks on Tuesday, the Flames didn’t take their foot off the pedal and kept the pressure on the entire game. Miikka Kiprusoff outdueled Dubnyk and made 2 or 3 10 bell saves when the Oilers did have chances particularly a great glove save on Andrew Cogliano after he has split the Flames defense. It was a highlight of the Oilers game but the result was how things have gone for this team. Too many problems that need fixing. Flames end their losing streak at 9 and Jerome Iginla, who has had problems scoring during that time had 4 points. On the flip side, Dustin Penner was the only Oiler that was not a minus as he was even. But Penner was zeros in almost every other stat line which shows how he along with the team have stopped trying. The big offensive weapon had 0 shots and only 1 blocked attempt, no hits, no blocked shots, NO NOTHING.
I was asked why I keep watching the games when the Oilers stink to high heaven. I reply, I am a fan and I will always support the team. It doesn’t mean I won’t complain and take the losses as easily as the team obviously does. I complain about the way they are playing because I care; again something that the players obviously don’t. Besides, if the team actually wins a game again this season I want to be able to say I saw the streak end. At least before they start another one.