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.
The reasons were different but the result was the same. The Oilers finished the 2009 portion of their season losing to Calgary 2-1 in a game that could have been much worse had it not been for Jeff Deslauriers’ great job goaltending. His 37 saves was the reason it was only 1 goal loss. The rest of the Oilers decided to start their New Year’s celebration early and never showed up to test the Flames back-up goaltender Curtis McElhinney. 22 shots is hardly the kind of work needed to test a second string goalie who plays so infrequently that he has slivers on his butt from riding the pine.
Saturday night the Oilers started the 2010 portion of their schedule with a 4-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose. Same result, one big difference. Again, the Oilers offence didn’t create the kind of chances that win many games but today they didn’t have the goaltending to give them any chance to win. While he stood on his head to make the saves against Calgary, Deslauriers appeared to be sleeping through portions of the game and 3 of the 4 goals should have been saved. Yes, as usual there were defensive breakdowns but fluff shots should not go in no matter who is in goal. Critical saves need to be made at critical times in order to give your team and chance to win and this happens to infrequently.