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.