Friday, 14 October 2011
10/14/11 Growing Pains
For twenty whole minutes the Edmonton Oilers looked like a good team. Then it all came flooding back. Here are some notes from Game Two:
- Ten shots on goal in 45 minutes of play is a dismal total from a team that is supposed to be stacked with offense, but that's all the Oilers managed after the first period. Ales Hemsky leaving the game didn't help, but this team has enough skill to win a game without him. It was to be expected that the Wild would come out stronger in the second after being dominated in the first, but the Oilers had no excuse for mustering just one shot on goal in the third.
- Speaking of a lack of offense, the Oilers now have 2 goals in as many games.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins showed some more subtle flashes of brilliance in this game. His work in the corners was solid and he won battles for pucks. He also showcased his ability to strip opposing players of pucks in a way that makes it look all too easy. He's NHL ready, but he also showed a few warts. RNH went 1 for 8 in the faceoff circle, and he also did not register a shot on goal.
- After two games Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger are 62.5% and 51.4% on their draws, respectively. Anton Lander improved to 41.7% after 12 faceoffs in two games.
- The Oilers have yet to score a powerplay goal in 7 opportunities, but their penalty kill is operating at 91.7%; having killed 11 of 12 penalties so far.
- Ryan Smyth is on pace for 41 goals!
The Oilers have a knack for teasing the fans with glimpses of what they can be, and then regressing. It shouldn`t be surprising considering how young the team and the season are, but somehow it always is. It should be noted that the Oilers are without Gagner and Whitney and are 1-0-1. But even if the Oilers had won this game, the consistency of effort would still be alarming.
Last year the Oilers won Game Two against Florida, despite being largely outplayed and being outshot 28-13. Three goals on just four second period shots, coupled with a standout performance from Khabibulin carried them to an undeserved victory which temporarily masked how many holes there still were.
The Oilers could have won the second game of 2011-12, but they wouldn`t have deserved to. It`s like a broken record to keep saying that they must play a full 60 minutes, so maybe we should just ask them to win two periods. That should be enough for them to at least get better, and maybe even break the now-17 game losing streak in Minny.