If at first you don't succeed, keep making the same decisions forever! That's how it goes, right?
Dallas Eakins or management or both are really mashing the proverbial square peg into a round hole. I'd like to direct your attention to the following image:
That's a breakdown of what Oilers players did against the Flyers. Note that I have circled two confusing ice time anomalies. Nail Yakupov played for fourteen minutes, and had six shots on goal. Justin Schultz played 23:25 and didn't register a shot. I know there's more to the game than shots, and those two play different positions but stay with me here.
Apparently, the reasoning behind having a player like Brad Hunt in the lineup was that he could create shots on goal and therefore offense, and he played a lot in games the Oilers lost because that's how they planned to catch up. I understand the theory that you need to play your best offensive players when down in games, but the problem with the coaching staff has been identifying who those players are.
Yakupov was clearly feeling it against the Flyers, but in a game the Oilers trailed since the four-minute-mark he played basically one more shift than the rookie Draisaitl. As if that's not strange enough, he played a little over half as much as Arcobello on the Oilers' crappy powerplay.
Then there's Schultz, playing almost half the game and not doing much with the time. Say it with me:
THE OILERS ARE
WHEN SCHULTZ PLAYS TWENTY OR MORE MINUTES,
WHEN HE PLAYS LESS THAN THAT
We here in the Oilogosphere are not so foolish as to say that correlation always equals causation, but what is becoming apparent is that the current strategy is not translating into more success. Schultz playing a lot doesn't always lead to losses, but it's not leading to wins, either. Eakins is obviously a team player with management on Schultz - that'll be good for his longevity.
Would playing a shooting machine like, I don't know, Yakupov have helped? Maybe. There was nothing to lose, but we'll never know.
Add all that to the decision to break up the fourth line to start the game, and inserting Pouliot onto the top line instead of Perron, and you've got the makings for another loss, which is what we were treated to. Yay.