Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers start road trip with five blown leads for two straight losses

The Edmonton Oilers turned to recently re-called goalie Calvin Pickard to backstop them against the Florida Panthers. However, for the second game in a row, the Edmonton Oilers saw their lead turn into defeat, and in both games, there were multi-goal leads that disappeared on the team.

Oilers unable to solve longstanding problems

The story of the season so far has been goaltending, and no matter who’s in the net, the Oilers have gotten subpar results. So in Pickard’s Oilers debut, the team gave him the same treatment of taking untimely penalties, defensive lapses, and not enough shutdown play when playing with the lead.

Over the span of two games to start their Eastern Conference road trip, the Oilers have seen five separate leads evaporate, leading to zero standing points gained. They now sit at 5–11–1 on the season, remain 30th in the league, and are seven points back from the second wild card spot.

Leads turned to dust

On this road trip, here are the five leads the Oilers held and what they ended up turning into.

LeadEdmonton PlaysOpponent AnswersResult
2–0Derek Ryan, James Hamblin scoreNikita Kucherov answers twice2–2
3–2Ryan scores againTanner Jeannot answers3–3
4–3Evan Bouchard scoresSteven Stamkos answers, Tampa adds two more4–6
2–0Connor McDavid, Evander Kane scoreCarter Verhaeghe and Niko Mikkola answer2–2
3–2McDavid scoresMikkola answers, Florida adds two more3–5

To put this differently, Edmonton scored seven goals in which every single one was answered. Worse yet, they were unable to answer back when trailing at any point. While it’s true that under the microscope looking at two games, scoring seven goals and seeing every goal answered could be considered back luck, it’s still a familiar result for Edmonton that has them losing games due to the brutal combination of everything going wrong.

This team isn’t equipped to keep their leads secure by preventing opposing scoring. Currently with the league’s 28th-ranked penalty kill operating at 72.6%, they also rank 28th with 17 power play goals against. Couple this with the fact that they’ve been shorthanded 62 times already this year (25th in the league), this is a recipe for disaster. Not only does the team suffer from a poor penalty kill, but they are also one of the more penalised teams in the league.

Against Tampa Bay, they ceded two power play goals; against Florida, just one. However, in both games, power play goals were scored against Edmonton for the pivotal third goal of the game. Instead of Edmonton finding ways to put up stranglehold 3–0 leads, their penalty kill faltered and instead, they allowed the Lightning and Panthers to get back into and ultimately win the games.

Time is running out

The Oilers have the offensive skill and firepower to dig themselves out of this hole in hopes of a playoff spot. However, their defensive and goaltending woes keep digging deeper in the wrong direction. Now heading into American Thanksgiving, it’s quickly turning a bad situation worse, and there’s very little runway left.

They’ll want to see their next lead sustained until the final whistle next time around, which will be on Wednesday when they face off against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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