Oilers - Jets PGT: Oilers Show both Promise and Holes in Loss

Derek Leung

Oilers blow a 4-2 lead but it's a loss they can take a lot of positives from.

Losing sucks.

Blowing a 2 goal lead and losing sucks more.

Losing a game you should have won is the worst.

The first 2 are familiar for Oiler fans from the last few seasons, but the last one is a pretty rare occurrence. The Oilers made mistakes, but played well enough that they should have won the game.

Yup, that's right, the Oilers finally out-corsi'd an opposition. Further to that, they did most of the damage while either in the lead or tied. That right there is a heck of an opening night step for a club who managed this feat approximately 5 times last year (according to the memory of our own Michael Parkatti). These are all important steps, but more need to be taken. The Oilers, as a team, are still making strange shot blocking decisions. All but one of the goals against were stoppable, but several were made far more complicated than necessary. Despite the Oilers overall performance, there were some issues. Andrew Ference -6 (21/27) corsi and Nick Schultz -9 (6/15) corsi both struggled getting the puck out of the Oilers zone. Will Acton ended up in the red as well. He played limited minutes with Brown and Gazdic, and struggled with his spot duty elsewhere in the lineup.

The game started off with a pair of own goals as Jim Slater tipped home a Luke Gazdic Mike Brown (for Pete's sake, even Hrudey figured out it was Gazdic's goal) Luke Gazdic backhand that he took from just outside the Oilers change room. Anton Belov would give that one back, tipping home a Mark Scheifele shot from an awkward angle. The Jets would take the league after a bad read by Belov (he joined the rush as Hall turned the puck over on a 1 on 3), leaving Justin Schultz to defend Bryan Little (who he was totally going to get to after he picked up his contact lens off the ice). Boyd Gordon would tie the game on the strangest bank shot I've ever seen. I thought it was an excellent tip on a shot off the net, but I'm not in the HHOF.

Ales Hemsky would score the most Ales Hemsky goal you could think of. He makes a quick move in the zone and then slows the play right down before burying the 3-2 goal. Jesse Joensuu (who is probably seconds away from being Derek Zona's new favourite player), would park himself in front of the net and bury a Jordan Eberle rebound for a power play goal. The Jets would come back. Belov and Gordon both tried to block a shot from a bad angle and the puck eluded Dubnyk. Trouba would score later in the 3rd, firing a shot that Dubnyk should have stopped (but again, made more difficult by Petry's block attempt). The final Jets goal saw Ference and Justin Schultz blow their coverage and allowed an easy tap in by Frolik.

The Oilers lost a winnable game. The good news is that you'd expect Dubnyk to be better (despite the cries on twitter to upgrade the goaltending after 1 game) and that the Oilers were able to do this without 2 of their better forwards. There are concerns though. The Oilers may be relying too heavily on their top players. Taylor Hall played a team leading 23:30 (yes, even more than any defenseman on the team), including time on the PK along with his regular ES & PP ice time. The lack of forward depth (especially with the Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins injuries), could end up being a problem. He seemed to struggle in the 2nd half of the game in terms of his decision making (especially in regards to his pass selection). I suspect that will improve over time as he gets more comfortable at his new position, but it's still an issue over the near future.

Twitter was all abuzz last night over new analytica stat The Extra Skater. Think Vic Ferarri's timeonice, but with an easier interface. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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