Last time I wrote a game recap, everything was all sunshine and lolly pops. After being held to a single goal for the second straight game, the Oilers look like the offensively challenged teams of years past.
Thankfully, for the team's playoff chances, the 4-1 loss on Tuesday night wasn't quite as demoralizing as the score would indicate. The Oilers managed 35 shots, an impressive total, even considering the fact they trailed nearly the entire game.
The Oilers' lone goal, which came courtesy of Leon Draisaitl, was a perfect example of the value of throwing pucks on net. On a pass intended for Zack Kassian, Draisaitl's pass banked off Cam Fowler's stick and into the Ducks' net, for the only blemish on John Gibson's record for the game.
The Oilers may not score on 2.7% of their shots on goal all season, as they have for the last two games, but if their powerplay continues to look as pathetic as it did tonight, fans might once again be in for a season where the team drastically under-performs their offensive expectations. The team went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, including a nearly minute-long stretch of 5 on 3, on which they failed to record a shot.
The Silver Lining
In Tonight's game, it had to be the 35 shots on goal. The same could be said for Sunday's loss to the Rangers, when the Oilers recorded 39 shots. When pucks aren't finding the back of the net, it's easy to point to poor shot quality or a lack of finishing talent outside of the top line. That being said, the Oilers are looking better in their losses than they ever used to. The improved underlying numbers, coupled with the points in the bank from their early season success mean that this team still looks like they could be competing for a playoff spot late in the season.
Corey's Game Puck
I saw Oscar Klefbom look good today, and wasn't surprised to see that the fancy stats liked him as well. Klefbom was on the ice for 28 shot-attempts for, compared to just 10 against. The 18 shot difference was the best on the squad. Klefbom also recorded four individual shots on goal, tied for the most on the team on Tuesday, with McDavid and Slepyshev. Any kind of offense from the back end is still a novel concept for the Oilers. I love when the team's more offensively gifted blueliners like Klefbom or Nurse don't hesitate to carry or shoot the puck. For that, Klefbom gets my imaginary game puck.