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Oilers Could Benefit From A Road Trip

Home cooking? Let's grab something to go.

Carolina Hurricanes v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

No matter the sport, teams prefer to play at home. When everything is clicking there is nothing like it. However, when you start your regular season in the fashion the Edmonton Oilers have, a trip out of the Alberta capital may be exactly what is needed.

Following tomorrow night’s tilt with the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, the Oilers will conclude their season high six-game homes stand. At best, they’ll be heading to St Louis with a .500 record and at worst, staring at a 2-4 mark to kick-off their 2022-23 campaign.

While neither one of those should be viewed as a big deal, leaving town with a win over Sidney Crosby and company would be a nice parting gift. Though it’s just a matter of time before the Oilers start clicking, confidence is a real thing and when losing becomes a habit, it can sometimes linger.

If we go back to the end of the pre-season, the Oilers have played exactly one game on the road (in Vancouver on October 5th). Essentially, we are talking about this team being at home for consecutive three weeks to start the season.

Not only does that rarely if ever happen during the course of the “82-game grind” but unless a team is clicking on all cylinders, it can be a recipe for disaster. With expectation through the roof following last year’s playoff run, the uneven start to the Oilers season hasn’t been ideal.

Be it within the fan base or inside the club’s dressing room, this wasn’t how anyone wanted this season to start. Players always say they don’t hear the “noise” coming from fans or media but we all know they do. With the “noise” is getting louder by the minute, a road trip likely sounds pretty good.

We have to remember, being in one place for an extended period of time isn’t how things work for professional athletes. Once a season starts, getting a long stretch at home isn’t part of the equation and distractions away from the game tend to creep into the mix.

Also, while much of this roster has been together for a bit, there are a handful of guys who are either new to team or becoming regulars for the first time in their careers. As a collective, every new season has a “feeling-out” period and getting on the road usually helps with this.

By no means is that to suggest Edmonton would benefit from an extended period out of town but a trip to St. Louis, Chicago and Calgary to close out this week may be the perfect tonic. Two good teams who have already handed the Oilers losses this season and the Blackhawks…that could certainly do it.

If we’re being honest, Jay Woodcroft’s side hasn’t exactly had the easiest of opponents to start the season. Outside of the Canucks, who actually played fairly well during the season opener, the Oilers have faced some of the hottest teams in the league and have yet to find their own game.

The sample size is so tiny that it really doesn’t mean much of anything but if they’re not careful, this can snowball on them. Just as it did on the Oilers last season, prior to the eventual dismissal of Dave Tippett as head coach…something which likely isn’t lost on the core of this group.

With that being said, a visit from the Pens is probably exactly what this group needs. Like it or not, Edmonton tends to play their best against better teams and the Crosby vs McDavid narrative will only add to that. Win or lose, chances are the Oilers play well tomorrow night.

If they do that, Edmonton will be well positioned for the coming week and at this stage in the season, that’s all that matters. This group has too much talent upfront to not score at even strength. Again, it’s matter of when and not if they breakout…so it may as well happen on the road.