Edmonton Oilers need their hands to catch up with their hearts


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Lack of offense will never be a problem with the Edmonton Oilers.

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Except when it is.

Like Tuesday night against Buffalo. With just two goals to go through 60 minutes against the brave Sabres, the Oilers found themselves on the wrong side of some slim margins again in a 4-2 loss.

While coaches are more focused on pointing out glaring errors which lead to goals against, which is necessary tact as no ship will stay afloat for very long with holes in the hull, the simple fact is that two goals do not not enough to win many matches.

Not on 48 shots, including 23 in the third period. If their hands had been synchronized with their hearts, the Oilers would come out of Tuesday’s game with two points.

“We came out of the first half 1-1, but I thought it could have been 5-1,” winger Evander Kane said. “In the first half we had six or seven A-grade chances. In the second we had five or six. We put together almost 50 shots.

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“The rebounds weren’t going our way. We had one in that last minute at the end (with the keeper fired) to make it interesting. We get our chances, which is a good sign. The end will come.

With a few perennial Art Ross candidates in the lineup, you can rest assured the goals will come. But, much like the defense, Edmonton’s offensive sights are just a bit off at the start.

The power play is going well (4 for 11) and they already have three goals from the blue line, but a five-for-five goal from their top six forwards in three games is pretty eye-catching.

“You take your hat off to the other team,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “They did some good things and their goalkeeper had a hell of a game under duress.

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“We had several breakaways and odd situations, second chances. We were around painting. We can be more precise and weighty, being ready to capitalize when the puck is on your boards.

“But we scored 10 goals in three games, that should be more than enough to be successful. I’m not worried about our team’s offensive performance, there will be nights like this where you meet a hot goalie.

“We pay a little more attention to errors that we think we can fix to keep more goals out of our net rather than worrying about what we put in the other net.”

With three games in 11 days, it’s understandable that their timing is off.

“We had a few gaps between games,” defender Cody Ceci said. “Now our schedule seems to be a bit more normal, we play every other night now, picking up the pace of things.”

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The “swing of things” is six games over the next 11 days, including three on the road, starting with Thursday’s visit by the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0.

The Hurricanes are a quick and tenacious team that is relentless in their forechecking and chasing the puck. It’s the kind of team that tackles the things that have hindered the Oilers — mishandled pucks, defensive wavering and half-hearted work along the boards.

The Oilers ask themselves to be smarter in the open areas of the ice and more assertive in the tough areas.

“You can always be tougher,” Kane said. “If we look at some of the opportunities that we’ve given up in those last three games, that was the whole point. Against a tough team like Carolina, we’re going to have to be tough because they’ve got a lot of guys fighting. strong around the net at both ends.

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Responding in kind is the only way to avoid falling to 1-3.

“They’ve become a great team,” Ceci said. “They come here with new additions that also find their way. It will be a good test for us at home.

After that, St. Louis and Pittsburgh are in town, so the Oilers will be putting in some tough miles while trying to get their game back on track.

“The next teams to come are strong teams,” said Ceci. “Hopefully we’re ready to play 60 fulls because we’re going to have to do that against these teams.”


While there’s no official word on Dylan Holloway, Woodcroft said he looked and sounded great after taking a terrible blow from Buffalo’s Ilya Lyubushkin eight shifts into Tuesday’s game. .

“He seemed to be in good spirits,” Woodcroft said. “He had a cut on his nose.”

The 21-year-old left the game and didn’t return. He also didn’t practice with the team on Wednesday, so he’s questionable for Thursday against the Hurricanes. There’s no point in rushing it.

The Oilers have an additional player with the big team, forward Derek Ryan.


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