The Edmonton Oilers lost 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night, falling to 2-9-1 on the season. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Oilers are tied with the Sharks for 31st in the NHL standings. Both franchises have five points, although the Sharks have played an extra game. The Sharks suffered their worst home defeat in franchise history on November 3, losing 10-1 to the Vancouver Canucks.
- Edmonton has a 1-5 record on the road in 2022-23. The Oilers have a goal differential of -19, ranked second in the league.
- Oilers captain Connor McDavid was pointless against the Sharks. McDavid, a Hart Trophy winner, has two goals and eight assists in 2023-24.
What’s wrong with Edmonton?
In one word: everything. The Oilers have the worst team save percentage in the NHL and have allowed the second most goals. When they allow chances defensively, they are phenomenal – and they concede goals at an alarming rate. The punishment for murder is terrible. Incredibly, the top offensive team in the league last season was unable to score from McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. They are tied for fourth from bottom at 2.58 goals per game. Even their power play was wrong. Of course, things should correct themselves.
But with the Oilers tied for 32nd about 15 percent of the way through the season, time is running out for general manager Ken Holland to get his footing. Demoting backup goalkeeper Jack Campbell is not enough. It is said here that a trade – although difficult to accomplish – is a better move than firing coach Jay Woodcroft. The Netherlands better get to work on the phones quickly if that’s the plan. — Daniel Nugent-Bowman, Oilers writer
Where do the Oilers go from here?
You’ve got to hand it to the Sharks, who have responded from back-to-back blowouts in which they allowed 10 goals to both Vancouver and Pittsburgh that necessitated a one-way, team-wide speech from general manager Mike Grier on Monday. Although they didn’t get the better of Philadelphia on Tuesday, they did get a timely goal, a committed effort and great goalkeeping from Mackenzie Blackwood in a 2-1 win that ended their 11-game losing streak to open the season.
The same happened on Thursday with Blackwood again being a wall as he made 39 saves while goals from Fabian Zetterlund, Tomas Hertl and Filip Zadina provided enough attack. More than Edmonton could muster even with a 41-18 shot advantage. The Oilers have never led against the worst team in the NHL, and their current brutal 1-7-1 stretch has left them with the same point total — five — as the lowly Sharks. That’s unthinkable for a team led by two supernovas in McDavid and Draisaitl who have lost to the reigning Stanley Cup champions the last two seasons.
Will Woodcroft pay the price for their struggles? Or Ken Holland? His bench must be cooked as he has an underperforming roster and a major problem in goal as Stuart Skinner has been shaky and Campbell has been sent to the minors. Is a big trade needed to pull oil companies out of the doldrums? Something has to happen before it’s too late to save their season. — Eric Stevens, NHL staff writer
How did the Sharks’ new defenseman perform?
Kalen Addison made his debut in San Jose after being acquired from Minnesota on Wednesday. Sharks coach David Quinn has thrown the 23-year-old straight into the fire by placing him alongside Mario Ferraro in a pairing. He put two of his four shot attempts on target and was credited with three blocked shots.
Addison clocked 19 minutes, 47 seconds, including 2:35 on the power play for what will now be the starting quarterback. That’s been his strength as an NHL player, and he could respond well to a higher role after falling out of the Wild’s plans. He’s had major issues defensively, and while he was at -1 on Thursday, he made some solid runs in his own zone and looked solid overall. — Stevens
what are they saying
When asked after the game if he was worried about his job, Woodcroft said he was worried about “taking care of my day-to-day job and day-to-day operations and making sure I give my players something to focus on and focus on.”
“No one is happy where we are now,” Woodcroft said. “We all have it. We can be better. That’s where my focus is.”
(Connor McDavid Image: Theron W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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