When you score four goals, especially against a goaltender like Jacob Markstrom, you should be taking home two points that night. The Edmonton Oilers scored four on Saturday night against Markstrom and the Flames, but surrendered six and dropped to 6-7-0 on the season.
They didn’t get much help in net. Mikko Koskinen let up, to my eye, at least four goals that cannot go in. The first goal of the game was a simple shot that he has to have, while Milan Lucic’s goal to tie the game in the second period was another goal where you need a save.
In the end, the Oilers played well enough to win, but they didn’t get the saves that the Flames did on the night. Now they’ll head to Ottawa for a back-to-back as they try and get back to .500.
While they did play well enough to win the game, the Oilers were far from perfect. Kris Russell made two massive mistakes on goals against, while Evan Bouchard and Tyson Barrie both had some rough moments in the loss. There are things for Edmonton to clean up as they travel east.
“When you get six goals scored on you, there’s a few things you need to clean up,” Darnell Nurse said after the loss. “We know we need to be better in our own zone and support each other in the middle of the ice. Once we take care of that, we know we have enough offence.”
Nurse isn’t wrong. Edmonton’s offense has been just fine this season, save for the third line. The issue? In 13 games played so far, the Oilers have given up at least three goals on ten occasions. That just isn’t good enough.
What makes Saturday night’s loss even more perplexing is how dominant the Oilers were out of the gate. Edmonton outshot the Calgary 17-3 in the first period, but led just 2-1 at the intermission. Again, goaltending was a huge factor there. Koskinen let up a soft goal early, while Markstrom made a number of key saves to give his team a puncher’s chance.
After that opening period? The Oilers looked like a different team.
“We were playing a simple, direct game in the first period and in the second period we decided we were going to turn a lot of pucks over,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said postgame. “We ended up playing in our own zone too much, it ended up in the back of our net, and we chased it for the rest of the game.”
The good news for the Oilers? They’ll face an Ottawa team that they should be able to handle in each of their next two contests. Beware, though. The Senators just gave a very good Montreal team a lot of headaches in the last two games.
The Oilers will need to tighten up defensively and play their simple, direct game if they want to finally get above true .500 this season.