The Edmonton Oilers’ fanbase has had little to cheer about with their team that has undergone years of rebuilding. What they currently have to show for their rebuilt team is a disappointing record of 2-6-1 through their first five games.
The five points that they have accumulated places them in last place in their division, as well as the Western Conference. Edmonton has a -10 goal differential, which is also the worst in the Western Conference.
As if fans weren’t worried enough about the success of the Oilers this season, a CBC report indicates that Taylor Hall will be out for a month with a knee injury. The injury was sustained on a hit by Eric Gryba of the Ottawa Senators. Frustrated with the hit, Taylor Hall retaliated and received two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. Although clearly shaken up, he would return to play until later on in the second period after he took a shot on net. Hall had tallied eight points in nine games.
Fans realize that on paper the Oilers have a legitimate team, but what seems to be the problem?
The problem is defense. The Oilers have given up 36 goals this season; the next closest team is Florida with 32 goals against, and the closest in the Western Conference is Vancouver with 29 goals surrendered.
Goaltenders Devan Dubnyk and Jason Labarbera hoist a 4.19 and 3.22 goals against average respectively. This may be one time when the goaltending is the main issue for the defense. Usually it’s a combination of poor backchecking by the forwards, easy giveaways by the defense, and poor goaltending; but no matter how you analyze the data, goaltending is the main issue.
Dubnyk is getting a similar quantity of shots as other goaltenders with a similar amount of starts, yet his goals against average in nearly double in some cases. Moving forward in the season, the goaltending will need to be able to support the offensive production, which is pretty average compared to the rest of the league. This of course will require that the young forwards switch their mindset to a more defensive one in order to help out their goaltenders.
The silver lining
Jordan Eberle stated today that he is recovered from his hip tweak and is ready to play in the game tonight. Eberle is tied for the most points by an Oiler this season (with Hall), and also has the highest plus/minus ratio on the roster (+5).
The Oilers play in Montreal against the Canadiens tonight. Puck drops at 5:30MT.
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