Week 3 was filled with growing pains and moral victories for the Edmonton Oilers and that’s about it. After going 1-1-2 and collecting four out of eight points, it wasn’t a horrific week, but it wasn’t their best either.
Despite losing three of their games last week, the biggest bright spot on the team has to be the goaltending. Devan Dubnyk has continued to play out of his mind in net and posted a save percentage of .935 in going 1-0-2 for the week, so while he only managed to steal one victory this past week, he kept his team in games enough to the point where they got at least a point in every game he started. Kudos also go out to Nikolai Khabibulin for giving a game performance in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings this past Saturday, stopping 28 of 30 shots in the first bit of action for the 40-year-old in almost a year after coming back from offseason hip surgery. If the Oilers’ scuffling offense can ever get going and if Dubnyk and Khabibulin can keep performing like this, the Oilers might just be able to sneak into the playoffs.
That being said, the Oilers’ offense still has yet to break out. Ales Hemsky had a solid week in 5-on-5 and power play situations, while Ryan Smyth and Magnus Paajarvi both scored their first goals of the season–and both shorthanded!–but the rest of the offense was asleep this week as Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were essentially shut down. And three goals against arguably the worst team in the Western Conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets, does not count as a breakout performance. That’s called par for the course.
Getting a point against the Dallas Stars was a nice moral victory despite the loss because the Oilers didn’t get a single point against them all of last season, so there is that, and with Sunday’s win against the Blue Jackets, the Oilers finally snapped their five-game skid. But it was a rough week. They blew a 2-0 lead against the Vancouver Canucks before losing in overtime and were outnumbered and outmatched against the Red Wings. Some of their injured players returned which was nice, but time will tell how effective they will be going forward.
The Oilers currently find themselves in 10th place in the Western Conference based on tie-breakers, but are tied for 8th in points overall with the Stars, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Edmonton will only play twice this week: tonight against Dallas and Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, which will mark the team’s longest break between games all season. Time will tell if they can use the extra rest to their advantage and get on a roll.