Defense, Veterans Desert Edmonton Oilers in Loss to Columbus Blue Jackets

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The worst part about being one of the Edmonton Oilers right now is that you cannot look at this situation and say, “st least it can’t get any worse.” Why? Because the Oilers just might be the worst team in hockey right now. Again.

Despite getting a charity point for taking last night’s game to a shootout before losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Oilers have now lost three in a row, and four of the first five games of this nine-game road trip. Although they moved up to 12th in the West with last night’s performance, they are three points out of last place and have four games remaining on this nightmare of a road trip that is inches away from ending their season.

Right now, there isn’t much you can say the Oilers are doing right. They are still allowing themselves to be outshot by a considerable margin and they aren’t winning faceoffs, so it’s a small wonder they are able to create any offensive chances at all.

The defense is often on its heels or is completely getting turned around (Ryan Whitney looked especially silly on a couple occasions last night), and Devan Dubnyk, as usual, is getting thrown to the wolves and can’t handle the pressure for sixty minutes because he has no help.

It’s not going to get any better with this roster either. Veterans like Eric Belanger, Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth are all but non-existent, Whitney has largely under-performed (although he did score a nice goal last night) and Nail Yakupov is getting third and fourth-line minutes when he needs to be getting top-six minutes – so clearly there are roster and chemistry issues that need addressing here.

This road trip has all but sapped the remaining energy (and interest) out of this squad, and with games remaining against the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche on this trip, you can pretty much eliminate the Oilers from playoff contention unless they can miraculously sweep these final four games.

Even then, it might still be too late.

Get ready, Oilers fans, because given the team’s upcoming schedule and their history with extended road trips like this, it looks like things are, in fact, about to get worse. A trip to the cellar seems all but inevitable at this point.

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