For those Edmonton Oilers fans who have been waiting to exhale, you can almost do so now.
After last night’s victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, they have one more game to go until they finally return home. The team doesn’t have much of a season left to play for, but despite how abysmal they have been during this first half, they are still only five points out of a playoff spot, so a playoff berth is, miraculously, still a possibility.
The Oilers need to forget about this past week in a hurry because it was about as bad as it could possibly get. Losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets was deflating; following that up with a 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings was unfortunate but not surprising, and getting annihilated by the Nashville Predators 6-0 was as embarrassing as it gets.
The only way things could have been worse was if the Oilers had managed to blow their 4-0 lead and lose to the Blackhawks, but fortunately, they held on for the 6-5 victory there.
They continued to struggle with the fundamentals, and this hurt them considerably. They didn’t win faceoffs, and weren’t opportunistic enough to take the puck away from their opponents. They were out-shot in every game, and were thoroughly inconsistent in their attempts to hit their opponents, so there really wasn’t much for them to hang their hats on this week.
Even their penalty kill unit, which has arguably been the best facet of their team this year, only killed 7 of 11 penalties and looked decidedly average.
And then, of course, Devan Dubnyk got injured after Teemu Hartikainen crashed into him last night. If Dubnyk misses a chunk of time here, with Nikolai Khabibulin on the IR already, just stick a fork in the Oilers and give them the No. 1 draft pick again, because there’s no way they’ll go anywhere with Yann Danis as their starter.
This was a dreadful 1-2-1 week that the Oilers can’t forget about fast enough. Can they gain some momentum this week as they finally return home? Can their season be saved? Stay tuned.