The Edmonton Oilers saw a five-game winning streak come to and end Thursday night, and now must regroup and bear down as they hope to regain a playoff spot. The Oilers managed to reach the top eight for a moment, but the Thursday loss to the Vancouver Canucks knocked them back down to ninth, one point behind the St. Louis Blues. After a nearly two-week stretch in which they seemed to score at will behind the power of their young forwards, the Oilers were blanked by the Canucks while managing only 23 shots on goal. Just one night after scoring three power play goals against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers failed to convert in any of their four chances with the man-advantage against the Canucks.
Taylor Hall led the way for the Oilers during their win streak, scoring six goals and recording 14 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins chipped in a goal and nine assists. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk recorded wins in four straight games (including one shutout), but Nikolai Khabibulin struggled against the Canucks, allowing four goals on 28 shots. It has been an up-and-down season for the veteran netminder, which only puts more pressure on Dubnyk in the final month of the season. Dubnyk seems to present the best chance to win at this point, and will likely start almost all of the Oilers remaining games.
The Oilers face the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, and need to find their scoring touch again as they try and bounce back from Thursday’s loss. They face a tough schedule in their final 11 games, meeting the Anaheim Ducks three times, the Minnesota Wild twice and the Chicago Blackhawks once.