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Dangerous will get worse as Nashville pushes woeful Oilers deeper within the muck

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With the Edmonton Oilers stalled within the muck and in determined want of a break, no person would have faulted them for selecting up the Nashville Predators on the airport, paying for his or her lodge rooms and perhaps even sliding them a little bit meal cash.

They’ve been beating the Predators for enjoyable (10-1-2) during the last 4 years, so why not roll out the welcome mat for a superbly timed reward to assist them escape their distress?

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As a result of there isn’t a escaping this distress.

Even a go to from their favorite staff within the league turned bitter for the free-falling Oilers as Nashville waltzed its option to a straightforward 5-2 resolution at Rogers Place, the place the house staff has but to win a recreation this season.

“It’s simply demise by a thousand cuts, that’s what it appears like,” sighed Oilers captain Connor McDavid, at a loss to clarify all of the losses. “One mistake and it prices us and one other little mistake and it simply snowballs. It’s robust to chase video games.”

The newest setback drops the Oilers to 2-7-1, with no proof in any way that issues are getting higher any time quickly.

“Our struggles are everywhere in the rink,” continued McDavid. “That’s what you get if you’re 2-7-1. There appear to be struggles everywhere in the ice.”

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Nashville Predators have a good time a aim as Edmonton Oilers’ Warren Foegele (37) appears to be like on throughout second interval NHL motion in Edmonton on Saturday November 4, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson Photograph by JASON FRANSON /THE CANADIAN PRESS

There are. The season is quickly deteriorating into Floor Hog Day, with sullen Oilers spending each post-game interview acknowledging their errors and stressing how necessary it’s to deal with particulars and play more durable. And each recreation it’s the identical previous lacklustre, mistake-filled end result.

“These are issues that we discuss and that the coaches discuss,” stated winger Zach Hyman. “However we’ve to go on the market and do it. There is no such thing as a different reply.

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We’re not doing it proper now and we have to begin doing it, clearly.

“I do know that may sound like a foolish reply, however it’s the sincere fact. We all know what we’ve to do and we aren’t presently doing it.”

After a 1-1 first interval towards Dallas, the Oilers fell into their normal behavior of wilting badly as the sport wore on. They gave up three objectives within the second interval to fall behind 4-2 and one other one within the third to seal their very own destiny. They’ve been outscored 29-13 within the ultimate 40 minutes of their 10 video games this season.

“It was actually much like the opposite night time (falling behind 4-1 to Dallas on Thursday),” stated McDavid. “I assumed we had a great begin after which the psychological errors that maintain costing us over and over made us chase the sport and it’s onerous to chase video games on this league.”

Head coach Jay Woodcroft absolutely anticipated, as everybody else did, a extra decided resistance from a staff on the brink. That he didn’t get it says so much about this staff’s psychological toughness.

“I assumed we misplaced quite a lot of puck battles at this time, didn’t like seeing that,” stated Woodcroft. “I assumed our puck play wasn’t adequate at this time. To a person not adequate — from all people.”

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Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft watches the sport unfold towards the Nashville Predators throughout third interval NHL motion in Edmonton on Saturday November 4, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson Photograph by JASON FRANSON /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Issues are unhealthy proper now, each in effort and within the capacity to course of the sport correctly. It’s solely 10 video games, but it surely truthfully doesn’t appear to be it will take a lot to sewer the season for good.

“The one manner ahead is to stay collectively,” stated Woodcroft. “In order that’s primary: stick collectively and work your manner by way of it. It’s about addressing components of the sport that need to be cleaned up. Proper now, it must be on the defensive aspect of issues, not on the on the offensive aspect.”

Defending, which was purported to be the guts of what the Oilers wished to perform by way of coaching camp and within the first few weeks of the season is even worse than it was final yr.

They’ve allowed 4 or extra objectives in six of their eight losses, rank twenty eighth within the league in objectives towards and are useless final in save share, with Jack Campbell (.878) and Stuart Skinner (.861) each properly under the minimal .900 water line.

The offensive aspect of issues, particularly the facility play, can also be vanishing. Scoring objectives is meant to be this staff’s bread and butter, however there isn’t a bread and no butter proper now, simply an empty counter the place the sandwich needs to be.

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Nashville’s Kevin Lankinen turned the second backup goalie in as many video games to beat a determined Oilers staff by itself ice.

Even Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are shadows of themselves. It’s now seven video games and not using a aim for Draisaitl, 5 video games and not using a aim for McDavid.

“It definitely may very well be higher,” McDavid stated of his play. “Not on the degree I count on myself to be at.”

He’s not alone.

“They’ve led the cost for a very long time,” Woodcroft stated of his two slumping superstars. “However we’re underperforming as a bunch proper now. They’re like the remainder of us. They’ll play higher; our entire staff can play higher.”

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