Offensively, the Edmonton Oilers continue to dazzle. As they ready to play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, it is Edmonton’s defensive struggles under the gun.
The Oilers are winless in four games, the last three in extra time and the last two while squandering 3-0 leads. In those four games, they have surrendered 22 goals, plus a pair of shootout winners.
“It’s important we look in the mirror here and determine how we’re going to try and win hockey games,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “There were a lot of good things in (their last) game, especially offensively. We got contributions up-and-down the lineup, but to dress it up as anything other than disappointing that we didn’t defend the right way down the stretch would be false.”
Just over a week ago, the Oilers ended a lengthy road trip with a 6-2 loss in Montreal, needed a frantic third-period comeback against the Detroit Red Wings only to lose 5-4 in a shootout in their first game back home and then wasted a 3-0 lead en route to another 5-4 shootout loss at the hands of the New York Rangers.
They are coming off another blown 3-0 lead in Sunday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, which has the Oilers on a 1-1-4 skid that has them sitting in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“We score enough goals and the mentality has to be to defend, and we’re definitely capable of it,” Edmonton forward Warren Foegele said. “It’s just having the right mindset.”
Edmonton had a day off Monday, so there was no word whether forward Evander Kane would return after missing the Colorado game due to injury.
The Flyers arrive after snapping a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday afternoon.
After opening a four-game road trip with consecutive 6-2 losses, the Flyers beat the Flames despite being outshot and outplayed from start to finish and even surrendering a 3-1 third-period lead.
“We needed it,” Flyers forward Scott Laughton said. “Not the best start to the road trip, but we battled hard. Guys left it out there and we have to do the same thing (Tuesday) against a really good team.”
The Flyers are not mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, but desperately need a miracle run over their remaining 24 games.
In beating the Flames, though, they received excellent goaltending from Samuel Ersson — who will likely give way to No. 1 goalie Carter Hart in Edmonton — along with timely scoring and determination. Case in point, they blocked 30 Flames shot attempts.
“Guys were blocking shots like crazy,” Ersson said after a 32-save performance. “That’s what it takes and gives so much energy to the group and that’s how we win games.”
However, the Flyers may be without their leading goal scorer and point producer, Travis Konecny. He left the Calgary game late in the third period — having already collected one goal and one assist — due to an upper-body injury following a hard hit from Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.
Flyers coach John Tortorella had no update on the status of his top-line player, who was spotted leaving the arena in Calgary with his left arm in a sling.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but guys stepped up when we needed it without him,” Laughton said. “I just hope it’s OK.”
–Field Level Media