When we left an awful 2018, the Edmonton Oilers were shoring up their defence and attempting to win their way back into favour. With 2019 underway, that’s not going well.
The Oilers reached what could be termed a new low with their “performance” against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, setting up 2019 as another year of disappointment for fans. They were knocked off handily by the Los Angeles Kings, with a final score of 4-0 hardly telling the whole story.
The Kings have, for one reason or another, frequently handed the Oilers a loss at the Staples Center.
But Saturday was extraordinary for its lack of effort from the houseguests, who showed up looking to inch back into the post-season and left without a prayer.
The Kings, purportedly one of the league’s worst teams at home, looked more than comfortable whooping the Oilers.
Los Angeles beat Mikko Koskinen three times in the opening 14 minutes and chased the Edmonton goalie to the pine. The Kings shut the door for the rest of the contest. Easily.
By that point in the game, the home team had more goals than the Oilers had shots. Seriously.
“We had one player show up and play, Darnell Nurse,” said Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock. “He was our best player by a mile, he was one of our most competitive players on the ice and that’s all we had. We didn’t compete. (LA’s) best players were their best players and we didn’t compete. This is on everybody. Everybody.”
And that is where we’re at with this exasperating Oilers franchise, a team that can no longer ignore that they’re a one-line team that can’t shut the door when they need to. As much as it may be appealing to place the offensive load on Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, there must be some secondary scoring. Or at least some secondary shots.
Edmonton has dropped seven of their last eight games and will strap in against Anaheim Sunday. The Ducks are winless in seven, so that could present some opportunities for the Oilers to get some revenge.
Then again, the Kings were, you know, the Kings and they still showed up the disconcerting Oilers.
So, what comes next? This California swing could make or break this team and Saturday’s effort was not a good start. General manager Peter Chiarelli will be lucky to survive the season if this keeps up and it may be well past time to clean house, as this is one hockey club in desperate need of a new “Plan.”