Tampa Bay Lightning at Edmonton Oilers: We asked the question, “Why are the Edmonton Oilers...”

And then we used autocomplete to finish the sentence.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Edmonton Oilers: GAME #53

Time: 9:00 PM Eastern Time

Location: Rogers Place

Broadcast / Streaming: SNW, SUN

Opponent SBNation Site: Copper & Blue


When you Google the phrase “Why are the Edmonton Oilers...” it autocompletes to “...so bad.” And the first hit that pops up is from our friend Steve Dangle, entitled “Why is the Oilers’ penalty kill historically bad at home?” The Oilers’ special teams are terrible, by the way. The worst in the league:

After that, Google hands you a series of articles by two poor, beleaguered souls named David Staples and Bruce McCurdy, who are long-suffering Oilers beat writers. Their articles for the Edmonton Journal attempt to break down why the Oilers are having a terrible season despite Connor McDavid, and despite making it almost to the conference final last season. In summary, the answers are: injuries from their deep playoff run, getting rid of the wrong people, and failure to find cohesion after an early season goaltending meltdown.

Here are a few of their recent offerings:

Edmonton Oilers lose Patrick Maroon? Just how many top wingers can they let go?

No one credible in Oil Country is going to argue the loss of Purcell and Yakupov were hits to the team, but many will argue the loss of Hall, Eberle and even Pitlick damaged the team’s depth on the wing, so much so that a lack of quality on the wing has been a major problem for the Oilers this year. It’s hard to take issue with that thought.

And now the 29-year-old Maroon is, evidently, on the block. He’s an Unrestricted Free Agent in July, and if the Oilers can’t sign him in the next few weeks there’s little choice but to move him for some combination of picks and prospects.

How the Anaheim series helped screw up the Edmonton Oilers in 2017-18

[...] Andrej Sekera’s injury. This is the most obvious down side from the series, as Sekera was knocked out of it on a Ryan Getzlaf hit. He suffered a knee injury that required surgery and only now is he back in the line-up, though perhaps he came back too soon.

[...] Eberle’s usual 55 to 60 points would have been a major boost to the Oilers this year, especially as young wingers like Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev have failed to take flight and the Oilers have moved slowly with Jesse Puljujarvi.

[...] The development of young players isn’t a straight line, it’s up and down, and while the Ducks series was a major step up for both, Slepyshev has crashed this year and Caggiula has failed to build on his strong performance.

[...] Draisaitl played exceptional two-way hockey in those playoffs, but he’s yet to approach that level this year.

[...] Perhaps if the Oilers had lost to a high skill team like Chicago in the playoffs, the Oilers would have taken a different message out of the experience and might well have placed more value on skill, skill and more skill this past summer.

Player grades: Edmonton Oilers soil home sheet with wretched performance in 5-0 beatdown by lowly Sabres

Got to give those Edmonton Oilers credit, they sure do save their worst performances for their home ice. Faced with not so much a “must win” as a “must streak” situation, the gracious hosts torpedoed a three-game winning streak with an horrendous performance before their long-suffering fans, who suffered through another 60 minutes of awful hockey that gave them virtually no reason to cheer at any point. This time it was the league’s second-worst team, the Buffalo Sabres — playing a back-to-back on the road, mind — who skated into Rogers Palace and utterly demolished the Oilers, 5-0.

“This all seems very negative,” I thought, so I went to twitter and asked if people there had insight. Here were the responses:

And a few that went into more detail:

KatyaKnappe of Pension Plan Puppets had an interesting insight, one that pries the team open beyond just “they are bad:” “Their goaltending was bad, and they have too much practice at being bad, so they fell back on old habits, the group cohesion fell apart, and it took too long to get themselves back together. They aren’t as bad as their record.”

But for Oilers fans, they are faced with the grim reality that their team needs a streak to make playoffs this season:

The Oilers have 32 games remaining in the season, and they’ll need to roughly double their 48 points in that time. They’ll face off against Tampa Bay tomorrow, then they’ll head off on a three game roadie in LA, Anaheim and San Jose. Edmonton will need to win all of the California games. Hope Cam Talbot is ready, because they’ll need to win all of the games after that, too.

Um. Good luck, Oilers! But not tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Forward Lines:

Chris Kunitz — Steven Stamkos — Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov — Brayden Point — Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn — Matt Peca — Yanni Gourde

Cory Conacher — Ryan Callahan

Defense Pairings:

Victor Hedman — Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev — Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn — Andrej Sustr

Slater Koekkoek


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Lineup Notes:


Edmonton Oilers:

Forward Lines:

Michael Cammalleri - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic - Jujhar Khaira - Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Strome - Drake Caggiula

Anton Slepyshev - Mark Letestu - Iiro Pakarinen

Defense Pairings:

Darnell Nurse - Kris Russell

Oscar Klefbom - Matthew Benning

Andrej Sekera - Brandon Davidson


Cam Talbot

Al Montoya

Lineup Notes:

Lines from Left Wing Lock.