3 Takeaways From Oilers 5-2 Loss to Predators

The Hockey Writers

In a crucial matchup that the Edmonton Oilers desperately needed to win, they once again found themselves on the losing end, dropping the ball against the Nashville Predators. The game started with a glimmer of hope when Darnell Nurse capitalized on the power play, giving the Oilers an early lead. However, that hope was short-lived as Filip Forsberg swiftly outmaneuvered Jack Campbell, tying the game just 25 seconds later.

Things only got worse from there as Nashville scored early in the second and Edmonton let it slip away for a number of the same reasons previous games have gotten away from them. Things have gone from bad to worse and something has to give.

Oilers Are Absolute Momentum Killers… In a Bad Way

The first period ended with a 1-1 score, suggesting the Oilers were still in contention. But as the second period began, the Predators quickly seized control, scoring twice to take a 3-1 lead. A poorly-timed penalty by Evander Kane, another too-many-men gaffe, and defensive lapses haunted the Oilers, allowed Nashville to capitalize on power plays and widen the gap. Although the Oilers managed to respond with a goal from Zach Hyman, mistakes continued to plague them. Too many penalties, defensive breakdowns, and missed opportunities plagued the team’s performance.

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The thing that is so frustrating is that the second this team seems to have their opponents in a troubling spot, they either take their foot off the gas or make a glaring mistake that winds up in a penalty or goal against. It’s absolutely crippling and it’s happening over and over. Everyone on this team says the right things — that they can’t keep letting teams get four goals a gam — but they’re not doing anything to stop it.

Hyman said:

“We know how good we can be, and we know what’s causing us to be in this spot. There’s no magic pill, we just have to go out there and fix it. I think that’s the frustrating part, we haven’t fixed those errors that continue to come up in our game. We have the recipe, we know what to do. We just have to go out and do it.”

The Goaltending Just Isn’t Good Enough

Ryan O’Reilly emerged as the Predators’ star, netting a hat trick and an assist, highlighting the Oilers’ inability to defend against key players. In one sequence, O’Reilly actually scored twice. No one noticed that the first goal went in, so play continued and he scored again. That was the kind of night it was.

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The game exposed goaltending issues that continue to be a problem, but have often been hidden under the guise garbage defense. The defense has been awful, but the Oilers’ goaltenders can’t keep allowing 4 goals on 20 shots, or 5 goals on 30. Edmonton can’t win games when their netminders have that kind of save percentage.

The critical juncture has arrived for the Oilers, forcing them to confront the need for significant changes. The road ahead demands a collective effort to rectify their deficiencies and salvage the season, but none of that matters if the goalies can’t do their part.

The Stars (McDavid and Draisaitl) Are Off of Their Game

With about five minutes left in the game and the Oilers trailing 5-2, their hopes dwindled. The team needed a miracle, a spark from an unexpected source, as their star players, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, seemed off their game. This isn’t the only game these two haven’t looked right. It’s not clear what’s going to get them back to normal, but the longer this continues, the more frustrated these two are probably going to get.

This season’s disappointing 2-7-1 start is going to start weighing heavily on the team. The pressure will be on McDavid and Draisaitl to be the spark that gets this group going. You can only count on debuts and call-ups to take you so far. McDavid had an assist, but was plus/minus – 2 and had three shots on goal. Draisaitl had one shot on net, no points and was also a minus-2.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

That said, Edmonton’s struggles extended beyond individual performances; their defense, goaltending, power play, and penalty kill all faltered. The team faced challenges in scoring, defending, and special teams, indicating systemic issues that needed urgent attention. The high expectations placed on the Oilers only magnified the disappointment of their lackluster performance.

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