Twice last week, the Edmonton Oilers had second-period leads, and twice they’ve coughed them up.
On Saturday, they conceded three third-period goals to the Calgary Flames en route to a 5-3 loss. On Thursday, they gave up three straight goals to the Minnesota Wild on their way to a 4-2 loss.
“When you have the lead, you have to play smarter,” said Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff. “You have to get pucks deep, you have to be at our blue-line, you have to be good rimming the puck up the wall and making the tough plays and we weren’t able to do that (Saturday).”
It’s all part of the learning process for the Oilers who are working their way through early growing pains this season.
It’s a positive sign they’re able to work their way out in front in contests.
Now it’s just a matter of staying there.
“I think we’re sitting back a little bit too much,” said Horcoff. “We want to be a team that plays the same way throughout the game, especially in the third period. We want to be aggressive, we want to be in on their defence and cause turnovers.
“I think there were times when we did that, but not enough. I thought there were times when we controlled the game. We just fell short.”
Against Calgary, the Oilers had difficulty dealing with the Flames pressure later in the contest.
They were caught running around on a few occasions which resulted in costly penalties.
“I think more so for us, it’s just really focusing on little things,” Horcoff said. “Our mistakes are resulting in Grade A chances for them. We were turning the puck over a lot in tough areas and we can’t do that. You can’t give a team that is struggling for offence, easy offence. And that’s what we did.”