They’re back home, beaten, battered and looking for answers.
The Edmonton Oilers took to the ice for practice Monday in Sherwood Park, having lost four of five games on their recent road trip and being outscored 26-10 in the process.
“We’re not going to fluff it up, we got ourselves into a bind here, with respect with how we chose to defend the game,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “Our penalty kill has been less than adequate this year. Our power play, which is in the middle of the pack, needs to be better to help keep us in games.
“Beyond that, we’ve got to make sure that we need to be more proactive as a team and when we do that, we’re fine.”
The trip that started so promising with a 2-1 win in Chicago, quickly spiralled out of control.
The victory was followed by lopsided losses in Carolina and Detroit, an overtime loss in New Jersey and a morally deflating 8-2 defeat to the New York Rangers on Sunday.
The Oilers returned home tied for last in the league standings with the New York Islanders, who fired their coach, Scott Gordon, on Monday.
“We’re making a lot of mental errors,” said Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff.
“We’re not being intense enough. When you’re letting that many goals in, it’s not just one or two things, we’re making bad decisions, we’re indecisive in our defensive zone and we’re not hard enough in the tough areas. Those things add up and account for a lot of goals.”
This week the Oilers host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and Phoenix Coyotes Friday before heading out on a two-game road trip.
“Our guys are not happy with where we are. They don’t suggest for a minute that what’s happening is good,” Renney said. “What they are is completely embracing is that this is where they are and they’re the only guys that can do anything about it. They’ve kept a terrific attitude about that.”
– Van Diest