Shot shortage hurts Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

It got so bad Sunday, they were lobbying to get shots added to their total.

However, even if they were able to avoid setting a franchise record for the fewest shots in a contest, the Oilers couldnt hide from the fact that their effort to get pucks on net against the Vancouver Canucks left something to be desired.

Heading into the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Oilers are determined to work opposing goaltenders a little harder.

Its one of those things at this level that you really have to bear down on, said Oilers centre Sam Gagner. As you learn to figure out the league, there are only so many chances you get in a game to shoot the puck in a quality area.

In junior and the lower levels, you have a chance to fake a shot and hit a guy back door for a tap-in, then later in the game still get a chance where you can shoot it.

The Oilers are getting the fewest shots on goal per game in the league, while at the same time, allowing the most.

That combination usually leads to unfavourable outcomes, but somehow theyre managing to pull out victories, winning five of their last seven games.

As a group, we have to realize that there are only so many prime scoring opportunities during a game and we have to take advantage of them, said Gagner. We have to shoot the puck and get some traffic in front of the net. Sometimes the guy you are looking to pass it to, can score on a rebound as well. Thats something we need to focus on and get better and the next game is going to be a huge one in that regard.

With so much talent on the roster, the Oilers have a tendency to hold on to the puck looking for a better play.

At times, head coach Tom Renney would prefer his club throw the puck on net and battle for a rebound.

We have a level of skill that suggests we have to make a perfect play in order to score a goal to leave no doubt that its going in, said Renney. But sometimes that can be very cumbersome. I think a lot of times you just have to get pucks to the net and you have to go there. Thats the end point, the blue paint.

It doesnt matter who you are in this league, if you look at the top four or five teams in this league, thats where pucks go.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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