Oilers flat at home

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:49 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers figured the Chicago Blackhawks would come out hard.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are fighting for their playoff lives, were coming off a lackluster effort in Calgary and had gone through a conditioning practice the day before.

Yet the Oilers were hoping when the Blackhawks pushed, there would be some resistance, but their wasn’t much early en route to a 4-1 loss.

“There is something about our starts at home and we have a long stretch here of predominately home games where we want to get rid of that,” said Oilers associate coach Ralph Krueger. “For some reason, we seem to be more aggressive on the road early on and here maybe we’re thinking about playing a touch more.

“In my mind, we’ve got the wrong order, we think about defence first on the road, and there is just that little bit of offence-first thinking at home and it’s weakening our games early on.”

The Oilers were held to just four shots in the first period as play was mainly in their own end. Had it not been for the play of goaltender Devan Dubnyk the contest would have been decided after the first 20 minutes.

Dubnyk turned aside nine of the 10 shots he faced, with Patrick Sharp getting the visitors on the board with a clean shot from the slot.

“For whatever reason we came out flat,” said Oilers center Sam Gagner. “We have to give Chicago some credit, but we have to be better.

“Devan was awesome for us, he gave us a chance to win and we let him down. We have to continue to try and help our goalies as much as possible, by trying to not too play in our own end.”

The Oilers went into the contest looking for their second consecutive win. But as has been the case 11 times this season, they’ve been unable to win two straight.

“That’s why we are where we are in the standings,” Gagner said. “If you look at it, there are times when we can play with any team in this league. Being on this team, it’s tough to kind of figure things out, but we have to continue to forge ahead and continue to get better. We have to find ways to get that consistency and find ways to win on back-to-back nights.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


Videos

Photos