PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers vs. Predators
EDMONTON, AB – Hockey is a game of mistakes.
You need your offense to put pucks past your opponents, but if you’re not keeping it out of your own net, it’s going to be tough trying to outscore your opponents every night.
The Edmonton Oilers have a strong grasp on that idea as they work to reduce their own mistakes that are costing them valuable early-season points heading into Saturday’s afternoon matchup with the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place.
“I think it’s many factors that factor into it,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “In the odd game, it’s the odd-man rushes that are the problem; in the other odd game, it’s mental errors or mistakes or lapses.
“Right now, we’re not scoring at the pace where we can mask those mistakes, and it’s costing us games.”
Despite the Edmonton Oilers peppering the Dallas Stars for 49 shots, the one, two, three mistakes going the other way cost them in a 4-3 defeat on Thursday night that went down as their fourth defeat in five games.
The Blue & Orange poured the pressure on goalie Scott Wedgewood and the Stars’ net over the final 20 minutes, down 4-1 after a few mental lapses and gaps in coverage led to the sizeable deficit in the final period.
The Stars were clinical with their finishing, turning a failed pinch from Cody Ceci at the blueline in the first period and a poor line change and dump-in from Philip Broberg in the middle frame into odd-man rushes that produced goals from Matt Duchene and Joe Pavelski.
Hintz added another on the power play in the middle frame before capitalizing on Evan Bouchard’s loss of position on a rush at 2:37 into the final period to score his second goal of the game that would ultimately go down as the game-winner.
“It seems to me like it’s a little bit more individual mistakes than systematic or anything like that,” Draisaitl said. “So I think just individually, we lose our sharpness for a second and it seems like every time that happens, it’s in the back of the net.”