EDMONTON – The simple route would be to dwell on goalie Laurent Brossoit, who let in a shabby second-period goal that made the score 2-1.
That’s what happened in Edmonton Wednesday, as the Philadelphia Flyers walked into Rogers Place and left with a 4-2 victory, dropping Brossoit’s record to 1-5-1.
Philly was the better team by a country mile, from the goal line out, as the Oilers played like a team that’s guaranteed a playoff spot — not one with chances that sit below five per cent.
So let’s talk about what else can’t happen if your team is planning on winning, or making the playoffs a few months from now.
“We didn’t have enough desperation,” said defenceman Oscar Klefbom. “These are two points that don’t come back later. We keep making the road tougher and tougher every game. These are points we have to take, especially here in Rogers.”
How about facing goalie Brian Elliott, and at the 50-minute mark straining to recall if he had been forced to make an above-average save yet? How about defenceman Kris Russell, who was a trainwreck in this one from his first shift to the last?
How about Leon Draisaitl’s game? Yes, he finished a shorthanded two-on-one with Connor McDavid for Edmonton’s first goal, but the rest of the evening he was silent, as he has been on far too many nights this season.
After signing a new eight-year, $68-million deal over the summer, we’re 28 games in and Draisaitl doesn’t have a power-play point yet. Some production, please…?
“It’s not the effort. We know we are a hard-working group in here,” Draisaitl pleaded. “Sometimes, individually and as a team, we are not sharp enough. That starts with the leaders, starts with us, and goes all the way through the line-up.”
Edmonton hasn’t scored a power-play goal in eight games now, and were gifted an opportunity in the final four minutes, down by a goal Wednesday. Good teams take advantage of those opportunities. This team didn’t, peppering Elliott with but a single shot in two-man advantages on the evening — a solo effort by McDavid.
Alas, the shots on goal were 33-25 for Philly, after Edmonton poured it on late. It was an inexcusably laissez faire effort from a team in a desperate position in the standings.
To waltz through a game like this is sad, really, as a desperate fan base watches its team and wonders if the players share even a modicum of concern over the current NHL standings.
“Usually, we’re forechecking hard and our D are getting up,” said defenceman Matt Benning. “Tonight we were just a little bit slow.”
Yes, just a little bit slow. And the sun is just a little bit hot.
There were plenty of culprits on an Oilers team that generated period totals of seven, nine and nine shots against a Flyers club that was one win removed from a 10-game losing streak. The Oilers are now 1-7 at home against the East, and heading East for games in Montreal, Toronto and Columbus.
Losing is going to happen, and Philadelphia gets credit for a solid road win. It’s how Edmonton lost this one that doesn’t pass the sniff test.
It’s easy to blame the goalie. And let’s face it:
He could have scored a couple.