Campbell just isn’t cutting it — and the sleepy Oilers aren’t helping

Andrei Svechnikov had his second hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers in the same season to help lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 7-2 victory.

Too many turnovers, not enough saves. 

The Edmonton Oilers coughed up pucks all over the ice, allowing goals in the final seconds of two separate periods, and struggling goaltender Jack Campbell was — once again — just not good enough in a 7-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes

“This league is too hard to recover from self-inflicted wounds,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft, “and tonight there were a lot of self-inflicted wounds. 

“Pucks that were on our tape. We didn’t guarantee it out, or we didn’t get it deep, and a very good hockey team made us pay.” 

The math, it’s simple. 

If you’re going to hand pucks away, you’d better have a spectacular goaltender to clean up those messes. If you don’t — and Campbell’s game is anything but spectacular since joining the Oilers — then you’d better take care of the puck. 

Campbell got ventilated for seven behind a sleepy Oilers group of skaters, but was shaky on a couple of early ones when the game was still well within reach. By the time it was over, it wasn’t about the goaltending as much as it was about a team that just didn’t give itself a chance to win. 

“We’re just turning the puck over too much,” said Zach Hyman. “The crucial moments of the game where we’re turning it over and they capitalize. 

“Just by the entire group,” Hyman said of his team. “Not just on the turnovers that led to goals, but turnovers just led to pace of play and possession for them.” 

Andrei Svechnikov had a hat trick — his second in as many games against Edmonton this season — as his long-range wristers whistle past Campbell’s glove with regularity.

The Oilers netminder capped his night by having his clearing attempt picked off and potted for the seventh goal, dropping Campbell’s goals-against average to 4.27 and his save percentage to .873. 

That’s right folks: 4.27 and .873. 

Five million bucks just doesn’t buy what it used to, eh? 

Carolina goalie Pyotr Kochetkov stopped a Dylan Holloway penalty shot early in Period 1 and at least two other breakaways. The Hurricanes’ third-string goalie was by far the best goalie on the ice in Raleigh, ahead of the Oilers’ newly signed No. 1. 

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Connor McDavid scored another highlight-reel goal, his 15th of the season in 15 games. He now has 31 points — a pace better than two points per game — and stretched his points streak to nine games (10-11-21).

Leon Draisaitl extended his points streak to 10 games with an assist. He has 7-12-19 over that span, as McDavid (31 points) and Draisaitl (27 points) sit 1-2 atop the NHL scoring race. 

Meanwhile, Jesse Puljujarvi played another 14:24 on the top line and went pointless. That’s three straight games flanking McDavid and nary a point for the big Finn. 

With Kailer Yamamoto having been sent home to Edmonton with an undisclosed injury and Evander Kane on the shelf for 3-4 months, the Oilers could dearly use some production from Puljujarvi. He had a red-hot start to last season, with six goals and 13 points by Remembrance Day. 

This season? Crickets, with just a goal and an assist in 15 games and a minus-6, tied for team worst. 

When we talk about the Oilers requiring depth scoring, this player is the primary culprit. For $3 million per season, being on pace for five goals and 11 points doesn’t cut it. 

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Holloway also fell to minus-6 on the season Thursday, and had a key turnover that led to a goal at 19:59 of the second period.

Sure, Campbell could have bailed the rookie out with a save, but Holloway gave a puck away in neutral ice that ended up in Edmonton’s net, another in a series of rookie mistakes that Edmonton is living with while this young player figures out the game at the NHL level. 

Holloway lined up in the top-six for the first time Thursday, playing the left wing with Draisaitl and Hyman, and the youngster did create that penalty shot opportunity in the opening period. His speed creates chances, there is no doubt about that. 

He did not score on the play, but was around the net all night. There is so much to like about this player, but the mistakes — they have been costly so far this season. 

Like Puljujarvi, in Kane’s absence Woodcroft will give Holloway every chance to fill in the offensive void Kane leaves behind. Unlike Puljujarvi, who has played 274 NHL games to Holloway’s 11, the rookie’s mistakes have tended to be big ones. 

Is he ready to be an NHL player? 

We think he is, but it’s hard to believe that Woodcroft will keep handing Holloway prime ice time if his puck management does not improve. Holloway likely has until the injured Tyler Benson gets healthy to figure things out, or get another taste of AHL hockey in Bakersfield. 

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