The struggling Edmonton Oilers faced the putrid San Jose Sharks coming off their first win of the season. And now their on a winning streak. Meanwhile, the Oilers sunk to their worst start in franchise history. Not the best start for a Stanley Cup favorite and a team with two of the top scorers in the NHL.
The easiest thing to do is fire the coach. But Jay Woodcroft got there because the Oilers were struggling, and he turned them around. He could do it again. There’s no guarantee a new coach could. Gerard Gallant is available, though.
Connor McDavid is battling through injuries and doesn’t look himself. However, he refuses to take time off to heal. Although he means well, this is counterproductive. A healthy McDavid is more valuable than one grinding through pain. Joe Burrow tried to play through the pain for the Bengals, and they didn’t win. He’s healthy now, and they’re winning. Coincidence? I think not.
Watching TSN, I believe, somebody said the Oilers should do everything to get Jeremy Swayman. All I can think is poor Swayman. That’s the last thing they should do because it would make no difference except ruin his career. Edmonton is where goalies go to die. They got Cam Talbot. He posted worse numbers and was run out of town. They got Mike Smith, who still posted decent numbers, but they broke him and ran him out. They got Jack Campbell, who had great numbers, and then they took a nosedive when he went to Edmonton. He’s now been put out of his misery and been released. Stuart Skinner was an All-Star, but he looks far from it now. The only other place that comes close is Toronto. There’s a reason why goalies always post great numbers on the Bruins and the Islanders and not on the Oilers and Maple Leafs. Because the former has great defensive systems and discipline, the latter not so much. Even Patrick Roy, in his prime, would struggle here.
Darnell Nurse, against the Sharks, tried to play hero puck while the Oilers were changing. It led to a turnover and a breakaway goal for the Sharks. The color commentator said those are things you can’t do when you’re struggling. You shouldn’t do it ever, but you certainly shouldn’t do it now.
But they rebounded because they came out with a vengeance against the Seattle Kraken, out-shooting them 17-5 in the first period. Zach Hyman opened the scoring with a natural hat trick. As evident by the game and the Heritage Classic, the Oilers can be as good or bad as they want. But they have to want to win, and they need to stick to the fundamentals. Otherwise, this will be a long season. Apparently, they fired Woodcroft after the 4-1 win. What a strange team.
Things I like
I enjoyed two things that happened on Monday. The Toronto Maple Leaf’s ability to come back from large deficits, particularly against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Down 4-1 in the second, Auston Matthews scored twice. In the third, the Maple Leafs scored twice and the Lightning once. The Maple Leafs won in overtime. It took a while, but the Maple Leafs have the Lightning’s number. Most people could only name a few Boston Bruins, but they get scoring from everywhere. Two rookies scored their first goals, John Beecher and Mason Lohrei, to help the Bruins beat the Dallas Stars. The Bruins’s depth is as good as last season.
The Vegas Golden Knights suffered their first defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. The San Jose Sharks beat the Philadelphia Flyers for their first win of the season. The Flyers have now beaten the Ducks to complete this highly nonsensical circle. Anyone can beat anyone.
Things I don’t
- The Colorado Avalanche are still a great team with an 8-4 record, but man, have they had some ugly losses the last week. They lost to the Golden Knights 7-0 in a rivalry game where they failed to show up. They lost to the Seattle Kraken 4-3, and while that’s a close game, it’s problematic because this team seems to have their number, and they might meet them in the playoffs again. They followed that up with an 8-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, giving up two short-handed and power-play goals. The power-play goals are okay, but you can’t give up two short-handed goals in a game. Pavel Buchnevich scored both. Their power play has been abysmal, with only two goals in their last fifteen chances.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Nicolas Deslauriers vs Givani Smith
Not a lot connected, but it was long.
Dakota Joshua vs Mark Giordano
A long one where Giordano manhandles a guy three inches taller.
Goat of the Week
James Reimer - Detroit Red Wings
Reimer takes a penalty in overtime, and not a good one (not in the clip). He was holding a stick for no reason. On the ensuing power play, Cole Caufield scored to win the game. This was Caufield’s third overtime goal this season. Note to NHL players: don’t take dumb penalties in overtime.
Stat Line of the Week
11/09/23 Chicago 5 vs. Tampa Bay 3
Connor Bedard’s first multi-point game was a good one. He had two beautiful goals: the game-winner and two nice assists. The Blackhawks had lost four of five, but now they’ve won two of three.
Bedard also scored the goal of the week in a loss to the Florida Panthers.
200 – Career goals for Patrik Laine
3 – Goalies with a SV% over .950 Jeremy Swayman, Semyon Varlamov, and Thatcher Demko
17 – Plus/minus for Quinn Hughes, first in the NHL
6 – Power play goals for Chris Kreider, first in the NHL
7 – Games (14 played) this season where the Vancouver Canucks have scored at least five goals
7 – Non-regular strength goals for the Dallas Stars against the Minnesota Wild. Five power play goals and two short-handed.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
- New York R
- San Jose