The Oilers are doing better this year, in general, than in the past. They didn’t do so well tonight, however. The defense played an average night but wasn’t able to clear the puck enough. Admittedly, I think the style of game that Detroit was playing was looking more skilled and fluid and always moving the puck, better passing and offensive skills IMO than the younger Oilers. Dubnyk, despite giving up 2 goals (the 3rd was an empty netter) played well, and is an essential part of the Oilers unless some miracle hotshot goalie exists who is better- I don’t think that many goalies could do better.
I do think the Oilers are extremely strong on powerplays and taking advantage of opponent mistakes. But when its 5 on 5 hockey with disciplined opponents, I think they have to work on moving the puck up into the oppenent’s area and really learn to goal suck a bit more effectively. Admittedly thats the hardest place to be is on point and trying not to get your face hammered in by 2 goons and a goalie with a bit of friendly lumber, but the best ‘cheap’ players probably excell at being at the right position at the right time… and ideally moving around a bit to distract and not being TOO easy to mark. Ie stealth offense.
I think there are skilled players on the Oilers but they need more practice working together as a team to get their personal deke backhand wrist shots on par with other players in the league. (Smyth!) They also need a bit more accuracy and passing through crowd skills, if that is a trainable thing, thats what they should be doing. Its easy for me, as a couch commander to call this, but hey, its my opinion.
Overall, I am not going to say tonight’s play was a great game but it is a learning opportunity for the Oilers. Petry stood out as a good defensive player for the Oilers… but it was still a bit of a shooting gallery feeling IMO. The 5 on 5 squads need a bit of “oil’ shall we say, and offensive lines need some extra ‘grease’ as well.