Goaltending has been the Oilers’ issue all season. Can Holland fix it in time?

Goaltending has been the Oilers’ issue all season. Can Holland fix it in time?

The Edmonton Oilers gamers and coaches understand much better than you do that Mike Smith was terrible in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss in Tampa Bay. They are acutely mindful that, with some goaltending, they would have been boarding the plane for Florida with at least one, and most likely 2, points under their belt.

They likewise understand that the weakest spot on their team– their crease– is going to eliminate their possibilities of having any success at all, if GM Ken Holland can not ride to the rescue with some kind of trade.

A Smith- Mikko Koskinen tandem implies a long summer season at the lake. And as tasty a possibility as Stuart Skinner is, no one believes they can ride him on a long playoff run. Not.

And Holland? He has actually been fruitlessly shopping for a Grade A goalie for 2 years. He understands it– don’t kid yourself.

It is more than reasonable to call Holland out for collecting a $5-million paycheck and not being able to determine how to repair this issue. But do not for a minute suggest he does not understand an issue exists, and that it is deadly.

He knows it. They know it. We all know it.

Smith stunk Wednesday and the Oilers lost. It’s a creative plot twist on “Koskinen stunk and the Oilers lost,” but the endings, you may have discovered, are similar.

” He made some saves for us as well,” stated a backpedalling head coach Jay Woodcroft, confronted with the concern about Smith.

That’s all the coach could summon. “He made some saves also.”.

So it wasn’t 23 -3. Just 5-3.

That’s a favorable.

It’s a shame, actually.

The Oilers, a team trying to prove they can have fun with the big boys, walk into Tampa and restrict the Lightning to 23 shots on goal. That is the specific recipe for how this Edmonton team needs to play, and what it is they have to master to go from being an excellent routine season team to a playoff contender.

Unfortunately, Mike Smith provides an.800 save percentage in the game– permitting 4 goals on a night when the anticipated goals were 1.83– and with an empty netter, the Oilers lose 5-3.

It is feasible who had the better set of skaters on this night. I would recommend that Edmonton did.

It is not even a conversation, however, who had the much better goaltending.

Too deep in his web, and the polar reverse of those goalies who display “an economy of motion,” Mike Smith is all over the location– other than where the puck is. There is no “peaceful” to his video game. Instead, just a blur of stabbing blockers, flailing torsos, and a glove hand that looks like it’s trying to put out a campfire.

Goaltending cost the Oilers another hockey game, on a night where a win would have gone a long, long method to enabling the Oilers to believe they can have fun with a Stanley Cup champion.

” I liked parts of our game,” stated captain Connor McDavid, precisely.

It’s not fair to ask McDavid to discuss the goaltending. And truth be told, we were not in Tampa to ask our own concerns.

” It’s simply details, right? It’s simply little things. Against a team like that every play matters,” reasoned McDavid. “They make the most of what you provide and we simply gave them simply a little too much.”.

One more save and the Oilers would have remained in overtime, with a puncher’s opportunity. Leon Draisaitl strikes a post with a minute to play, or they’re walking out with a minimum of a point, focused on all that is right rather than all that is wrong between the pipelines.

” We’re can be found in to face the two-time protecting Stanley Cup champs and quit 23 shots on net,” stated Woodcroft. “There were some unusual goals, one we kicked into our own net. A shorthanded or charge eliminate goal versus in the last couple of seconds … Exist some things that we can do much better? Yeah, I think there are some things we can do better. In terms of the complete level of our group, coming into a tough environment, there were some real excellent indications in our group game tonight.”.

He is definitely appropriate. Everything was positive.

Other than the big thing.

Yesterday it’s Koskinen. Today it’s Smith. Tomorrow it will be one– or both– but the problem will still be The Problem.

” I believe (Smith) attempted to battle through some things and he, you know, he made some conserves for us too,” offered the coach. “We had an opportunity to win that video game. Like I stated, we quit 23 shots on net. That’s a good idea. I believe.”.

Do not bore me with the details on how each puck moves past Smith. It’s a volume discussion, and not about quality control.

Poor net-front coverage. Deflections. Kicked in by an Oiler. Shots through a screen.

Here are the cold, tough truths: Smith’s conserves portion this season is. His record this season is 5-6, with 32 of Edmonton’s 51 games invested on the injured list.

When healthy, possibly he can play. At age 39, Smith will never be healthy enough for long enough to be a dependable starter, ever again.

There’s a month prior to the NHL Trade Due Date.

Ken Holland has a team that could win a playoff series. Possibly even two.

Without a goalie upgrade, forget about anybody else believing in the Edmonton Oilers.

This group won’t even think in itself.

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