We all know about the Oilers struggles this year and if you don't then you haven't turned on a sports channel, a radio station or your twitter and Facebook accounts for the last month and a half. The talk is either been about their struggle to play a system being implemented by Dallas Eakins, their inability to put the puck in the net or their defensive woes, the Oilers have been considered a disappointment to this point in the season.
Well I am about to spread some sunshine in the world of the Edmonton Oiler fan with my optimism and it is mainly because of their horrid defensive play that I have this optimism.
The Oilers have given up the most goals so far this season in 83. They are only one of two teams that have given up more then 80 goals so far, the second being the Calgary Flames. If this pace continues the Oilers would have over 300 goals against by the end of the season. That is number has not been reached since the 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers .
Why is this a good thing? It is highly unlikely that this pace will be kept. Not to say the Oilers are out of this funk but their defensive play has been better in the last 3 games, since MacT's presser. This better defensive play can be contributed to a few thing.
First the Oilers are actually doing a better job in the system. Their puck control is getting better They are starting to look more like a team on the ice and less like the ants on the ant hill you kid just kicked over. They are making better passes for breakouts and trying to dump the puck into the apposing end rater then trying to beat the 3-5 defenders that are waiting on the blue-line to stop them.
The Oilers are also starting to find their scoring touch. The game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was a blow out and partially because CBJ were really, really bad, but the Edmonton Oiler team that stepped on the ice that night was not the same team that we have seen play even just a few weeks ago. This team took advantage of a struggling and injured Blue Jackets team and kept their foot on the gas the whole game. Not letting up and allowing the Blue Jackets back into the game.
When it comes to the offense the Oilers are middle of the pack with 60 goals. This actually puts them ahead of the Eastern Conferences best team the Boston Bruins, interesting. If this struggling Oilers team who has been shutout 3 games this year yet have outscored 13 other teams in the NHL gets its confidence, look out. One would have to think that as they gain confidence the Oilers will score more.Scoring more means more time with the puck for the Oil and less time for their opponent.
The start of this possible turn around for the Oilers started just two games ago in Calgary against the Flames. The Oilers scored a few goals on bounces, bounces that to this point in the season have not gone the Oilers way. They followed that up destroying a beat up Blue jackets team. A game that had to of helped young Oilers team with their confidence and with the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov seemingly pushing Devon Dubnyk to regain the form he had last year. The grass is getting greener...
The Oilers fans should be hopeful as the Oilers are showing signs that they are heading in the right direction and a solid game tonight against the Florida Panthers who have also won two in a row will help the Oilers and their fans to get back to doing what they do. Oiler winning games and the fans cheering instead of booing.