Game 17: Early Goal Syndrome | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Game 17: Early Goal Syndrome

The Edmonton Oilers are set to face the traditionally very tough to play Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. It's not exactly the match-up when you choose when your team has allowed goals in the first two minutes of games five times in the last seven contests.

That said, Edmonton is going to have get past the fact that in fifty percent of the Oilers games this season, they've been scored in within the first four minutes of period number one.

When you think about it, that's an absolutely ridiculous statistic. And, it clearly makes a difference in the outcomes of the games, as Edmonton — a team who has lost only six times this season —  has lost four of those early goal games.

The Defense

This isn't just the fault of the defensemen, but they are struggling. Much more so than in the early games of the season, players like Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera are losing their men and the forwards are forced to try and make up for missed assignments. It has been painful to watch.

Kris Russell and Brandon Davidson being out with injuries is not helping the situation and Edmonton is finding it difficult to maintain their potent offense when continually trying to come from behind early in games. The Oilers blue line is not the most offensive-minded to begin with, but when forced to stop the opposition from extending a lead, and after only a couple minutes of game action, there really is little hope to get help from the back-end when trying to tie a game and then eventually get that come-from-behind victory.

The Offense

Part of the problem is the forwards. For example, both Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic have been demoted off the top line, mainly due to missed coverage that directly cost the Oilers a goal. Call it lackadaisical play, call it miscommunication or call it sheer ignorance, the kinds of gaffs the Oilers forwards on making on these opposition goals have gotten under the skin of the coaching staff.

Currently Edmonton's top line is Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Tyler Pitlick. It may stay that way until the Oilers have a game they can be both proud of and victorious.

The Anaheim Ducks

Edmonton will open a three-game road trip against Anaheim. The Oilers are still tops in the Western Conference and the Pacific Division, but San Jose and Anaheim are nipping at their heels. To say this is a big game is putting it mildly.

The Oilers will play the Ducks five times this season. It's important in this first tilt to set the tone early, which means Edmonton needs to avoid the early goal against and try to come out firing. And it isn't just about the quantity of shots, but the quality.

When Edmonton out-shoots their opponents by more than 10 shots, they've lost all four games. When they've been out-shot by their opponents by 10 or more shots, they've won all four games. That wouldn't sound like it should make a lot of sense, but those wins came as a result of quality scoring chances.

If Edmonton can find a way to stop the early goal and get quality opportunities by crashing the net and making life difficult in the offensive zone, they stand a chance.

For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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1 Response to "Game 17: Early Goal Syndrome"

  1. Funny to see Oilers are losing when they outshot opponents and winning when not. Maybe forwards are thinking less offensive and more defensive when they are not winning shots on goal contest.