The storm continues to beat down on the Oilers

Connor McDavid hasn’t scored in his last four games, Leon Draisaitl gets angry with a reporter and Mikko Koskinen gives up goals by the ton: that’s basically what’s happening these days at the Edmonton Oilers, in the heart of a scarcity of seven defeats.

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Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers was once again painful. The Alberta team was humiliated 6-0 in front of their fans, including some who expressed their disgust by throwing the jersey of their favorites on the rink at Rogers Place. McDavid’s band was however well placed in the standings before this horrible sequence and observers at the time wondered about the ways to stop number 97 and his cronies.

However, the Oilers are out of the portrait of the playoffs, even if they hold several games in hand over their opponents. They still have time to close the eight-point deficit on the last pass of clubs drafted from the Western Conference, but still have to find a way to win.

“This is a real test of leadership,” admitted defenseman Darnell Nurse, as reported by NHL.com. It’s easy to be a leader when your roster is 9-1 or 16-5 and to be a shouting guy who brings people together. Right now, the task of getting out of this mess is a test for all the leaders on our team. Getting out of that is what will make our band better. We have to show up every day in our work hats. It’s the only way to achieve it.”

For his part, fullback Duncan Keith insists on the importance of playing well throughout the games. Recently, head coach Dave Tippett’s troop had some moments of distraction for a few minutes, which cost goals and victories.

“We had a good start [face aux Panthers] and when they took the lead, we tried to chase them. No matter who you’re up against and what game you’re playing, it’s always hard to come back from behind, admitted the former Chicago Blackhawks. Given the way events are currently unfolding, it was very hard and frustrating, but it’s up to us to do everything we can to find a way to stay in the fight during these meetings and to keep the score close.

On the carpet

Expectations were very high in Edmonton this season. The sweep conceded at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the last playoffs went badly among the fans and the present series of losses is not likely to appease their anger. Also, Tippett is increasingly at the center of dismissal rumors. Does he have the answers to the many questions from the public and journalists? The principal concerned relies on a maximum effort of his men for better days.

“Losing hurts. We have to keep fighting through this. We worked all week. For many aspects that we tweaked, we did not obtain results. We found ourselves late and we had to try to catch up,” he told the daily “Edmonton Sun”.

And among these facets to improve, there is the numerical inferiority. In the last 15 meetings, the Oilers have surrendered 17 times short of a man.

“Selling penalties is like scoring goals. When you count, you feel like you can carry on. When you go through a punishment, you think you can do the job. There, we cannot stop the bleeding. We run everywhere, we lack a bit of structure, like the rest of our game.

The Oilers host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

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