3 Takeaways From Oilers’ 5-3 Loss to the Wild – 12/1/22

The Edmonton Oilers entered Thursday night’s contest against the Minnesota Wild looking to make it four straight, but came up short. As we have seen many times this season, consistent play throughout was an issue in this one, though it was much more understandable given their recent schedule.

That said, the loss drops them to just 13-11-0 on the season, a rather disappointing record given how high expectations were entering 2022-23. Here’s a look at what went wrong on Thursday evening versus the Wild.

Oilers a Tired Group

Anyone paying attention to the Oilers as of late knew that this game would be no easy task. Not only are the Wild a decent team, but they were a well-rested one coming into this outing, having not played since Sunday evening. The Oilers, on the other hand, got into Minnesota at 3 AM after having played the Chicago Blackhawks a night prior.

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In fact, not only were the Oilers on a back-to-back, but this marked their seventh game in 13 days. It was clear that the tough schedule had an impact, as they were sloppy in this one, and seemed fatigued the longer the game went on. By the time the final horn sounded, they had managed just 21 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury.

Campbell Struggles Again

It would be unfair to put Thursday’s loss solely on the shoulders of Jack Campbell. That said, he was once again the worse of the two goalies on the ice, allowing five goals on 30 shots. There were a few allowed that a starting NHL goaltender has to stop, especially one that has struggled as much as he has this season.

Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers
Jack Campbell, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Campbell simply looks lost on the ice right now, and his stats reflect that, as his goals against through 14 games is well north of four, while his save percentage is nearly below .870. Unlike his teammates, fatigue isn’t an excuse here, as he has started just three times over the past 21 games. This is no longer a slow start; it is a major concern, and one that nobody seems to have an answer for.

No Secondary Support

As has been an issue with the Oilers so often this season, they had no secondary scoring in this game. Despite some individuals having stepped up as of late, they were nowhere to be found in this contest. Instead, in the first period, it was Leon Draisaitl scoring the opening goal on the power play, and next Connor McDavid giving his team a brief 2-1 lead in the second.

Klim Kostin was able to get his first in an Oilers sweater, though it came with the game well out of reach, as he beat a screened Fleury over the glove hand with just mere seconds remaining in the third. This team could desperately use some help in terms of higher talented forwards to plug some holes. Of course, having Evander Kane, Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod, and Warren Foegele out due to injury hasn’t helped, either.

Oilers Failing to Look Dominant

After a fantastic 2021-22 season in which they advanced all the way to the Western Conference Final, many expected the Oilers to flat-out dominate throughout the 2022-23 campaign. That has been far from the case, however, as they sit outside the top three spots in their division, and have several teams hot on their tail for a wild card position. There is plenty of reason to believe they can get things going, but there is certainly some concern amongst the fanbase right now. Perhaps a big win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday can help ease that a little.

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