Oilers vow to 'look within' as Kraken await

League: NHL

Posted on: 11 Nov, 2023 at 01:15 AM

Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

How low can the Edmonton Oilers go?

The Oilers reached another depth Thursday night with a 3-2 road loss against the San Jose Sharks, a team that lost its first 11 games of the season.

That dropped Edmonton into a tie with the Sharks with an NHL-low five points heading into Saturday night's game at Seattle.

It is not exactly where the Oilers, considered a strong Stanley Cup contender, expected to be at this point of the season.

The Oilers have lost four straight and eight of their past nine games. Their five points are tied with the 1993-94 team for the fewest through 12 games in franchise history.

"We can't really be looking at the standings right now," said forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored on the power play with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker with 2:26 left Thursday to pull the Oilers within a goal. "We got to look within ourselves and not worry about the rest of what's going on around us."

Edmonton lost despite outshooting the Sharks 41-18.

"I don't really know what to say," Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. "We tend to outshoot other teams consistently, probably out-chance other teams consistently. We're not in sync right now."

Connor McDavid, who led the NHL with 64 goals last season, has none over the past seven games. Nugent-Hopkins snapped an eight-game drought with his tally and Draisaitl has one in his past nine outings.

"When you're gripping the stick a bit too tight, that tends to happen. It's just the way it goes sometimes," said Draisaitl, who tallied 52 times last season. "It's a tough league, guys play you hard. Obviously, there are not too many guys in this room that have confidence right now. I'm part of that group, so we just have to keep trying to get better every day."

The Oilers sent high-priced goaltender Jack Campbell down to the American Hockey League, a move coach Jay Woodcroft said was a "message" to his team and said he expected their best game of the season in San Jose.

When that didn't happen, Woodcroft faced questions about his job security.

"I worry about taking care of my daily business and my daily process and making sure that I give my players something to focus on and concentrate on," Woodcroft said. "No one's happy with where we're at. We all own it. We can be better and that's where my focus is."

After a slow start, the Kraken are 3-1-1 in their past five games.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice in a 4-3 victory Thursday at Colorado, just as he did in Game 7 last spring to eliminate the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche from the first round of the playoffs.

Bjorkstrand's second goal was off a rebound with 32 seconds left after Colorado scored twice in the third period to even the score.

"Relentless," Bjorkstrand said of Seattle's late push. "We just stuck with it and we didn't panic. Obviously, (Colorado) got back in the game and sometimes that can be hard to manage but we kept at it and kept on believing."

The Kraken's Matty Beniers, the reigning Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, netted his first goal of the season.

"It felt great," Beniers said. "It was tough, not getting one in but you know, you just got to stick with it. And you know it's going to come."

--Field Level Media