VANCOUVER – If Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks is any indication, it’s going to be a long road trip for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers were outshot 40-19 by the Canucks, but statistically speaking, Vancouver was supposed to be Edmonton’s easiest opponent of its four-game journey.
Up next for the Oilers is Pacific Division leading Anaheim followed by Los Angeles, who is currently third in the Western Conference, and Colorado, who sits third in the Central Division.
This will likely be Edmonton’s most difficult road trip of the season and it certainly didn’t start well Friday.
Vancouver had three quality chances on the first shift of the game—two from Chris Higgins and one from Mike Santorelli—and that set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Daniel Sedin, Zach Kassian, Dale Weise and Higgins scored for Vancouver to give the Canucks the win. Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo earned his third shutout of the season.
The Oilers have now lost three of their last four games and have allowed four goals in three straight games. Edmonton has lost both games against Vancouver this year and has been outscored 10-2 in the process.
“I give John Tortorella and his group great credit,” said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. “They were able to prepare for us. We just couldn’t ever get going. It seemed like every time we got the puck, they had already closed on us. We couldn’t even get out of our zone for most of the night.”
The Oilers were coming off a spirited effort against Boston in which they outshot the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins 41-31 but lost 4-2. With just 19 total shots, they were a far different team in Vancouver.
“It’s hard to get a shot on the net from your own zone,” said Eakins when asked about his team’s low shot total. “That would be one problem.”
In a quiet dressing, the Oilers were left to contemplate how they would turn things around with such a daunting upcoming schedule.
“That’s the biggest thing,” said Jordan Eberle, who finished with one shot on net in 20:17 of ice time. “We have a lot of tough games coming up here and we missed an opportunity tonight to get a win and feel confident going into our next ones. You drop one like this and we’re going into a team (Anaheim) that’s feeling really good about their game and obviously we’re not.”
Eakins was positive in saying Sunday’s game against the Ducks is just another game in a difficult league.
“We’ll regroup and get ready for Anaheim,” Eakins said. “It’s simple to prepare for the games. The challenge is to bring the compete level and the attention to detail in the games. That’s the hard part.”
After getting yanked in the first intermission of Thursday’s loss to the Bruins, Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk bounced back against Vancouver, but gave up three goals in the third period to turn a promising effort into a forgettable night.
“(Dubnyk) kept us in it and gave us a chance to try and find a way to tie the game out there, but we were just flat,” said a frustrated Eberle. “I’m sick of trying to find excuses for why we’re losing.”
Despite being outshot 14-4 in the first period, the game remained scoreless going into the second period. Daniel Sedin’s second period goal made it 1-0 and then three goals in the third gave Vancouver a four-goal win.
Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon returned to the lineup after missing the last six games with a shoulder injury. He had 12:12 of ice time and was six for 12 on face-offs.