The Edmonton Oilers lost 5-0 to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night in what was the final matchup of the Battle of Alberta at Rexall Place before they move into their new downtown arena in the fall.
And Todd McLellan couldn’t have been steamed about it.
The first-year Oilers coach blasted his team after the game, calling the players’ lackluster output “frickin’ embarrassing.”
“I don’t know if there’s a number big enough or how to describe how disappointing that effort is,” McLellan started. “We’ve been together for 200 days and talked a lot about competing and working hard and holding your hand and showing up. And we get that. That’s the exact crap that we’re trying to eradicate from this group.
“You work hard and you climb, and you climb, and you climb and at least get some foundation. And you give it back in one night. We were outshot. We were out-hit. We were outscored. We were out-faceoffed. We were out-power-played. We were out-penalty-killed. Our shift length was terrible. They (the Flames) played four games in six nights and we’re going to go for 55-second shifts. We turned the puck over 1:10 into a shift and cheated on a change. We had a change for a center who happened to be two zones away. I don’t know how that can happen.
“I guess when you sum it all up like that it’s really disappointing, isn’t it? That’s the exact attitude and bulls--- we’re trying to eliminate here. And we see it after 200 days. At least we know where to go in practice because we have to establish a work ethic this week.”
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 3, 2016
Mikael Backlund led the way for the Flames with two goals and an assist. Johnny Gaudreau scored twice with Sean Monahan assisting on both goals. Joe Colborne had the other marker and also chipped in with a helper. Joni Ortio recorded the shutout as the Flames outshot the Oilers 35-28.
The Flames improved to 33-40-6, while the Oilers fell to 30-43-7. The Oilers have 67 points and are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for last place in the NHL. The Leafs, however, have two games in hand.
The Oilers have missed the playoffs annually since reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2006. With McLellan, GM Peter Chiarelli and 2015 first overall draft pick Connor McDavid – a Calder Trophy candidate with 45 points in 43 games – in the fold, expectations were higher this season. Yet, if the season ended today, the Oilers would have the best chance (20 percent) at getting the top draft pick again, which would be their fifth in seven years.
The Oilers close out their campaign with a home-and-home set against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and Saturday. McLellan made it known the players will be put through the paces at practice in order to be better prepared. But first, he took one more shot at his troops.
“Unfortunately we have another (mandated) players’ association day (off). They took it today. I guess they get back-to-back days. But we’ll work on Monday.”