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What, exactly, needs to change for Edmonton?

Dainius Zubrus, Viktor Fasth

New Jersey Devils’ Dainius Zubrus (8) crashes into Edmonton Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth (35) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Devils won 2-0. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)


It’s not even December and the Edmonton Oilers already find themselves in their second five-game losing streak.

For all the talk about the Oilers making improvements, David Perron seems to feel like it’s the same old song and dance, as the Canadian Press reports.

“Something has to change,” Perron said. “When you are making those mistakes, something needs to happen. They are the same mistakes we were doing last year. We keep talking about how much better we are this year, but for me it is the same record now that we had last year. It is not better.

“It is pretty frustrating.”

Taylor Hall backed up such sentiments, saying “It’s not fun to be on losing streaks” and “It’s a tough way to come to the rink.”

More on last night’s loss to the Devils here.

At this point, people are tired of the Oilers being tired of their lack of improvements, something Hall acknowledged during the offseason.

So, everyone’s frustrated and flabbergasted, but the question is: how do the Oilers improve their lot?

Let’s take a quick look at a few different components of Edmonton’s team to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Respectable possession stats

Maybe file this under “all the talk of the Oilers improving,” but the Oilers are ranked 12th in score-adjusted Fenwick, which obviously doesn’t scream “dominant” but it also doesn’t seem to indicate a team that’s 6-12-2.

One potential ray of hope: the Oilers’ PDO (a stat that can often indicate if a team is generally getting good or bad puck luck by adding its save percentage and shooting percentage) is 96.92, the second-worst mark in the NHL.

(Copper & Blue goes deeper here.)

Special teams

The Oilers are tied with the Colorado Avalanche for 25th in the NHL with a 13.4 percent success rate on the power play. They are tied with Colorado and the Nashville Predators with nine PP goals, the 24th-ranked total.

Edmonton has killed 80 percent of its penalties, good for 18th in the NHL. Allowing 11 power-play goals ties them with several teams for seventh in that penalty-killing stat.


Despite changing things up in net, the Oilers are still receiving poor goaltending.

Ben Scrivens is 4-8-1 with a .895 save percentage while Viktor Fasth is 2-4-1 with a .891 save percentage.

Perhaps their netminders get hung out to dry with sloppy play, but those numbers are still at the “bad backup” level. Worse yet: that PDO optimism might be somewhat dissolved if Edmonton simply can’t find respectable goaltending.

As much as people bash head coach Dallas Eakins - and the jury is certainly out on him - it’s difficult to tell how much of the Oilers’ issues are based on personnel and how much these problems come down to X’s and O’s.

Saying “make the power play and goalies better” is one thing, but pulling that off is another. Still, the one bit of hope is that the team is making strides at even strength.

That probably won’t be enough to silence critics ... or make things any less frustrating for their players.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins