The Edmonton Oilers dropped their third straight game of the 2010-11 campaign to the San Jose Sharks tonight, as the home club doubled up on the visiting Oil, 2-1.
Edmonton followed a strong opening frame with a weak second period punctuated by untimely penalties, costing the Oil two points on the road. Dustin Penner off a tip of a Ryan Whitney shot from the point gave Edmonton some brief hope late in the third. The Sharks have dominated Edmonton going 9-1 in its last 10 contests vs. the Oil. Frightening stat, really.
The Oilers continue to play soft at both ends of the sheet, allowing opponents prime scoring opportunities without paying a physical price. The face-off circle also remains another area of contention for Edmonton Head Coach Tom Renney. Andrew Cogliano was the only respectable participant going 3-6 on the dot.
Colin Fraser continues to be a disappointment for Edmonton, going an ugly 1-7 in the face-off circle tonight. After capturing a cup with the Blackhawks last season, Fraser was signed by Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini for his grit and potential for helping to increase the Oilers’ face-off fortunes. Neither attribute has surfaced for the B.C. native to date.
This team is in desperate need of some role players. Fraser, at this point in time, is an off-season signing that has failed to materialize. Renney has to begin weeding those who fail to success out of his lineup, and replacing them with more capable prospects. The same applies to supposed tough guys like J.F. Jacques and Zach Stortini, neither of whom injects any nastiness into a lineup desperate for a cantankerous catalyst.
Edmonton will travel to L.A. for a tilt Thursday, its final game before the Christmas break. The Oilers will resume their road trip in Vancouver on Boxing Day.
In the meantime Oiler fans, keep your chins up and your sticks down.
About the Author
Written by Scott Pattison
Scott is an award-winning sports writer whose career spans more than 20 years. He's proudly covered the Oilers since moving to the Alberta capital in 2000.