Oilers hope for slicker shooting vs. Stars (Oct 26, 2017)

BY AP • October 26, 2017

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have won just two of their first eight games. And, despite having the talents of reigning NHL scoring champion Connor McDavid at their disposal, the Oilers have struggled mightily in front of the opposition goal.

Over their last three games, the Oilers have scored just four times. Their 15 goals represent the lowest offensive output in the NHL.

The Oilers, coming home after a 1-1-1 trip, will hope a visit from the Dallas Stars on Thursday night will give them a chance to jump-start their sputtering offense.

McDavid leads the Oilers with nine points. Take him away, and you see where Edmonton's troubles begin. The Oilers have scored just six goals -- in eight games -- that McDavid has not had a hand in. The Oilers' offensive "depth" is providing an average of less than a goal per game.

What doesn't make sense is that the Oilers average 37.8 shots per game -- the second-best total in the league. Lots of opportunities, not much to show for them.

"You're happy that you're getting chances as a team, and you're not happy that you're not scoring," McDavid said. "We're missing flat-out open nets. It's costing us.

"We've just got to relax; we've got to calm down. We're getting these chances in front of the net that should be automatic, and we're not scoring them."

"It's almost like we're squeezing it so tight, we either pause or we shoot a little too quick," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "That'll come in time."

Dallas comes into Edmonton from Denver, where the Stars lost 5-3 to Colorado on Tuesday. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak by the Stars.

Even though the Stars are off to a decent 5-4-0 start, coach Ken Hitchcock has let it be known he is not happy about how top-heavy the lineup has been. Jamie Benn leads the team with 11 points, Tyler Seguin has 10 and John Klingberg has nine.

But, after that, no one has more than five.

Veteran Jason Spezza has yet to score. Martin Hanzal, who scored 20 last season, has one so far this season.

Alexander Radulov, who was one of the big free-agent signings of the NHL offseason, has one goal.

"I think the reality check is we're being led offensively by a couple of people, and we're asking the same people to do everything, and we don't have enough participants," Hitchcock said. "If we want to win on the road, and we want to be a good team, we don't have enough participants. So, that's the bottom line."

Hitchcock confirmed that defenseman Stephen Johns won't play in Edmonton. Johns is suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Dallas' coach also said Ben Bishop, who started in net against the Avalanche but got the hook, will be back in the crease in Edmonton.

"We know that we're going into a tough building to play in, and a hungry team that's kind of got off to not the best start," Bishop said. "So you know they're going to be champing at the bit. So we have to be ready and you kind of forget about the last game and get ready for the next one."



share story