Can they lose them all?
Can the Edmonton Oilers lose every last game they have left?
That is becoming the question.
Another empty effort. Another no-show for the opening face-off.
Not just of the first period. Of every period.
The Oilers looked, at least until late and when coach Ralph Krueger, for the second time in the last three games pulled his goalie with 3 1/2 minutes to play, like they’d given up on the season.
Which is understandable because it’s over and has been throughout the three-game home stand.
The 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild was their sixth consecutive loss and would be the biggest drop of doom in the league if the Nashville Predators hadn’t lost seven in a row.
The Oilers, who will shortly hold the record for the longest active run without making the playoffs at seven seasons, dropped to 24th place overall Tuesday night. That translates into picking seventh in the NHL Entry Draft.
Which means you will soon start to read and hear a lot about these guys, ranked by many between fourth and eighth in the draft projections:
• Aleksander Barkov, C, 6-foot-2, 202-pounds, Finland.
• Darnell Nurse, D, 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, Sault Ste Marie.
• Elias Lindholm, C, 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, Sweden.
• Rasmus Ristolainen, D, 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, Finland.
The Oilers fans, both Kevin Lowe’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 fans, these last three years used to find some sort of solace, if not pleasure, in watching the team position itself for the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Not this year.
There are six to go.
The Oilers, who haven’t made the playoffs since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 2006, will take over first place in futility when the Toronto Maple Leafs win their next game to clinch their first playoff spot since 2004.
The fans here are no longer following the out-of-town scoreboard. And the in-arena scoreboard hasn’t been of much interest, either.
The late-arriving and non-arriving crowd missed the third game of the last five that the Oilers have given up an early goal. In Los Angeles it came at 1:28, at home to Calgary at 0:26 and Tuesday at 1:01. (They also gave up one at 2:56 of the second period and one at 0:20 of the third period to go down 4-1).
“When you get scored on early every period it’s no fun. It’s a painful way to lose. I’ve been here three years and I’m tired of this,” said Taylor Hall of the way the Oilers started.
Can they lose them all?