The Edmonton Oilers have only played two games this season, but head coach Jay Woodcroft is already concerned about their performance following a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"We're not near where we're capable of," the Edmonton bench boss said postgame of his team's five-on-five play after the Oilers dug themselves an early hole for the second straight contest.
"I'm not going to put a percentage on it or anything like that, but certainly there are areas we've got to get better at, and we've got to get better at (them) quickly," Woodcroft continued. "I think the teams that are finding some early success in this young year, they're the ones that are a little bit cleaner and a little bit more assertive in their own end."
Leon Draisaitl pointed to his club's slow starts as an area in which it needs to improve.
"You can't spot a team three goals in back-to-back nights, so it's something that we have to address, obviously," Draisaitl said. Woodcroft pulled goaltender Jack Campbell after he allowed four goals in under 11 minutes to begin the contest, but Draisaitl was quick to shift any blame away from the netminder.
"No, that's on us. That has nothing to do with him," the star forward said. "He was amazing the other night. This is 100% on us."
Edmonton fell behind by three goals Saturday for the second time in four nights after overcoming a 3-0 deficit in a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. This time, the Oilers trailed 4-1 after 20 minutes in a game that was far more lopsided than its final score suggested.
The Flames held a 16-11 edge in shots on goal after the first period, but the underlying numbers showed it was much worse for Edmonton. Calgary dominated the opening frame in terms of Corsi For percentage (62.96 to 37.04), scoring chances for percentage (58.33 to 31.67), and expected goals for percentage (70.6 to 29.4), according to Natural Stat Trick.
Flames forward Mikael Backlund was left wide-open in the slot when he buried the game's first goal less than two minutes in. Under seven minutes later, Oilers defenseman Brett Kulak fell over and allowed Nazem Kadri to score uncontested. Andrew Mangiapane added Calgary's fourth tally less than a few minutes after that.
Edmonton is off until Tuesday night when the team will host the Buffalo Sabres before facing the Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues, and Pittsburgh Penguins in consecutive contests.