A shiny new $4.5 million contract couldn’t help Mikko Koskinen stop the puck any better, nor could it help the Edmonton Oilers outscore their opponent on Tuesday night.
A day after the most puzzling contract extension in a long time, Koskinen allowed a couple softies to the basement-dwelling Detroit Red Wings as the Oilers lost 3-2 in another miserable effort on NBSCN.
All eyes were on Koskinen and the Oilers after Monday’s developments. After 40 minutes on Tuesday, Oilers fans were booing their team off the ice. Not a good sign, but perhaps not one that was all that surprising or unfamiliar.
Allowing goals like this was a big part of the problem for the Oilers, and Koskinen — despite the big-money deal — hasn’t been preventing too many of them lately.
Just listen to Ray Ferraro’s reaction on this one:
Koskinen actually made a couple of quality saves in the game, but then there was this sort of thing where he just chucked sound goalie positioning out the window.
After two periods, it was so bad that NBCSN’s Jeremy Roenick put the Oilers on blast.
“I’m just sitting here watching this game and shaking my head,” Roenick said. “I’m boggled that this is a professional hockey league team. The Edmonton Oilers are so bad. They can’t put two passes together. Their passing decisions. Their positioning defensively. They look, in all three zones, they looked confused. They have no idea where they are going. They are throwing hope-for passes up the ice hoping that they catch somebody in a rush where they can get an out-numbered situation. They might have good skaters, fast skaters, but their feet and their hands go so much faster than their brains. They have no idea what they are doing out there and it shows so much.
“You’ve got the Detroit Red Wings, and God bless them, the worst team in the National Hockey League by points [with] 43, and they look like the Stanley Cup champions compared to this Edmonton Oilers team. I can understand why Connor McDavid is as frustrated as he is. He’s on the only guy that’s working, the only guy doing something smart with the puck.
“We talk about hockey IQ, and some players with great hockey IQ. This team might have, from 18 players, the lowest hockey IQ I’ve seen in a long time, the way they’re playing this game. It’s embarrassing. I can understand why there were boos for this team going off the ice after the second period. It’s just awful to watch.”
The Oilers responded, scoring twice in the third period, including this one from Leon Draisaitl to give fans some hope.
It wouldn’t be enough, however.
Jimmy Howard continued his dominance against the Oilers, now 14-2-0 in his past 16 starts against Edmonton after making 32 saves.
Koskinen finished with 24 saves on 27 shots for another sub-.900 save percentage outing — his third straight. Koskinen has a .910 save percentage on the year and is .905 in his brief NHL career.
The Red Wings moved out of the NHL’s basement with the win while the Oilers lost their third straight and sixth in their past 10. The crazy thing is Edmonton is just three points back of a playoff spot as of Tuesday night.
The saga continues…
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck