When you’re giving up empty-net goals, it means you’re close enough to pull your goalie, but there was a sense of resignation when Colorado Avalanche centre Matt Duchene softly slid the puck into the vacated Edmonton Oilers net Thursday with Devan Dubnyk on the bench for a sixth skater. Dubnyk made 36 saves, 17 out of 17 in the first 20 minutes, in the 4-2 Oilers loss and had absolutely no prayer on any of the three goals he allowed: Tyson Barrie’s five-on-three marker, Ryan O’Reilly’s goal finishing a tic-tac-toe play with Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, or Max Talbot’s short-handed, two-on-one lob, and yet there he was trying not to scowl as Duchene scored the empty-netter. This is eight times now the opposing team has scored into the empty net, and we’re only 37 games into the Oilers’ latest winter of discontent. “It’s not easy to score six-on-five at the end of every game,” Taylor Hall said between bites of pizza in Denver. “An awful lot of 3-2 losses and empty-net goals. Yeah, I’m getting tired of it. We’d like to be the one scoring into the empty net,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, almost always a minus along with Hall on the last-minute opposition scores. The Oilers have scored four of their own when the other guys are trying to tie it up, but even before Duchene scored Thursday, the Avs missed twice at the empty net. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov really didn’t have to make a big save in the last 30 to 60 seconds.
Oilers endure that empty (net) feeling often
Edmonton Journal | Dec 21