The Edmonton Oilers have always known that you can’t win without good goaltending but what they’re discovering now is that you can’t even survive with bad goaltending. And for the last-place Oilers and their rattled and embattled starter it’s pretty bad. To borrow a sideline quote from Joe Namath Devan Dubnyk is strug-a-ling. Like drunk people struggle with tightropes. To say he’s the worst goalie in the league right now — and there are plenty of Oilers fans saying just that — isn’t even hyperbole. Of the 55 netminders who played this season Dubnyk ranks 51st in save percentage (.829) and 52nd in goals against average (5.43) in going 0-4 in his first four starts. He’s better than that. A lot better but he’s in a major funk that threatens to put the Oilers in a very deep hole. “It’s not easy” he said after practice Sunday in Washington. “This is probably the worst start to a year that I could have imagined. It’s frustrating and obviously the pressure builds.” It has already exploded as far as many Oilers fans and Dubnyk doubters are concerned. They’ve laid the blame for Edmonton’s 1-4 start right at his 5-hole (which is fair) and believe he’s run out of time to prove himself (which isn’t). But he’s not worried about those people. He’s not even feeling sorry for himself. He was in his dressing room stall half an hour after Saturday’s 6-5 loss in Toronto head in hands because he felt so badly for the rest of the guys on his team. That game hit him hard. “Yeah it did. It’s easy to deal with the people who want you to fail and the people who don’t believe in you and want to see you do poorly. But when you have a group of guys you care about who you grew up with and they put in an effort like that and it finishes the way it does that’s the toughest one to deal with.
'Worst imagined' start for Devan Dubnyk and Oilers
Edmonton Sun | Oct 14