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Oilers' Woodcroft not worried about job security after loss to Sharks


Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said he is not worried about his job security despite the team falling into a tie for last in the NHL with Thursday's 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

“No, I worry about taking care of my daily business and my daily process, and making sure that I give my players something to focus on and concentrate on,” Woodcroft said. “No one’s happy with where we’re at. We all own it.

"We can [be] better, and that’s where my focus is.”

The Oilers' fourth straight loss was a second straight win for San Jose, who went 11 games winless to start the year. The two teams are now tied at the bottom of the NHL standings with five points each.

Woodcroft is in his second full season as head coach of the Oilers, having taken over from Dave Tippett in February of 2022 to lead the Oilers into the postseason with a 26-9-3 record down the stretch.

This season's start has been a significant drop-off for the Oilers, who reached the playoffs for the fourth straight year last season. Their best result during that stretch was reaching the Western Conference Final under Woodcroft in 2022, when the Oilers were swept by the Colorado Avalanche

"When you go through tough stretches, it's the easy thing just to quit on each other, and that's not what this group is about," forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "Unfortunately, we've gone through this before in the past, and we found ways out.

"Start of the season feels a little different, but regardless, we've been through it before."

Thursday's loss came despite the Oilers outshooting the Sharks 41-18, with Mackenzie Blackwood making 39 saves for San Jose. Stuart Skinner allowed three goals on the 18 shots, one day after the Oilers placed fellow goaltender Jack Campbell on waivers. 

Oilers star Leon Draisaitl admitted after the defeat that the team is low on confidence amid the disastrous start. 

"It's a tough league," Draisaitl said. "Guys played hard. Obviously, not too many guys in this room that have confidence right now. I'm part of that group. I just keep trying to get better every day."

Edmonton will play the third and final contest of their current three-game road trip on Saturday against the Seattle Kraken.