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Knoblauch: Oilers too worried about making mistakes


The Edmonton Oilers allowed four first-period goals as their losing streak was extended to three games with Wednesday 6-3 loss the Carolina Hurricanes.

Head coach Kris Knoblauch, who replaced Jay Woodcroft last week, said the Oilers are playing scared of making mistakes, which led to their demise against the Hurricanes.

“I see a lot of guys who are working hard and who care,” Knoblauch said. “They’re so worried about making mistakes. Ultimately, it’s paralyzing us and holding us back.

"[We’re] just not playing with our instincts. We’ve just got to get away from it.”

Knoblauch was not asked about the play of starting goaltender Stuart Skinner, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots in just under 15 minutes. Calvin Pickard entered in relief, allowing one goal on 14 shots.

Forwards Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pointed the blame at the team as whole for the lopsided first period, which finished 4-1. 

“We had a terrible start,”  Kane said. “No energy, they were faster. They kept a tempo. We didn’t handle pressure well at all, and they capitalized on their opportunities.”

“We were just slow with the puck, slow with our feet,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “If you play long enough against these guys, you know that they start fast and put the puck behind you and make you work, especially early in the game. We talked about it, and obviously it wasn’t good enough to start.”

After starting the season 3-9-1 under Woodcroft, the Oilers are now 2-3 since Knoblauch was brought in. Edmonton will close out their current four-game road trip on Friday against the Washington Capitals before returning home to face the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.