San Jose is a team that the Oilers aspire to be some day. Eakins talked about that after the game.
“This is exactly where we want to get to, the type of game that they play. I’m sure our guys will rebound off that — the guys who had off nights,” said Eakins. “The one thing that’s consistent, when you look at these good teams, the teams that are at the top of their conference, it’s the simple things. They always have a great F-3 in the offensive zone. Not just for defence, but for offence. They never turn over pucks. If you’re going to beat them you’ve got to come the whole length of the ice. They defend first. It’s always defend first, that’s how they play and it’s the only way you can win. We have to step away from this whole idea that we’re skilled, we’re skilled, we’re skilled. We need to defend first and that’s it. We will never, ever have any success until we start with that mindset. And it’s something that we have to accept and embrace.”
Oilers captain Andrew Ference agreed with his head coach.
“They’re a very tough team. If you’re going to come in here and have any chance of success, you have to not make the game any harder on yourself than it already is,” Ference began. “When you’re playing against the top teams they create a lot of chances just because they are who they are. If you have any hope to come in here and make a game of it, you have to limit your mistakes.”
Eakins says that there are times when he sees from his team what he saw from the Sharks tonight.
“Believe me, we’ve seen flashes of it where we’ve come out and defended well. And we get rewarded when we do it. But the nights like tonight where we gift a couple goals and then we’re not able to defend it, we’re in big trouble.”