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BLOG: Shift length issues a lesson learned

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

One of the contributing factors to the Oilers loss Wednesday night in Game 1 was the length of players' shifts. The players around the dressing room say it wasn't due to any negligence or laziness. It had more to do with individuals being affected by the flow of the game.

Penalties added up and disrupted the flow, leading to some players sitting longer.

"The flow of the game was really choppy, whether it was special teams or guys getting caught out," said Oilers centre Mark Letestu. "The flow was guys were sitting on the bench awhile and then you feel like you've got to stay and do more.

"Maybe it was the emotions of the game and wanting to be out there and do something good for the team. There were good intentions in there."

The disrupted flow and extended shifts led to sustained possession for the San Jose Sharks. It was visible on the score sheet in the form of 28-7 shots on goal in the final two frames, in favour of the visitors.

"We were extending shifts a little," said Oilers winger Zack Kassian. "They were changing and had fresh bodies. We got stuck out there a little longer than we'd like to and they hemmed us in our own end.

The good news is it's fixable heading into Game 2 on Friday.

"It's a little thing, tweaking, shorten up shifts a little bit and getting fresh legs so we can come at them in waves," said Kassian.

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