Chargers: Left tackle Russell Okung went down heavily in the first quarter and limped off the field with a knee injury. He returned later in the first half, however.
“For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be,” Thunder forward Paul George said. “But we’re going to remain optimistic, though, about the future and what we can do. Once we can find a way to really do it night in and night out, it’s no panic mode, but we have to start playing better. It’s getting to a point where we can’t allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we’re going to figure it out, we can say all that. But at some point it’s gotta stop.”
After 26 games, the Thunder sit ninth in the West at 12-14. They entered Monday having won four of their past five, showing signs of correcting their rugged start to the season. After starting 0-9 in games decided by eight points or less, the Thunder’s past four wins were all decided by two possessions or less.
“It’s a wake-up call, and I take full responsibility,” Atkinson said. “I know I need to be way better, and I will be.”
The Oilers’ last game also ended 1-0 with the only goal 34 seconds into the opening period, but they were on the losing side Sunday at Toronto.
That result is indicative of what is happening recently with Edmonton (12-16-2). The Oilers put 41 shots on goal Sunday to the Maple Leafs’ 23 but couldn’t get anything past Toronto backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
“Hockey is a weird game,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “Some nights you don’t do anything and you get one or two (points), and some nights you have your legs and you get nothing.”