SUN Hockey Pool

So, what's the score on offence?

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Win three, lose three.

The opening stage of the season has been a roller-coaster for the Edmonton Oilers -- ups, downs and loop-the-loops in between.

With three victories in their backpockets to start the year, the Oilers were riding waves of enthusiasm and optimism. After Saturday's shutout setback against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers are now wallowing in a three-game losing skid. It's a dangerous trend -- these highs and lows where stretches of success are demeaned by streaks of failure.

With Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes barking at the door tomorrow night, the Oilers need to turn it around.

"Everybody in the room realizes what kind of team we've got, and we saw in the first three games the way we can play," said assistant coach Charlie Huddy, who had the helm at yesterday's optional skate at Rexall Place.

DISAPPEARING ACT

The biggest problem over the course of the three losses was the disappearing act of offence. Wins over Colorado, Vancouver and Anaheim produced 12 goals. Losses to Los Angeles, Dallas and Calgary provided an anemic three goals. The good times saw a power play clicking along with six goals in 22 chances. During the bad, the man-advantage was hardly that -- a dismal 0-for-19.

"We're getting some chances. We're just not putting them in the back of net," said Huddy. "We've got to keep working at it and bear down a little more. You go through it at certain points during the season, and it's something you have to work through.

GET A BUNCH

"Hopefully we can find the net and when we do, we'll get a bunch and continue from there."

Offensive punch has certainly been lessened for the Oilers in the absence of Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff, meaning two-thirds of the top line is down with injuries.

But there's still the likes of Jarret Stoll, who is tied with Horcoff for the team lead with six points, and Raffi Torres, who has popped in a team-high four goals.

But with the top gunners down, the Oil are in need of quiet-starters Michael Peca, Marty Reasoner and Ethan Moreau to hit the contribution button.

"We have enough depth to score goals. We have to get in the front of the goalie and start scoring some ugly goals," said Radek Dvorak, who has scored once and picked up five assists in six games.


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