SUN Hockey Pool

Jussi nightmare

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Jussi Markkanen doesn't believe in ghosts, but that doesn't mean the Chicago Blackhawks won't be giving him nightmares.

For the second straight meeting against the Windy City, he blew it.

"I don't believe in those things,'' said Markkanen, after a 4-3 loss that saw him hooked after four goals on 21 shots. "It happened a couple of times in a pretty short time, but I think it's more coincidence than the team you're playing against.''

He wasn't alone in the defeat. Edmonton didn't get serious until the third period and its power play let them down when they needed it most.

Again.

"It was almost a mirror image of the game we played in Chicago against these guys,'' said head coach Craig MacTavish. "We had a number of chances on the power play, eventually got back in and couldn't keep it out of our own net.

"And for whatever reason Jussi has struggled against Chicago. He's played well outside of that. He got a little unlucky on some of the goals, but it's a case of we needed one more save and we get two points out of the game.''

For the second game in a row, Edmonton fell behind 3-1. Unlike two nights earlier, when they rallied back to beat Detroit, their third period dramatics weren't enough.

"Disappointing loss,'' said Ryan Smyth. "We can't play catch up hockey all the time and put ourselves in situations like this. It's going to cost us points and this one did tonight.''

Two big ones.

Markkanen's night started badly, when he bobbled a dump in from Kyle Calder and then botched what should have been a fairly easy save on Rene Bourque midway through the first. By the five minute mark of the third period, with Edmonton down 4-1, he was out of there.

The end came when Bourque's slapshot hit him in the shoulder, popped straight up and trickled over the line. He made the save, but it went in anyway. It was that kind of night.

"It's one of those things, if you play it 100 times it might go in a couple,'' he said. "I thought I made a save but it bounced up and in. Really, really tough goal for us when we're battling back.''

In Markkanen's defence, Bourque did have the hardest shot in the AHL last year.

"That doesn't make me feel any better.''

None of the Oilers were feeling all that chipper, losing to a team that was without its leading scorer (Pavel Vorobiev) and its starting goalie (Nikolai Khabibulin).

"I thought we skated all right in the first two periods,'' said Horcoff. "But at the same time, when you get down 4-1 in third it's pretty tough.''

Edmonton's power play was another major culprit. It scored two goals, but went two-for-10 and came up empty on a five-minute major in the third with the score at 4-2.

"It's good to get that many opportunities, but you have to capitalize on them,'' said Jarret Stoll.

"You almost have to play it like a five-on-five, work hard. They work hard on the penalty kill. You have to win the battles and I think they won a few more battles than we did.''

Jarret Stoll, at 5:01 of the third, and Reasoner at 12:56, pulled the Oilers to within 4-3, but that's as close as they'd get.


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