SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers giving puck away too much

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers have had worse nights, statistiscally speaking.

By the numbers, they committed 12 giveaways in Saturday night's 6-5 loss to the Calgary Flames - a defeat that cost them first place in the Northwest Division to their provincial rivals.

In the back-to-back home ice losses to the Minnesota Wild last week, the Oilers coughed the puck up 33 and 24 times.

Yet even by cutting the number of turnovers in Calgary, the giveaways are at an epidemic level.

"We didn't take care of the puck as we usually do - too many errors with the puck," said Oiler Ethan Moreau.

"Calgary isn't a team that creates a lot of offence, but if you give them chances like we did, they're hard on the puck and they compete."

The most blatant turnover came when Steve Staios lost the handle on the puck at the Calgary blue line, which resulted in Matthew Lombardi's short-handed goal. There were plenty more, though, including the two mistakes which led to both of Shean Donovan's goals.

"There were a lot of missed opportunities to get the puck in deep and get the puck out. A lot of the simple plays were the ones that did us in,"admitted Staios.

FLAMES TARGET CHRIS

Chris Pronger has become the prime target for the wrath of Flames fans. Each time he touched the puck, he was booed. And every little bump he took drew rousing cheers.

Pronger responded by notching three assists on the Oilers' four power-play goals and logging 26:58 of ice time - 12 seconds more than Calgary's backbone of the blue line, Robyn Regehr.

WACKY WINNER

The dislike for Pronger extends into the Calgary dressing room. At first, Kristian Huselius wasn't sure how his winning goal found the net, but when told it went in off Pronger's skate, a smile came to his face.

"Even better,"said Huselius.

On a night of bizarre deflections and ricochets, the goal by Huselius, coming with 1:15 to go, was a standout. After Jarome Iginla won the draw, Huselius's shot first hit Marc-Andre Bergeron's skate and then went off Pronger's foot to elude a completely fooled Jussi Markkanen.

"It was a pinball goal," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "We shouldn't have been in that situation.

''We gave them at least two goals and that turned a victory into a loss."

SWEET FOR SHEAN

After going 34 games without scoring, Flames winger Shean Donovan now has three goals in the last two games. And riding shotgun for him has been tough guy Chris Simon, who assisted on both goals against the Oilers.

But Donovan was quick to point out that while he earned the Flames' hard hat award Saturday, he wasn't the real hero.

"Kipper stood on his head," said Donovan of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. "That's not the way we want to win every game, but we'll take it."

QUOTABLE

"We're really committing ourselves to playing a strong defensive game and trying to make them earn everything and most of the time that works for us but the turnovers did us in."

- Oiler Michael Peca on the loss to Calgary.


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