SUN Hockey Pool

Boo birds are loud and clear

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

How do you like them so far?

The newest Oilers have certainly made an impression.

Sergei Samsonov is definitely exciting. Every time he touches the puck you're on the edge of your seat thinking you're about to see a goal.

Same with Dwayne Roloson.

Unfortunately, that's not a good thing when you're talking goalies. Neither are 13 goals against in his first three starts with the Edmonton Oilers.

They haven't all been his fault, slipshod defence needs to share in the scorn, but enough of them have been that if it were Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen in those three losses, their necks would be red from the hook marks.

BECAUSE HE'S SCREENED

"I'm sure Ty and Jussi are thinking welcome to the goaltending troubles of the Edmonton Oilers," sighed head coach Craig MacTavish. "Our goaltender looks bad on their tying goal because he's screened. Jason (Smith) is right in front of him. How are you going to save it if you don't see it?

"The goaltending will become unglued when the team in front of him becomes unglued, and we've done that."

In the 5-2 loss in San Jose, when Edmonton gave up a season's worth of odd-man rushes, it was the team's fault. In Columbus, Roloson's blunders in the third period, and overtime, cost them a win. In last night's 4-3 choke job, they were both equally culpable.

But the bottom line is Roloson's bottom line as an Oiler: 0-3 with a 4.33 GAA

"Thirteen goals in three games, that's not good enough," said Roloson. "I didn't get really too jacked up for the game. I just tried to give our guys a chance to win. Unfortunately, especially against these guys, we lost."

Roloson made some good saves at key times, last night, was screened on the tying goal and had little chance when Pierre-Marc Bouchard had all night to tee up the winner from 25 feet out.

But he was out of position on the first goal and let in a very stoppable point shot on the second goal.

He also whiffed on a shot from the blue-line that he saw all the way, but was saved by the post. Several other times when routine saves turned into rebounding adventures.

And the disaster in Columbus ...

If he's nervous and rusty, it shows.

If he's not, the Oilers have a problem.

"He's only going to get better, we all know that," said Shawn Horcoff. "We have confidence in him, we know he's our guy. The more comfortable he gets, the better he's going to be for us. But we need to be better for him.

"I don't care who you are, you aren't going to save those one-timers from the top of the circle. And the one that they tied it with, it went through two guys. You can't see it. We must get better for him."

GIVE 'EM A CHANCE

And he has to get better for them.

"I just have to try and give my guys a chance to win, make the saves when I can," said Roloson.

"The first game everybody was pretty wound up with the trade and there were a lot of emotions. Now, I don't know the team well enough to say what's going on."

Between the deadline and three losses in four nights, Roloson and the Oilers could all use today to catch their breath.

"We get a little break here and can be ready for Tuesday's game." said Roloson.

They had better be. It's the last game of the trip and Rexall Place, as Conklin and Markkanen can well attest, is no fun for a struggling netminder.


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