Lots of practice, but little reward

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Practice hasn't made perfect for the Edmonton Oilers when it comes to shootouts.

While they've participated in a league-high 14 shootouts, the Oilers have won just six. Thursday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver, on a goal by Todd Bertuzzi, was their fourth straight defeat in the one-on-one exercise.

"Repetition," said coach Craig MacTavish, when asked how the Oilers can improve their shootout record. "We've done it a lot the last little while. Not only for the shooters, but for the goaltenders."

Even with goals by Ryan Smyth - after a 10-minute review - and Michael Peca Thursday, the Oilers lost when Markus Naslund, Jarkko Ruutu and Bertuzzi put pucks behind Dwayne Roloson.

Their last win via a shootout was Feb. 6 against Anaheim, 6-5, on a goal by Fernando Pisani backed up by three saves by Mike Morrison, now with the Ottawa Senators.

"It used to be a tremendous advantage for goaltenders because of the added pressure for the forward in penalty shot situations because they were so few and far between," MacTavish said.

"Now, the forwards and the shooters are getting in that situation more and more and they're more comfortable. The pressure has gone from being on the shooter to being on the goaltender."

Ales Hemsky leads the Oilers with five goals in 13 attempts, while Smyth has four goals on 11 tries. Sergei Samsonov didn't get in on the action Thursday. He's 0-for-4, with three of those attempts coming with Boston. Overall, the Oilers have scored 17 goals on 47 attempts.

Edmonton goaltenders, meanwhile, have allowed 21 goals on 48 attempts.


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