SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers' magic act fails

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Sooner or later, the Edmonton Oilers were bound to get what they deserved.

It turns out the inevitable came sooner -- as in last night at General Motors Place -- when the Oilers' sleight-of-hand act in recent games wasn't enough to get them two points as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks the old-fashioned way.

They earned it.

'BAD HABITS'

"I think it's just a product, largely, of us getting away with some pretty bad habits," said coach Craig MacTavish after a mistake-filled night punctuated by too many turnovers. "We've got away with it, getting outplayed and outshot. We haven't paid for the mistakes because our goaltending's been so good. It's been reinforced behaviour."

Coming off a 6-4 win over San Jose Thursday and a 4-3 victory in Denver Saturday thanks to 39 saves by Dwayne Roloson -- taking four points they didn't come close to earning on the balance of play -- the Oilers couldn't pull another fast one this night.

Roloson did his part again with 35 saves, but the Oilers, who'd outscored opponents 7-2 in the third period, couldn't turn this one around with 20 minutes of desperate hockey in the final frame. Roberto Luongo made goals by Taylor Pyatt and Sami Salo, with the winner, stand up.

"He's been our best player in almost every game we've played so far," MacTavish said of Roloson. "It's got to come to an end now. We've got to collectively get better and get smart and get back to playing the hockey we're capable of."

No argument from Roloson.

"We all know we can play better," said Roloson, who hasn't taken any nights off in five straight starts. "It's the little things we haven't been doing quite enough to be back to where we were last year."

In a repeat of Saturday against the Avalanche, Roloson had to fend for himself too often early as the Canucks unloaded 17 shots at him in the first period.

Out of the gate with more gusto to start the second period, the Oilers went up 1-0 two minutes in when Raffi Torres, who scored seven goals in the season series with Vancouver last season, pumped a snapshot top shelf on Luongo for his first of the season.

TURNOVERS A KILLER

"When we turn over pucks, it's a fire drill out there and Roli is left by himself to make a lot of saves," said Jarret Stoll.

The Oilers were caught standing around again on Salo's goal to put the Canucks up 2-1 with a minute to go in the period as he was allowed to circle the net untouched and beat Roloson with a low shot that banked in through traffic.

"I saw it all the way. It took a bounce, whether it was their guy or our guy standing in front of the net," Roloson said.


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