Scoring horrors for Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Something cold, something new, something slumping, five-and-two.

That pretty much sums up the functionally dysfunctional Edmonton Oilers.

The old forwards can't find the net if you stand them in the crease and give them a map, but the new forwards can't miss. The powerplay has all the efficiency of drunk monkeys, but the team is 5-2. Go figure.

"With the depth that we have, expectations are really high, and we've put added pressure on ourselves," said Ryan Smyth. "Teams are going to clamp down on us, but we're professionals, we're going to come through it."

Of all of Edmonton's veteran forwards, Smyth is the only one coming through it. He has five goals this year - all in a four-period outburst - while most of last year's heroes are stuck on zeros.

While the newest Oilers on the top three lines are filling the net quite nicely - Petr Sykora (5), Joffrey Lupul (3) and Patrick Thoresen (2) have combined for 10 goals - the six existing veterans, Jarret Stoll (0), Shawn Horcoff (0), Raffi Torres (1), Ales Hemsky (1), Fernando Pisani (0), Ethan Moreau (1), have combined for three.

Winning record or not, three goals in 42 man-games needs to be addressed.

"There's a lot of us in there who are praying for a goal, off our head, off our shin pad, whatever," said Jarret Stoll, who had 22 last year. "We just have to try and work through it. Lupes is scoring. Petr and Ryan, too. But you have to have everyone. Hopefully it'll come sooner than later. But the bottom line is we're winning, that makes it feel a lot better."

No question. Wins are like Valium in the sports world; no matter what happens in the game, just pop those two points at the final buzzer and you're comfortably numb.

If they were 2-5 and wielding those cinderblocks at the end of their arms, there'd be panic. Right now, it's just mild concern.

Of course, it doesn't take long, with only three guys scoring and a powerplay that can't deliver, for those narrow wins to go the other way.

"We have to have more success (with the man advantage) than what we had last game," said head coach Craig MacTavish, revisiting an 0-for-5 evening.

"There are games where you don't have any success, but you execute well and there are games you do have success but don't execute very well. Last game was a double: poor execution and zero success."

What was supposed to be a powerhouse powerplay is currently riding a 0-for-19 drought and is a mediocre 6-for-43 on the season.

"There were a lot of things wrong with the powerplay, lack of awareness, lack of speed, lack of pretty much everything," said MacTavish.

Smyth, a staple on Edmonton's powerplay, knows they can't go on like this.

"Disjointed, no sense of urgency," he said of the problems. "I take it personally when we don't capitalize because I've been on it for such a long time.

"What I see is we have to get back to the basics. Come back all together as five, get in and set up, get the puck back to the point and get some shots. Right now we can't even get set up."


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