SUN Hockey Pool

Better off Ned

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Doh!

Peter Budaj is the only goaltender in the NHL with a likeness of Simpsons character Ned Flanders on his mask, but it would've been appropriate had he loaned Dwayne Roloson his headgear last night.

As average as Budaj looked when the Colorado Avalanche came calling on the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place, he was the second coming of Patrick Roy compared to Flanders, er, Roloson, the Oilers' usually stellar stopper.

Outstanding so many nights this season, Roloson gave up five goals on the first 11 shots he faced and an even half-dozen before getting the hook as the Avalanche romped in a 7-3 laugher.

Mind you, a lot of Oilers deserved the Homer headwear.

"All those things came crashing down on us," coach Craig MacTavish said, talking about bad habits that have been sneaking into the Oilers game but had been mitigated by Roloson in past outings.

"Ultimately, when you've been playing the way we had been playing, you have to face the reaper. That was the case tonight."

Ridiculously sharp with a .950 saves percentage and a personal six-game winning streak before a 3-2 loss to Anaheim Tuesday, Roloson just didn't have it.

Neither did the rest of the Oilers, who began this seven-game homestand with four straight wins, but blew a 2-0 lead against the Ducks and were slack and sloppy in front of Roloson and Jussi Markkanen.

"That wasn't the effort or the execution we need to win games," captain Jason Smith said.

"Right from the start, we didn't do the kind of things we need to do to win games. We didn't give Roli the help he needed. We were turning the puck over, giving them opportunities and making a lot of errors."

Tyler Arnason, with a pair, John-Michael Liles, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos pumped pucks past Roloson, who got yanked after Svatos made it 6-2, leaving Markkanen to mop up the mess.

"You could say that," said Steve Staios, asked if this was a classic case of hanging Roloson out to dry.

"We got totally exposed in our team-game tonight. I think we've relied on Roli a lot the past little while and we can't put that type of pressure on him every night."

Up 1-0 on a goal by Joffrey Lupul 82 seconds into the game, the Oilers let the Avs have it their way with an indifferent effort that prompted MacTavish to have his say behind closed doors for almost 15 minutes.

"It was an upsetting game from a lot of standpoints," said MacTavish. "Especially early. We were cutting a lot of corners in some of the tough areas of the game that, normally, we're pretty solid at. Our checking in the neutral zone was lacklustre, casual and lazy."

AROUND THE RINK: Marc-Antoine Pouliot picked up his first NHL assist and Petr Sykora counted his 300th on Jarret Stoll's 7-3 goal ... Staios, who had his consecutive games streak end at 224 with a sprained knee, was back on the blueline with rookie Ladislav Smid ... Marc-Andre Bergeron, who played just six minutes against Anaheim, continues battling pneumonia and was spelled off by Jan Hejda ... Jussi Markkanen, out against the Ducks with a bruised knee, made his first appearance since Nov. 12.


Videos

Photos