SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers Cooked

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- If the Edmonton Oilers are waiting for another miracle like the one the hockey gods handed them Thursday night against Dallas, they'll find it in the standings.

It's a bloody miracle they still have a chance to make the playoffs the way they've been going lately.

But much longer like this and it's going to take an awful lot of Virgin Mary images on an awful lot of Zambonis to get them anywhere close to the top eight.

"It seems like we are right there but always come up short lately,'' said Petr Sykora, after a 3-2 overtime loss to Vancouver left the Oilers with just three wins to show for their last 13 games.

"We came out and played pretty hard, but it always seems like we make one mistake and it goes in our net. These are the points you really want to keep."

SALVAGED A POINT

The Oilers did salvage one point when Sykora potted a rebound with 2:56 left in the third period to get the Oilers into overtime, but Kevin Bieksa and Matt Cooke capitalized on a rare defensive breakdown by Edmonton to win it on a two-on-none breakaway.

"It was a great effort by that line to get us a point, but it's never satisfying when you don't win," said a dejected Ryan Smyth. "We have to recognize how important these games are against division teams.

"To have two guys coming in on our goaltender like that is unacceptable.''

With Mathieu Roy pinching, Bieksa hounded the puck away from Ryan Smyth and turned it up ice. It was he and Cooke on Marc-Andre Bergeron, who blew a tire trying to break up the play.

"It was a nice goal to get the tie, but another sense of disappointment to lose it overtime,'' said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"We got caught being over-aggressive. Bergie had gone to the net anticipating Ryan being able to make a play, then (Roy) came in and got caught. I guess the mistake was being a little bit too aggressive with our second defenceman.

"You want to be aggressive going into overtime. We were and we got burned by it. Those things happen."

Vancouver is just glad it happened to them

"They turned the puck over," grinned Cooke, who upped Vancouver's OT record to 9-1.

"We always have a really good feeling in overtime. Whenever we get there we have a lot of success."

The Oilers, now dead last in the Northwest, are six points out of first. It doesn't sound like much, but it's pretty wide gap the way they've been playing.

"If we just play a little smarter we're going to win some hockey games because the effort is there,'' said Sykora. "We had a lot of scoring chances."

SIX STRAIGHT VICTORIES

Vancouver, meanwhile, is on a six-game winning streak and can't seem to do any wrong.

"We've played well lately and we're on a bit of a roll, but it's put us back into it and that's about it,'' said Trevor Linden. "We can't rest on anything. We put ourselves in a pretty good hole, the fact that we've been playing well lately has gotten us out of that hole. We're on even footing now. Now it's about trying to create some separation."

It was 0-0 after one period and 1-1 after two on goals by Cooke and Fernando Pisani. Daniel Sedin made it 2-1 four minutes into the third period, a split second after Markus Naslund, cutting through the paint, knocked the stick out of Dwayne Roloson's hands.

LATE HITS ... With Daniel Tjarnqvist (groin) and Ladislav Smid (shoulder) out of the lineup, the Oilers pressed D Mathieu Roy into service. Toby Petersen and J.F. Jacques were the healthy scratches ... Ryan Smyth, with five goals and four assists in the first games back from a dislocated thumb, saw his point steak snapped.


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