SUN Hockey Pool

Cold streak for Oilers

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

You gotta do it in the division if you're going to get it done.

And that's precisely where the Edmonton Oilers have come undone.

After they gassed another game, this one 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild last night, I wandered around the Oilers dressing room asking if anybody knew how long their losing streak against Northwest Division opposition had stretched to now.

Nobody knew.

"I don't want to know," said Shawn Horcoff.

I told him anyway.

"Six," I informed him.

"It's been happening a lot. I knew that," said the centre who spotted the Oilers a 1-0 lead against a team which had played the night before in Vancouver.

"That's the difference right there."

Exactly.

STREAKY SQUAD

They've been a streaky squad this season, either blowing hot or cold. But one streak has hurt them more than any other - that is the six-game losing streak in the division. That's where they're sewering the season.

Jarret Stoll didn't know the number.

"That's not a good stat to have," he agreed upon being informed.

"That's where you win the division is against teams in the division," he added of the 32 games against Calgary, Colorado, Minnesota and Vancouver.

"That has to change and change quick."

Even coach Craig MacTavish wasn't aware of the number of consecutive losses against Northwest teams.

"We know what that spells," he said when advised.

"We talked about it before. If you have thoughts of winning the division you are going to have to have a good record against your division. Losing six in a row isn't a good way to go about that."

The Oilers, with the 4-2 loss last night, now have a losing record (7-8-1) in games against division opponents.

It was the first of a three-game division run. The Oilers are in Calgary tonight and in Minnesota Tuesday.

"We've got to go in there and win a hockey game, plain and simple," said MacTavish of tonight's game, the third NHL tilt in the Hockey Day In Canada celebration on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada.

The Oilers were supposed to be a team this year which would love trading chances against a team like Minnesota.

But this one was another one when they had more than their fair share of chances and couldn't put them in the net.

"In the first half of the game we had a lot of scoring chances," said Stoll, who had two of them himself.

"We need these points. We need these games.

"A lot of guys played pretty well, but it's the same old story.

"We made a mistake and it ended up in the back of our net, we made a mistake and it ended up in the back of our net, we made a mistake and it ended up in the back of our net ...

"When they made a mistake, we couldn't get it in the back of the net."

Horcoff said it was another game they should have won which they lost.

"It was a solid effort from a lot of guys that didn't count for anything. We have to go into Calgary (tonight) and win. That would do a lot for you."

TILTED ICE

MacTavish said the Oilers were playing well when ...

"The ice tilted," he said of Minnesota scoring a couple quicks to turn it upside down.

"All of a sudden we started taking a lot of penalties because we were spending too long in our own zone.

"The forwards were not doing a good job of covering the dangerous areas.

"It was a game we should have had with all the chances we had," added MacTavish.

So the Wild moves three points ahead of the Oilers who are stuck outside a playoff position looking in. With a win last night they'd be heading to Calgary looking at a win moving them into a first place tie in the division with the Flames with 50 points.

You've got to do it in the division if you're going to get it done.


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