Waiting for a hero

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Where's a hero when you really need one?

They were popping up all over the place late last season and throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers.

If one had popped up last night, he could have qualified as a save-the-season hero.

There was chance after chance after chance for it to happen to someone against the best team in the NHL.

But it didn't.

WHO WILL STEP UP?

What a time it would have been for Joffrey Lupul to get a huge one. Or Raffi Torres. Or Jason Smith. Or Toby Petersen. Or Marc Pouliot. Or Patrick Thoresen who almost did.

What a story it would have been if first-rate rookie Ladi Smid chose this game to get his first NHL goal.

"We've got to change," said coach Craig MacTavish.

"Something has to change where you get a two-pointer out of a game like that. We are going to need something to change in order to make up the ground we need to make up.

"We had all kinds of chances for something to go really right for ourselves."

One guy. One play. It would have gone a long, long way.

"That's how it feels," said Shawn Horcoff.

"We just needed one guy to get that one break."

Oh, Horcoff scored a big goal early against the Buffalo Sabres. But he missed on opportunity after opportunity after that.

And Dwayne Roloson could have been the guy, like he was so many times for the Oilers late last season.

He could have been the only goalie to shut out the Sabres all season. That would get you a hero headline. But a long wrist shot caught him high and he failed to contain the rebound.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven 'Make Or Break The Season' series beat the pants off the devastating 3-0 loss in Boston 48 hours earlier. No doubt about that. But in the end the Sabres won it 2-1 in overtime and the Oilers were left to debate whether that was a good point or a bad point.

POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE

"You can't focus on losing one point in overtime. You have to focus on getting the one point we got," said Roloson.

"We have to look at it as getting the one being a building block."

But one look around the dressing room said the Oilers were having difficulty doing that.

"Getting one point is a bad thing right now, but hopefully we'll see it as being a good thing in the morning," said Steve Staios.

"We needed two. But we got one," said Ales Hemsky. "You can look at it however you want to look at it, but every point is good for us. And against this team, I think we have to look at it as a good point."

It was an interesting debate as the Oilers filled their equipment bags for the late night bus trip to Toronto where they play the Maple Leafs tomorrow night.

"A point is better than no point," said Smyth. "But all the chances we had ... We had so many chances to go up 2-0.

"We're just not getting the offence right now. How many chances did Horc get?"

Eight shots on goal. Seven of them in the last two periods after he scored his 13th of the year on his first in the opening period.

"It was frustrating," said Horcoff who would have loved to have rented a set of hands from somebody on the Sabres this night.

"Look at the shots I got. I had ample chances to have a big night."

MacTavish said it should have been somebody from his big line.

"Horc had six great chances alone. Hemsky. Smyth. They all created chances," he added.

"If we win the game, Roli is the hero," he added of the goalie they need to get on a real roll now.

Maybe it's as simple as this.

If the Edmonton Oilers had managed to get two points against the top team in the league here last night, they'd need to be 16-7-1 the rest of the way to duplicate their 95-point season last year.

Instead, they now need to be 17-7.


Videos

Photos