That hollow sound

Oilers goalie Jussi Markkanen watches the puck cross the line against the Wild during action at...

Oilers goalie Jussi Markkanen watches the puck cross the line against the Wild during action at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Thursday. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Mark Messier turned on the waterworks Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Ryan Smyth was in full blubber.

Last night, it was everyone else's turn.

Read 'em and weep, Edmonton.

These are your post-Smyth Oilers, and from the looks of what we saw last night -- as sad-sack an evening as Rexall Place has witnessed in quite some time -- it's going to be a long, bumpy road from now until April 7.

NOTHING RIGHT

"There's nothing right with our game right now," head coach Craig MacTavish said after his listless, mistake-prone Oilers laid a 0-5 stink bomb against the Minnesota Wild.

"We have to find a way to be a lot better than that, and the starting point is just to eliminate the five-star, bonehead blunders.

"Then at least you're in a position to be competitive, rather than just the same sense of futility that we've had the last two nights."

It was painful to watch as, for the second time in as many games since Smyth left Edmonton in a flood of tears, the Oilers were shut out by an average team playing its second game in as many nights.

ELEVEN POINTS OUT

This loss, on the heels of the 3-0 defeat against Phoenix, leaves the Oilers 11 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

In other words, blow out that candle in your window, Edmonton, Stanley isn't coming home this summer, either.

"It seems like they could never get started," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, whose club sewed up its playoff spot with the easy win.

"And we got some breaks."

The biggest one came Tuesday, when Smyth and the GM Kevin Lowe agreed to disagree.

It looks, quite plainly, that the Oilers still haven't recovered, and are in a bad place mentally.

MacTavish doesn't think they've quit, though.

"I don't yet, but it's frustrating for everybody, the situation we're in and the way that we lost tonight," he remarked.

"Moreso than giving up, it's going to be tough to battle through it mentally, but we have to do it."

Last night was over before it started. Unfortunately, they had to play the whole 60 minutes.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first period, the second goal coming on a two-man advantage when Steve Staios and Raffi Torres threw gloved punches at Derek Boogaard after his punishing hit on Marty Reasoner.

Boogaard has been having his way with the Oilers all season.

And Reasoner's shoulder injury marked the third time in as many games that he's sent an Oiler to the infirmary (Ales Hemsky and Ladislav Smid were the previous victims).

"A huge moment in the game, the second goal five-on-three," said Lemaire, who can see that the 6-foot-7 enforcer is getting in Edmonton's head.

"They're focusing on him. They know he's going to try and finish his checks. That's why he's there. If you do not move the puck, he's coming."

LATE HITS ... MacTavish bristled when asked about putting a handful of rookies out on his power play.

"The guys that we've had out there haven't been getting it done," he said, adding he'd be nuts not to change up a unit that's ranked 26th in the NHL.

"Isn't that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to change?

"I'm not guilty of being insane, am I?

"Yet?"


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