SUN Hockey Pool

Seven-game swoon

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

SAN JOSE -- There is no truth to the rumour that Craig MacTavish, Craig Simpson and radio colour commentator Rob Brown will dress tonight against the Los Angeles Kings in a desperate move to spark the Edmonton Oilers' anemic offence.

But the hard-core reality is the Oilers still can't win or score.

Spoiling a top-drawer performance by goaltender Dwayne Roloson, Edmonton has now dropped seven straight games after losing 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion yesterday.

Battered and dealing with a very stubborn flu bug, the Oilers can't be faulted for not showing up. But this crew can't buy a goal.

"Roli played good - he did what we needed him to do," said MacTavish.

"It is a tough game to win if you can't score.

"We had a number of good chances, but we can't score right now.

"You are faced with trying to win a 0-0 game."

The Oilers have been outscored 27-5 during this seven-game swoon. They have been shut out three times in the streak.

If you are looking for more eye-opening numbers: the Oilers current roster has a combined 97 NHL goals this year and just 461 career NHL tallies. A MacTavish, Simpson, Brown line would be able to boast about nearly 655 combined goals.

A perfect example of the Oilers frustrating offensive woes: Brad Winchester seemed to have a glorious opportunity in front of a sprawling Evgeni Nabokov in the second period but fanned on the shot.

Winchester hasn't scored a goal since Dec. 6.

"The rebound came out hot off his right pad and I had to take it from my skate to my stick," said Winchester. "The puck was bouncing and I just couldn't get full wood on it.

"It is frustrating."

About as frustrating as wasting Roloson's effort.

"That is all we could possibly ask of Roli - it is up to us to provide offence for him," continued Winchester.

Knowing MacTavish had pretty much pleaded for him to steal a game, Roloson didn't beat his chest afterwards.

"I was just trying to stay square the whole night, let the puck come to me and control my rebounds," said Roloson, who stopped 28 shots.

"They are a team that likes to crash the net and create chances off the rebounds."

Steve Bernier opened the scoring in the first period on a garbage goal in front, but that was it until Kyle McLaren beat him late in the third.

Matt Carle scored into an empty net. The Oilers also got a big effort from defenceman Matt Greene, who played nearly 28 minutes and was even on the night.

SLAP SHOTS: The latest victim of the flu bug, Shawn Horcoff still played last night and threw his body in front of a shot in the second period. It's the second straight game Horcoff has been stung by a block.

The rumour mill suggests the Edmonton Oilers might be interested in Jeff Truitt, the current head coach of the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. With talk of an AHL franchise possibly coming soon, the Oilers might be in the market for a minor-league coaching staff.


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