Still shootin' blanks

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- There were going to be seven 20-goal scorers, maybe eight, with a couple of 30-goal men sprinkled in the mix.

They were going to 250 goals this season, with an attack so frightening it was going to make everyone forget about the well-documented defensive shortcomings.

Well, with two weeks left in the season, and the Oilers coming off yet another shutout loss, it seems the prognosticators are about as accurate as the shooters.

With only one 20-goal scorer, Edmonton is dead last in the NHL in goals per game average and has been held to one or less in 11 of the last 14 games.

"We had some chemistry going early, then a couple of guys got hurt," said Petr Sykora, Edmonton's leading sniper with 21, but just six since Christmas.

"And all of a sudden you lose that chemistry and it's so much harder to score goals."

Very hard, apparently. Fourteen players (seven forwards) have a minus total higher than their goal total.

"It seemed like everyone went (downhill) together," said Joffrey Lupul, at a loss to explain the widespread slumps. "Everyone kind of lost that scoring touch at the same time. I've never really seen it where everyone struggles like that."

Raffi Torres agrees. "It's a good wake-up call because you can't really assume anything in this league," he said. "It was a very disappointing season for myself, not contributing . I'm going to take it upon myself to have a strong summer and hopefully come back hard in September."

Same goes for Sykora. He knows he has to be better if he's back next year, and the soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent hopes he is.

"I know with a healthy lineup I can really play my game," he said.

"I can relate to a lot of players, especially Hemmer. I would love to play with him. Why not? I had my best time in hockey playing those 40 games with him."


Videos

Photos