Oilers scoring drought hits desert

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

PHOENIX -- The desert is normally the last place you go to end a drought, but the Oilers are hoping for an oasis of offence in arid Arizona.

The 30th-ranked power play in the NHL, and the 25th ranked offence, needs to help out a lot more than it has if Edmonton is going to snap its four-game losing streak tonight against Phoenix.

"We just want to get back to playing some good hockey, scoring some goals and getting some confidence," said centre Shawn Horcoff. "Six games into the season you can't put all the emphasis on wins and losses, but you have to find results.

"You can't handicap everybody in the league after 10 games. We have to get some wins. We haven't played that bad. We've created 30 shots, we've created opportunities, we just haven't had the bounces around the net."

Edmonton's high-end talent simply hasn't been producing like its opponents'.

In Minnesota, Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik were the best players on the ice.

Against Vancouver it was the Sedins. In Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg ran the show.

Is the problem in not being able to contain opposition gunners, or in the fact Edmonton's best two players always seem to take a back seat?

A little of both, said head coach Craig MacTavish. They didn't get the goaltending they needed in the first Vancouver game, fell victim to terrible defensive breakdowns in the second, and their skill players couldn't break through in Detroit and Minnesota.

Hemsky is dangling like crazy, but has little to show for it - just three assists.

"It would be nice to get some results around the net for him, I'm sure he's frustrated to a certain degree offensively," said MacTavish. "But good habits create offence and that will bear itself out over a long schedule. We're hopeful we don't have to wait too much longer."

In the meantime, MacTavish has been shuffling his lines regularly, mixing them up mid-game, in an effort to find something that clicks.

"I'm a guy who always likes to play with the same guys," said Horcoff. "But I can see where the coach is coming from. If you're not scoring you have to find a way, juggle to find some sort of chemistry out there."

SUITS HIM FINE

They don't usually give much notice when they call you up to the big leagues, you just empty out your closet and go. In the case of Rob Schremp, however, the closet was empty. He'd taken all of his suits to the cleaners right before the Oilers sent for him, so he didn't have a thing to wear when he met them in Vancouver.

"I was going to pick them up Saturday," said Schremp. "And they called me Friday night."

So he borrowed a suit from his Springfield roommate, Rick Berry.

"He's 6-2, 230 pounds and I'm trying to fit into it," said Schremp, who's about three inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter. "It's like I'm 10 years old trying to fit into my dad's suit."

The ironic part is that Schremp took his clothes to a same-day cleaners on Wednesday.

"And I go to pick them up on Friday at noon and he goes, 'Guy, you're early.' "

OUCH, THAT SMARTS

Denis Grebeshkov took four stitches on the chin after taking an accidental high stick from Mathieu Roy in practice yesterday. It's only a coincidence that Roy is the seventh defenceman and would draw in if Grebeshkov got hurt.


Videos

Photos