SUN Hockey Pool

Not a good time for this

Dwayne Roloson signs ballcaps Wednesday morning in preperation for the 'Power of Pink' campaign,...

Dwayne Roloson signs ballcaps Wednesday morning in preperation for the 'Power of Pink' campaign, the Oilers Community Foundation's annual fund-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation. (Sun Media/David Bloom)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

They need goals, against a team that never lets them score.

They need a win, against a team they can't beat.

They need to restore their confidence against a team that makes them look hopeless almost everytime they meet.

The Edmonton Oilers need the Minnesota Wild right now like Britney Spears needs an all-nighter in Vegas.

Unfortunately for the slumping, offensively challenged Oilers, their own personal hangover is next on the schedule.

"The record speaks for itself," said centre Shawn Horcoff, adding 60 minutes against Minnesota is nobody's idea of a happy hour.

"They don't play our style. We're a team that likes to skate and create offence and get in on the forecheck.

"Having said that, we have to be a team that's good enough and experienced enough to be able to adapt and adjust. That's what good teams do."

But the Oilers have been struggling to pick this lock for two years now.

They used to beat on Minnesota for fun, now they're Wild punching bags.

The numbers are bad.

Stupid bad.

Minnesota is 13-4 in its last 17 against Edmonton.

They've beaten Edmonton six straight times.

In those six losses, the Oilers scored 1, 0, 1, 0, 0 and 0 goals.

Two goals in six games!

Minnesota scored 19 in the same span. And we're not even getting into the players that Derek Boogaard shelved last year, adding injury to insult.

It's enough to give a team a complex, especially a team that's lost six of its last seven games.

"You don't ever go into a game thinking that," said Jarret Stoll. "You go into every game preparing to win no matter who we're playing."

And well they should, But the Wild, on paper at least, look like the wrong team at the wrong time.

The Oilers are searching to find their offensive stride, Minnesota has the stingiest defence in hockey (a league-best 1.24 GAA going into last night's game in Calgary.)

DESPERATE ON PP

The Oilers are desperate to get their power play going, but Minnesota has the fifth-best penalty killing unit in the NHL.

Statistics might be for losers, but the stats in this one point to another Edmonton loss.

"I don't put any stock in that," said Horcoff.

"I can't remember in a series where we've dominated a team, or they've dominated us, where that has any bearing on the next game."

Maybe, maybe not, but they've all seen enough of this series to know that something on Edmonton's side of the equation has to change.

"We have to worry about how we're going to play," said Stoll. "If they keep taking it away then we're going to keep losing. We have to find ways to not let them take away what makes us tick. We have to make it happen."

If not, they'll be 0-for-6 this season against divisional opponents. The only thing working in Edmonton's favour is that Minnesota will be playing its second road game in as many nights.

"It's always tough to play them, they play very tight and right now they're at the top of their game," said Ales Hemsky. "They're playing good. It's tough to get two on ones and those kind of breaks. I'm not asking anybody to score three goals but it would be nice if we win."

Nice? If they can stop their bleeding against a team that's been sticking a fork in them for two years, it would be huge.

HAD THEIR NUMBER

"We know they've had our number lately," said Stoll. "We just have to bear down, put it behind us and go after them, take it to them. Enough is enough with them."


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