Third period Blues

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

There were two veterans banished to the press box and Oilers fans were left to weep over another loss.

A classic case of scratch and sniff.

And Edmonton's latest defeat had a pretty familiar stench to it, like mouldy leftovers from the third period garbage they left behind two nights earlier against Pittsburgh.

LOUSY THIRD PERIODS

Four goals against in the third period of that game, and three more in the third period of last night's 4-3 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues spells back-to-back losses and a 13-16-1 record.

"Obviously that's something we have to work on," said Oilers winger Dustin Penner, whose giveaway set up the eventual game winner. "We have to be a team in the third that makes other teams look around their dressing room in the second intermission thinking there's no way we can come back against them. We have to be tougher to play against in the third."

Instead of tough to watch.

With Raffi Torres and Jarret Stoll in the press box as healthy scratches, the Oilers iced their youngest team of the season, inserting 21-year-old Liam Reddox and 24-year-old Patrick Thoresen in their places.

The club didn't exactly respond with a gem. Aside from the last 38 seconds, when they launched a frenzied attempt to tie it after Marty Reasoner's goal at 19:21, Edmonton wasn't nearly good enough, nor hungry enough, when it counted.

"You have to give credit to them, they're a good team, but at the same time it's happened the last couple of games or so," Sam Gagner said of the third-period meltdowns.

"We've gotten out to good starts, played really tenacious and shut them down, and as the game wore on we kind of got away from the things we were doing right in the first couple of periods."

After a 1-1 first period (Horcoff for Edmonton and Brad Boyes for St. Louis), the Oilers seemed to shut down their engines, managing all of eight shots over the next 30 minutes.

"They came out a lot harder in the second period and we had a couple more turnovers," said Tom Gilbert. "It was just a matter of us not doing the things we were doing well in the first, getting pucks to the net, taking the body."

It was enough of a lapse to let St. Louis pull away. Boyes scored his second of the night at 3:13 and Doug Weight notched his first of the season when his centering pass banked in off of Gilbert's leg just 53 seconds later. Paul Kariya sealed it at 14:15 of the third period, capitalizing on a Penner giveaway after shaking Steve Staios in front of the net.

"It was a bad bounce,"said Mathieu Garon.

"It looked like we had three guys there and it bounced the other way, right on Kariya's plate. It's unfortunate a goal scorer was there."

OWNS UP TO MISTAKE

Penner admits it never should have come down to a flukey play at the goalmouth.

"I made a mistake, just tried to do too much and coughed it up. I was trying to spin and throw it up the boards because I saw Marty coming up my side."

Robert Nilsson scored at 12:16 and Marty Reasoner scored with 38 seconds left in regulation to make it exciting, but 4-3 is as close as the Oilers would get.

"A little too late there in the last five minutes," said Penner.

"It's frustrating, two games in a row that we've played pretty well in the first two periods," said Gilbert. "The third, three goals again. I wish we could explain that."


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