Oil's dismal defence costly

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

DALLAS -- If you're going to have a shootout, there's no better place than Texas, where there are more weapons than people to point them at.

And on a night when they were pulling triggers first and asking questions later, the Edmonton Oilers, their net filled with pucks and their feet filled with bullet holes, were left to wonder what the heck happened.

They gave up three goals in a 2:22 span in the first period, and despite getting up off the canvas three times to tie it (2-2, 3-3 and 4-4), came away 5-4 overtime losers.

"We don't have very many games where we get this many goals," said defenceman Tom Gilbert, taking little solace in the OTL point. "I think we just beat ourselves a couple of times early on in the defensive zone, which really cost us."

The offence was fine. It was the defence that broke down.

"We had a few fundamental mistakes, as you will when you give up five goals, but a lot of positive signs in terms of the offence we're creating," said head coach Craig MacTavish, whose club is 13-16-2.

"When you have a young team you're going to have some fundamental breakdowns and we had a few of them tonight. At the same time, a lot of those guys are creating a lot, night in and night out."

On a night when nine different players scored, and the teams erupted for five goals on 10 shots in a 4:40 span of the first period, it seemed like it was going to be a case of last shot wins.

And it was.

Brenden Morrow's doorstep deflection in the final minute of overtime sealed the victory.

"It was pretty wide open, and we gave them some Grade A opportunities that they scored on, back-door plays," said Fernando Pisani.

"Take away those and we'll be fine. But we battled hard and worked hard, we created good opportunities for ourselves."

Three of the Stars first four goals were on the back door tap-in that's been there against Edmonton all year. And Morrow, who scored with Jarret Stoll in the box for holding, was alone in front on the winner.

"They're a good puck moving team, they have a lot of patience, and they caught us a couple of times," said Gilbert.

"But we battled hard to come back after every goal and generated a lot of offence, and that's something to be positive about."

Sam Gagner got things started just 4:26 into the game. Then Mike Ribeiro tied it at 6:44. Then Jeff Halpern put the Stars ahead at 7:06. Then Dustin Penner tied it at 8:26, And finally Mike Modano made it 3-2 at 9:06.

"The pucks just seemed to be bouncing in," said Stars rookie Matt Niskanen, who had two assists in the opening 20 minutes. "But the good thing is we got three and they only got two."

It was a wild flurry, one that saw Edmonton starter Dwayne Roloson yanked after three goals on five shots, though he didn't have much chance on two back door tap-ins and was partially screened on another.

"Three goals in 10 minutes is too many," said MacTavish. "I don't care if it's the team's fault, the goalie's fault, I can't say what it was, but it was too many. It was time for a change."

Tom Gilbert (from Torres and Stoll) and Sergei Zubov traded second-period goals to send Dallas into the final period with a 4-3 lead.

Edmonton tied it for the third time, on Shawn Horcoff's 14th midway through the final frame.

LATE HITS: MacTavish listed defenceman Sheldon Souray as "imminent," meaning he could be back in the lineup tonight in St. Louis ... The Oilers placed defenceman Mathieu Roy on waivers yesterday. They'll have eight defencemen when Tarnstrom and Souray return, so they have to start finding room for all of them... Zack Stortini was a healthy scratch last night... Nilsson's first period assist extended his point scoring streak to six games.


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