Fly in the ointment

Ales Hemsky (right) battles with Todd Bertuzzi last night. (Sun Media/Jordan Verlage)

Ales Hemsky (right) battles with Todd Bertuzzi last night. (Sun Media/Jordan Verlage)

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Last night's game accentuated the Oilers' weaknesses.

And there were plenty of them.

Some of those inadequate parts will be getting pink slips shortly, on their way to Springfield, Stockton or possibly home to evaluate their hockey futures. The rest better improve in a hurry if the team is going to live up to the hype.

Despite playing their top two lines against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers were soundly defeated 4-0 by the visitors in the final exhibition game at Rexall Place this season.

"I was like everybody else in the building, I thought that was dismal," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "We didn't have it from the get-go and I'll take the hit for that with the two days off. We came back and didn't execute at the level that we needed to in the game. It was one of those games that you are almost appreciative of at this time of year where it collectively gives everybody a kick in the rear end."

It would have been worse had a couple of shots not rung off the goalpost and had another crossed the goal line far enough for the referee's liking. Luckily for the Oilers there are no video replays in the preseason.

The Flames dressed most of their big guns in the contest, with the exception of starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, centre Matthew Lombardi and defenceman Robyn Regehr.

The Oilers went with their top two lines, but sat out two thirds of the Fernando Pisani, Dustin Penner, Ethan Moreau unit and the projected starting fourth line.

On defence the Oilers dressed their top two pairings while sitting Steve Staios, Ladislav Smid and Jason Strudwick. The rest of the Oilers lineup consisted of players on the bubble, which, by last night's indications, has probably burst for the likes of Tyler Spurgeon, Guillaume Lefebvre and Carl Corrazzini.

Spurgeon and Guillaume, who played on a line with Moreau, were rarely involved and spent most of the game chasing the Flames in their own end. The same could be said for Gilbert Brule and Rob Schremp, who seems to be running out of chances to impress.

"We just weren't ready. It's a good lesson for all of us, veterans included," said Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff. "We have to be sharper. Their systems were sharp tonight and as a result we couldn't break the puck out. It's not the defence's fault, the forwards were not back in position.

"It was a total lack of effort and we can get better."

Dion Phaneuf opened the scoring on the power play for the Flames, firing a wrist-shot through the legs of Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson, who was pulled in favour of Devan Dubnyk after allowing four goals on 31 shots through two periods.

In the second, David Moss extended the Flames lead, with his first of two goals. Eric Nystrom added the other.

The Oilers were outshot 41-19 in the contest.

Edmonton will travel to Calgary Friday before heading to Dallas Sunday to wrap up the preseason against the Stars.

Due to the poor showing, the Oilers are expected to change their roster strategy for the final two games.

"We need to see our veterans," MacTavish said. "My sense of all this is that at some point the veterans have to show you that they're ready. And I haven't seen enough of that from our veterans to put in a rookie-laced lineup in Calgary."

ICE CHIPS ...

The Oilers' quest for a tough-guy expanded yesterday with the acquisition of D Steve MacIntyre. The club claimed the six-foot-six, 265-pound native of Brock, Sask., off waivers from the Florida Panthers.


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