SUN Hockey Pool

Bumbling 'n' stumbling

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- You can't blame the Edmonton Oilers. After all, not a lot of NHL teams get the better of Steve Mason.

Of course, no other NHL team had ever even played Steve Mason before last night.

Actually, when you come to think about it, you probably can blame the Oilers for not getting it done against a slumping team and a wide-eyed goalie making his first-ever big league start.

"It was everything I thought it would be and more," grinned Mason, who outlasted Dwayne Roloson 5-4 in just his fourth start as a pro (the first three being in the AHL). "I made a few mistakes out there, but the guys bounced back for me."

He made a few mistakes? You should have seen the other guys bumble their way through this one. After coming back from a two-goal deficit to take a 4-2 lead in the third period, the Oilers coughed up three straight goals to lose it, the last coming at with 1:09 left in regulation, when Manny Malhotra batted in a Raffi Torres rebound.

"It's tough to feel like this because we had control of that game," said Sheldon Souray, who logged some 30 minutes after Ladislav Smid's concussion reduced Edmonton to five defencemen. "We didn't keep our composure and we were trying to do too much instead of keeping things simple. It cost us some big points tonight."

WALKED AWAY WITH ZILCH

They pretty much had their third road win in four games in the bank, and ended up walking away with nothing - not even a measly OTL point.

"It would have been a big win for us," sighed Souray. "Battling back from two goals down to take a two-goal lead early in the third ... we should have that game in hand, make it easy on ourselves.

"We lost our composure and it cost us two really big points tonight."

The loss dropped Edmonton to 6-5-1 on the season and 2-2 on the seven game trip heading into tonight's date in Pittsburgh.

"It was a sloppy game from the outset," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who tore some paint off the wall in the post-game dressing room. "It looked like we had it under control in the third period when it was 4-2, then it was just a speed track to our net.

"It's not just disappointing to lose a game where you're leading by two goals, but to do it in the fashion that we did. It's a painful lesson, a painful, painful lesson.

"There's a right way to play this game and a wrong way to play and we got on the wrong side of it early."

As expected, the Blue Jackets, who'd taken 85 shots in their previous two games and wanted to start strong for their rookie keeper, did. They went up 2-0 on a Kristian Huselius power play goal at 18:35 of the first period and a goal from Derick Brassard early in the second.

But Edmonton came back hard in the second period, first on a power play goal from Andrew Cogliano at 5:53 and then a shorthanded beauty from Ethan Moreau (after Fernando Pisani stripped Jakub Voracek on a great play behind the Columbus net) at 16:28.

SHORT-LIVED 4-2 LEAD

Ales Hemsky put Edmonton ahead, snapping a shot over Mason's shoulder 47 seconds into the third period and Kyle Brodziak scored his first of the season two minutes after that to give the Oil a 4-2 cushion.

It was Edmonton's to lose, and they lost it all right.

"It's frustrating. We were up by two goals," said Pisani. "We have to be able to close games out like that. All we have to do is get it in deep and make their defencemen go back and make plays. We didn't do that - we turned the puck over at the blueline and created a lot of transition offence and they're a team that's going to capitalize when you give them chances like that."

And they did. R.J. Umberger scored on a rebound at 3:50 and Fredrik Modin on a wild scramble at 4:46 and it was game on again.

"The thing I said at the end of the second period is let's just go out and have a good third period and not be sitting on a bunch of regret," said MacTavish. "And we're sitting on a mountain of regret right now."


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